Blather · Music

Music from My Childhood

Last night I went with one of my sons and his wife and daughter to a concert by Le Vent du Nord, a French-Canadian folk music group from Quebec. It now ranks among the few times I wished I had stuck with French instead of switching to Latin in high school.

Side note: our French teacher taught us by having us memorize dialogues in French. To date, I have yet to say to ANYBODY, “Regarde cette belle neige com el tombe,” whereas Latin words seem to commonly crop up/creep in. Caveat emptor, cogito ergo sum, and all that.

Such joy on that stage! Oh my goodness! Laughter doesn’t need a language any more than music does.

When one of the band members first pulled out his accordion, I was transported back to Bosnia 2017, when one of men there had started playing his accordion after dinner and soon everyone was singing along. I told my daughter-in-law about that experience and she had had a similar one in Switzerland. I have yet to go to dinner at anyone’s house in the USA, have someone start playing the accordion and people start singing along.

When I saw Linda Hill Stream of Consciousness prompt for this week — “a song from your childhood” — I immediately thought of an album, not a single song. If I had to choose a single song, it would be The Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” which is the first song I distinctly remember hearing and wanting to hear over and over. I was four years old when that came out.

The album from my childhood that I thought of was an album of folk music my father gave me when I was in 5th grade. It was assorted artists and assorted songs. Do I distinctly remember any of the songs? No. Well, I do remember “Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder” but it certainly wasn’t my favorite song on the album. It’s kind of a strange song, if you know it. When they listed the ingredients of the chowder, it went something like, “Ice cream, cold cream, benzene, gasoline, soup beans, string beans, floating all around. Sponge cake, beef steak, mistake, stomach ache, egg puffs, ear muffs, begging to be found…” Clearly I listened to it waaaay too many times. And, like I said, it wasn’t my favorite song.

I think that album was like a packet of assorted wildflower seeds that was sown in my heart and took root. Goodness, I love folk music. It is my absolute favorite.

These days, I listen to Scottish folk music all the time. If you walk into my office, you may hear a little skirl of bagpipes playing softly in the background or some sad homesick song about Scotland.

I loved the Québécois music I heard last night. In fact, let me end my blather with a song from Le Vent du Nord, “Ma Louise.”

Check out the foot-tapping guy in the background. I could have listened to that all night.

All I understood was “Au revoir, ma Louise.” I looked up the translation of all the lyrics. Of course, it’s a sad song with happy music.

A to Z Blogging Challenge · family · Music

Blessed are the Homesick

Blessed are the homesick for they have a home.

My father’s music of choice is Scottish — so I hear it all the time. A thread of homesickness runs through their music.

The other day, as I listened for 793rd time to John McDermott singing, My Ain Folk, I found myself thinking about how blessed I am that I understand this song and this homesickness. Now that I have traveled a wee bit, I know even more what it is to long to be home.

The fjords of Norway are breathtaking, Sarajevo is hauntingly beautiful, the beaches of Normandy are sad and inspiring — but whenever and wherever I travel, I miss my home.

I love Cooperstown —- have I ever mentioned that here?

I rewrote My Ain Folk (see the video at the end if you aren’t familiar with the song) for my own family —

Far from my hame I wander but still my thoughts return
To my ain1 folk over yonder — and it’s for them yearn
I see the tree-lined streets there, and I look out o’er the lake
At the Tower2 and the Lion3, and my heart begins to ache

And it’s – Oh, but I’m longing for my ain folk
Though they be but quiet simple4 plain folk
When I’m far away from home — wherever I may roam
I’m missing Cooperstown and my ain folk

Recalling Mom there in the kitchen5, my father in his den6
My husband in the pasture7, mowing it again
My children coming through the door, excited ‘bout their day
The cashier at the grocery8 who talks of family while I pay

And it’s – Oh, but I’m longing for my ain folk
Though they be but quiet simple plain folk
When I’m far away from home — wherever I may roam
I’m missing Cooperstown and my ain folk

1. Ain = own

2. Tower = Kingfisher Tower

3. Lion = the Sleeping Lion a “mountain” at the end of the lake. You have to squint and use a lot of imagination to see a lion, but that’s what it’s called.

at the edge of Otsego Lake looking toward the Sleeping Lion and Kingfisher Tower

4. Simple = in the sense of enjoying simple pleasures: the dew on the grass, the hummingbirds diving in and out of the bee balm, the colors of the maples in autumn, the sparkle of snow

5. Mom in the kitchen = it’s where I remember her most


6. Dad in the den = okay, so my father doesn’t have a den per say, but he loves to read and work on puzzles. If he had a den, he’d sit there.

A dictionary (and a cat) in the lap

7. Bud in the pasture = I don’t think he has missed working as a dosimetrist one whit. He has worked hard on the property here — mowing and clearing brush — so that it’s beautiful just to look out the front door.


8. Cashier at the grocery = I really love that she knows my name. Her name is Linda. And the produce guy is Mark. And the deli lady — I wish I knew her name — always brightens up and greets me when I stop there. It’s a small town thing, I suppose, to know the people at the grocery store so well.

Yes, yes — blessed are those who know homesickness because they also know home.