Before Thanksgiving, many of us were sharing memories of the past. Now, we may have new stories to tell. Here’s mine:
How often we assume that the elderly, being quiet and nearly motionless, have little to share as they lie in their nursing home beds. My aunt was never known as a particularly interesting or musical person during her young adulthood, sort of the ‘forgotten child’, the quiet one, observing but not participating. But she has changed over the years, and now, in her 83rd year of life, she loves to talk of childhood stories and family gossip from decades ago. And she sings. Her daughter brings her ukulele, and eye to eye and smile to smile they sing favorite religious songs, especially those from the Baptist upbringing.
They used to come to our house for the holiday, but this year my husband and I traveled to join them at her nursing home dinner table. After dinner, snuggled back into her bed, we started singing to her, then with her, as we sang as many Christmas songs as we knew. When we ran out of Christmas songs, we started in on the gospel songs.
And then, my aunt sang this:
“On a hill, far away, stood an old Chevrolet…” We erupted in laughter. It was totally unexpected, as my cousin had sung “The Old Rugged Cross” with her many times.
It has been over 50 years since my grandfather owned his Chevrolet dealership. Gone but certainly not forgotten! My aunt and her siblings must have sung that line under their breath during church services. Heaven help them had they been caught! But who made up this line? Was it my aunt? Was it my grandfather? Perhaps he had a sense of humor, too!
Where had this tidbit of fun been stored in my aunt’s memories? What triggered it to surface on this day?
Regardless of it’s origin, it gave us bellyaches as we laughed and begged her for more such lines. This will be a holiday story to pass down!