Just so you know, this is my background music for the moment. Feeling nostalgic for my paternal grandparents tonight.
When I was a kid, I hated this kind of music. It reminded me of Saturday mornings in my grandparents’ car, driving around Raceland doing errands with them. It reminded me of wedding receptions, long after the thrill of party food and the potential for cake was gone.
The music was symbolic, in a way. An audible attribute of the small towns of my youth–Raceland, Thibodaux, and all those towns down the bayou. Listening to it reminded me how trapped I felt, not just by the small town-ness of it all, but by my connection to the land and the history there. I wanted to be something special, exciting, not just some kid in a boring car listening to music I couldn’t understand or sing along with.
I wanted so much to get out of there. Not just out of the car with the Cajun music, but the smallness of my world. I wanted to be someone important, do something important. I didn’t want my biggest accomplishment to be 20 years as a sales clerk in the local office supply store.
It’s amazing what you don’t appreciate while you’re in it. Not that I would want to go back to my childhood, but I would love the opportunity to talk to my grandparents from an adult point of view, ask them about their lives, ask them about their dreams and challenges and joys.
Truth be told? I don’t remember much of my childhood. I wasn’t present for so much of it. I was somewhere else, in a made-up world, living a made-up life that pleased me more than the one I had.
But I do remember the music. And believe it or not, it’s actually kind of grown on me.
So, I lift the proverbial glass to my Grandma Reina and Grandpa Merrill, who are probably at a VFW dance in Heaven right about now (or playing cards at a kitchen table with their noisy, French-speaking friends). I didn’t know you well, but I sort of wish I had.
Good night, dear souls. May your dreams be sweet, and may the soundtrack of life always contain a bit of nostalgia.