One of the best sad songs

6 May

This is one of the best songs that I have heard in awhile. Originally done by Trent Reznor and NIN, Johnny Cash made this song his own.

And I don’t know why, but listening to it, I started crying because it reminded me of my grandfather. I wish I had known him better. And let me just say that this song reminded my of him not because my grandfather was a drug addict, but because it’s from the viewpoint of a man getting older and looking at his empire “of dirt.” He was a farmer, so he had a literal dirt empire. And he didn’t make me hurt, ever, I guess except for when he died. I saw the hurt that my mother went through. She was so close to him. A few days ago, mom said she was looking through some of grandma’s old pictures and she saw a picture of Grandma and Grandpa and my sister at the dinner table laughing. And she busted into tears. “Isn’t that silly?” she said. No, it’s not silly – both of her parents are gone and she misses the good times, like being together at the dinner table.

I remember eating lunch at the farm sometimes. I don’t know why, but I remember one lunch in particular when we ate “Dinty Moore Beef Stew” and I remember repeating the name over and over. I had a thing with jingles when I was little and I loved singing them. My sister and I once recorded ourselves singing the jingle for the laundry detergent Surt: “Surf is our hero, Surf saved our day, Surf is the only one one here in every way.” I remember mixing up my d sounds in the tape, but I can’t remember which sylables exactly were garbled. It’s funny though, listening to my little voice, proud of singing some advertising guru’s million dollar idea. I’m not even sure if Surf exists anymore.

My only memory of interacting with my grandfather is after he found out that he had pancreatic cancer and he was sitting in his recliner in the living room of the farmhouse. He had darkish hard, wrinkled looking skin. You could tell that he had spent most of his life outdoors. But it was like the sun had just absorbed in him and his touch was so warm. My mom was in the kitchen making him something to eat and she asked me to bring it to him. I, at the age of four, sensed saddness. Sensed that there was something awry. I wasn’t used to seeing everyone sad or my grandfather in one place for a long period of time. I walked in with a bowl of what must have been soup. I think it was soup. Maybe it was some Dinty Moore. I handed it to him. He had a blanket wrapped across his legs to keep him warm. It was black and furry with white squares, a plaidish texture. And he looked at me with such warmth in his face when I handed him that bowl. It was like I was giving him gold. And his eyes, which were green (I think, I wish I could remember for sure) were so piercing and bright with a smile. He smiled at me. And for someone who never talked much in his life, his smile could say more than he would say in a day. And with this smile, he took his big hand with dirt that would always be under his fingernails, and he patted me on the head to say thank you. And I will never forget smiling back at him and for that moment, everything was going to be okay and he wasn’t sick anymore. He was just my pawpaw and he loved me and there was no saddness.

But saddness came. So many people who had a large impact on my parents died within about two years time. My great uncle, my grandfather, and my great, great aunt. I wish I would have known these people better. I wish I could hear the stories from their mouths. What could they have told me about their lives that no one else remembers – all those little details are gone.

I had no idea that a simple youtube song was going to bring this out in me and bring me to tears as I wrote. But here it is.


5 Responses to “One of the best sad songs”

  1. Meagan May 6, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    Yeah, we immediately liked this song the moment it was released by Mr. Cash. I think Joshua bought the CD just for it. The video is so sad, I remember crying the first time I heard it. I will have to check out that picture at the dinner table. I am pretty sure Uncle Duane was teasing me about eating ketchup on something and calling it cat-soup. He thought it would really gross me out but it usually just made me giggle.

  2. Meagan May 6, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    BTW I wonder if we still have those old tapes lying around, they would be a hoot to listen to now. Remember those Barbie soap operas, we used to record? I was so freakin’ bossy telling you every line to say. I don’t know how you put up with me 🙂

    • Molly May 6, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

      I know we still have the tapes somewhere. I think maybe in your closet in the cassette tape holders. I would not have thrown them away. Either that, or there may be one in my hope chest. I listed to the Surf one just a couple years ago. I remember what it was that I would garble now! Depends undergarments – remember, I called them “depends underdarments.”

      And I don’t know how you put up with me waking you up every night in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom with me. If I had a nickel for every time I heard you pee.

  3. Jingles May 6, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    This is the fact that there are many things and persons that we cant forget and sometimes this because of the things in which we live.

  4. braincandle May 7, 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    yeahhh I can’t listen to either version because they make me too sad

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