|Author: Ramos, Jean
Everybody wants to feel significant, loved and wanted, it’s just human nature. I have been getting several enticing and provocative letters each week from various sources, wooing me, trying to win my heart. These suitors promise that I will be able to maintain the lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed, I’ll live happily ever after. I am urged to make my selection in a timely manner because time is marching on and I’m not getting any younger. It’s so flattering to be sought out and pursued. After all it’s been forty-five years since my last courtship.
Okay, before I get too carried away, I’ll reveal that I have been happily married for forty-four years. The truth of the matter is, I will turn sixty-five on my next birthday. The letters I’m receiving are from every Medicare supplement insurance company known to man. I am just amazed at how quickly I got to this stage in life.
Last month I took you all on my road trip to Humboldt County when my husband and I were called to the bedside of his ailing father. Ninety-two years was the time he was allotted to make his mark on the world, the dash between the date of birth and date of death. He “crossed over” peacefully on July 12, 2009.
There are many bluegrass and old time songs that deal with the plight of the aged. Songs such as “It’s only the Wind,” and “Rocking Alone in Her Old Rocking Chair.” We have become such a mobile society, there are few of us who live in the place where we grew up. Indeed, many don’t have a place that they can refer to as “home” other than the place where they presently eat, sleep and hang their hat. Our parents wanted us to have the things they didn’t have so they sent us off to college to “become something” and then when we finished school, we couldn’t go back to our home town. We have to go where the job market takes us. We settle in places far away from home and family, surrounded by the “stuff” our parents didn’t have and we’re convinced we’ve made a better life for ourselves. I think that’s why we bluegrass singers love those old songs like “Silver Haired Daddy,” “Mom and Dad’s Waltz,” and songs about home such as “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues.” They are reminders of the things that we’ve missed out on. We all live with some regrets but we must make the most of the time we have left.
While we were up in Humboldt County, I was able to re-unite with some ladies that I had not seen since 1957, we had attended elementary school together on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. We belonged to Humboldt County’s Brownie Troop Number One, another indication that I may be over the hill or nearing the summit. Our time together was filled with laughter as well as tears. We had all taken different paths in life. One has recently retired from the BLM, another has a team of mules and she (along with her husband) take people on guide trips up into the Siskiyou Mountains and the other has remained on the reservation. As for me, I’m including a song with this welcome message that gives you a little glimpse into one little window pane of my life.
As wild as the flowers that grow on the hillside
I grew up happy and free
As pure as the snowdrops that bloom in the springtime
Innocent as I could be
But unlike the flowers, I couldn’t put roots down
Drifted with the breeze
I roamed from my home in the peaceful green valley
Far away from the tall redwood trees
I blew into town with my tattered old suitcase
Seeking my fortune and fame
Like the shooting star flowers that grow in the mountains
My spirit could not be tamed
In a very short time I ran out of money, withered and forlorn
I longed for the fresh air and crystal clear water
On the mountaintop where I was born
I got on the next train that left from the city
And not once did I look back
Then this shriveling violet bloomed with new fervor
As the train rumbled down the track
Through the woodlands it took me back to my homeland
Once more I was free
I learned that wildflowers can’t grow in the city
That the country is where I should be
I don’t know why, but I am fascinated by street people and their cardboard signs. I try to imagine the circumstances that led them to become beggars on a street corner. I saw an old lady the other day (she was at least 65) standing near a mall entrance. Her sign read, “Will take verbal abuse for $.” If you have frustrating things going on in your life that makes you want to lash out at the nearest person, she’s your gal. Say anything you want to her, she won’t hold it against you, but it’ll cost you a buck or two. In today’s economy, we must be creative when it comes to supplementing our Social Security. I’d prefer to sing and play my guitar on the corner if it comes down to that.
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Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
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