Aside

Mama’s happy when she cries the blues.

Peter’s eyes sparkled, his foot tapped and his lips smiled when he heard the tinkling sounds of Jelly Roll Morton jivin’ on the piano. He recognized the music instantly and that just made my day.

I don’t cry easily, but my husband lit up when he recognized ol’ Jelly Roll and that light-fingered style he had. And I sniffled, no, I cried. I’d finally taken his music player—his Christmas gift—back to him loaded with his longtime jazz favorites from the 1920s .

Ma Rainey did her “thang” and belted out “Black Bottom Blues,” then Al Hirt laid on “Bourbon Street” and Jelly Roll must’ve plumb wore his fingers out all the way from “Doctor Jazz” to “Grandpa’s Spells,” some 18 cuts later.

I asked him if he knew the lyrics or the titles, but he laughed and shook his head no. “I remember the music though,” he said, nodding to the beat. When Louie Armstrong started warbling “High Society,” he attempted to sing along. His imitation of “Satchmo” was still as off key as ever and he bumbled the words as he always did, but he was happy.

Funny, one of his favorite CDs is “Jazz the World Forgot.” My husband may not remember much these days, but he hasn’t forgotten his passion for the sounds of the raucous, roaring twenties.

 

2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist. 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Mama’s happy when she cries the blues.

    • Thanks, Karolyn. You’re right, Al Hirt was born in the Roaring Twenties but he died just 20 years ago.

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  1. Thought I would pop in, Judy, and thank you for your latest encouraging words on my posts. Your writing shows such grace as you move thru this journey with Peter. In a few weeks it will be 3 years since Mom died – isnt that hard to believe – and my journey with caregiving changed – took a while to understand it didnt end – just changed. Sending you a virtual hug across the way. Kathleen

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    • Thanks, Kathleen. Yes, hard to believe it’s been three years. Next week marks Peter’s one-year anniversary in memory care. Also hard to believe.

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