Music Challenge – Day 5 (slight return)

There’s another connection between the Bananas at Large and the Edwards clan. One year we took the CD up to Iowa, where my dad’s (and, originally, mom’s) family hails from. My mom’s family didn’t stay in Iowa, perhaps a following of the military family blood. They live, it seems, everywhere else now. My dad’s family’s still there.

My grandparents were in ill health before I was a teenager, and by this time my grandmother had passed away. We were going up to see my grandpa, who had moved from their previous place in a retirement community to a care facility. The place backed up to a giant mowed hill, which looked like an unscalable wall.

Grandpa had throat cancer and was dying. He’d smoked and chewed his whole life. My dad wasn’t a blatant guy and neither was I, so we hadn’t talked much about what was happening to my grandpa – or to my dad, who was losing his father – besides the barest basics.

Taking the CD was his idea. It surprised me, but Dad explained that his dad loved fishing, and he wanted to play a song for him. My grandpa looked rough and had all the colors of age. He sounded worse and had assistance breathing. After a lot of awkward sitting around, we played the song. He got a laugh out of it. A humorous song is one of the few strong connections I have with my grandpa – my dad’s parents lived far out and we didn’t see them much. I was a city kid at heart and in love with books, and my Iowa family didn’t have anything to do with that. I lacked the ability or the desire to get beyond that. When my dad visited last month he talked about going up to Iowa next year, and if I go I’ll have a chance to pick up where I left off.

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