Thoughtful, impassioned, they easily open their minds

“Through the eyes of a child this world is truly divine” – The Tulips, Summer Song

After a horrible winter season and a stretch of cold and rainy days that has lasted well into May, I’m glad to say… it’s about summer. At least in my city. It’s usually my least favorite season, but not this year, this year… it’s about summer.

“All the kids, they want today, the world’s problems to go away, it’s about summer”

My grandmother passed away in April of 2012. She had 9 children, 7 sons/daughters-in-law and 8 grandchildren who looked up to her and loved her to death, she was unique. It’s been a little over two years and I still miss having her in my life, but as much as I miss her I also like being able to remember her so well. She was giving, loving and caring, but also fun, witty and passionate, for all that I’m fortunate to have spent 26 years of my life so close to her.

Around 2008 she began to get pretty sick, slowly at first, but it got progressively worse until she was pretty ill the last couple of years of her life. She had several surgeries in her track record, but most noticeably her memory began to fade. It was tough seeing a person who had been so energetic, who had raised 9 children, who liked to go mushroom picking on weekends, who loved going for walks or who kept the plants in her terrace in tip-top shape, have to spend most of her day in a sofa, a wheelchair or in a bed. However, as sad as the overall situation was when you were with her you kind of forgot about all that. My favorite days back then were those when I’d be able to pay my grandparents a visit, stay for lunch and just hang around with them in the living room until they inevitably dozed off for a nap.

“All the neighborhood catch the love. All wanna get along, in the summer.”

Which brings me to mention my grandfather (excluded from the 9+7+8 listed above because he was in a league of his own). As much as my whole family loved and cared for my grandmother, we were always blown away by how my grandfather dealt with her illness. He lived those years caring for her, putting his own health at risk and never losing faith (which he had a lot of) that she could get better. He was outstanding. Everyone in my family did everything they could to help out, but what we did can’t compare to what he did on a daily basis. I’m sure I’ll write a post (or twenty) about my grandfather, so for now I’ll just say that he was outstanding.

“All the kids, they want today. Look ya in the eye and say its ok. It’s about summer.”

In 2011 I saw the movie The Music Never Stopped, which tells the story of a father who reconnects with his son when he’s informed that he’s been in an accident and has developed a brain tumor that prevents him from forming new memories. The movie is decent (not great) but I really liked the premise of the story, which is that the father begins reconnecting with his son through music. Through his favorite songs the son’s able to remember things from his past and the father’s able to interact with him. It sounded a little familiar….

When my grandmother was in the hospital she’d have days where she could hardly be bothered to talk, yet whenever we’d sing her a song from back in the day she’d liven up. Even though she couldn’t remember why she was in the hospital or what they were doing to her, she’d all of a sudden remember the lyrics to a song and sing along, it was incredible. As I was watching the film I couldn’t help but make the link. We sang her a bunch if different songs, songs she’d listened to for years throughout her life, but for some reason for this post I wanted to take a song from the movie. The movie soundtrack is great and it includes artists such as The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, The Beatles and a bunch of others. However, the song that stuck with me after the movie was from a hardly-known band called The Tulips. I barely know anything about them, all I read online was that they formed in the 60’s, that their lead singer died electrocuted and that the group dissolved soon after that. That’s it. I doubt I’ll ever hear much about The Tulips, but their song Summer Song I’ll fish out every now and as usual I’m sure it’ll put me in a good mood.

“It’s about summer”

You deserve the deepest of cover

“You belong with your love on your arm” Tom Petty, Wildflowers

Yesterday I received some very sad news, an email from my father explaining that my grandfather was really sick. He’d been in and out of the hospital the last couple of weeks and was apparently doing better lately, but since yesterday his condition is getting worse. The doctor didn’t say if it would be weeks or months, but that he is a 90 year old man and things were beginning to add up.

I’d love to be able to see him in a trip back home I have coming up, but I realize I can’t be that selfish. He has spent the last weeks in pain, feeling very tired and going to hospital 2 or 3 times a week, so most of all I want him to be comfortable and enjoy the time he has left. Hopefully I get lucky and I can have both, but if not I definitely want the latter.

“Go away somewhere all bright and new, I have seen no other, who compares with you”

I think in part because I started this blog recently, as soon as I began getting my head around the news I started remembering memories of my grandfather which cheered me up a bit. However, as much as I tried, I couldn’t think of any songs that we both shared in some way or another. All I could think of was the fact that he loved playing Christmas carols, the same ones every year, and I dreaded them… they were awful. So I didn’t want to torture any possible reader, or myself, with any of those. I love my grandfather, I do not love those songs.

Then I thought of a song by Tom Petty, Wildflowers from his second solo album with the same name, and thought that it would suit my grandfather very well. Anybody who has ever met my grandfather knows that among his passions in life are gardening and doing yard work. He has a house in in the outskirts of the city where I’m from and he goes there every Summer. Since I can remember he has put endless amount of time into getting the yard in decent shape, and just as much time trying to get plants to grow in a little orchard in one of the corners of the house.

Yet anybody who has actually ever spent time with my grandfather, at that house, knows very well that nothing edible has ever come out of that orchard and that no matter how much time he (or his loyal soldiers, meaning everyone in the family) put into the yard, it’s always going to be covered in wildflowers. I know I’ll always remember my grandfather saying… get yourself ready because we have some work to do in the yard.

Let’s go at it chief.

“You belong among the wildflowers… you belong somewhere close to me… far away from your trouble and worry… you belong somewhere you feel free.”