Walking in Memphis

Visiting my roots
With blue notes and "bellypads"
Dixie feels like home

I fell in love with Memphis last week when I was there music directing for theater camp.  It is not hard for me to fall in love with a place that plays good music and feeds me well, but there was also the fact that my Grandpa was from the Mississippi  Delta just a couple hours south of Memphis.  

Grandpa made awesome, thick pancakes he called bellypads, and I ate them on a pretty regular basis growing up.  Grandpa smoked like a chimney from age 15 to age 85, and I nagged him to quit but still sometimes find a very faint cigarette odor comforting.  Grandpa couldn't hear so well as he got older, but he liked to listen to me play, and the night before he died, I called him from a practice room at school and got to play one last time for him.   This was in 2000, when cell phones kinda sucked and I barely got any reception in the practice room, but boy was I grateful for it that night.  

Grandpa and Grandma were married over 54 years when he passed away (she's still alive and causing trouble at age 93).  They met during WWII - he was a wounded soldier with tickets to a ballgame; she was a nurse/physical therapist with a car.  She liked his blue eyes, and I reckon he liked her moxie.  They were married six months later, and then he drove back with her to her hometown in Missouri to meet her parents (the nerve!).  

They tried farming in the Midwest, but, well, farming's tough, and Grandma developed severe arthritis in her mid-twenties and needed to live in a drier climate, which is how they ended up in New Mexico and West Texas.

So anyway.  I got Southern roots, and this song has a good piano part, so I'm making friends with it in honor of Grandpa and my week not far from his old stomping grounds.