Let’s Have a Hootenanny!

I was intending to write a more serious post today, but in the middle of my writing, I got a text from my brother with this picture.

Homemade rhythm instruments

It’s amazing how one picture can bring back a flood of memories. He found it when cleaning out for a project and shared it with me and my sister. What is it? It’s an old suitcase with homemade rhythm instruments of my mother’s. The newspaper covering the case is from 1960, so that gives you an idea of how old they are.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw it, because I had not thought about those instruments in over 50 years, I’m sure. I spent many an hour clacking those sticks together and banging the lids. Mom used to teach choir at church, so I know she took them there too.

I can still hear her singing.

My sister and I both texted at the same time that my brother must save them for future grandchildren. For a man who loves music as much as his mother, he could lead little ones in a grand ol’ time.

That’s when my sister said, “You can have a real hootenanny!”

Oh, my goodness, it’s amazing how when memories pop up, they bring up even more. Only our father would use such a word, and when she put it in the text, I cried and smiled all at the same time. I’d heard that word all my life, but just now looked it up for the first time to help those of you who may be wondering if I’ve slipped into a foreign tongue.

Merriam-Webster defines it as “a gathering at which folk singers entertain often with the audience joining in.” Yep, that about sums it up, though I think of it as a more invigorating sing-along.

So, today, I’ve remembered my mother’s love of music and my father’s lack of ability to carry a tune, but love of singing, just the same. He could hootenanny along with the best of them!

Words and pictures stir up memories and even grief.

It’s been a long time since I cried over them both at the same time, but today was such a day. A moment to be grateful for a childhood filled with love and music and long words, all of which influenced each of us Browns in unique ways.

I told my brother the next time I’m at his house, I want to pull out that case and hit some sticks, ring a cow bell, tingle a triangle, and smash some pot cymbals. Oh, what a hootenanny we’ll have!

Grace and Peace


4 thoughts on “Let’s Have a Hootenanny!

  1. For me, it’s often smells. Just a faint whiff of some forgotten odor can hurtle me back in time.

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