‘Feelin’ near as faded as my jeans’

I did a rare thing in the last post and talked about happy moments. I hoped there were actually more than I remembered in that space, and one (thankfully) popped into my head today.

I was driving to work and actually I was really stalking our new office space that we are moving to (don’t get me started on what a radical shift that’s going to be and how I will probably get fired because people can hear how much I really swear in an average day), and Janis Joplin came on the radio, belting out “Me and Bobby McGhee.” And I cried when I heard this part:

“One day up near Salinas, Lord, I let him slip away
He’s lookin’ for that home and I hope he finds it
But I’d trade all o’ my tomorrows for one single yesterday
To be holdin’ Bobby’s body next to mine.”

My grandfather was a brilliant guitarist and singer and just all-around awesome guy. He’s been gone a little more than a year now and while I knew life was going to suck when he was no longer in the world, I had no idea how much.

Oops, tangent.

Anyway, his guitar ended up in storage for many years while he was alive due to much family turmoil and moving and stuff, and eventually arthritis got the better of his hands. But he got that guitar out of storage a couple of years ago and man, he could still play.

I used to joke with him that I was going to unplug his amplifier and he could play all he wanted. But I teased. Really, he was good.

A cousin gave him sort of false hope that he was going to bring him onstage at one of his gigs. This cousin (ironically named “Bobby”) learned all he knew about music from his dad and from my grandfather, and he respected and worshiped him as an idol. As well everyone should have. 😉

Anyway, my grandfather wanted to showcase to me, on one of my visits up north, that he was playing again. And I don’t know how it came up, but I must have been humming “Bobby McGhee” and he effortlessly picked up that guitar and played it for me. Not to mention, he sang every lyric perfectly.

I was in shock. I hadn’t heard him play guitar since I was a little girl. I was so proud of him and thrilled that he’d gotten his hobby — the thing he kicked ass at — back.

While I will always wish that I had complimented him more and asked him to play more for me, I remember him absolutely beaming when he finished that song. Both he and my grandmother had the brightest blue eyes I’d ever seen (Mom and I inherited my great-grandmother’s green eyes), and I remember wishing I could feel so good and have such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction about something in my own life. But moreover, I was glad that he was finally doing well and feeling good.

“Feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues
Hey, feelin’ good was good enough for me, mm-hmm
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.”

OK, as i just started crying happy tears, I’m going to close my office door while I still have one and let ’em flow.

I have his guitar now. I even bought a DVD course on how to play it. And one of these years, I want to actually pick it up.

I guess I just want to be able to play happy songs, to celebrate him, as right now I have no real song to sing. (And believe me, you wouldn’t WANT to hear me sing.)

But for a girl who sucks at Guitar Hero, I’ll admit I’m not in a real rush to suck at the real thing. 🙂

2 Responses to ‘Feelin’ near as faded as my jeans’

  1. Bayou :

    Thanks for sharing this story, although it did make me a little teary eyed too. I have very fond memories of this song as well. At my mom’s house, we used to have girl’s nights where we would drink way too many margaritas and sing and dance most of the night away. Bobby McGee was always the climax- after we were well toasted. We would sing at the top of our lungs and throw our hair around Janis-style.

    I have a great video that I will post for you if I can find it. 🙂

  2. Extraordinary Girl :

    THIS song epitomizes my first time living away from home. I moved to Athens, GA with some friends and we all had multiple crappy jobs and no money, but we were living on our own, and LOVING each moment of the first time freedom. One of my jobs was waitressing at a little diner on the very edge of the downtown area, and I’d play this song on the jukebox while I wiped tables down at the end of my shift.

    Gosh, all I have to do is THINK about this song, and I can feel what a cool Spring night there felt like, and smell what the flowers smelled like in the night air as I walked home from work.

    Your grandfather must’ve been 1 in a million, huh?

    Thank you for your memory, and for mine. 🙂