Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We Probably All Had Seen Too Many John Ford Movies


There are some unlikely moments in military life that are hard to explain. Every so often a memory pops up, something I’d forgotten about long ago, that makes me wish I could roll back the years.

Sitting in a GP tent near Yuma, sometime around 1985, killing time before going to sleep. I’d like to say it was lovely and quiet out there in the desert but of course the only sound you could hear were the generators. The stars were spectacular, though. No ambient light except the radar sweep.

Someone had a musical instrument and for the life of me I can’t remember if it was a pennywhistle or a guitar. Pennywhistle, probably, they fit in a pack better. Anyway he started playing an old tune, The Ash Grove. I began singing and a guy from another unit who had wandered over started singing with me.

Funny how that came back to me, tonight.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love that song. I learned it on the banjo.I get nostalgic just thinking of the picture you painted. Maybe I should start playing again. And camping...well, maybe not!

Shay said...

I used to own a banjo. I left it and my guineau pig with a then-boyfriend when I went off to Officer Candidate School.

Never got either one back, darn it.

Packrat said...

Thanks. I had forgotten this song; it is so beautiful.

Lovely memory. There are those times that do pop into our heads. Happens more as we get older.

jkubenka said...

The Ash Grove tune is older than dirt. It is easily playable on so many different instruments that I am not surprised it was played. It's also surprisingly easily singable. I teach this piece to both my piano and my voice students. The memory you describe in your post is amazing.