Twenty years ago today, a personal tradition was born.
At 2:15pm each June 27th I sit at the piano, and play “Red River Valley.”
There was a darling little lady that welcomed me into this world in 1964, and on June 27th, 1992, twenty-one years ago, I stood by her side, holding her hand as she slipped away from her earthly life.
When I returned to Dayton from Indianapolis later that evening, I immediately noticed the hands on the small clock with the decorative emerald boarder had stopped at 2:15. The clock, along with the matching frame, was a gift from my grandmother.
Although a few tears fall during this private tribute to my beloved grandmother, Donna Barmes, I am also remembering the many life and family history lessons taught; the deep affection and tremendous support for all my endeavors – large and small; a love for flowers and plants which I’ve seemed to inherit more as I age; our numerous late night discussions – especially those nights during my college and early teaching years when we’d sit by candlelight at the dining room table – she playing solitaire while I worked on arrangements; and the laughter… always the laughter.
From the movie, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, we got “when a bell rings an angel gets its wings.” For me, “when I am laughing, Grandma is still smiling on me – and probably laughing even harder.”
Red River Valley arranged and adapted by Arlo Guthrie From this valley they say you are going We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile For they say you are taking the sunshine That has brightened our pathways awhile CHORUS: Come and sit by my side, if you love me Do not hasten to bid me adieu Just remember the Red River Valley And the cowboy who loved you so true I've been thinking a long time, my darling Of the sweet words you never would say Now, alas, must my fond hopes all vanish For they say you are gong away Do you think of the valley you're leaving O how lonely and how dreary it will be And do you think of the kind hearts you're breaking And the pain you are causing to me CHORUS They will bury me where you have wandered Near the hills where the daffodils grow When you're gone from the Red River Valley For I can't live without you I know CHORUS