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Singing on the porch

By Wade Martin Hughes, Sr. Kyfingers@aol.com

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.

Wow, what kids today are missing? They travel across the nation and have a DVD or a Nintendo in the SUV, and they never look out the window to see where they have been.

We have a friend that has 4 different TV’s in the vehicle, as the kids can’t agree on what to watch.

Our entertainment was to get the fiddles, mandolins, guitars, saxophone, clarinet, and bass fiddle and as the sun went down,

we gathered on the front porch, the neighbors gathered around. And we would play and sing music until way up in the night.

We might take a break and chase lightning bugs. There was a bucket of cool water and a metal dipper, everyone would just

take a drink. There were pigs down the hill, we loved to slop them.

We would not use the porch light as it gathered bugs, and when the music really got going tears might flow, so it was better

to be in the dark. Every now and then, the music would stop, and someone would tell a story and we would all laugh.

Sometimes, a jar of dill pickles would come out and we would suck on the pickle. Chewing gum was a treat.

If someone was sick in the community we would carry our music to their house, and sing for them.

Old people liked different songs than us. They loved to sing, I have heard of a land on that far away strand, tis a beautiful home

of the soul; built by Jesus on high, where we never shall die... Never grow old, never grow old ...

Us kids always wondered, what is so bad about getting old?

The singers would always separate by parts, the tenors together, the bass men on the left. Every now and then we would

just stop the music and everyone would sing a capella.

Some of the old men would stop us and correct us, --- they would say it is--- Doe doe sow me fa, and we would work through that.

The time on the porch was a touch of heaven coming down.

The bass fiddle was over 6 feet tall. It just barely fit into the old 1961 red ford that we had. We had to roll all the windows down

to get the bass fiddle in the car. The head of the neck touched the wind shield, the rubber pad on the leg touched the back

window. The family all sat around the bass. I on the left, and my older brother on the right. Little Tim had to sit under the back of

the bass. Often we sang as we traveled.

We went to electric equipment and got a 1965 blue Plymouth Station Wagon, we were really up town then.

Back then schools did an Assembly with a Bible lesson. We would do some of these. My older brother played the sax and clarinet,

I the guitar or bass, and dad the guitar or mandolin. We would play a few songs, and Dad would give a lesson.

I remember many of them. One was... A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. One lesson was How shall I do in

the swelling of the Jordan? The whole school was out for the gathering. Wow, how things have changed?

We had a car that Dad would have to cut the tongue out of the shoes to make a part with the leather.

Grandpa Hughes gave my older brother and I a tobacco plant a piece, we took it home to Cincinnati and planted it. We were so

proud of those two tobacco plants, we had wet newspapers around the roots. As we drove the several hours home from the farm,

my brother and I discussed what we were going to do with all the money from our cash crop. We had dad watch for what kind of car

he wanted. We had Mom watch for which house she wanted. My brother and I were going in together and buy Mom the house and

dad the car with our profits from the two tobacco plants.

Dad decided on a Thunderbird! We said, Sure, Dad! Mom picked out this house with big white columns, we could not wait to buy these

for Mom and Dad.

Well, we never bought Dad a car, nor Mom the house. They lived in a little parsonage with a used car. But the heritage of music

and singing still ride along with us. My Dad paid several years to buy my first guitar. Today I own some of the best guitars made.

While in Haiti I pulled out the guitar and sang, I left the guitars there for them. IN THE SWEET BYE AND BYE, the Haitians sang in

Creole along with me.

They never understood that was the first song I learned to play, and I did this planned, I did this to remember from where I have come.

Well, today, I am gray, my steps a little slow. Today I understand them old peoples’ songs, today I get so home sick. I don’t have a

home down here any more, Mom has been gone for years. I don’t get to see my Dad and family much any more. But my mind still goes

back to the porch and the flattop and the heritage and love for the church.

Tomorrow, I shall stand between my two sons, and my two grandsons and play and sing music at church, but it all comes from a

porch and family and friends singing together.

His servant,

Wade Martin Hughes, Sr Kyfingers@aol.com



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