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He Never Forgot to Sing: Part Two

September 30, 2011

“Oh, we’re from Algona, that great big beautiful town. Right in the middle of the USA between the SanFrancisco Harbor and the New York Bay. Where the wonderful east meets the beautiful west, it’s the only town we know. We’re shouting so loud of it because we’re so proud of it…Algona, my home town!”

Algona, that is the small Iowa town my Grandpa is from and this song pretty much tells you all that you need to know, it’s right in the middle of the USA. The Algona Song, it was my Grandpa’s favorite thing to sing. He helped write it, actually, which is a fact that I was unaware of until his funeral. We would sing it several times a day with him and he would sometimes sing it more like 20 times with such gusto. My daughter, who grew up with him from infancy, learned it and had it memorized by the time she was three years old. My son, he was three years old when we moved in with Grandpa and he had it committed to memory within weeks. We sang it at dinner, in the car, when we had company, before bed, and just about any time Grandpa felt compelled to sing.

Then there was the dreaded song, the creepy song that the family is pretty sure he learned either in the Army or in his fraternity. We were all mortified the first tome we heard it come out of his mouth. Where it came from in his brain or why it stuck when everything else slipped out is a mystery, he started singing it like three years after we moved in to his house. My husband and I dubbed this song the racist porno song, though I’m sure it was called “Indian maid” or something terrible. After the first few times hearing this song, we would stop him because we didn’t want the children to hear or *gasp* repeat it to others. The tragic part, especially for me, was that Grandpa had no clue why it was inappropriate. I say it was tragic for me because I had to be the one to explain to him the reasoning behind my being the singing Nazi. He would start out, “There once was…”, and I’d come running from the kitchen. “No no no, we don’t sing that song Grandpa.”.
Oh boy. I guess I should give you the song now, I’ve been avoiding that part. I just want to say that Grandpa was in no way ever a racist or a womanizer, here it goes:

“There once was an Indian maid, who said she wasn’t afraid; to lie on her back in a little grass shack, and let the cowboys play.”

Why was it wrong to sing this song? How do you answer that for your sweet little cute Grandpa. Then the children would chime in, “Yea mom, why can’t Grampy sing that song”. Oh boy, and I’ll say it again, oh BOY! Try explaining that to a 3 year old, a 7 year old, and a 90 year old with Alzheimer’s Disease. So I put it into terms they ALL could understand,

Because I said so!

That’s all for now, just remember to sing, loud and off key and with gusto! Um – as long as it is not that terrible song up there about that maid gal. 🙂

My Sweet Grandpa, here he is singing for us and answering some questions.

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