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Harris Blackwood: For Walter, we sing the old songs and the new
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

It was just 10 months ago that a bouncing baby boy entered our lives. A grandchild is a gift like no other and I continue to be amazed how wonderful this experience can be.

He is pulling himself up and walking with support of objects like the edge of the sofa. It won’t be long before he takes those first wobbly steps on his own.

Sometime about November or December, he began to readily recognize his Nana and me. To see his little face light up with a smile when he sees us is priceless.

My mother had a daycare center for many years and I learned a lot of songs during that time. I now sing them to young Walter, who has several favorites. I think “The Noble Duke of York” is at the top of his list. I sing it with lots of animation and movement and he can be on the verge of tears from something else and he will stop and listen to it.

We also sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and he likes them, too.

Singing is good for the soul. People used to gather around a piano or someone with a guitar and sing everything from gospel tunes to folk songs.

Taylor Swift, the popular singer, writes a lot of narrative songs about the ups and downs of her young life. If you are Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, you probably have a song about you.

Michael Buble, the Canadian singer, was on TV the other night crooning some of the great classics from what is often called “The Great American Songbook.” These are songs that have a verse and a chorus. They may be about love found or love lost but they have beautiful poetry set to a melodious tune.

He sang the Dean Martin classic, “You’re Nobody ‘til Somebody Loves You.” It’s just a nice song about looking for love.

He also sang “My Funny Valentine,” a song written for a Broadway show in 1937. It still works.

I like listening to old country songs, like “Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On” and “Crazy,” They are just great evergreen songs.

I hope Walter is musically inclined and wants to learn the old songs and the new. I want him to know the fun old songs like “She’ll be Comin’ Around the Mountain” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” I also want him to learn “The Old Rugged Cross” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” I hope he’ll like “He Keeps Me Singing” and will appreciate the story that Luther Bridgers, who wrote it, spent the final days of his life in Gainesville and is buried here.

Perhaps he may appreciate the songs of World War II where my dad served. We’ll listen to “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “We’ll Meet Again.”

I hope to take him to New York City to see a Broadway show and maybe catch a classic like, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” or “Put On Your Sunday Clothes.”

I’ve got a lot of dreams for that little man. Perhaps one day he’ll write a song about it.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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