This month, I've had Mawmaw Margie on my mind. Her birthday is the fourth of February and she died back in 1991 on this day, the 23rd of February. So, this year she will have been gone for thirty years. That hardly seems possible because she is so present in my life – in the shape of my fingers, in my temper, and in the crimp in my hair. Mawmaw Margie was a real character who wore polyester slacks and was always laughing when she wasn't cross. I liked to sit on her kitchen countertop and eat bowls of cereal with my special spoon in my special bowl. She always seemed to be washing dishes or hanging out laundry on the line. She kept our dog Snooker's gall stones in a jar in her buffet sideboard. Her hair was often in curlers covered by a hair net, so she seemed forever to be preparing for an occasion that never came. Billy Kemp and I wrote a song about her called "Mawmaw Margie in Heaven" which you can hear here.
I liked to wear her hairnets around the house and the yard. See.
Back in January, my friend and collaborator Alfred John Hickling and I were exchanging lyrics and melodies by email since we are locked down in England and cannot collaborate in person. This guitar-based melody which Alfred sent to me reminded me of a Carter family song. So, I was inspired to write lyrics for it.
I've made this video for our new song, "We'll Meet That Day," with films from my walks with the Englishman just a mile and a half from our home in the small market town of Carnforth, North Lancashire.
You can also purchase the song as a single in my bandcamp shop.
I'd been thinking a lot about Mawmaw Margie because of her birthday and Heaven day coming up. I had also been thinking about my Mom and Dad (my Dad passed away in July of 2016) because Mom and Dad got married on Valentine's Day. For our family of four, Valentine's Day was more of an all around family holiday. We all used to exchange presents and chocolates, almost like Christmas.
So many people are grieving after a year of coronavirus and many people will be living with the memories of people they love, wondering how to keep going without the physical presence of a particular someone in their life. "We'll Meet That Day" is a song about Heaven, but also about how our spirits and the spirits of people we love communicate through birds, wind, trees, shoots, and the movement of things. At least, that's how it seems to me.
If you are grieving or struggling with isolation, I hope this song will bring you solace.
"You always told me no body could hold me. The spirits is where reside – deep inside me. So, that's where I'll seek you. And I still believe, we'll meet that day in the sky."