Jun 18, 2009
“Once upon a time in the Dark Piney Woods, lived a Coon and a Possum and an Ooooold Blaaaaaack Crow.“
That was the beginning of a bedtime story my Dad would tell me and my brothers when we were little. The story always changed. They lived in a hollow tree, the coon, possum and crow. They had all kinds of adventures and the stories of these three changed with each telling. But I remember snuggling down under the covers in the dark and Dad sitting on the side of the bed spinning the tale.
When my girl, Maggie was a little one, I’d make up stories about the coon, possum and old black crow. She’d lay there in bed and ask me, “What happened next?” I’d run out of stories some times and then just start singing old songs,,,,”The Old Gray Goose is Dead”, “Dixie”, “My Old Kentucky Home”. (Yeah, guys not Sesame Street, but those happy go lucky old songs). Surprised she didn’t have nightmares! She’d get those droopy eyes and finally fall asleep, and I’d tiptoe out of the room.
I remember a night when singing an old depression song with these words.
Can I sleep in your barn tonight lady?
It’s so cold lying here in the snow.
And I have no home to go home to.
Can I sleep in your barn tonight please?
Maggie asked why he had no home…I told her he had no money. She asked “Well why doesn’t he get a job?” Hell! Was she turning into a Republican at the age of 3? I then tried to explain the economic problems of the great depression….and gave up. She has always challenged me at the most unexpected times!
I asked my Dad where the story of the Coon, Possum and Old Black Crow came from. He didn’t remember but said it was probably a story his grandfather told him when he was little. His grandfather, he called him Poppy, was born in 1865…and lived with them until he died in the 1950s.
The odds that I’ll be able to tell Maggie’s future children this story are slim. I just hope that Maggie will remember the beginning of this story that she can spin each night for her kids… “Once upon a time in the dark piney woods lived a coon and a possum and an old black crow”….that she will remember the old songs I sang to her at bedtime and will sing them to her children and see their eyes get droopy as they drift off to sleep. That she will know the overwhelming, spill over cup of love for your child…and the legacy will be passed on to the next generation.