I'm outta here soon to do some last minute stuff for tomorrow. And there's no better way to sign off for the holiday than with the voice and the lyrics of Iris DeMent (who I saw one time here in Manchester, and whose autograph I have somewhere). She's remembering her 'Mama's Opry':
She grew up plain and simple in a farming town.For those of you who don't know this song and the album from which it comes, there's a New Year's resolution for you: put it right.
Her daddy played the fiddle and used to do the callin' when they had hoedowns.
She says the neighbours would come and they'd move all my grandma's furniture 'round.
And there'd be twenty or more there on an old wooden floor dancin' to a country sound.
The Carters and Jimmy Rodgers played her favourite songs.
And on Saturday nights there was a radio show and she would sing along.
And I'll never forget her face when she revealed to me,
That she dreamed about singing at The Grand Ol' Opry.
Her eyes, oh, how they sparkled when she sang those songs.
While she was hanging the clothes on the line, I was a kid just a hummin' along.
Well, I'd be playing in the grass, to her what might've seemed obliviously,
But there ain't no doubt about it: she sure made her mark on me.
An' she played old gospel records on the phonograph.
She turned them up loud and we'd sing along, but those days have passed.
Just now that I am older it occurs to me,
That I was singing in the grandest opry.
And we sang Sweet Rose of Sharon, Abide With Me,
'Til I ride The Gospel Ship to Heaven's Jubilee.
And In That Great Triumphant Morning my soul will be free,
And My Burdens Will Be Lifted when my Saviour's face I see.
So I Don't Want to Get Adjusted to This World below,
But I know He'll Pilot Me 'til it comes time to go.
Oh, nothing on this earth is half as dear to me,
As the sound of my Mama's Opry
[Repeat last two verses]
Sweet Rose of Sharon, Abide With Me - and the very best Christmas to all of you.
[The Momma 'n' Daddy Archive, containing all the details of the series, is here.]