Thursday, October 25, 2012

Red River Valley

The Red River Valley

From this valley they say you are going
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our pathways awhile

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

I've been thinking a long time, my darling
Of the sweet words you never would say
Now, alas, must my fond hopes all vanish
For they say you are going away
The Red River Valley, is perhaps as old as 1870. The Canadians claim it, but I think of the Red River Valley as the border between Texas and Oklahoma.

My mother used to sing this song to me when I was a child. Often, she would sing these words to me just before I would nod off to sleep. Many artists have recorded the song, including Jo Stafford in 1955 and an earlier version by Woody Gurthrie , but the words and the melody that I remember are my mother's. The sound is a soft and sad good-bye. The song conveys a sense of loss, a wish that our lives could continue on, but the knowledge that time moves on and, with time, our hopes vanish, but never our memories.

Joan Fletcher was not my mother, she was the mother of my brother-in-law, Andy Fletcher. She passed away the other night, peacefully I hope. I will miss her bright eyes and sweet smile. I will remember her for her wit and spunk. A favorite topic of hers was politics. We might disagree, we might even agree, but talking about it was always fun. And, I will think a long time of the good times we shared.

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