Musical parenting something to pass on

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

I’m wondering what young parents these days are singing to their kids, if they’re singing anything at all. My mind flashes forward to 2075. An old guy will be sitting in a Clovis nursing home remembering, “Yeah, I can still hear my momma singin’ in the kitchen ‘Just A Lil Bit’ by 50 Cent. He was a big singer back then.”

I wonder what will become of the songs my mom used to sing around the house when I was a kid. I guess the sands of time will cover them up like the songs her mom used to sing around the house. I mean I wouldn’t even know the tune to the song “Red Wing” (written in 1906) if my grandfather hadn’t sat in a nursing home humming it every day. That’s what happens to songs. But the tunes my mom sang around the house I’ll remember.

For instance, when the winter sky turned cloudy and windy and it threatened to snow my mom would say, “The north wind doth blow, and we shall have snow, and what will the robin do then, poor thing? He’ll go in the barn, safe from all harm, and tuck his head under his wing, poor thing.”

My mom used to sing a lot of stuff from Broadway musicals of the day. One of my favorite memories is how the sun would be coming up and she’d be in the kitchen singing: “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day. I’ve got a beautiful feeling, everything’s going my way.”

As a kid I just thought it was some tune she made up. I had a nostalgic rush come over me when I heard Gordon MacRae singing it on the radio a few years back. It was from the musical “Oklahoma!”

One summer our family vacationed in the mountains in a cabin by a river. I remember my mom, sister and cousin in their swimming suits washing their hair in the river with my mom singing, “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair…” from the musical “South Pacific.”

When spring showers came my mom would sing an Al Jolson song from years ago, “April Showers:” “If you see clouds upon the hill, you soon will see crowds of daffodils. So if it’s raining, have no regrets. Because it isn’t raining rain you know, it’s raining violets.”

It’s the kind of stuff that would put a positive spin on a gloomy day.

When I had little ones of my own I’d sing songs to them. Some of them were from my mom like “April Showers” or “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.” But I threw in some of my favorites like “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” “Camp Town Races” or irreverent ones that I learned in my rogue Boy Scout troop like “Maggie’s Baggy Pants” or “Peeping Through the Knothole.”

Most of the time they liked it. That’s when we were at home. If I did it in public though, I would mortally embarrass them.
I hope you have memories of your mom, or dad, bursting out in song. And I hope the young parents of today are going around doing the same.

I suppose it was my mom who got me started singing, though some people still wish I wouldn’t.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: