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  • Uncle Dave Griffin

Tail of the Weak 2.8

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Tail of the Weak is a series of insights and musical memories from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin, singer/songwriter and founder of the Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival, from Waycross, Georgia.

There's no greater music than the sound of my grandchildren laughing.

— Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer

When the news hits, the first thing you start doing is thinking about what name you want them to call you.

I certainly didn't want to be called Granddaddy or Grampa, least of all Gramps! I am a child of the Sixties, for Heaven's sake. It's got be something cool!

How about G-Pa? It's slightly similar to one of my musical favorites, Gram Parsons—GP with an 'a' on the end. And, it's got a hip, modern ring to it—what with the hyphenation—like J-Lo or Ice-T or P-Diddy. I'm grabbin' at straws now.

What happens is, when those little angels snuggle in your arms and melt your heart for the first time, then everything about you goes right out the window. They can call you anything they please; and, you will become that. If you're blessed enough to be a grandparent, you know what I'm talkin' about.

I have four beautiful grandchildren, two of whom are little girls. I never knew how much love an old heart could hold. It's not that I love them any more than I did their Mama or Daddy. It's just that now I have more time, less responsibility, and an outlook that has been tried, tempered, and tamed through years of living.

Whether I'm sharing half-nibbled-on carrots with Little Millie, clone of my daughter—letting my imagination run wild with Hannah, a little master bundle of dimples, voices, and characters—watching amazed as Wyatt flies around dexterously on a pixelated game screen playing Minecraft—or talking with Michael about his new middle school flame—this is my time and place in life.

Granddaddy Everett and Grandma Leila Carter up to their eyes in tobacco.
Granddaddy Everett and Grandma Leila Carter up to their eyes in tobacco.

Being around them brings back memories of my grandparents—the stories my Grandma Carter would tell us, as we lay in the cool darkness of the farmhouse bedroom. Like “Peasy and Beansy”, the tale of two young girls—one who was kind and benevolent—the other, mean and malevolent—a tale designed to impress upon me how to be and how not to be.

Or the one about the cattymount—south Georgia for mountain lion—that terrorized the Strickland farmhouse one night when Grandma's older brother was just a baby. Says she, “He was BIIIIG! He ran circles around and around the house. Then he'd stop, stand on his hind legs, let out a scream, and scratch at the windows!” Ain't no goin' to sleep after that one, Grandma.

Granddaddy "Rab" and Ida with a mess o' fish.
Granddaddy "Rab" and Ida with a mess o' fish.

I used to go fishin' with Daddy and his daddy, Granddaddy “Rab”, early in the morning on a cypress-stumped lake in Starke, Florida. They did most of the fishin' while I sat in the boat, lettin' the Red Wigglers wiggle around, ticklin' my bare knees.

Granddaddy's wife, Ida (pronounced I-der 'cause we're from South Georgia), was quick with a hug and a smile. I still remember the sights and smells of that house in Starke—the knick knacks, biscuit dough, Pepsi-Colas, and stale cigarette smoke—ah, to go back again!

Having grandchildren reminds me also of the roles my parents played in the lives of my younguns—the pure delight on both of their faces, while my son, Connor, sat on Daddy's knee as he sang “Shoo Fly” and “Animal Fair”—the countless hours of doting attention my Mama gave my daughter, Megan, as she introduced her to art, dress-up, and south Georgia cooking.

Being a grandparent is the closest thing to magic that I have ever found.

Much like sprinkles of fairy dust on a child's eyes and ears—with kisses, hugs, and smiles, we smother them—with stories and traditions, we raise them—with undying love, we cherish them.

I know because I remember.

And now, it's my turn.

7th Annual Swamptown Getdown Music and Arts Festival

March 17-18, 2017

Okefenokee Fairgrounds

Waycross, Georgia Advance Weekend Passes:


Memories straight from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin

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