Tail of the Weak 4.10
Updated: Jan 27
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.
“Daddy, I want to learn to play the guitar”. That's what my 15-year-old daughter, Megan, said to me in 1998. Fearing her obsession would be over just as soon as she broke a nail, I hoped for the best; and, on a piece of notebook paper, I drew out diagrams of the four chords—E minor-C-D-and G—used in “Heart of Gold”, a song by one of her musical heroes, Neil Young.
Two weeks later she came back playing the song—with no broken nails. Well, now! So, I sent her home with a full page of all the basic guitar chords. Two more weeks pass; and, she's written her first original song—have mercy.
Needless to say, Daddy was delighted. I don't know why I would've doubted her ability in the first place—everything Megan has ever done in life, she's done with passion, dedication and success.
Born March 12, 1983, Megan Eileen Griffin was a pretty baby—not a whole lot of hair but big brown eyes and cute as a button. She was my firstborn and she stole my heart. She was raised on Tweety Bird birthday cakes, neighborhood garage sales, Cabbage Patch dolls, Teddy Ruxpin, Pee Wee's Playhouse, and Inspector Gadget.
Because of constant double ear infections, she had ear tube implant surgery when she was still a baby. Oh, sorry—it's more commonly known as BMT. Alright then, simply put, it's a bilateral myringotomy—in which a tiny tympanostomy tube is inserted into the eardrum to ventilate and equalize pressure in the middle ear. You can find anything on Google.
She somersaulted out of a swingset glider at daycare when she was two. X-rays showed nothing initially until two weeks later, as I was putting her shoe on, she yanked her little foot back, and yelped in pain. New diagnosis—hairline fracture of the ankle. Treatment—a cast on her two-year-old left leg.
Her mother and I separated in 1985, the same day I started work with the Waycross Post Office as a Part-Time Flexible Mail Clerk. The pay was better than most jobs in Waycross; and, the medical and dental benefits were excellent and well-put-to-use in the months and years ahead.
At the age of five, her dentist, Dr. Keith Crummey, told us she had developed a cross-bite due to her upper jaw not being as wide as it should. To correct it, in the
roof of her mouth he installed a palatal expander—a dental appliance with metal arms that extend from a central hinge—in which I would insert a small key every day, give it a quarter-turn, and pray that I wasn't killing the little girl. I could feel the tension and pressure with every twist of the key. She didn't even bother to wince once—unlike her daddy.
After Doc Crummey and I got Megan's palate extended to it's proper width, braces were soon to follow. Unfortunately, both my and her mother's chromosomes had nothing on them but crooked teeth genes. Yet, all's well that ends well; and, she has a beautiful smile to this day.
Once she learned to play the guitar, she took up the mouth harp, then the mandolin and was quite adept at all of them. With two of her closest high school friends—Margaret Field and Leah McNally—she put together a short-lived band that never played a live gig.
A few years later, she and her childhood baby-friend, Justin (Sutton) Minchew, formed the duo, Folkadelic, and did play out at several places, including 2003's
6th Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull, rendering “In My Hour of Darkness” to a
lovely crowd at the Ritz Theater in downtown Waycross, Georgia.
All those neighborhood garage sales Mama Dawn used to haul her around to when she was a toddler ended up paying off handsomely. Her first foray into the retail consignment market was as a senior in high school.
Her Papa—Billy Griffis—had a tax and accounting office with an empty space about as big as a small walk-in closet. He turned her loose and she immediately started turning a profit. The name of her teenage venture was Skirts and Shirts; and, it was to pave the way for things to come.
From there, her and her mom opened Designs by Dawn and Megan learned the ropes of retail buying, selling, merchandising, and profit margins. Her business sense was as keen as her attention to fashion detail.
In 2008, she opened her own consignment shop in Flanders Shopping Center, called Repeat Boutique. Renting the empty space next door, she expanded in '14, changing the name to Megan's Boutique and offering full female fashion lines to some of the most-devoted clothes buying customers a young businesswoman could ask for.
I'm as proud as a papa can be of my beautiful, straight-toothed daughter, who's given me two adorable grandchildren, and nothing but wonderful memories full of love, laughter, and life. I love you and wish you the happiest of birthdays.
As your daddy, I'm hereby calling for March 12th to be officially commemorated in your honor as Happy National Bilateral Myringotomy Hairline Fracture Palatal Expander Birthday Extraordinaire Day.
And, to make it easier for me to say, we'll just call it HNBMHFPEBE Day.
9th Annual Swamptown Getdown Music and Arts Festival
For Early Bird Weekend Passes:
Memories straight from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin
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