Memory of the Day: This is my dad, Dr. Lewis Grant, DC. My dad loved music. As a child he did, briefly, take violin lessons, but had to drop them pretty early on because of finances. Later he collected sheet music. Dad didn’t really read music later in his life. I think he always was able to read the basics, but never used scripted music to play when I knew him.
My siblings, Wayne Grant and Kellye Holmes Grant, and I grew up to dad singing songs that were popular at the beginning of the 20th century. Wayne and I can still sing “Heart of My Heart.” He sang a lot of melancholy songs. Dad, for all his good humor, was a pretty melancholy guy. He would often sing songs that represented growing up during the Depression. Every Christmas, despite how much we would beg him not to, he would sing “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot.” I hated that song. Dad seemed to delight in the sad things of life. He often told us how much he enjoyed a good cry.
Later, dad started picking up various instruments and would learn to play them by ear on his own. The first thing I recall hearing him play was the mandolin. I have one of his mandolins hanging on a wall here in Wake Forest. Again, he wouldn’t look at any music, but would listen to the tune and in very short order be playing it like a professional. When brother Wayne started playing the coronet in the high school band, Dad picked it up and by the end of the weekend was playing “When the Saints Come Marching In.” It didn’t take long after sister Kellye started taking piano lessons that Dad started playing it as well. He would sit there and pick out notes until he had the tune for whatever he was trying to learn down and then would add a few flourishes. He also learned how to pick out tunes on the guitar and mandolin that Wayne had. Wayne got the music genes from Dad. I picked mine up from mom who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.
Along the way, he decided that he wanted to pick up the violin again and Mom got him a cheap one for Christmas one year. I know he went through a couple violins, but that instrument turned out to be his true love. The violin in this photo and the last that Dad owned now resides with my nephew Ben Grant. Dad played the violin every day. He would play along with CDs and often just on his own. Dad loved to travel around Oak Grove playing. He might be found playing an impromptu concert at the Chamber of Commerce, or serenading the folks at the nursing home. If anyone paid him a visit at home, at some point the violin would come out and he would entertain you and even take requests.
I kind of like to imagine Dad in heaven playing his violin for Mom and Kellye. Someday, I’ll hear it again.