The Logical Song
I chose this song because I like the lyrics, especially the first two parts before the drums kick in.
The lyrics are:
“When I was young it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees they’d be singing so happily, oh joyfully, oh playfully watching me.”
(The song reminds me of what it’s like to be a kid, especially on my grandfather’s ranch where it was magical. His ranch was in southwestern Alberta near a town called Pincher Creek, and I remember the air was always very dry there.)
– Little kids are amazing. They have an amped up sense of the world, where every sight, smell and sound is intense and pure.
A little kid can take the temperature of the world in the split second it takes an insect to flicker from a fencepost to a blade of grass.
One of my first memories growing up, possibly my first memory, (I think I was about three-years-old at the time) was walking through a grove of trees and hearing the sharp cry of a crow pierce and crack the dry, desert-like sky above my grandfather’s ranch.
The crow didn’t sing happily or joyfully like birds in The Logical Song but it was as though the sound awakened me into consciousness.
I looked up into the trees to find what was making the sound but couldn’t find the source. I later learned it was a crow.
My grandpa, grandma and aunt were all wonderful. (Like most parents, my parents were the disciplinarians, while my grandma, grandpa and aunt spoiled me rotten.)
I did everything with my grandpa when I was a little kid and he never raised his voice or gave me any grief.
I baled hay with him, I stacked hay with him, I mended fences with him, I watched him brand cattle, I went to cattle auctions with him, I went duck hunting with him, and I went riding horses with him, (my horses name was rebel) and my grandpa showed me nothing but the greatest kindness.
(The only thing I didn’t do with him was hunt deer. That was for the big boys. He’d leave early in the morning with other hunters and not return until late in the evening. If he didn’t have a deer when he came home I usually kept my distance because I knew he was upset.)
He had two ponds on the ranch where we’d often go fishing. One pond was directly behind the house and the other was up on a hill about three kilometres away from the house.
One winter when I was four or five years old we were ice fishing on the pond behind the house when I fell in the ice.
My grandpa went to the edge of the pond to get some extra tackle out of his tackle box and told me to stay away from the ice hole.
I didn’t listen. Next thing I know I was up to my chest in the water holding my elbows out to prevent myself from going through the ice. My grandpa came running over and pulled me out of the ice by the scruff of my jacket.
I remember walking home through the snow, and when we got home my grandma started yelling at my grandpa. She was furious that he’d let me fall in the ice. It was the only time I ever saw my grandma get mad at my grandpa.
My grandma was awesome. I could be a brat but, for some reason, she was always really nice to me.
I remember one day when I was about four-years-old I went out and picked flowers for her.
I would gather handfuls of wild flowers from around the ranch house, bring them into her and she’d put them in a glass filled with water. I would then go out and collect more flowers and bring them to her.
By the time I was done I had picked pretty well every flower within 100 metres of the house and she had about 10 glasses filled with flowers.
My aunt was also really awesome.
My aunt was pretty and spent her life raising her six boys and teaching elementary school, mostly Phys-Ed, but she was also my summer camp instructor when I was a little kid.
Before we went to camp, she’d pack my lunch with my favourite sandwiches, which was peanut butter and honey. After we got to camp, which was based at a school, she’d walk me and all the other kids to our favourite watering hole on the edge of Pincher Creek where we’d all go swimming. The creek had deep pools of water we’d swim in, and was surrounded by huge, flat sandstone rocks where we would warm ourselves in the sun.
I remember always being very proud of the fact that my aunt was my summer camp instructor, and that she also packed my lunch and that I went to and from school with her. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world.
– Further notes on the ranch and my grandparents.
When my grandfather was in his 70’s he sold his ranch, and the people who bought it turned the ranch house into a hunting lodge.
When my girlfriend and me went to visit the ranch a couple years ago, the old ranch house was partially torn down and there was a new, more modern, log ranch house built about 300 metres from the old house.
When visiting we looked at the grove of trees where I heard the crow and expected to see a large forest but it was much smaller than I remembered.
All that was there was a small stand of trees with a few poplar, pine and alders. I always wondered why I was allowed to explore this (huge) forest by myself at such a young age. Now I know. It would have been impossible to get lost.
– My grandpa immigrated to Canada from Yugoslavia. (My grandparents on my dad’s side emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland.)
My grandpa came from a small town in northwestern Croatia (Yugoslavia) close to the Adriatic Sea.
There were many immigrants from Croatia in southern Alberta. Sometimes my grandpa and me would go visit them. They’d talk with my grandpa in a language I didn’t understand and they would all drink alcohol.
Many of the older women looked like babushkas from the old country, wearing long aprons and kerchiefs on their heads.
Whenever we left one of these visits my grandpa would always tell me not to tell my grandma where we’d been because she knew these visits always involved alcohol.
I never did tell her.
One further note:
Lethbridge, Alberta, which is close to Pincher Creek, held one of the largest prisoner of war camps in Canada during the Second World War. The prisoners were bused out to my grandfather’s ranch to help with the beet harvest. The prisoner’s wore denim overalls and on the back of the overalls was a red circle a foot in diameter. If a prisoner tried to run the guard was supposed to aim for the red target and shoot.
After the war the prisoners were sent back to Germany, but many of them quickly returned to Lethbridge.