Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Guitar

Newt was often asked to sing at church or family gatherings. At home, he would accompany himself on his old guitar. Usually around Christmas his brother Vic would visit and they would sit on the couch and sing country and western, gospel and sometimes popular songs from the 1950s. When 'Goodnight Irene' became popular, Newt sang that tune over and over until some of the family complained. Newt had a pleasant voice and seldom did anyone ask him not to sing but this time the repetition was just too much. On deer hunting trips he would usually wake the camp with "Oh what a beautiful morning; Oh what a beautiful day. I've got a wonderful feeling, everything's going my way." One sister commented after his passing that as a youth they could hear him singing as he came down the country lane long before he was visible. Just a few of the songs he sang were 'Little Brown Church in the Vale, How Great Thou Art, Oklahoma Hills, Bluetail Fly and Clementine.' Before the Minstrel Shows became passe, Newt and three friends formed a male chorus from the LDS Ward community and performed an evening of music, jokes and entertainment staged as a minstrel show. It's strange that I don't remember the show itself but I do remember the practices. One of the members couldn't sing but he was one of their friends so they taught him how. How would it be to look back across the years to when Newt's grandfather would sit on the porch of his Texas home and sing the songs of that time.Newt's oldest sister Irene recalled a song their father sang to his wife that always brought tears to her eyes. It was titled "In The Shadow of the Pines" and the words were included in a collection the Carter family had posted online.

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