A few weeks ago I stopped by my mom’s rest home. About 15 elderly ladies were sitting around listening to another elderly lady play the piano. She was terrific. Five Foot two, Ain’t She Sweet, Bye-bye Blues — the ’20s and ’30s songs we used to play in high school, accompanied by ukulele and washtub bass.
I called Phoebe and asked her if she’d be interested in having me and my box bass and my brother Bob and his banjo sit in with her. Sure, she said. Well, yesterday Bob and I showed up and I gotta say we clicked. Everybody was happy. My mom was moving her hands and feet in rhythm to the music. One of the ladies, Jane, knows the words to just about every song, and she sang along with me. I ended up with a blister on my string-plucking finger. Towards the end of the session, Bob got his banjo going, and the joint was rockin’. Two of the caregivers were dancing. At the end of the song, Phoebe said, “One more time, boys!” It was so much fun!
Phoebe is 91 years old, born in 1918. She has 18 gigs a month at a rest home-type places, and since she no longer drives, she takes whistle-stop wheels buses to get around the county. We’re going to play with her again in a couple of weeks and we’ll shoot a video.
Five foot two,
eyes of blue,
but oh what those 5 foot can do,
has anybody seen my gal?