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Going where the grass is blue

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

My uncle and I have different political views. But we don’t let this divide us. Instead of talking politics, we talk about the things that unite us. With me and my uncle that usually includes hunting, fishing, murshroom foraging, and bluegrass music. 

There is a lot I could say about our relationship, but the point is family is more important than politics, and we’ve never let that one difference outweigh the many things we have in common. We’ve never let it outweigh how much we love one another. 

It’s been an important thing to keep in mind recently. We’ve gone through a divisive four years as a nation. And a year of pandemic that has made normal family relations difficult to impossible. My uncle, for instance, one of the most important people in my life, has never gotten to meet the most important person in my life – my son. 

See, my son turned a year old right in the heart of the pandemic. You can’t keep a mask on a kid, and my uncle has some serious health conditions and spent much of the first year of my son’s life in and out of the hospital himself. So, in the lost year that was 2020, all the holidays and celebrations where we would normally get together as family didn’t happen. 

It’s a shame because they are two of my favorite people in the whole world, and I can’t wait for them to meet. 

It’s a shame, too, because one of the deepest connections I share with my uncle, our love of music – particularly bluegrass music – is also one of the connections I have with my toddler. He loves to sing. He loves to play with my instruments. He regularly plays my dobro, upright on its stand, like a doghouse bass. And he loves to dance. I feel like his love of music is something deeper than the regular childhood love of music, but that may just be his daddy projecting. Regardless, it’s a way to bond. 

Last week I stopped in to visit my uncle for a minute, and we talked a little about my boy. We listened to some songs by the Grascals that he has been enjoying. I told him once we’re on the other side of this pandemic, I’m taking him and Harrison to a show or a festival together. It’s one of the things I was looking forward to once the baby was big enough, and now that he is I’m looking forward every day to a return to normal. 

Because there is a time to mourn, and a time to dance, as the scriptures say. We’ve spent the past year mourning all the opportunities we’ve lost. All the people we’ve lost. All the relationships we’ve lost. What comes next is a time to dance. And when it’s time, we’re going to dance to the banjo and the fiddle. It’s just the way my family does. 

Jeremy D Wells can be reached at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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