King of the Road

By accident, I found myself listening to a song that brought back memories tonight – King of the Road by Roger Miller.

Many years ago, Barry stayed with his Nan and Grandad for a week. Both his father and I had to work, Daniel returned to school after the long Christmas break, but Barry’s school had another week off. We didn’t feel comfortable leaving Barry at home on his own, so he stayed with his grandparents (who, at the time, lived three hours away).

Grandparents spoil their grandchildren. Everyone knows this. It’s their job. Whatever isn’t allowed at home is suddenly okay. My parents didn’t want Barry to be bored, so they entertained him the best they could. Barry was allowed to stay up late. He gave my mother lessons on the Nintendo (he loved watching her scream with laughter). They bought scratchies and let him do the scratching – even though he was only ten and scratchies are considered betting. He kept winning small amounts of money, which was promptly used to get more tickets. They played cards and I’m told that Barry won way too often – much to his grandparent’s annoyance. And Barry and his grandfather learned a dance routine.

When we drove to my parents for the weekend, to pick Barry up, they put on a performance for us. They each had their own section of dance and song. They had us in stitches with laughter. The resemblance between the two of them was amazing, even though there was a fifty year age gap. The whole family sang the chorus at the top of their voices and believe me, this would have made the neighbours miserable, because we can’t sing and we are all tone deaf.

On returning home, Barry drove me crazy with “Grandad said…” or “Nan let me…” or “I was allowed over Nan and Grandad’s, why aren’t I allowed now.” I had words with my parents about that (jokingly). They just laughed and told me they had done their job well.

King of the Road became a favoured song. Every time we heard it, we would all break into song and then laugh until our stomachs hurt.

Hearing the song tonight made me remember…and it made me smile. Did it make you smile too, Barry?

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