Warm Virginia Rain

My grandpa used to say, “See you next Christmas, if I’m still alive.”

He died when I was in middle school. We drove 8 hours into Richmond, like we did for every holiday – this time for a funeral. I remember climbing a tree in the back yard of my grandmother’s house and watching her cry with my mom about everything.

Richmond is where my parents grew up, and my grandparents before them. When grandma was a child, they were so poor that she often ate only a sweet potato all day.

Being in this city, I feel roots that I only have a vague sensory connection to. My grandma and uncle now live with my parents in Dallas. Strange to feel alone, yet connected through the land.

This song is about all that. I wrote it for my grandmother’s 80th birthday.

Lyrics

Eight long hours in the car
When we were young it seemed so far
Grandpa sitting by that CB radio, listening for voices down the road

In this old Virginia home
Don’t know why I ever roamed
And all the tears you shed may fall but never stain
They wash clean in that warm Virginia rain

He said, “See you next year if I’m around”
I watched my family put him in the ground
And now you’ve left this town, but I’m standing by the James*
Out here in this warm Virginia rain

I climbed that tree up in the back yard
Saw my mother hold her mother while she cried
My parents fell in love just down the road
We all were raised on Southern pride

I know you walked out near these fields
All those sweet potato meals
And it’s your blood that now is running through my veins
And it feels like that warm Virginia rain

In this old Virginia home
Don’t know why I ever roamed
And all the tears you shed may fall but never stain
They wash clean in that warm Virginia rain

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