Music on Mondays (8-25-14)—Look at granny run (still got run over by the reindeer, though)


The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

When my wise old grandmother died in 2003, her three living sons (my dad died in 1961) disinvited me to the funeral. Now stupid me didn’t realize that you could only go to funerals if an invitation to attend had been extended to you. Stupid, stupid me.

The funeral was to be in Kingsville, Texas, the farming and ranching community where she had lived since 1937. My three uncles, one from Kingsville, one from Houston, and one from Los Angeles (where he had lived since 1967) all thought that I would bring Jim and we would be dressed in drag and making out in the front pew of the Catholic Church. Seriously, that’s what they were afraid of….

My wise old grandmotherIt was more than that. Much more. You see, Jim and I had been to Kingsville many times (yearly from 1995 to 2003) to see Grandma. Jim knew all three uncles and had been out to eat with them many times. Jim had even been to the family reunion for my Grandma’s side of the family…. Twice! So it’s not like no one knew that Jim and I were an item.

Sadly, my Kingsville uncle (we will call him Rodney since that’s his name) warned me that he couldn’t guarantee that nothing would happen if Jim and I came to the funeral. Then in his next sentence he had the gall to ask me to be a pallbearer. That, of course, would mean going to the funeral without Jim, and since Rodney had more guns than the United States Army, I took him at his word and did not go the funeral. My disappointment was assuaged by a friend who told me, “Funerals are for the living, so don’t go if they don’t want you.”

Not only did I not go, but in September 2004, I legally changed my name to Russel Ray (from Russel Ray Kirk). Names are for the living, too! I wanted to change it to Bryan Lynn Austin but Jim (and others) convinced me to just drop my last name and take my middle name as my last name. So there you have it. To this day, I’m estranged from everyone on my dad’s Catholic side of the family except a gay cousin (and from everyone on my mom’s Mormon side of the family, too).

In honor of my wise old grandmother, and grandmothers everywhere, I thought that we’d listen to songs about grandmothers for today’s Music on Mondays. In order to do this, though, I have to break my rule that songs featured in Music on Mondays are songs that I have in my music collection. After listening to these songs, I understand why none of them are in my collection………..

“Look At Grandma” by Bo Diddley

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Hey, Grandma” by Moby Grape

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Funky Granny” by Kool & The Gang

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Boomin’ Granny” by The Beastie Boys

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Let’s Go See Gran’ma” by Joy & Dave

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Look at Granny Run, Run” by Howard Tate

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” by Elmo & Patsy

I leave you with this thought that my wise old grandmother told me in 1966:

“Ten percent of the people will love you because that’s the kind of people they are. Ten percent of the people will hate you because that’s the kind of people they are. Eighty percent of the people will love or hate you based on your words and actions, so speak and act lovingly.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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33 thoughts on “Music on Mondays (8-25-14)—Look at granny run (still got run over by the reindeer, though)

  1. Gallivanta

    I am curious that you have to be invited to funerals. In NZ, unless the death/funeral notice states that the funeral is a private, family one, anyone who wants to can go to the funeral. There is usually a guest register where you put your name and phone number so that the family of the deceased will know that you attended the funeral.


  2. laurie27wsmith

    I see what you mean about the music Russel, however I must say that you are one lucky man to have had such a wise old grandmother.


  3. Patricia Salamone

    I am sure you were the joy of your wise old Grandma’s life. Don’t worry, be happy. :o)
    As a Grandma myself I can tell you this. I always tell my children and grand’s visit me while I am alive and well, because when I pass I won’t care. Those who love me I will live in your heart and memory unconditionally.

    By the way the music sucked.:o)


  4. Hollis Hildebrand-Mills

    Russel, I am glad you wrote that. It shows me that my family is not the only completely neurotic and disjointed family around. I am also glad you changed your name! It’s a great name. And it’s yours. No one can take that away from you! You seem like a very sensitive and sweet person! Say hi to that gorgeous cat of yours!!!!! The perfect tabby markings!


  5. storiesofourboys

    so so sad about being estranged from your family! I hope that you’ve found a new family out of your friends. We are close to our family, but since we move all the time, it seems like a lot of the time our neighbors are actually the ones who truly know us. I don’t want you to think this is how all Christians behave. We have an Aunt Fran married to Aunt Val, and they are just as much a part of our Christian family as anyone else, and they not only attend all events but usually organize our family events. I’m so sorry also for your loss. She sounds like a lovely person.


    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      As Louise Hay said in the very first self-help book she wrote back in 1993: “You didn’t get to choose the family you were born into, but you get to choose who is in your family right now.”


  6. Mary

    Best to you, your grandmother was a wise woman. You didn’t miss anything by not going to the funeral, you’ve honored her through your blog and all your blogging friends – here’s to Grandma!



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