My parents are coming to visit in a few days. Good timing, too, since Syd will be off school next week. So not only will I have the perfect babysitters, but the morning traffic will be almost bearable.

Syd's excited, of course. I'm sure I've said this before but my parents are everything you expect in grandparents. My mom spoils her and Dad...well, let's just say Dad has a knack for thinking like a child (which is not necessarily a character flaw: “Growing old is mandatory...”).

So Syd and I were talking about their upcoming invasion and she asked me to sing one of the songs Grandma had sung to her on her last visit. Now on Ma and Pa's last visit, I was in Dallas and wasn't around for much of it so I had no idea what songs she was talking about. Syd prodded me: “The one with blood on the ground” and it all came rushing back. This is the song that my mother taught to me when I was a kid and has now taught to my five-year-old daughter:

Blood on the saddle
Blood on the ground
Great big gobs of blood all around
Little Kyle Baley
Lying in the gore
Ain't gonna see his friends/piano/family/etc. no more

You can see where there is room from customization in the fourth and last lines. I have no idea what my mother told Little Sydney Baley she wasn't going to see anymore but apparently Syd was pretty excited about the prospect of not seeing it. As was I, if I recall correctly from when Mom sang it to me. I remember my brothers and I on pins and needles around a campfire waiting to see what each of us wasn't going to see ever again, not taking any heed to the fact that we were presumably dying of blood loss. In fact, at the time, I didn't even know what “gore” meant. I thought it was a room in the house, like a library or a den.

The funny thing is, of course, that I would never sing a song like that to, say, my neighbour's children unless I wanted to estrange myself from their parents (and if you tasted the brownies they brought over yesterday when I was sick, you would think twice about it). As it is, I strongly suspect Liza doesn't know about these visions of saddles and gobs running through Syd's head. Nor does she know the other song Mom was gracious enough to teach her (my memory's a little hazy on this one but you get the idea):

A woman stood at the old church door
Many a woman had stood there before
She saw three corpses carried in
They were so pale, they were so thin
The woman to the corpses said
Bury me here when I am dead
The corpses to the woman said

Again, as a child, I had no idea what a corpse was. I thought a “corpsis” was some weird talking animal that hung around churches. Luckily, through the magic of the Internet and TV and my mother, Syd's got a head start on the meaning of gore and corpses.