Monday, November 16, 2009

Whistling is an Amazing Gift

A post by my fellow blogger, A Cuban in London, prompted this memory. Although my children know this story, and smile at each other with the "here it comes again look", I will share it with you today.

My Grandpa was quite a whistler. As a child, I was quite smitten with him anyway, as an only granddaughter adores the princes in her life, but when he whistled, wow. I would hold my breath so I wouldn't miss a note. He said he couldn't sing, but he truly sang.

Many times he said he didn't know what song he was whistling; I think he made up melodies. He did many old fashioned German melodies, Oh Danny Boy, and hymns. I remember distinctly How Great Thou Art. This hymn has been at so many funerals in my family that I can't hear it anymore. But I still must perform it occasionally.

The last time I played it, I am sure I heard Grandpa whistling along. It was as clear as if he were sitting in the back of the room, with a lean-against-the-wall, style. It was crystal clear, and took my breath away. I wanted to stop and listen to him, but I was performing in public, and no one else seemed to hear anything out of the ordinary. The hairs on my arms and the back of my neck raised.

It was almost as if we were doing a duet, and it made me cry. Right in the middle of the performance. Tears were rolling down my face and I couldn't stop. I'm sure people thought I was nuts. But there I sat, playin' and cryin'.

It was heavenly to hear that sound again, even if it was in my own head. Grandpa died in 1976, at that time, Roger Whittaker was also known for his whistling. Here is a sample of some of his beautiful whistling.


  1. What a beautiful memory and now I regret not having included some Robert Whittaker in my post :-).

    Many thanks. That was a good example of whistling bringing people together and making them enjoy life. Lovely.

    Greetings from London.

  2. In my family, it was my Aunt Dot, my father's sister, who could whistle. I used to love to listen to her. She could harmonize with her self, a kind of double whistle. Glad you got to perform with your grandfather again. My vision was of Nat and Natalie Cole performing together.


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