Happy Bobbie Gentry Day 2019!
The 3rd day of June is definitely a holiday in my family. The song, "Ode to Billy Joe" by Bobbie Gentry was a mega-hit in 1967. It's a sad, twisted story song about life in the deep south. The phrasing, the story and the delivery by Gentry captivated little America back then, spawning a movie based on it's lyrics in 1976. My dad and my uncle were no exception. As a running joke in the late 70's my uncle started calling my dad early on the morning of June 3rd and playing the beginning of the song from his dusty 45rpm up through the first verse, then gloating with a long whistle that he had remembered it first and had won the day. These kinds of odd family traditions are pretty common I have found, but this one was special to me. Every June 3rd, I know - like clockwork that my uncle will call me at 6:45am and play that song in my phone; that he'd already played it for my dad and was going to call my brother and sister next. It occurred to me that on the June 3rd, when my phone does not ring, one of the biggest and most joyful parts of my life will have been written into the past and not the present. On that first June 3rd of solitude I will truly have become the head of my family. It will be the saddest day of my life.
So that's why I do this every year. I want you to have my tradition if you don't have one of your own. I want you to call your parents, aunts, uncles and kin every year on the 3rd of June and just say "hi" - You'll thank me later.