Grandma’s Singing Heart

You may or may not have heard of Methodist Foot. I can assure you that, at one time at least, it was a real thing, reported on by friends and neighbours about their friends and neighbours. Almost always with an understanding twinkle in the eye, a smidgen of sympathy, and considerable affection.

I can only speak, you understand, with any authority, about the situation some time ago in a certain village of a hundred (counting dogs and cats), that was near a town of a thousand people (it had an actual, if small, grocery store) that, in turn was close to a much larger town (a bedroom community now) that was itself a quite a piece – as the expression went – from what was even then an actual city, whose Fall Fair had Bumper Cars, a full-size Ferris Wheel, an Octopus, and everything.

In those days, before amalgamation, the Methodist church was a prominent Protestant denomination around here.

They did not believe in playing cards, although there did seem to be, among some, a footnoted exclusion for euchre.

Nor in gambling on horse races. A number of these good people did, however, raise, and sell, for a good price mind you, exceptionally fleet Standardbreds.

Nor in social dancing.

Still, it has been reliably reported that, when some Methodists were taken by surprise by a lively piece of music, these virtuous folks could barely stop their feet from bouncing up and down. Picture them seated in straight back chairs on the sidelines. Not actually dancing, notice. That would be wrong. But sort of stepping in place. Methodist Foot in all its glory.

In later years, and especially in larger communities, this restriction against social dancing largely disappeared. But for this particular Grandma, soon coming for a visit, the tradition lingered. And the grandchildren required suitable instruction. So:

You’re not allowed to boogie in the basement
You’re not allowed to foxtrot in the hall
You’re not allowed to samba in the sun room
or shake your shoulders,
or drum the wall

Grandma will be coming here on Tuesday.
that white-haired lady whom we all admire
She hotly disapproves of courtly waltzes
so your shakes and squirms
would set her hair
on fire.

Our home back then was near the U.S. border
We knew the words to “Oh say can you see”
The W’s were where we watched our programs
on channels JBK and XYZ

Grandma, she ran a strict and sombre household
No jitterbugging there.
Hah. No sirree.
But Lawrence Welk, his music sparked her young soul
And she surrendered to him weekly on TV

Joe, the Irish tenor, hit the high notes
The Lennon sisters sang sweet harmonies
Alice Lon, the show’s first Champagne Lady,
sat down, and crossed her legs,
and, goodness, showed her knees

So, no, you cannot cha-cha in the kitchen
When Grandma’s here she says what’s right and wrong
but sing some old songs with her softly
and watch her gray young eyes dance right along


Grandma's Singing Heart

Bob Boulton began writing for his high school newspaper in Sarnia, Ontario in the period just after dinosaurs roamed the earth. After a short break of thirty-five or forty years, he reactivated his passion for writing. The alternatives he considered were learning to yodel or trying to play the bagpipes. Bob’s loving and supportive family voted enthusiastically, and quickly, for writing. Bob’s Write From The Start blog can be found at
3 Responses
  1. author

    Ada Grier1 month ago

    Hello Bob Boulton,

    It’s about your story, “Grandma’s Singing Heart.”
    Whata’ hoot 🙂

    Your run-on sentence is simply the best ever…and it’s been
    so long since anybody explained a place, “quite a piece away”
    that I winced as I read it.

    So many old Methodist concerns are tucked away in that piece.
    My brother’s foot pounded the floor…while playing his accordian,
    Just never knew that had a name 🙂

    Who did the illustration?

    What else have you written?

    Your Irish/Scottish soft have
    shined-up to a fine patina. The best.
    Loved it,

    What else have you written?

    • author

      The Story Quilt Team1 month ago

      Hello, Ada. Thank you for your comment. The illustration was made by Louisa, from the Story Quilt team.

  2. author

    Bob Boulton1 month ago

    Hello, Ada Greer. Your comment on “Grandma’s Singing Heart” is very much appreciated. Yes, the illustration was splendid – I can say that because I had zero to do either with creating it or asking Louisa to do it. (Hello. Nice to meet you, Louisa.)

    You might be interested to know I needed to check with some older (which is saying something) relatives and other folks to make sure I had heard “Methodist Foot” correctly in my youth.

    You might look for “The Weight of the Ink” and “The Red Cardinal Glass” in Story Quilt. I must confess, though, I’m not all all certain what “Irish/Scottish soft skills” might be, so I am not in a position to say if anything else I have written might reflect those.

    Again, Ada, much appreciated.


Leave a reply for "Grandma’s Singing Heart"