On Thanksgiving Day in 1981, I was reminiscing about childhood days of visiting my grandmother, “Memaw” Kerr, in Louisville, Mississippi. She had long since died by 1981 but my memories overwhelmed me for some reason and I put them into the lyrics of a song called The Button Box. Memaw knew that an old wooden tobacco box and its contents – empty thread spools, broken buttons, keys to who knew what, and other little treasures – could entertain my cousins and me in a way that no TV or “storebought” toys and games ever could.
After Memaw died, my Aunt Dot gave me the button box. As I began a somewhat transient early career, I carried it as a fond piece of my past wherever I moved. The box with the blue five-cent tax sticker still attached has resided with me in five cities since leaving Memaw’s little house in Louisville. It was in my Mobile, Alabama apartment that Thanksgiving morning so many years ago and it inspired memories I thought might be good put to music. Those thoughts occur to me still this time of year. The button box has been in Nashville since 1987, as I have, and I still keep odds and ends in it and sing the song. I hope you will enjoy reading these words and listening to the music.
Click the link below to listen to The Button Box.
Text and photos copyright 2012 Les Kerr. Learn More about Les at www.leskerr.com