I was absent-mindedly whistling this song today, not knowing the title or any of the lyrics. My step-grandfather, John, who’d been a merchant seaman for much of his life, and was born and raised in Holland, used to play this on his harmonica. Once his brother Jacob came across the Atlantic and they played this as a duet at a family gathering. Something about the tune clung to my heart for all these years.
I never expected to hear it again, but as I whistled it, Patty exclaimed, “Oh! ‘A Wooden Heart.'” And she sang a few bars of it in German. It’s a German folk song, although John and Jacob probably knew it in Dutch.
John was a good man and he had some great stories of the sea… and I miss him. I miss them all.
But I’m sure they know this song in Heaven, and I hope to hear it there–on John’s harmonica.