Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lil' Orphant Annie Remembered

by Caren Crane

A few months back, I was doing research on the internet and some random bit of text reminded me of a poem my father used to read to us when my siblings and I were little. After trying to recall snippets and doing a number of Google searches, I tracked it down: "Lil' Orphant Annie" by James Whitcomb Riley. The poem existed long before the cartoon of a similar name (and the cartoon bore no relation to it whatsoever).

Riley was a farm boy and a Hoosier (that's someone from Indiana for those of you outside the USA). He has been called the "people's poet laureate." One thing that impressed me about this poem (and others by Riley) was the country dialect Riley used, which my father recited as if it were written for him. Another was that it was slightly dark and creepy. The refrain was:

"An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!"

When I found the text of the poem on the internet (which is all in the public domain, by the way), I noticed there was a dedication. I believe my father read this sometimes, but hadn't recalled it before I saw it:

"INSCRIBED
WITH ALL FAITH AND AFFECTION
To all the little children: - The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones - Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely
bad ones."

That last part made me laugh. We were a rowdy bunch of kids, my siblings and I. I think my father enjoyed us being "the lovely bad ones" at times. My father has been dead for 13 years now and was gone from our lives for many years before he died. My father was not a great man, but he had a wonderful, resonant voice and a marvelous talent for storytelling. I will always remember this poem and the other poems and stories he took time to bring alive for us.

My father gave us the gift of his animated storytelling. I tried to create a similar experience for my own children. My fond hope is that they will pass it along to their own children when they have them. I also hope to give my own stories to the world someday - but that depends on some extra smart editor. *g*

What about you? Is there a special poem, book or story that recalls your childhood? One you heard each night or on special occasions? One that brings memories back on a wave of rhyming couplets? Please share!

47 comments:

jo robertson said...

Uh, can it be? Yes, it could! Can I post the blog for Posh T and capture the rooster too?

jo robertson said...

Wahoooooo! I did it! It's been a while. Come to me my pretty pet. We're not celebrating Easter around here so you're perfectly safe from the stew pot!

Great post Caren! I love that idea of your father reading the poem to you children and the line "to all the lovely bad ones." It resonates with such kindness for those adorable, mischievous little ones we all seem to have!

I remember my mother telling us her childhood stories over and over so that their rich vividness became like a real memory to us.

And Pops (Dr. Big) tells stories to the grandkids. They beg him first thing when they come in the door. "Have you got any more stories, Pops?"

Their favorite one is the true story of the charging bear that Pops had to face down when he was working in Yellowstone as a teenager.

That Dr. Big led a dangerous life!

Aunty Cindy said...

Hey, that's hardly playing fair, Jo-Mama! But if you're that desperate for the GR, I won't tell.

AC
the tight lipped

Amy Andrews said...

Damn Jo - you just beat me to it!!

I loved Alexander Beetle as a kid and Twas The Night Before Xmas.
There was also this really small simple poem that was in one of our childcraft encyclopedias. I don't know who wrote it or even what is was called but I remember it word for word. It was accompanied by an illustration of a golden ringletted girl dressed in a blue party dress with a bow on the back - I can still see it to this day.

I had a little tea party
This afternoon at three
Twas very small
Three guests in all
Just I, myself and me.
Myself ate up the sandwiches
While I drank up the tea,
Twas also I who ate the pie
And passed the cake to me.

One of my favourite peoms in high school was Icarus Allsorts by Roger McGough. I was going through my "we're all doomed" stage.

Love the dedication Caren.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Jo, not sure that's kosher! But congratulations on the bird anyway.

What a wonderful post. I can vaguely remember the Orphan Annie poem. I had heaps of poetry books when I was a little un and I think the rhythms are still with me as I write. Amy, I love your tea party poem. Don't remember that one. Although I do remember:

I think mice are rather nice.
Their tails are long, their faces small,
They haven't any chins at all.

I think that was it, anyway.

And I had a favorite Roger McGough too:

Pig, sit still in the strainer.
Pig, sit still in the strainer.
Pig, sit still in the strainer.
I must have my pig tea tonight!

Cute, huh?

Donna MacMeans said...

Great post Caren and I love all the poems in the comments.

I can't recall either of my parents reading to me at all. As the middle child of five, I think my poor mother just didn't have the time.

I do recall, though, that my father had a fabulous voice and he loved to sing Box Car Willie songs. He also played the soundtracks from musicals on our brand new stereo hi-fi. Bali Hi and songs from the King and I bring back memories.

Donna MacMeans said...

Just a reminder -

Be sure to check the blog tomorrow. We're featuring THE GREAT EASTER PEEP HUNT with lots of prizes (who says the kids have to have all the fun).

Tawny said...

*snicker* Wow, Jo -way to nab the rooster!!! :-)

I don't recall my parents reading much to me as a kid - I know there were bedtime stories, but mostly they were the made-up kind. And songs... a lot of songs. Our bedtime ritual often included Old McDonald's Farm, where I tried to stump my father (sharks, anyone). I do remember a song my mom used to sing, for years I only recalled snippets and pieces, but a few weeks ago I found it on iTunes and downloaded it. One Tin Soldier... The first time I listened, I cried. Could be the childhood memories or that its just a sad song, but it definitely stuck with me.

PJ said...

I'm sure my mom read to us when we were kids but I have no memories of it. My fondest memories are from my dad's stories. We lived on a lake in a rural area and almost always lost power during thunderstorms. As soon as the lights went off my brothers and I would run to the living room and gather around the round coffee table. My mom would light candles and we would snuggle together and hang on my dad's every word while the lightning flashed and the wind howled around us. Dad would either tell us stories or read to us. On the nights he read, it was always from the same book, a collection of short stories by James Thurber. We loved seeing him walk into the living room with that book in his hands. We grew up on such tales as "The Night the Bed Fell", "The Night the Ghost Got In" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". Terrific memories.

PJ said...

On other nights, instead of reading Thurber's stories, Dad would tell us stories. Sometimes they were tales that had sprung from his vivid imagination (though at our tender ages we thought they were true) and other times they were true tales from his childhood. He and his six siblings were well-known hellions during their childhood and those stories always began with my mom saying, "Don't even think about trying this!" We grew up completely convinced that a ghost inhabited the three story turn of the century hotel down the street and a monster resided at the bottom of our lake. The Paw Paw Lake monster was huge, had red eyes that glowed and were the size of the pillows on our couch, and only came out during a full moon when there was a light mist and a slight breeze from the southwest. Our dad and the dad next door were the only ones who had ever seen him. Of course, by the time we all reached the exalted age of 12we were convinced that we had all seen him at least once.

In 2004, we had a "celebration of life" for my dad who, at the time, was in the final stages of terminal cancer. About 100 people, some we hadn't seen in more than 30 years, came to the gathering. My childhood next door neighbor, in her 50s at the time, walked in, hugged my dad and sat on the floor at his feet. "Tell us about the Paw Paw Lake monster", she said. That was all it took. By the time he finished the story, he was surrounded by people from two to 80, all hanging on his every word. He told many stories that day and left all of us with a very precious memory.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I don't remember poetry except for I'm a little teapot and such. I do remember reading, usually Fairy tales and fables. My mother was really big on fables.

Joan said...

Nope, no memory of being read TO though I certainly was nurtured to do the reading myself!

My Daddy was great and I miss him terribly. He didn't so much as tell stories as make things up to tease us.

His big one was that he was such a bad student that they had to burn the school down to get him to get him out! (His parochial school St. Anthony's caught fire back when he was there.)

He'd tell that story EVERY time we drove by on the way to my grandparents house and I BELIEVED him every time...until I got smart at 13.

And I mainly only know "Annie" the musical :-)

Caren Crane said...

Jo, the only times I have ever had the GR, I think, are when I posted for someone else. Enjoy him! *g*

Dr. Big sounds like the best grandfather *ever*. My mother's father had great stories, too. Half the time I had no idea what they were about *g*, but I loved to hear him talk! All the men on both sides of my family have these deep, resonant, wonderful voices. I could listen to them talk about anything or nothing all day long.

Come to think of it, my husband has a voice like that, too. Wonder if that was by accident? ;-)

Caren Crane said...

AC, since when are you tight-lipped about ANYTHING? Don't be too hard on Jo. Sometimes a girl gets desperate for the company of the rooster! (Please note how I carefully sidestepped any reference to girls being desperate for a rooster-like word that begins with "c". Aren't I rather saintlike today?)

doglady said...

By any means necessary, eh JoMama? The GR quest is heating up. My Precious. Never mind. Wrong quest.

PJ, what a lovely story about your Dad. Those really are the best memories, aren't they?

At our first family reunion (my Mom's side) I put out a notebook with questions about favorite family recipes and stories,etc. Everyone stopped by to write about their favorites. I am still in the process of turning it into a family record of sorts.

My Native American grandmother told some great stories about the Trail of Tears and about her uncle who was a Confederate soldier. My Mom had 8 siblings growing up and there were lots of stories of growing up on a sharecropper's farm. I am so glad we got those stories down because there are only three siblings left - my Mom, my Uncle Dink, and my Uncle Bobby.

My Mom taught us each to read before we were 4 years old. She used the Dr. Seuss books and I still love those stories! The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Are You My Mother, Red Fish Blue Fish. She taught my niece and nephew from the very same books. She used to read to us all the time. I remember The Boxcar Children and The Secret Garden as two of her favorites.

My Dad told great stories of his childhood in Pennsylvania as well. He knew lots of Welsh folk tales as well.

His favorite poem was High Flight about the spiritual side of flying. He was a career Air Force man. I cannot remember all of it. My nephew has a sampler I stitched of it hanging in his room. I know it begins "O I have slipped the surly bounds of Earth" and it ends with "reached out my hand, and touched the face of God" I loved to hear him recite it.

When I was teaching high school English and History I used to read to my students IF they were good and had done all of their work. It was always on Friday afternoons. We would turn out all the lights except my desk light and I would read Edgar Allan Poe to them. I cannot tell you how many times I read The Tell Tale Heart!

Caren Crane said...

Amy, I love that poem! That would have been a favorite of mine had I known of it. As the middle of five children, I dreamed of being alone. And having a tea all for oneself--Heaven! *g*

What is it with the depressing poetry when we're teens? I have one of those blank journals that I *filled* with depressing poetry, depressing pictures and at least one completely sappy short story. So embarassing!

Caren Crane said...

Anna, is McGough an Aussie poet? I haven't heard of him, but he sounds really fun! We had a great children's poet when I was young whose books I checked out all the time from the library. (dashes off to find out his name)

Aha! Peck Gunn, who was made Tennessee's state poet laureate. He had sort of a James Whitcomb Riley vibe, except his poems were more for kids and a ton of fun. One of my particular favorites was "Junebugs On a String". Shows you how highbrow we were in Tennessee. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Donna, the singing! My daddy played guitar (self-taught) and sang. I think he really liked having 5 kids because we were a built-in audience. *g* He sang old folk songs mostly. It makes me cry every time I hear "Wildwood Flower" or "Tom Dooley" or "Tennessee Stud" (which was about a horse!), because those were particular favorites of ours. We would gather in the living room around the huge brick fireplace, with a fire roaring, and Daddy would play and sing.

Those are about the best memories I have from when my parents were married. Priceless memories of an all-too-brief childhood!

Caren Crane said...

Tawny, I love that you guys sang at bedtime. We saved the singing for our own campfire singalongs. And the car. And actual campfires. Oh, heck, we sang a lot, but never at bedtime for some reason.

My parents both read to us, but I think since my poor mother did EVERYTHING else, reading bedtime stories fell to Daddy. *g*

Caren Crane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caren Crane said...

PJ, what great memories you have of your father. I swear, oral storytelling is such a tremendous gift and so under-recognized in our society. How many people are known (or can make a living from) their storytelling genius!

Unless you're a stand-up comic (or Garrison Keillor) there's really no market for it. A real shame, since your father's last days are a testament to the power of storytelling.

And getting all Easter-ish about it, there's a good reason Jesus taught in parables. First people remember them and second, they have to decide for themselves what the stories mean. Isn't that what we all hope for our stories?

Story is powerful!

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, fairy tales and fables were my favorites! Daddy loved Aesop's fables and read them to us from a volume he had as a child. Actually the Riley poems were from a set of children's encyclopedia's he had as a child. I loved those books!

As a tween (11 - 13) I loved fairy tales and would check out volumes from all around the world. I was mortified at that age to be reading them, so I lied to the teenaged boy who worked at the library and told him I read them to my younger sister and brother. I could tell even then he didn't believe me. Why did I lie about it? Who knows. We all want to be cool, I guess. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Joan, that's too funny about your dad's story.

PJ and Joan, you'll both love to hear that my father also made up stories (some scary, some tall tales). Apparently, Cousin Fester lived in the storage closets that ran under the eaves of my parents' room. He was normally docile, but got agitated at times - especially when it was stormy - and would creep out to prowl the house. We were warned never to sleep with a foot sticking out of the covers, because he loved to bite off toes.

Horrifying! I still don't sleep with my toes uncovered!

Caren Crane said...

Doglady, how wonderful that you had everyone write things down. I so wish any of us had had the foresight to do that. My mother's mother was the youngest of ten and she, at 88, is the only one still living. My mother's father died the same year as my father and I believe all his siblings are gone now. We have lost so much family history!

Oh, and Suess has always been a beloved favorite of mine. Daddy put the major creep into "What Was I Scared Of?" That is the one about the pale green pants with nobody inside them. One of my favorites ever!

And don't get me started on Poe. I did a dramatic recitation of "The Bells" in junior high I still remember. I had a particularly unappreciative audience. :-(

jo robertson said...

Amy, I remember that poem too! It's so sweet and sad and brave all at the same time.

And hey, I actually WAITED for someone to post first, but no one did for all of about . . . uh 60 seconds :-D.

jo robertson said...

Oh, Tawny, that's so poignant.

When Shannon was little I used to sing "Scarlet Ribbons" to her (probably no one knows that song any more -- about a little girl who prayed for scarlet ribbons for her hair. Her mom raced around to find some but the stores were all closed. Next morning the scarlet ribbons were on the girl's pillow).

One night while I was visiting Shannon and she putting HER daughter to bed, I heard her singing the same song. Quite a tearful moment!

jo robertson said...

PJ, what a tender memory to have of your father! He must've been a well-loved man to have so many admirers.

Terry Odell said...

My dad read us Winnie the Pooh - and I was shocked to hear a voice I recognized on tv one day (way back when). What was Eeyore doing on tv? I ran in to look and it was an old black and white movie. As a little kid, I had no clue my dad was using his W.C. Fields voice imitataion when he read the Eeyore parts.

I also remember, "What is the matter with Mary Jane? She wouldn't eat her rice pudding again."

I still have those books, yellowed pages, broken bindings and all.

Deb Marlowe said...

My grandpap used to tell us stories about fighting in France in WWII. They were extra scary because we knew they had really happened to him.

Now my kids pester him for his stories. My oldest used to tell friends: "MY Grandpap fought in WWII and actually SURVIVED!" in this voice of awe.

I always read to my kids and I used to love it when they were real little and would "read" to themselves, because they knew the books word for word. They would use all the same inflections I did. It was a hoot!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, what wonderful memories, everyone! I loved reading through the posts. My Daddy used to read lil' Orphan Annie and we'd all chorus "The Gob-e-luns-ul getcha if ya....DON'T WATCH OUT!" I'm thinking my love of Halloween came from teh Gob-e-luns and the reading of Macbeth. My parents were in a Shakespeare club and they'd get us to read parts. I knew the "Bubble bubble toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble" by heart by the time I was 8. Grins.

There was an awesome book called Artie and the Princess about a young dragon that my sister and I read over and over and over, right along with the Blueberry Pie Elf. Wonderful!

I remember the B'rer Rabbit stories, and Uncle Josh tales, peculiar to the South. And Caren, my mother practically spat fire when I heard and then sang Tom Dooley at home when I was 12. That song is taken from an actual event in Wilkes County, NC where my Mama's from. The Dula's (the real family name) weren't that well thought of for nearly a generation because of old Tom, or so it seems. :>

Jo, I know Scarlet Ribbons, and I know One Tin Soldier, Tawny. Mournful song, that one. There's a folk festival on the campus of the very small college where I matriculated and people come out of the hills for it - and I mean that literally. Some of the finest hammered dulcimer music you will ever hear. :>

Hearing the old family stories was great too, very dramatic some of it.

What lovely memories you've conjured, Caren! Thanks!

Aunty Cindy said...

Caren, you don't believe Aunty is tight-lipped? Well, certainly not if you count typing comments, since you will notice I "outted" Jo-Mama for rushing in to claim the GR. Fedora's kids did a great job on coloring him up for Easter, btw.

I don't remember being read to, but since I was also taught to read before I started kindergarten, I often read to my younger sibs. Still have the "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Hop on Pop" that I read to my baby brother, and yes the bindings are gone. Deb, just like your kids, my baby bro quickly memorized them and recited back using my exact same inflections! :-)

My son's fave story (NO surprise) was "The Hobbit." I spared him the pain of my singing.

AC

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

AC, I was laughing about sparing your son your singing. All this talk makes me think of my mother. She used to sing to me. I remember her having a wonderful warm voice and I always enjoyed hearing it. As a result, I love to sing. Now...fast forward. Some time ago, I told my sibs and dad how much I liked Mama's singing. They all looked at me like I was nuts. My Dad said she couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. Obviously, I was quite an uncritical audience, so she'd sing to me anyway.

All that's to say that if you HAD sung to him, he probably would remember it differently than you would. Grins.

Keira Soleore said...

While, I cannot recall a specific story, I can recall the rituals. Every Sunday afternoon after lunch, my mother would read us a story from the Sunday paper. Our paper used to publish fiction short stories on Sundays.

My grandmother also loved telling stories. In her case, she memorized short stories she read from magazines and told them to us with accents, foreshadowing, uncontrollable laughter, and embellishments. Once in a while, she'd make up a story from scratch: either she'd thought about it before, one she made up as she went along. In either case, whenever she was to visit us, she'd ask me what I wanted as a gift. "Lots of stories" was my request. Even when she had severe cancer, and I visited, she had a story for me.

(I'm at the library, and I'm crying. Ack.)

Keira Soleore said...

Amy, I adored your tea party poem. How cute is that?!

Ohhh, ((PJ)), your Paw Paw's story brought fresh tears to my eyes.

Nancy said...

Jo, way to go! The bear story sounds cool, and all the better for being true.

Caren, what a beautiful post. The book that brings back memories for me is the Golden Book edition of 101 Dalmatians. My grandfather and I used to read that together. He lived in an old house with a coal shute, and we'd go down in the basement, where he would rattle the door to the coal room and say, "We're coming to get you, Cruella," and I would shriek and run. I just got the re-release of the movie. The live-action one was fine, but the original owns a piece of my heart.

We also read one about a Mountie who adopts a wolf, Silver Chief. I think the picture book was adapted from a novel, because I've seen the novel online but not the picture book. Unfortunately, moisture in my parents' basement did in that book.

Amy, I read Ayn Rand in my "we're all doomed" stage.

Tawny, I loved "One Tin Soldier," too. It led me to expect great things from the movie Billy Jack, but the movie wasn't to my taste.

PJ, your service for your father sounds wonderful. When my mom was dying, we had a big birthday party for her and invited everyone she wanted. People I'd known all lmy life but hadn't seen in years showed up. I love your storm story. I can picture all of you reading by candlelight. What a great way to pass an evening. We did that after Hurricane Hugo took out our power for more than two weeks. The occasional evening would be fun--two straight weeks, not so much. We also played Scrabble by candlelight.

Dianna, I fell in love with Andrew Lang's "color" fairy books. I read them over and over from the school library. Those, and the D'Aulaires' Greek myths book.

Doglady,I love the notebook idea. Wish I'd thought of it.

Jeanne, I had a roommate from Wilks County. Did you know Joel Chandler Harris' house in Atlanta is a museum?

flchen1 said...

*Sniff... * Wow, everyone has such wonderful memories to share! I don't recall any specific poems my parents read to us--I do recall that we did use several big collections of stories and poems. One was a book called Nursery Tales, and we found it at my parents' house not too long ago and read some to my kids--hilarious! (And not terribly PC by today's standards...) We also used to read Little Visits With God.

What I DO remember was that after I got a little older, my parents started having me read the bedtime stories, especially for my little brother, who'd happily demand half a dozen...

Having some kids of my own now, I totally understand why they chose to do that!

And the only two books we read so often at bedtime that the kids know them are Sandra Boynton's The Going to Bed Book and Lucy Cousin's version of Noah's Ark.

Somehow we started doing something called "Silly Stories" every night as the last thing. The kids prefer my husband's stories, and tend to demand particular themes, such as Star Wars, Mario Galaxy, or whatever the latest thing sweeping through the household happens to be :)

flchen1 said...

Oh, and occasionally when my husband's out of town, he'll try to call in at the right time to do Silly Stories by phone :)

And congrats on the GR, Jo! Hope you like the festive colors ;)

Anna Campbell said...

PJ, what a lovely story. How lucky you are to have such wonderful memories of your father. Hey, and there MIGHT have been a monster in the lake!

Pam, there's a memorial at Bamburgh Castle in England to the pilot who wrote that beautiful poem. He was an American who volunteered to fight in the RAF before the US entered the war and he died in the Battle of Britain at the age of 19, I think. Forgive me if these details are a bit sketchy! It was really moving to read about his life and that poem is just breathtaking.

Caren, I think Roger McGough is from Liverpool in England. He's got that wonderful Northern deadpan sense of humour. He was part of that whole 60s thing. Amy probably knows more about him than I do.

Caren, I used to be embarrassed about reading fairy stories way past the age you're supposed to too. But I think a lot of those stories really only make sense when you're a bit older, you know, the deep emotional truth at the heart of them.

Joan said...

Well, Caren my Daddy came by it naturally making up stories.

His father, my grandfather used to point out this orange object in the Ohio River every time we drove over the bridge. "Those" he'd say "are my trunks from when I jumped off the bridge"

Believed it for years.

I'm seeing a gullible trend here....

Helen said...

Congrats on the GR Jo

Loved the post Caren memories are always so wonderful although I don't have any specific poems or stories that my parents read to me I have lots of wonderful memories of listening to them talk about their childhood with my aunties and uncles and grandparents they lived thru the depression and the stuggles they went thru and how they used to get out of washing up and the games they used to play.
Everyones posts are so good I have really enjoyed reading them
Thanks Guys
Have Fun
Helen

Donna MacMeans said...

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
This you're going to die

Did I get the last line right? Can't remember anymore, but your mention of Tom Dooley brought my dad's voice like he was singing in my ear.

He never formally played an instrument - always accompanied himself with a tapping foot. I remember deciding to take up the clarinet in elementary school. Not sure why I chose the clarinet, but when I took it home to practice. I remember my dad getting tired of the squeaks and blats, and taking it away from me. He wet his lips and played like he was born to it. I ended up taking the instrument back. I figured if he who had never played the clarinet could play so well - there was no possiblity that I could play even passably.

My sister inherited the musical genes. She plays a fiddle effortlessly - it's such a part of her. Bluegrass and Ballads.

Joan said...

Oh, Donna I would LOVE to be able to play the fiddle, banjo or the Irish bodhran (drum)!

I tried to learn guitar in elementary school but the nun in charge of lessons.....well, let's just say patience was not one of HER virtues!

Suzanne Welsh said...

What wonderful memories your post had brought out for everyone, Caren! I don't remember being read to as a child, but was very much encouraged to read as much as possible. What I do remember was going to my grandparents house for my vacations every year and listening to my grandmother and mother and aunts talk way into the night. Gandma could give an oral history of the entire county's lineage, person-by-person. (She loved good gossip!)

And sometimes when all the family was there to visit in the evenings, they would sing a few old hymns, "Shall We Gather At The River", "The Old Rugged Cross", "I'll Fly Away"--all in three or four part harmony!

Aunty Cindy said...

Donna, I do believe that last line is: Poor boy, you're gonna die.
Yup, we sang Tom Dooley out here in California too. And Suz, "The Old Rugged Cross" was my Gramma from Oklahoma's favorite hymn!

And just so you don't feel left out Jeanne: The Tennessee stud was long and lean, the color of the sun and his eyes were green...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

NANCY!! My SISTER!!! I have a well-worn, and very well-thumbed copy of Silver Chief, Dog of the North by Jack O'Brien which is indeed a novel. (There are 4 or 5 of them) Wonderful story. As someone said about the fairy tales, not very PC, but a marvelous tale nevertheless. Then there's Red Horse Hill, Big Red, Toyon Dog of the North, Billy and Blaze, My Friend Flicka....was it any wonder I wanted to be a vet? And the 101 Dalmatians, the orginal story by Dodie Smith is SO not Disney, but SO wonderful! It's why I raise, train, and used to breed Dalmatians.

Oh, Suz, I wish my family had been musical as well as literary! What fun the songfests must have been. I was in heaven (ha, ha!) once I got to be in Church choir so I could sing What Wondrous Love and all those minor key hymns. Then later, with an a cappella group I sang with, I got to sing some of the really old madgrigals and folk tunes. Sweeeeeeeeeet!

Oh, and just for you, Donna:

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley, Hang down your head and cry, You killed poor Laura Foster, Now, boy, you're bound to die.

Each verse goes into the gory details of the murder, trial, and subsequent hanging. Urk!

doglady said...

Thanks, Anna C. I did not know about the memorial at Bamburgh or the story of the poet's life. For those who have not read it, here is the poem.


High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.


Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Pam. That poem always gives me goosebumps and makes me want to cry. There's a really fascinating museum about World War II aviation at Bamburgh Castle. I was with a couple and Robert was desperate for something non stately homish when we were there so Catherine and I very reluctantly went along with him (we're stately home nuts) after going through the castle. And then the two of us were absolutely riveted by the exhibitions. And I remember the Magee part of the museum so vividly. 19 is so tragically young!