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Introduction

“The music of our youth becomes the soundtrack of our lives.”
—Jimmy Peacock

“In a film, the music tells us how to feel
about what we are seeing.”

—Anonymous Film Critic

In my previous post titled “Infusion Inspiration: Memory Flood at the Center for Blood” I described how listening to old cassette tapes of Gospel music on an outdated portable Walkman cassette player helps me to pass the time while I receive blood at a city hospital blood center.

I used quotes, scriptures, Gospel song lyrics, and links to Gospel music videos to illustrate the inspiration and encouragement from the stirred memories I receive during those long tedious hours of sitting in a recliner in a cold room hooked up to an IV tube.

In this post, a sort of sequel to that one, I continue the subject of how songs of all types, and not just Gospel hymns, have the power to serve as “musical ‘memory-triggers’ and ‘time-travel transporters.’”

As I noted in that post and in the opening quotes above, over time the music we listened to in our youth and young adulthood often becomes the “soundtrack of our lives”—especially as we grow older and begin to look backward to the simpler, happier days of our existence.

Often, these memory “flashbacks” are triggered by music, particularly by a certain song—and sometimes it is the reverse, a certain memory of a past event will trigger the music being played at the time that event took place.

It happens to all of us, I suppose, but especially to us “seniors.” That’s why we often think on such occasions, “Ah, those were the days!”

Now in this post I will recall and review some of the songs that became at least a part of the soundtrack of my childhood. Since there are so many I can only present some examples that come to my mind when I recall that period of my life or some incident in it. Due to their number I will not try to provide the lyrics or the video links to all these songs. However, you can always find them by searching for any that interest you by Googling them online.

Childhood Soundtracks

“And precious things are [musical memories] to an exile,
They take him to a [time and] place he cannot be.
—My paraphrase of the Irish folksong
“The Isle of Innisfree”

“When a man says that he is seeking the scenes of his childhood,
what he is really seeking is his childhood.”
—Anonymous

If you have read my preceding post “Infusion Inspiration: Memory Flood at the Center for Blood,” you will recognize this first partial and paraphrased quote from the Irish folk song “The Isle of Innisfree.”

As I noted in that post and in this one, certain songs from our childhood and youth have the power to “take us [back] to a time and place we cannot be.” I described this phenomenon in my previous post when I wrote about the power of the old hymns of the faith that we sang in the Selma Baptist Church of my childhood.

But that experience is not limited to old hymns and Gospel songs though I am reminded that every day as my country, cattle-dealing family sat down to “dinner” (Southern for “lunch”), we always listened to two radio shows: 1) the news of livestock and commodity prices on the market and 2) a fifteen-minute program of Southern Gospel music by the Stamps-Baxter Quartet. I can even still sing their theme song, “Give the World a Smile,” almost seventy years later though I have never seen the lyrics in print nor have I heard the music in decades. (To hear this song sung by J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, the group who backed up Elvis Presley on many of his songs, click on the title.)

J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet with Elvis Presley

J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet with Elvis Presley (center) whom they backed up

From my idyllic, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn childhood in my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas (which I wrote about in my earlier post titled “The Way We Were”), there are several old secular songs that still recall to my memory those simpler, happier days in my life.

For example, the first song I ever remember singing, at about age four while strolling through the house strumming a cheap plastic toy guitar, was one I heard on our old battery radio (which I wrote about in that earlier post about “The Way We Were”). It was titled “You Are My Sunshine” and was written in 1939 (one year after my birth) by Jimmie Davis, later governor of Louisiana. In fact, it was sung and declared “written by another Southern governor” in the film Primary Colors based on the presidential primary candidacy of Bill Clinton, former governor of my native state of Arkansas. (To hear this song sung by Jimmie Davis, click on the title.)

Jimmie Davis and his record of "You Are My Sunshine"

Jimmie Davis and his record of “You Are My Sunshine,” the first song I ever remember singing

Speaking of “musical memory-triggers” and “time-travel transporters,” you can imagine the sensation I experience every time I hear that old song from my earliest childhood being sung or played some seventy years later. It quite literally “strums the strings of my heart” just as I strummed the strings of that plastic toy guitar in that simple farmhouse in which I was born long ago and far away.

Of course, during my childhood there were other “soundtrack” songs that still speak to me and recall those happier days. For example, in that earlier post about “The Way We Were” I told about getting electricity for the first time in 1947. I also told how we took our habitual trip into town (McGehee, about fifteen miles from Selma) on “Sairdy evenin’” to go to the “pitcher show” and watch a double feature which always included a grade B-Western with 1940’s cowboy stars.

Malco Theater in McGehee, Arkansas, at its gala opening in about 1954

Malco Theater in McGehee, Arkansas, at its gala opening in about 1954 when it replaced the older Ritz Theater where I saw many 1940’s films (to magnify, click on the photo)

Some of those movie cowboys were known for their music, especially Gene Autry, called from the beginning in the 1930s “the Singing Cowboy,” and Roy Rogers, who got his start in Hollywood as part of the Western singing group “The Sons of the Pioneers.” A few of the songs I recall by the Sons of the Pioneers were “Cool Water,” “Tumblin’ Tumbleweed” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” (To view these songs on You Tube, click on their titles.)

The Sons of the Pioneers with Roy Rogers

The Sons of the Pioneers with Roy Rogers (in white hat on the right)

In a later post titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Part IV” I offered a quiz on some of these cowboys whose musical themes, like Gene Autry’s “I’m Back in the Saddle Again” and Roy Rogers’ “Happy Trails to You,” also became part of the “soundtrack” of my childhood years as the son of a livestock dealer who loved everything Western.

(To hear these songs on YouTube video, click on their titles. Note: The Gene Autry song takes about ten seconds to begin so wait for it to start. The theme song of Roy Rogers, whose album of greatest hits we own and listen to, includes his wife and costar Dale Evans, a photo of whom with Roy and his horse Trigger, graces the wall of Mari’s bedroom.)

Gene Autry

Gene Autry, known from the 1930s as the “Singing Cowboy”

Roy Rogers and his co-star and wife Dale Evans

Roy Rogers and his co-star and later wife Dale Evans (to magnify, click on the photo)

The War Years of the 1940s

“Listen to the jingle the rumble and the roar
As she glides along the woodland through the hills and by the shore
Hear the mighty rush of the engine hear the lonesome hobos call
You’re traveling through the jungle on the Wabash Cannonball.”
—Lyrics to Roy Acuff version of
“The Wabash Cannonball”

In that post about “The Way We Were” I told how we used to listen to “The Grand Ole Opry” in those carefree childhood days. I mentioned in particular listening to the star of the Grand Ole Opry at that time, Roy Acuff, whose songs like “The Great Speckled Bird” and particularly “The Wabash Cannonball” were great hits and heard everywhere in the country in those day.

Grand Ole Opry star Roy Acuff

Roy Acuff, the Grand Ole Opry star who sang “The Wabash Cannonball”

In fact, Roy and his songs were so popular that during World War II attacking Japanese soldiers used to cry out at their American enemies: “To hell with FDR (U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt)!” and “To hell with Roy Acuff!” (To hear “The Wabash Cannonball” sung by Roy Acuff on YouTube video, click on the title above.)

Since the 1940s of my childhood were the years of World War II (1941-45 for Americans), some of the music in our family “soundtrack” included popular wartime songs such as “The White Cliffs of Dover,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me (Till I Come Marching Home),” and of course the patriotic blockbuster “God Bless America” sung by “The Songbird of the South,” a rousing, robust Virginia singer named Kate Smith.

Popular WWII singer Kate Smith with the cast of her first radio show

Popular WWII singer Kate Smith (center) with the cast of her first radio show

My particular favorites of some later versions of those wartime songs were “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” the signature song of Kate Smith, sung by Mama Cass; “A Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square” (also spelled “Berkeley Square”), written in 1939, the year after I was born, sung by Bobby Darin; and of course Glenn Miller’s Big-Band theme song “In the Mood.” (To hear these three songs, click on their titles.)

Other Swing music favorites included “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Some favorite vocalists of that period included Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, the Andrews Sisters, and Dinah Shore.

Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller, perhaps the most popular Big Band leader of the 1940s

My Parents’ 1940’s Soundtrack

“He rides in the sun
‘Til his day’s work is done
And he rounds up the cattle each fall
(yodeling)
Singing his cattle call.”
—Lyrics of refrain of “Cattle Call” sung by Eddie Arnold

“After the ball is over,
After the break of morn –
After the dancers’ leaving;
After the stars are gone;
Many a heart is aching,
If you could read them all;
Many the hopes that have vanished
After the ball.”

“After the Ball Is Over,
Written in 1890 and sung in the musical
Show Boat in 1936

Although my family and I heard many of the universally popular songs and singers from the Swing and Big Band Music era during and after World War II, as a livestock dealer and his working partner-wife, my parents still tended to listen to what would today be termed Country-Western music.

Naturally, some seventy years later, I still recall with fond memory their favorite singers and songs, especially when I hear them on rare occasions. As noted throughout this series of posts, those old largely forgotten and poorly regarded pieces of musical nostalgia take me back to those simple, carefree days of my country childhood.

Mama and Daddy in about 1927, the year they married on Christmas Day

Mama and Daddy in about 1927, the year they married on Christmas Day. Note Mama’s dress and cropped 1920’s haircut, once again a popular style today. (To magnify, click on the photo.)

For example, it was not surprising that as a cattleman Daddy’s favorite type of music was Western. He especially liked songs by Country-Western singers such as Eddie Arnold, whose “Cattle Call” is quoted above with a link to a video of him singing and yodeling that entire song. I still hear Daddy singing it as he too went about his daily chores of “rounding up [and dealing with] the cattle each [day].”

Eddie Arnold who sang the "Cattle Call"

Eddie Arnold who sang the “Cattle Call,” Daddy’s favorite song

Daddy also liked the music of other Country-Western singers such as Hank Williams. Hank was influenced by other singers whom Daddy liked such as Roy Acuff (mentioned above) and Ernest Tubb (whose album of biggest hits I still own and listen to, bringing back many memories of Daddy and his love for that type of Western singers and songs).

Unfortunately, Hank Williams died young in 1953. It was not long after Hank’s death that Daddy died in 1954 at the McGehee Livestock Auction where I was working in the back, penning cattle. (See my earlier post titled “My Father’s [Cattle] Brand and Seal.”) One of Hank’s songs that Daddy particularly liked and sang and whistled (as he did Eddie Arnold’s “Cattle Call” and Ernest Tubbs’ “I’m Walkin’ the Floor Over You”) was “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” (To listen to these songs, click on their titles.)

Ernest Tubb who sang "I'm Walkin' the Floor Over You"

Ernest Tubb who sang “I’m Walkin’ the Floor Over You”

Hank Williams who sang "Your Cheatin' Heart"

Hank Williams who sang “Your Cheatin’ Heart”

Finally, although Mama liked and listened to Gospel songs and hymns as well as Country-Western music, she also liked ballads and sentimental songs from Broadway musicals and movies. One was “After the Ball Is Over” quoted above from the 1936 Hollywood movie version of the Broadway musical Show Boat, two years before my birth. In fact, I heard it so much as a child that I learned the lyrics to it without ever seeing them or trying to memorize them. (To hear this song sung by Irene Dunne in Show Boat, click on the title.)

Irene Dunne who sang "After the Ball Is Over"

Irene Dunne who sang “After the Ball Is Over”

Mama also particularly liked one that I have never heard before or since (except perhaps on one occasion that I cannot now recall.) It was called “(My Sweet Little) Alice Blue Gown” from the 1919 Broadway musical titled Irene. After more than seventy years, while composing this post I finally went on Wikipedia and discovered the source of this term “Alice Blue gown” and its significance:

“Alice blue is a pale tint of azure that was favored by Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, which sparked a fashion sensation in the United States.

The hit song “Alice Blue Gown”, inspired by Longworth’s signature gown, premiered in Harry Tierney‘s 1919 Broadway musical Irene. The musical was made into a film in 1940 starring Anna Neagle and Ray Milland.”

The "Alice Blue Gown" my mother sang about so often

The “Alice Blue Gown” my mother sang about so often (to magnify, click on the photo)

That explanation makes one of my Mama’s favorite songs even more meaningful and dear to my heart. (To hear this old-fashioned song that I heard Mama sing so often I also learned its lyrics by heart, click here.)

Conclusion:
“Gone with the Wind”

“Rhett, Rhett… Rhett, if you go,
where shall I go? What shall I do?”
—Scarlett O’Hara to Rhett Butler
at conclusion of Gone with the Wind

Finally, Mama was obviously impressed with seeing her first full-color Hollywood movie in about 1939, the year after I was born. It was the blockbuster movie version of the best-selling book by Margaret Mitchell titled Gone with the Wind.

Scene from the 1939 film "Gone with the Wind"

Scene from the 1939 film Gone with the Wind (for maximum viewing effect, click on the photo)

Mama sometimes referred to scenes from that movie and enjoyed hearing the song “Tara’s Theme” which ran throughout it. (To view a video of this haunting melody, with dramatic scenes from the film, including two white peacocks and Scarlett in front of Tara, click on the title above. It is a perfect example of the music in a film telling us how to feel about what we are seeing.)

All of these songs and singers, and so many more, were a great influence on my childhood and thus on my entire life. For example, “Tara’s Theme” from GWTW always has a strong emotional appeal to me every time I hear it.

But the “soundtrack” of my young life began to change when my family moved from the country to town (from Selma to McGehee) in 1948 when I was ten years old. As a result, at the end of the 1940s my simple, idyllic boyhood country life began to disappear as it, like Scarlett O’Hara’s happy, familiar life at Tara, began to become a thing of the past . . . until eventually it too was totally “Gone with the Wind.”

In my next post, “The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Part II,” I will continue with some of the music from the 1950s, arguably the most musically influential period of my entire life.

Addenda:
Links to 1940s Music and Musical

In the past, my McGehee High School Class of 1956 classmate Pat Scavo (known to us then as Patsy McDermott) has sent me links to free old-time music which is divided into decades and played radio-style in random order.

Here are two such links for music of the 1940s along with many other musical links to other decades, old radio and TV shows, etc.:

http://www.tropicalglen.com/

http://www.1959bhsmustangs.com/videojukebox.htm

I hope you can access these sites and pick out the songs from the era you wish to listen to. I also hope they will “bring back [your] dream divine” so that you can also “live it over again.”

To view a video of an amazing 1940’s-style Boogie Woogie piano player and two jitterbug dancers in lively imitation of the music and dance craze of that era, go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWDfxgngrNc

Although the Hollywood musical Yankee Doodle Dandy was made during World War II (in 1942, the year that my Mari was born), I was too young to see it. However, decades later when I saw it on TV, it became one of my favorite movies, which I still watch often.

James Gagney playing showman George M. Cohan singing and dancing "I"m a Yankee Doodle Dandy" from the 1942 musical by that name

James Gagney as showman George M. Cohan singing and dancing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” in the musical by that name

Three of my favorite musical numbers from that movie are: “I’m a Yankee Doodle Yankee” sung and danced by James Cagney; “Mary’s a Grand Old Name,” sung by Irene Manning; and “Only Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway” and “So Long, Mary” sung and danced by Irene Manning and Chorus. (To view videos of these numbers, click on their titles. They are light years away from the Blues, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock and Roll songs that we teens listened to in the 1950s, the subject of my next post.)

 Sources

The original lyrics of “The Isle of Innisfree” can be accessed at:
http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/daniel_odonnell/the_isle_of_innisfree.html

The video of J.D. Summer and the Stamps Quartet singing “Give the World a Smile” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYYxsUjJzAk

The photo of J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quarter with Elvis Presley was taken from:
http://jdsumner.elvis.com.au/

The video of Jimmie Davis singing “You Are My Sunshine” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiRDVArEKL0

The photo of Jimmie Davis on a record cover was taken from:
www.slipcue.com/music/country/countryartists/davis_jimmie_01.html

The photo of the Malco Theater in McGehee, Arkansas, was taken from:
McGehee Centennial 1906-2006.

The videos of the Sons of the Pioneers singing “Cool Water,” “Tumbling Along with a Tumbling Tumbleweed,” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky” were taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFBHc2qafgU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQc5gDXQGIs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcnDlgeUYs4

The photo of the Sons of the Pioneers with Roy Rogers was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sons_of_the_Pioneers

The video of Gene Autry singing, “I’m Back in the Saddle Again” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80NoPLp-Zl0

The photo of Gene Autry was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Autry

The video of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing, “Happy Trails to You” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcYsO890YJY

The photo of Roy Rogers was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Rogers

The lyrics to the Roy Acuff version of “The Wabash Cannonball” were taken from “Metrolyrics” at:
http://www.metrolyrics.com/wabash-cannonball-lyrics-roy-acuff.html

The video of Roy Acuff singing “Wabash Cannonball” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yhvv234oaA

The photo of Roy Acuff was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Acuff

The video of Mama Cass singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4T3tMkjRig

The video of Bobby Darin singing “A Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKvu-8Ac0x0

The photo of Kate Smith and the cast of her first radio show was taken from;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Smith

The video of the Glenn Miller orchestra playing “In the Mood” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAQgXPTekOU

The photo of Glenn Miller was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Miller

The lyrics of the song “Cattle Call” as sung by Eddie Arnold were taken from:
http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/classic-country/cattle-call—eddy-arnold-14949.html

The video of Eddie Arnold singing the Western song “Cattle Call” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtpbtKKXyuc

The photo of Eddie Arnold was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddy_Arnold

The video of Hank Williams singing “Your Cheatin’ Heart” was taken from:
|https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg2oR91_r5I

The photo of Hank Williams was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hank_Williams

The video of Ernest Tubb singing “I’m Walkin’ the Floor Over You” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-0KHkf5V9

The photo of Ernest Tubb was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Tubb

The lyrics of the 1890 song “After the Ball Is Over” was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_the_Ball_(song)

The video of Irene Dunne singing “After the Ball Is Over” from a 1936 film titled Show Boat was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXNJO6jgwy

The photo of Irene Dunne was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irene_Dunne

The video of Joni James singing “Alice Blue Gown” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TojHJ3v2xN8&feature=youtube_gdata

The photo of the “Alice Blue Gown” was taken from:
http://www.georgetowner.com/media/images/derivatives/article_Alice20Roosevelt-BlueDress1_1.jpg

The quote of Scarlett O’Hara to Rhett Bulter at the conclusion of Gone with the Wind was taken from:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031381/quotes

The photo of Tara from Gone with the Wind was sent to me by Pat Scavo from an undisclosed source.

The video of “Tara’s Theme” from the film Gone with the Wind was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgF-rcHcPqE

The photo of James Gagney as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yankee_Doodle_Dandy

The video of James Gagney singing, “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StDpLge_ITM

The video of Irene Manning singing “Mary’s a Grand Old Name” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apy6Yp9O7AI

The video of Irene Manning and chorus singing “Forty-five Minutes from Broadway” and “So Long, Mary” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qydYuLlHdkQ

 

Introduction

“In the life of a writer there are no extraneous experiences.”
—Anonymous
(Everything that happens to a writer
becomes grist for his mill.)

“I believe the future is only the past,
entered through another gate.”
—Arthur Wing Pinero
(I believe this truth applies also to the present!)

As indicated by the title and subtitle of this post, it has to do with the unexpected inspiration that I receive when I spend time in the blood center of a city hospital.

Since I suffer from a blood disorder (among a half-dozen other health problems), I am required to visit the blood center every two weeks for a blood test and injection, and about every four to six weeks for a two-part blood infusion (commonly called a transfusion).

Because of my other health issues, those regular blood infusions usually consist of two units of blood administered in separate sessions over a two-day period.

During each of those procedures I must spend three to four hours sitting in a recliner hooked up to an IV while Mari sits beside me in a straight chair in a cold and rather stark and sterile room. Although the nurses in the blood center are wonderfully warm and attentive, responding instantly and graciously to our every need and desire, there is no way they or anyone else can speed up the procedures.

Not being a fan of daytime television, which is provided for each individual patient, I had to find a different way to pass the time of each session.

At first, I tried reading (as Mari does), but I found it too difficult to concentrate in that situation and environment. Instead, I got the “inspiration” (a significant word!) to dig out the old Walkman portable cassette player and tapes that I used to listen to while exercising on the Nordic Track (what I termed the “Torture Rack”) many years ago. (To view an amusing video of modern-day children being presented an old portable Walkman cassette player, click here.)

(Note: To magnify the photos, click on each one as you view it.)

Walkman portable cassette player

Walkman portable cassette player

Me in the infusion center listening to the Walkman cassette player and holding tapes of Tennessee Ernie Ford and Elvis Presley

Me in infusion center listening to the Walkman cassette player and holding cassette tapes of Tennessee Ernie Ford and Elvis Presley. (Note my Arkansas Razorback cap, a symbol of the “Holy Land.”)

Little did I realize that “inspiration” was only the beginning of many that I would receive as I began to listen to those relics with the amazing power to recall the past in such vivid detail—and with such surprising power!

“There Is Power in the Blood”—
and in Memory as Well!

“There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.”
—“There Is Power in the Blood”
(To view a video of Tennessee Ernie Ford
singing this old hymn, click here.)

Imagine my surprise when I sat in the recliner the next time, hooked up to that life-giving blood IV, and clicked on the cassette tape I had left in the old Walkman decades ago to suddenly hear Tennessee Ernie Ford enthusiastically sing forth, “THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD!”

Tape of Gospel songs by Tennessee Ernie Ford

Eight-track tape of Gospel songs by Tennessee Ernie Ford like the cassette tape versions I listen to in the infusion center

Coincidence? Perhaps.

Startling? Of course.

Accurate? Absolutely.

Not only was the experience startling and accurate, it was also encouraging and inspiring.

But it was only the beginning of many ongoing experiences of encouragement and inspiration I received as I listened to tape after tape and song after song from the happy days of our past lives. During the exciting days when Mari and I were still able to make our “semi-annual pilgrimages to the Holy Land” (our twice-a-year auto trips from Tulsa to our beloved homeland in Southeast Arkansas), we listened to those very same cassette tapes that were outdated even then.

But again what was most surprising was the number of memories that were triggered by those old songs, most of which we had not listened to in decades.

In an earlier post, dated August 3, 2011, and titled “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy!” I alluded to that marvelous power to evoke memories of the past by soul-stirring old hymns like the ones Tennessee Ernie and others like Elvis Presley sang on those ancient cassette tapes:

Still there’s somethin’ to be said for sittin’ and danglin’ your bare legs over the edge of an old uneven-legged, homemade slat pew in an unair-conditioned country churchhouse on a scorchin’ August evenin’ listenin’ to a red-faced, shirt-soppin’, brow-moppin’ Baptist preacher while watchin’ a busy dirt-dobber makin’ his rounds and wearin’ out both your wrists fannin’ your feverish, sweat-soaked face and shooin’ off blue-tailed flies.

Selma, Arkansas, Baptist Church

Selma Baptist Church (as it looked in the 1980s after the addition of air-conditioners) in my rural Arkansas birthplace where  as a boy I heard and sang so many of the familiar old hymns of the faith

But there is a consequence, an indelible trace left upon the heart by such experience. To this good day, more than sixty years later, I never hear or sing those old hymns we sang like ‘Amazing Grace,’ or ‘In the Garden,’ or ‘In the Sweet By and By’ without experiencing a strange bittersweet emotion: a sort of odd mixture of joy and pain, of peace and unrest, of a sense of tremendous gain and of unspeakable loss.

I think it has something to do with an old saying about being able to take the boy out of the country.

 Musical “Memory-Triggers” as
“Time-Travel Transporters”

“Turn back the hands of time;
Roll back the sands of time;
Bring back our dream divine,
Let’s live it over again.”
—Eddie Fisher, “Turn Back the Hands of Time”
(To view a YouTube video of this song, click here.)

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it,
and gave unto them, saying,
This is my body which is given for you:
this do in remembrance of me.”
—Jesus to His disciples in Luke 22:19 KJV

But again, it was not just the power of the old Gospel songs to evoke or “trigger” memories of the past that surprised and impressed me, but their power to serve as “time transporters,” their ability to take me back to earlier, happier days so that I could not only recall the past but also revive it and even relive it!

Although this concept may seem to be only science fiction, it is actually scriptural.

I am writing this post during Holy Week, that time in the traditional Church calendar in which Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, visited the Jewish temple, and observed the Passover meal with His disciples before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

At that Passover meal, also called the Last Supper, Jesus gave the disciples bread and wine, telling them to take it and eat it with this admonition, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19 paraphrased).

Leonardo da Vinci's painting of Jesus and disciples at the Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Jesus and the disciples at the Last Supper

In this case, the word “remember” means more than simply to “recall.” It has the opposite meaning of “dismember.” That is, it means not only to “recall to memory” but actually to “put back together again,” not only to “recollect” but also to “reconnect.”

In the more traditional sacramental churches this is the prevailing view of the power of the Communion elements—the bread and wine—the power not just to evoke or trigger a memory of Jesus Christ and His passion, but to actually bring into the present what He did in the past, to bring the past alive and to take part in it here and now.

That is what happened to me as I listened to those old songs from the past, my personal past. They brought that past alive again and put me back into it, back along that “pilgrimage to the Holy Land” where I had listened to those same old songs so long ago.

But that was not the end of the return to the past I experienced. From there I was transported back to events in my younger days, decades earlier, when those old songs served as “the soundtrack of our young lives.”

This “double-layer-memory-trigger” phenomenon will be the subject of my next post.

Importance of Songs to Our Faith Journey

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept,
when we remembered you, O Zion.”
—Psalm 137:1 NRSV
As quoted in Forward Day By Day
www.forwardmovement.org
(To view a YouTube video of this song sung
by popular Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell, click here.)

It was at Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa that Mari and I first encountered this sacramental understanding of the power of the Communion (or Eucharist) elements to bring into the present what occurred in the past, to bring the past alive and to relive it in the present.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma as it looked in the 1980s

Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa as it looked when Mari and were members from about 1986 to 2005

It is expressed by Mark Bozzuti-Jones in the March 28 entry of Forward Day By Day, the Episcopal daily devotional (italics mine):

Songs have strong associate meanings. When we hear certain songs, they place us in another time or place, they remind us of who we are and from where we’ve come. . . .

The people of Israel wondered how they could ever sing the Lord’s song in a strange land. They soon came to realize that they had to sing these songs, because of how important these songs were to their faith journey.

As Christians, we are called to find meaningful ways to sing the Lord’s songs, in our own land and in foreign ones, sometimes literally but always metaphorically.

Cover of the February/March/April issue of Forward Day By Day, the Episcopal daily devotional

Cover of the February/March/April issue of Forward Day By Day, the Episcopal daily devotional (Copyright 2015. Used by permission. http://www.forwardmovement.org)

This sacramental view of the events of Holy Week and indeed the entire Church calendar gave us a new perspective not only on the Communion (Eucharist) service and the events of Holy Week but indeed of the entire Christian worship experience.

We came to understand the meaning and purpose of the liturgy called The Stations of the Cross as a way not only to observe the events of Holy Week leading up to Easter but actually to participate in them vicariously, to in a sense bring them alive again so that we could take part in them.

As an example of this phenomenon of music taking us back into the past so that we can personally participate in events from it is illustrated by the old African-American spiritual titled “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” (To hear this old spiritual sung by the inimitable Marion Williams, which happens to be Mari’s maiden name, click here.)

Due to my failing health, Palm Sunday was the first time I was able to attend services at our local Methodist church since Christmas. After the congregation had proceeded to the front of the sanctuary bearing palm fronds, the children’s leader had the youngsters come forward. There she led them through a simple “journey” from one end of the curved chancel rail to the other. As she did so, she stopped them at a few places to call their attention to symbolic displays of Holy Week events (such as Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples). At each “station,” she asked them questions to make sure they understood exactly what happened on that day during that week and what each event meant in the life of the Church.

First United Methodist Church of Sapulpa, Oklahoma

First United Methodist Church of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, of which Mari and I are members

Afterward, the pastor commented on how impressive that simple reenactment of the Stations of the Cross was to him and to the entire congregation as it brought all of us into those events with the children—and with Christ Himself.

That is what the old songs of faith I listen to on the outdated Walkman cassette player and tapes do for me as I lie in that cold hospital room receiving the life-sustaining blood that keeps me going Forward Day By Day.

Jimmy and Marion Peacock in a church photo at their fiftieth wedding anniversary

Mari and me in a photo made at the First United Methodist Church of Sapulpa at the time of our fiftieth wedding anniversary

Marion standing behind Jimmy at the infusion center

Mari standing behind me at the infusion center, as beautiful and as faithful as she has been now for more than fifty-two years, “in sickness and in health”

Those simple relics of the days gone by remind me of the past. But even more importantly. like the traditional events in the Church calendar. they transport me and reconnect me to the events of that past. They revive me (both physically and spiritually) and cause me to relive and participate in the events of the past, such as Holy Week and Easter, but also in my own life’s journey.

All Hail the Power!

“All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.

 “O that with yonder sacred throng
we at His feet may fall!
We’ll join the everlasting song,
and crown Him Lord of all.
We’ll join the everlasting song,
and crown Him Lord of all.”
“All Hail the Power”
(To hear this old hymn sung by Ernie Ford
from the same cassette tape, click on the title.)

Of course, the ultimate end of that Holy Week journey reenacted in the Stations of the Cross is Easter, that glorious day when God resurrected His Son Jesus from death and restored Him to life—new life in all its glory and power.

A painting of the Resurrected Jesus by Raphael 1499-1502

A painting of the Resurrected Jesus by Raphael 1499-1502

The same power that I experience in the blood of others to give me new physical life, and in the blood of Jesus to give me new spiritual life, also resides in the name of Jesus to those who put their faith in Him.

On one Easter Sunday morning I was helping to serve meals to the hungry at our church’s feeding program. As one rather disheveled man came though the line he suddenly asked, “What is Easter anyway?”

Stunned, the other servers hesitated as if trying to decide how to respond to that unexpected spiritual question.

In a moment of inspiration (there’s that word again!) I said simply and kindly, “Easter is the day that God raised Jesus from the dead so that those of us who believe in Him will also be raised from death to life and spend eternity with Him.” (See John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 2:6-7.)

That quickly devised explanation of a very deep and far-reaching spiritual query seemed to satisfy the man as he nodded and moved on down the feeding line. Of course he obviously needed someone to lead him through the scriptures to a fuller understanding of the complete salvation message, but that had to wait until a more appropriate moment.

The point is that there is indeed power in the blood of the Lamb, and in the name of the Lord, and in the very hymns that proclaim both—and more—recalling the events of the past to revive, renew, and restore them, and those who listen to them.

I know, because I am one of them.

Conclusion

“And precious things are [memories] to an exile,
They take him to a place he cannot be.
Especially when it happens he’s an exile,
From friends and times he knew in Old McGehee.”
—My paraphrase of the Irish folksong
“The Isle of Innisfree”
(To view a YouTube video of this song,
with original lyrics,
sung by Celtic Woman, click on the title.)

The above paraphrased quote from the old Irish folk song titled “The Isle of Innisfree” was one I cited in a previous post on June 8, 2011, titled “My Annual Tributes to the Clique.”

The only change I have made in it for this context is to substitute the word “memories” for “dreams.”

Movie poster of the 1950 film "The Quiet Man" featuring the Irish folk song "The Isle of Innisfree"

Poster of the 1950 movie The Quiet Man which featured the Irish folk song “The Isle of Innisfree”

I chose it as an introductory quotation for this conclusion because it expresses the basic message of this post: the power of music to “take us to a place we cannot be” and to a time we seemingly cannot revisit.

I say “seemingly” because the fact is that through the “mystical means of music” we can actually “turn back the hands of time, roll back the sands of time” and be transported (if only for “one brief shining moment”) to an earlier place and time.

In this post I have limited that “faith journey” to Jerusalem during Holy Week and Easter, which is my Easter message: that we too, even two thousand years later and thousands of miles away, can actually participate in the events that took place in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and can then carry on that life in our own lives.

In the next post I will return to this same theme of the power of music to recall, resurrect, revive, and relive the past in a more personal, secular sense. It will be based on the “semi-annual pilgrimages to the Holy Land” that Mari and I used to make before we both became too old and infirm to literally take that journey into the past of our youth and young adulthood.

I hope you will come and take that “sentimental journey” with us!

Addendum:
Paintings of Stations of the Cross

After I had published this post I received an email message from Pat Scavo, a fellow classmate of mine and the former owner of the Blue Moon Art Gallery in Hot Springs. In that message Pat inserted a link to a series of paintings of The Stations of the Cross. To view those paintings on display at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Hope, Arkansas, and learn about the artist, Randall M. Good, go to: www.stmarkshope.org and then click on Stations of the Cross. Pat says about Good: “What I admire most about his artwork is how deftly he mixes Renaissance aesthetics with modern elements, yet still pays homage to his predecessors in his contemporary compositions.”

Sources

The photo of the Walkman cassette player and the video of children confronted by one were taken from:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2605138/Is-phone-The-hilarious-reactions-baffled-children-presented-Sony-Walkman-cassette-player.html

The lyrics to the song “There Is Power in the Blood” were taken from a Web site titled “Timeless Truths: Free Online Library” at:
http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/There_Is_Power_in_the_Blood/

The YouTube video of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing “There Is Power in the Blood” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tinAImvvtsk

The photo of the Tennessee Ernie Ford tape with the song “There Is Power in the Blood” was taken from:
http://www.8-track-shack.com/popup_image.php?pID=69344

The link to my earlier post titled “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” was taken from:
https://myokexilelit.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/thank-god-im-a-country-boy/

The YouTube video of Eddie Fisher singing “Turn Back the Hands of Time” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utijFt-tpNk

The photo of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper was taken from:
www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&…

The YouTube video of Daniel O’Donnell singing “By the Rivers of Babylon” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg1JnpNBIoQ

The photo of Trinity Episcopal Church was taken from Behold the Glory: The Iconography of Grace. The Web site for Trinity can be accessed at:
http://www.trinitytulsa.org/

The quote from Mark Bozzuti-Jones in the March 28 issue and the photo of the cover of the Forward By Day were taken from: Forward Day By Day: February/March/April issue. Copyright 2015. Used by permission. www.forwardmovement.org

The YouTube video of Marion Williams singing “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu_GW2osRVA

The photo of the First United Methodist Church in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, was taken from an earlier church Web site. The current, updated Web site for FUMC in Sapulpa can be accessed at:
http://www.sapulpafumc.org/

The lyrics of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” were taken from a Wikipedia entry on that subject at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Hail_the_Power_of_Jesus’_Name

The YouTube video of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qb1PEafAhCk

The painting of the Resurrected Jesus by Raphael 1499-1502 was taken from:
“Rafael – ressureicaocristo01″ by Raphael – http://www.masp.art.br. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rafael_-_ressureicaocristo01.jpg#/media/File:Rafael_-_ressureicaocristo01.jpg

The paraphrased quote from “The Isle of Innisfree” was taken from a citation in my earlier post titled “My Annual Tributes to the Clique” at:
https://myokexilelit.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/my-annual-tributes-to-the-clique/

The original lyrics of “The Isle of Innisfree” can be accessed at:
http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/daniel_odonnell/the_isle_of_innisfree.html

The YouTube video of “The Isle of Innisfree” sung by Celtic Woman was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xn7rjlOxfc

To learn more about this traditional Irish folk song used in the movie The Quiet Man, go to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Innisfree

“Memory is the golden bridge
That keeps our hearts in touch
With all the long-past yesterdays
And things we loved so much.”
—Georgia B. Adams,
Quoted in book titled Memories of Time Past 

In my previous post titled “Delta Addenda, Etc., Part II” I interjected two subjects relating to the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the South and Celtic “thin places,” especially my own Southeast Arkansas “thin/then places,” still special and sacred to me from my long ago youth.

In the preceding post titled “Delta Addenda, Etc., Part I” I examined several items about the Mississippi River Delta and related topics such as its disappearing plantation and cotton culture and recent winter storms that covered its ubiquitous cypress trees in a rare coating of ice and snow.

In this third post in that series I return to that first theme of items relating to the Mississippi River Delta, but including some items about the South in general.

First are three “addenda to the addenda” that I received from Joe Dempsey, Gayle Harper, and Pat Scavo after publishing Part I of the Delta Addenda post. They have to do with Joe’s visit to modern-day Lake Dick, featured in the first part, an update on Gayle’s book about her journey down the Mississippi River, and a new Southern Web site sent to me by Pat titled “The Bitter Southerner.”

These are followed by other Southern topics such as a map from Paul Talmadge of the eleven distinctive regions of the United States and a review from Pat of the sequel to the famed Southern novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Next, there is a link to a must-see site sent to me by my cousin Kay Barrett Bell titled “10 Old School Southern Rules to Abide By in the Present.” On that subject, on March 24, Pat Scavo sent me a link to the Natchez, Mississippi, Spring Pilgrimage with many photos of Southern Belles, Beaux, and mansions.

Finally, I offer an addenda and conclusion on the subject and primary theme of the entire post and blog about the importance of “gathering up the fragments of our lives so that nothing may be lost.”

This post is long but I hope you will at least scroll down through it and read the parts that interest you. (Note: To magnify the photos, simply click on each one as you view it.)

 Addendum Post on Lake Dick, Arkansas, Project
and Photographic Trip Up the Mississippi Delta

“Woosht Ida knowed yu wuz gon discus Lake Dick.”
—Joe Dempsey’s response to my March 5 post
titled “Delta Addenda, Etc., Part I”

“We discover a place where you can still get
an RC Cola and a Moon Pie,
and we have a shot of the Ground Zero Blues Club
at Clarksdale, Mississippi.”

—Joe Dempsey, “The Lake Dick Project,”
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,
September 27, 2009

As you can see by the title and quotes above, after publishing the current post titled “Delta Addenda, Etc., Part I,” I received a very brief email response to it from Joe Dempsey, my longtime friend, Ouachita Baptist College classmate, and designer of this blog.

To that brief response Joe added a link to his Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind post published on September 27, 2009. That post begins with his visit to the Depression-era Lake Dick cooperative farm project site featured in my post. He then continues his narrative with a photographic journey from Lake Village, Arkansas, twenty-five miles below our hometown of McGehee, Arkansas. From there he crosses the Mississippi River and proceeds up the other side of the “Father of Waters” through the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

Lake Dick water tower

Lake Dick Water Tower from Joe Dempsey’s Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind on September 27, 2009

As I promised Joe, here is that link to a fascinating look not only at the present-day state of the Lake Dick area but at other sites in both the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas.

RC and Moon Pie from Joe Dempsey's original Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind, September 27, 2009

Joe’s original caption from September 27, 2009: “RC Cola and a Moon Pie. Can be a breakfast, lunch or dinner substitute or a convenient snack when the spirit moves one in that direction.”

To follow Joe on this enjoyable and enlightening “sentimental journey” into both the long ago past and the near past, click on the title of the post, “The Lake Dick Project/The Towering Past.”

Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi, across the River from Helena, Arkansas

Update on Book about
Trip down the Mississippi River

“I’ve just been notified that Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi is a FINALIST in the competition for Foreword Review’s INDIEFAB ‘Book of the Year’ Award!”
—Author Gayle Harper in March 18 email announcement
about her upcoming book award

As noted in the quote above, Gayle Harper’s book about her voyage down the Mississippi River has been nominated as a finalist in a “Book of the Year Award.” I reviewed this book and provided more information about it and Gayle in an earlier post titled “You Might Be from the Country, If . . . Part II.” To read that post, click on the title.

Print

According to Gayle:

“The winners will be announced in June at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference to be held in San Francisco. Keep your fingers crossed, my friends . . . but, whatever happens, I am humbled and honored to have it included as a Finalist!”

Gayle Harper at book signing

Gayle Harper at book signing of Roadtrip with a Raindrop

Finally, after recommending that the reader visit the Author Facebook Page, Gayle concludes with this appeal:

“AND, while you’re on the website, if you haven’t seen the new Book Trailer yet—it’s a quick, fun, lively sampling of the spirit of Roadtrip With A Raindrop. It’s also available on You Tube. Please do share it with anyone you like!”

Roundtrip with a raindrop

To visit Gayle’s Web site, click here.

Bitter Southerner Web Site

“I am busy reading about the ‘best’ gas station food
in the Delta starting with some I know
and some I do not know!”
—Pat Scavo sharing new Southern Web site
in email dated March 5, 2015

On March 5, my 1956 McGehee High School classmate Patsy McDermott (now Pat Scavo of Hot Springs, Arkansas) sent me a link to a new Southern Web site her husband Phil had discovered titled “The Bitter Southerner.”

Later that same day Patsy Mc wrote that she was busy reading an entry on that site titled “My Southern Education” and expressed the hope that I would soon take time to read it—and indeed everything on the site. It can be reached by clicking on the title above.

Gone With the Wind as featured on the Web site "The Bitter Southerner"

Gone With the Wind photo as featured on the Web site “The Bitter Southerner”

Let me know what you think!

Note: Speaking of the Mississippi side of the Delta, on March 12 Pat sent me the following photo of the cotton gin at Dahomey Plantation from about 1900. To learn more about Dahomey Plantation, which is now up for sale for $20 million, click here or Google Dahomey Plantation.

Dahomey Plantation cotton gin in about 1900

Dahomey Plantation cotton gin in about 1900

“Where Do You Live?”

“Colin Woodard, a reporter at the Portland Press Herald and author of several books, says North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government.”
—Reid Wilson, “Which of the American nations do you live in?”

On January 31, 2015, Paul Talmadge sent me an interesting email tiled titled “Where Do You Live?”

As shown below, that email included a link to a site which includes a map of the United States divided into eleven distinct regions. (To view the regions more clearly, click on the map.)

Where do we live

You will note that while Northeastern Oklahoma where I have lived for the past thirty-eight years is part of the Greater Appalachia region, Southeast Arkansas where I was born and raised is in the Deep South region. This important distinction serves as the basis of my entire blog about “My Oklahomian Exile from The Holy Land” which includes all aspects of lifestyle, culture, and language.

To Kill a Mockingbird

“. . . even now the book [To Kill a Mockingbird]
sells 1 million copies a year . . .”
— Sam Tanenhaus, Tulsa World, February 22, 2015

On February 3 Pat sent me an email titled “Something to Look Forward To” with a link to an online report about the publication of the second novel by Harper Lee, the author of the best-selling Southern novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

In the report, written by Maddie Drum of Huffington Post, the reporter had this to say about the event:

“Harper Lee, the author of the beloved novel To Kill a Mockingbird, will publish a second book this summer. Go Set a Watchman was completed in the 1950s, but set aside by the writer, who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for the only novel she ever published.”

To read the actual report, click here.

To Kill a Mockingbird

A second article titled “Why ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ remains relevant today” by Sam Tanenhaus appeared on the Opinion Page of the Tulsa World on February 22, 2015. According to the writer:

“. . .  even now . . . the book sells 1 million copies a year—holding its own against each season’s biggest releases and yielding its author an annual royalty of about $1.7 million. It’s been translated into 40 languages. One British survey ranked [it] 65th among all-time bestsellers.”

10 Old School Southern Rules

“There are rules upon rules in the South. Some spoken and some unspoken. It can be hard to keep up with all of them, and depending on where you live in the South . . . , you might adhere to some rules more than others. Here’s a list of some old school Southern rules you may not know or have forgotten.”
—Jenny Bradley, “10 Old School Southern Rules
to Abide by in the Present,”
Country Outfitter, July 1, 2014

Southern Belles and Beaux at the Natchez, MS, Spring Pilgrimage held on March 7 to April 7, 2015

Southern Belles and Beaux at the Natchez, MS, Spring Pilgrimage held from March 7 to April 7, 2015 (to magnify the photo, click on it, and then see the note and link to it below)

On March 3, 2015, my cousin Kay Barrett Bell, a native of Selma/McGehee, Arkansas, sent me an online link to an interesting site titled “10 Old School Southern Rules to Abide by in the Present.” (To read these rules, click on the title.)

Some of these tongue-in-cheek “rules” you may have seen or heard before, and some may even be considered outdated by some people’s loose standards of Southern etiquette. But they are worth a revisit, especially since the author of this blog post, an obvious Mississippi resident who comments on each rule, claims to be a fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks! Woooo pig, sooooeeey!

Would an (at least honorary) Arkie of the Covenant lie about such an important subject as good Southern manners?

Nevah, honey chile, jus’ nevah!

Now by-by, y’all . . . til’ nex’ time!

PS After I had composed this post on March 24 Pay Scavo sent me a link to the Natchez (MS) Spring Pilgrimage held from March 7 to April 7, 2015. To learn more about the pilgrimage, click here and see the link in the Sources section below.

Addenda and Conclusion

Your posts are the epitome of
southern scholarship among other things. . . .
Some of the greatest things ever written
have been written in exile. . . .
[Your] exile is the root of your genius!”
—Paul Talmadge in emails to Jimmy Peacock
on March 6 and 15

“Gathering up the fragments of the events in our lives helps us to put the proper closure to things that really matter to us. No matter what happens to us, big or small, miraculous or plain, may we remember to ‘gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’”
—Mark Bossuti-Jones, author of the daily entry for March 15
based on John 6:12 NRSV in the Episcopal devotional Forward Day By Day
www.forwardmovement.org

Whether Paul Talmadge’s comments about my “southern scholarship” and “exile [as] the root of [my] genius” are true or not, the quote from Mark Bossuti-Jones from the Episcopal daily devotional Forward Day By Day on the importance of “gather[ing] up the fragments of the events in our lives” is certainly true!

Cover of the February/March/April issue of Forward Day By Day

Cover of the February/March/April issue of Forward Day By Day

In fact, that is precisely what I have been trying to do over the past thirty-eight years of my “Oklahomian exile,” and especially over the past four years since I began not only to “gather up the fragments of the events in my life” but also to preserve them in this blog “so that nothing may be lost.”

As a Chickasaw cultural historian says in an Oklahoma TV ad for his tribe and his work in restoring and preserving its heritage: “I am trying to preserve the past for the sake of the future.”

May you also begin (or continue) to “gather up the fragments of your own life” and find some way or place to preserve them for the sake of future generations “so that nothing may be lost.”

Sources

The photos of the Lake Dick water tower, the RC and Moon Pie, and the Ground Zero Blues Club were taken from Joe Dempsey’s Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind post for September 27, 2009, at: http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photo100119/photo111.html

The link to my earlier post titled “You Might Be from the Country, If . . . Part II” was taken from:
https://myokexilelit.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/you-might-be-from-the-country-if-part-ii/

The three photos of Gayle Harper, her book, and the Mississippi River were taken from her March 18 press release at: https://www.facebook.com/GayleHarper.MississippiRiver

The Facebook link to Gayle Harper’s book about her voyage down the Mississippi River was taken from:
https://www.facebook.com/GayleHarper.MississippiRiver

The link to Gayle Harper’s Web site was taken from:
http://gayleharper.com/

The photo titled “Gone With the Wind & My Southern Education” was taken from a link sent to me by Pat Scavo on March 5 from the Web site “The Bitter Southerner” at:
http://bittersoutherner.com/

The photo of the 1900 Dahomey Plantation cotton gin was sent to me on March 12 by Pat Scavo. More about Dahomey Plantation, which is up for sale, can be found at:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/deepfriedkudzu/67901764/

The photo of the map from the site titled “Which of the 11 American nations do you live in?” by Reid Wilson was sent to me by Paul Tamaldge on January 31, 2015, and was taken from:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/11/08/which-of-the-11-american-nations-do-you-live-in/?tid=trending_strip_3=

The report about the publication of Harper Lee’s second novel after To Kill a Mockingbird was sent to me by Pat Scavo and was taken from:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/03/harper-lee-novel_n_6603994.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

The photo of the cover of the first edition of the book To Kill a Mockingbird was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Kill_a_Mockingbird

The Tulsa World Online article titled “Why ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ remains relevant today” was taken from the following link on February 22, 2015:
http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/sam-tanenhaus-why-to-kill-a-mockingbird-remains-relevant/article_9b3b389a-b081-5256-bf55-1b20d9beefc3.html

The “10 Old School Southern Rules to Abide By in the Present” was sent to me by my cousin Kay Barrett Bell on March 3, 2015, and taken from:
http://www.countryoutfitter.com/style/10-old-school-southern-rules-abide-present/

The photo of the Natchez, MS, Spring Pilgrimage was sent to me by Pat Scavo and taken from:
http://www.natchezpilgrimage.com/natchez-spring-pilgrimage.php

The quote about gathering up the fragments of our lives was written by Mark Bossuti-Jones, author of the daily entry for March 15 in the Episcopal devotional Forward Day By Day. Copyright 2015. Used by permission. www.forwardmovement.org

The photo of the cover of the Forward By Day was taken from: Forward Day By Day: February/March/April issue. Copyright 2015. Used by permission.   www.forwardmovement.org

Introduction

“To an Irishman [a Southerner] th’ land he lives on is like his mother. . . . . There’s no gettin’ away from it, this love of th’ land. Not if there’s a drop of Irish [Southern] blood in ya.”
—Gerald O’Hara to Irish/Southern daughter Scarlett
in Gone With the Wind

“I live on a river. I have taken
hundreds of photographs of the water. . . .
I will never have my fill of photographing the water.
It reminds me of my thirst for wholeness and connection.”

—Mark Bozzuti-Jones, author of the daily entry for March 10
in the Episcopal daily devotional Forward Day by Day
www.forwardmovement.org

I had intended to publish a different “Delta Addenda, Etc., Part II” made up of accumulated items about the Delta, the South, and a few other non-related subjects.

However, I changed my schedule when I came across some items related to the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day. These items came in the form of an online article on the celebration of this Irish saint’s holiday in the South and another on Celtic “thin places.”

Of course, that term “thin places” means to me my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas, and the Mississippi River Delta of my youth and young adulthood. So I decided to compose a new “Delta Addenda, Etc., Part II” post on these subjects. The original “Part II” post will be edited to “Part III” and will be published in a couple of weeks.

Note: To magnify the photos in this post, simply click on each one as you view it.

Southern Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations

“Dubbed the World’s Shortest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade,
the Hot Springs [Arkansas] bash spans
a spectacularly stunted
ninety-eight feet of Bridge Street.”
—CJ Lotz, “Saint Patrick’s Day, Southern-Style,”
Garden & Gun, February-March 2015

On March 6, Pat Scavo, my high school classmate known to us still as Patsy Mc, sent me a link to an online article about “five Southern locales [to] go green (in a big way) on the luckiest day of the year.” To read that piece, click on the title above.

Of course, the reason Patsy Mc sent that piece to me is twofold: 1) Because she lives in Hot Springs, Arkansas, one of the cities featured in the short article, and; 2) Because she knew I was going to feature a segment in this post about Celtic “thin places” in Arkansas, which includes Hot Springs, a unique Ouachita Mountain retreat I have loved since I first visited it as an adolescent Delta flatlander in the late 1940s and last visited for a fifty-year class reunion in 2010.

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas, one of the five sites of Southern-style St. Patrick’s Day celebrations

(See my earlier post featuring some curiously related Hot Springs stories titled “The Three Unwise Men: An Arkansas Christmas Memory.”)

Celtic/Southern “Thin Places”
Between Heaven and Earth

“The phrases ‘thin veil’ or ‘thin place’ pointed to
God’s Immanence in the created world
—the holy right where we are, not far away. . . .
The presence of God is palpable in these places.”
—Ann Rose, author of the daily entry for February 3
in the Episcopal daily devotional Forward Day by Day
www.forwardmovement.org

 “I discovered the Celtic saints who wrote of God’s presence
throbbing in everything in creation. . . . God speaks to us through creation.”
—Ann Rose, author of the daily entry for February 26
in the Episcopal daily devotional Forward Day by Day
|www.forwardmovement.org

In two daily entries during the month of February in the Episcopal daily devotional Forward Day by Day quoted above, Ann Rose speaks of the Celtic tradition of “thin places.” By definition, these spiritual “thin places” are where there is the closest connection between heaven and earth.

These are special places where the presence of God abides most strongly, where He is experienced most vividly, and where He speaks most intimately.

As an “Arkie of the Covenant” (of mixed English, Irish, and Scotch-Irish ancestry), who has been living for almost forty years in exile from the Holy Land (my native state of Arkansas in general and my native Southeast Arkansas in particular), I have identified and sensed these special, personal “thin places” (which I also call “then places”) in my own life and have written about them throughout this blog.

It is only natural that I should do so, especially as the years of my life and my “exile” from these precious (and now previous) places of my childhood and youth have grown longer. It is also only natural that I should do so as my advancing age and failing health have increasingly kept me from making my “semi-annual pilgrimages to the Holy Land” in which these “thin/then places” of my past are located, though unfortunately many of them have already disappeared, and others are soon to follow.

Notice how many are churches (two Baptist and two Methodist), to which I have had a special personal relationship, and how many are of the inherent twin Irish/Southern elements of land and water.

Southeast Arkansas “Thin/Then Places”
That Renew My Spirit

“Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

—2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

Briefly, these personal “thin/then places” can be divided into two groups for which I have provided basically seven instances and photos, each with a scriptural reference to reflect their spiritual importance to me, especially as my physical existence becomes shorter and shorter.

First is my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas, including such places as:

  1. The farmhouse without electricity, telephone, or running water in which I was born in 1938;
My birthplace in Selma, Arkansas

“Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn.” (Isaiah 51:1 NIV)

  1. The two-room elementary school I attended as a boy;
Selma Elementary School

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 NIV)

  1. The general store/post office I frequented as often as possible; 
Selma general store in 1980s

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV)

  1. The Seven Devils Swamp from which God cast me out to become “an Exiled Arkie of the Covenant” but somehow, unlike Mary Magdalene, never saw fit to cast the Seven Devils out of me;
The Seven Devils Swamp near Selma, Arkansas

“[Jesus] appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” (Mark 16:9 KJV)

  1. The Selma Baptist Church, which my maternal grandfather co-founded and pastored in my childhood years;
Selma Baptist Church

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1 KJV)

  1. The Mt. Tabor Methodist Church and Cemetery, co-founded by my Georgia Peacock ancestors and where Mari and I will be buried alongside them;
Mt. Tabor Methodist Church

“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 KJV)

  1. The Selma Methodist Church, the first church I ever attended and the icon, the visual image that comes to my mind most frequently when I think of Selma, my beloved birthplace and childhood home.
Selma Methodist Church

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16 NIV)

Second is the Southeast Arkansas Delta and our hometown of McGehee, including:

  1. The First Baptist Church of McGehee where I was converted in 1949 and married in 1962;
"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Mark 10:9 KJV)

“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10:9 KJV)

  1. The McGehee Livestock Auction where I started out life as a cowboy and where my father died on May 25, 1954, when I was fifteen, thus ending my cowboy days;
McGehee Livestock Auction at time of Arthur Peacock's death

“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10 KJV)

  1. Bayou Bartholomew, “the longest bayou in the world,” which passes between Selma and McGehee;
Bayou Bartholomew

“Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.” (Psalm 126:4 KJV)

  1. The numerous cypress sloughs that dot the table-flat Delta landscape; 
Arkansas Delta cypress slough

“He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.” (Psalm 23:2 KJV)

  1. The Delta plantation houses like Lakeport Plantation and their luxurious fields of cotton;
Lakeport Plantation amid cotton fields

“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35 KJV)

  1. The quickly disappearing shotgun and dogtrot tenant farmer houses; 

Delta shotgun house side view
Delta shotgun house front view

Shotgun and dogtrot houises

“In my Father’s house are many mansions. . . . I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2 KJV)

  1. Perhaps most iconic, the Mississippi River itself, beside which Mari and I did much of our courting and where I went each time we returned to the Delta to dip my toe into the muddy water and renew my now seemingly impossible vow to one day “come home again.” 
The Delta Queen on the Mississippi River

“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life . . . proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Rev. 22:1 KJV)

Conclusion

“Nostalgia for certain values tends to set in just as they’re disappearing. Happily, nostalgia can bring those values back, too.”
—Paul Greenberg, “It really is a wonderful life,”
Tulsa World, December 19, 2013

To me all of these “thin/then places” are not only special they are indeed sacred though some of them, like me, have changed almost beyond recognition (as shown in the “mid to late 1940’s” photo of downtown McGehee below), or been replaced (like the high school I graduated from in 1956 and the Mississippi River bridge that Mari and I crossed hundreds of times in our courtship and marriage)—or even disappeared completely (like the most popular hangout for teens in the 1950s). (Be sure to click on the photos to magnify them.)

Parade in McGehee, Arkansas, in the "mid to late 1940s"

Parade in McGehee in the “mid to late 1940s” in which the young boy riding behind the police car looks like me

McGehee High School as it looked in 1956

McGehee High School as it looked when I graduated from it in 1956

Skyway in the 1950s

The Skyway Drive-In as it looked when first built in about 1950

Old Mississippi River bridge as seen from new bridge as the old one was being dismantled in about 2010-11

Old Mississippi River bridge (background) as viewed from the new bridge (foreground) as the old one was being dismantled in about 2010-11. (Note the barges passing beneath the new bridge as the old bridge passes away, thus leaving the past behind and heading for the future.)

But whether totally changed, replaced, or gone forever,  these are unique places where indeed heaven and earth do come closest, where I feel the presence of God most strongly, and where God appears to me most vividly, and where He speaks to me most intimately.

It has now been five long years since my last “Bucket-List Trip” to visit the remaining vestiges of these special, sacred, “thin/then places.” (See my first two posts on this blog titled “My ‘Bucket-List’ Trip, Part I” and “Part II.”)

I miss them greatly, which is one reason I am literally failing in health: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is also why four years ago in May I began to compose and publish this blog: “My Oklahomian Exile Literature by an Exiled Arkie of the Covenant.”

Like Norman Maclean, who wrote at the end of A River Runs through It, “I am haunted by waters,” I am also haunted by land, especially “the Holy Land.”

Unfortunately, as I say in one of my endless self-quotes: “Since my health has become so precarious, all of my joys must now be vicarious.”

Thank you for joining me in my ceaseless attempt to experience, even vicariously, the special “thin/then places” in my rapidly diminishing life. May you identify, revisit, and reconnect with all of your sacred “thin/then places” before they—and perhaps even you—also disappear!

Additional Links and Sources

To visit other Irish/Southern posts in this blog, go to:

“St. Patrick’s Day Tributes and Trivia,” March 14, 2012: https://myokexilelit.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/st-patricks-day-tributes-and-trivia/

“Some of My Favorite Irish Quotes,” March 21, 2012: https://myokexilelit.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/some-of-my-favorite-irish-quotes/

“Some Southern Stuff VI: Love of the Land,” April 25, 2012: https://myokexilelit.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/some-southern-stuff-vi-love-of-the-land/

“Saint Patrick and Other Irish Saints and Names,” March 10, 2014: https://myokexilelit.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/st-patrick-and-other-irish-saints-and-names/

The photo of Hot Springs was taken from a travel brochure on the sightseeing tower atop one of the mountains that surround that popular resort city.

The quote from Mark Bozzuti-Jones about his love for water and for photographing it was taken from the March 10 entry of the Episcopal daily devotional Forward Day by Day. Copyright 2015 Forward Movement. All rights reserved. Used by permission. www.forwardmovement.org

The quotes from Ann Rose about Celtic “thin places” were taken from the February 3 and 26 entries of the Episcopal daily devotional Forward Day By Day. Copyright 2015 Forward Movement. All rights reserved. Used by permission. www.forwardmovement.org

The link to the online article written by C. J. Lotz titled “Saint Patrick’s Day, Southern-Style,” as featured in the Garden & Gun Web site for February-March 2015, was sent to me on March 5 by Pat Scavo and was taken from:
http://gardenandgun.com/article/saint-patricks-day-southern-style

Most of the remaining photos were taken from my personal collection, except for the following:

The photo of the Seven Devils Swamp was taken from a November 15, 2013, article in Seark Today written by Patty Wooten and titled “Seven Devils: The Wildlife Paradise with the Ominous Name.”

The 1952 photo of my father in the ring at the McGehee Livestock Auction (no longer standing) was provided to the family by the now-defunct Arkansas Democrat.

The photo of the Arkansas cypress slough was taken from a postcard by Jenkins Enterprises at www.jenkins-enterprises.com.

The photo of Lakeport Plantation and cotton field was taken from the Lakeport Web site at http://lakeport.astate.edu/.

The photo of the Southern dogtrot house was taken from Joe Dempsey’s “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind” on 10/12/14 at:
http://corndancer.com/joephoto/photo360379/photo368.html

The photo of the Mississippi River was taken from a postcard from the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas, at: http://www.deltaculturalcenter.com/

The photos of McGehee in “the mid to late 1940s” and the Skyway Drive-In were taken from a now unknown source.

The photo of the McGehee High School building was taken from the 1956 MHS yearbook.

“The acquisition of memories is the business of life.”
—Carson the Butler in Downton Abbey

While I was composing the last few posts for my blog at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 I received several tidbits and updates from friends on subjects they thought might interest me.

During that same time period I collected several other items (such as the opening quote above on memory) that seemed to fit into the theme of my entire blog.

Since I finally closed my regular blogging of the seven-part series titled “You Might Be from the Country, Parts I-VII,” I thought I would try to make up a new post to share some of these various new tidbits I have received or collected over the past few months. However, after beginning that project I discovered that there was so much material I had to divide it into two posts.

I have titled this varied collection “Delta Addenda, Etc., Parts I and II” because in fact the items in these two posts deal with more than just the Delta, as you will see as you peruse each one. But regardless of their relationship to the Delta I think you will see why they were of interest to me and to those who sent them to me.

The items in this first post do relate directly to the Mississippi River Delta and its sharecropper-tenant farmer agriculture, the historic but rapidly changing plantation culture of the Delta, the importance of the cotton industry on which the Delta depended for so long, and a couple of recent winter storms that covered the cypress sloughs of Arkansas’ “Bayou Country” in a rare blanket of snow and ice.

Lake Dick Farm Cooperative

 Lake Dick represents the most socialistically oriented of the many cooperative farms established in the 1930’s.”
—Donna R. Causey, online article about Lake Dick,
a Depression-era Arkansas farm cooperative

The first of these Delta-related subjects is a link to a site about Lake Dick, an Arkansas Delta farming cooperative, that was sent to me by Paul Talmadge on January 18.

As noted in the opening quote above, Lake Dick “represents the most socialistically oriented of the many cooperative farms” established by the U.S. government during the Great Depression.

The site contains more information about the Lake Dick cooperative with photos of some of the farmers who lived on it. It also includes a photographic section on the importance of the general store in rural Arkansas in 1938, which happens to be the year I was born in rural Southeast Arkansas and the subject of another one of my previous posts titled: “Selma Store Evokes Boyhood Memories.”

Interior of Lake Dick general store in 1938

Interior of the Lake Dick general store in 1938, the year I was born

Selma general store as it looked in the 1980s

Selma general store as it looked in the 1980s, forty years after I left Selma in the 1940s (to magnify, click on the photo)

To visit the Lake Dick site and view the photos of some of the farmers, the cooperative, and the general store there, click here.

Farm laborers at Lake Dick, Arkansas

Farm laborers at Lake Dick

For more photos, be sure to click on the other links on the Lake Dick site.

Dockery Plantation

“Listen to the sounds of [Blues singer] Charley Patton
as you travel through history back to the birthplace of the Delta Blues.”

—“A Personal Video Tour of Dockery Farms”

On January 23, Pat Scavo sent me a link to a ten-minute video tour and history of Dockery Plantation, located across the Mississippi River from our hometown of McGehee, Arkansas. The video, narrated by Blues music legend B.B. King, claims that Dockery was the birthplace of Mississippi Delta Blues music.

To view the fascinating video, click here.

Blues legend B.B. King introduces the video on Dockery Plantation

Blues music legend B.B. King introducing the video on Dockery Plantation (to magnify, click on the photo)

Empire of Cotton

“In 1862, British merchant John Benjamin Smith boasted that the manufacture of cotton yarn and cloth had become ‘the greatest industry that ever had or could by possibility have ever existed in any age or country.’”
—Glenn C. Altschuler, “Book Review:
‘Empire of Cotton: A Global Industry,’”
Tulsa World Online, January 25, 2015

On January 25, the Tulsa World published a book review about cotton production written by Glenn C. Altschuler.

According to the reviewer, the book, titled Empire of Cotton: A Global History, written by Sven Beckert, shows how the cotton industry shaped the world. Interesting, despite the decline and virtual disappearance of the once predominant Cotton Kingdom in the Arkansas Delta, it is claimed in the article that “worldwide cotton production is expected to triple or quadruple by 2050.”

To read the informative review of this book about the history and future of cotton production, which I also examined in several of my previous posts, click here.

Empire of Cotton: A Global Industry

Empire of Cotton: A Global History

A $75 Cotton Branch!

“‘Leben-cent cotton and twenty–cent meat,
now that’s a combination ya jus’ cain’t beat.
How’n the hell they ‘spect a man ta eat,
with ‘leben-cent cotton and twenty-cent meat!”
—Depression-era cotton farmer’s lament
(quoted in earlier post
“Wish I was in the Land of Cotton, Part II”)

On the subject of cotton, here is a photo of a cotton branch that was sent to me by Pat Scavo on February 15 with the cryptic note: “$75 for a branch of cotton . . . better than making a dress out of a flour sack.”

Seventy-five-dollar branch of cotton

Seventy-five-dollar branch of cotton (to magnify, click on the photo)

My wife says that at those prices cotton farmers ought to quit trying to pick and bale and sell their cotton crop as fiber and simply break off the branches, put them in vases, and sell them as art decorations!

For the source of this photo, see the Sources section at the end of the post. For links to other sources of cotton art, simply Google “cotton branch art” or “cotton stalk art.”

Delta Winter Storms and Cypress Trees,
Baby Doll House in Snow

“In the Delta, snowfall, like an alligator sighting,
is just rare enough to cause a stir
among the locals and make headlines
in the newspapers.”

—Jimmy Peacock

On February 18, 2015, the McGehee Times, our hometown newspaper, published several photos of a recent ice storm that had struck the Arkansas Delta.

Here is a photo of the cypress trees in the McGehee city park which are loaded down not with Spanish moss but with Southern ice! (To magnify, click on the fuzzy photo.)

McGehee Ice Storm

The photo caption read:

“A shot of winter weather covered trees and powerlines with ice Monday. While these reports of brief power outages in McGehee affecting nearly 1,200 customers, there were longer outages in rural areas west to Drew County [in which I was born in 1938]. Officials say the brief period of freezing rain did not cause any major road problems in the McGehee-Dermott [Mari’s 1942 birthplace] area. The storm that brought winter precipitation also brought frigid temperatures behind it. (Photo by Debbie Gilbert.)”

Shortly after I had inserted this segment about the icy cypress trees in the McGehee city park, on March 2 I received Joe Dempsey’s Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind post which contained abut thirty photos of a six-or-seven-inch snowfall in his Delta hometown of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The very first photo on that post was of a cypress-studded lake covered with snow, a much clearer photo than the one I had scanned of the McGehee ice-covered cypress trees. As Joe noted:

“Enough snow has accumulated on the boughs of these fine cypress trees to make them bend with the weight — and the snow continues to fall.”

Snow-covered cypress trees in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Snow-covered cypress trees in Pine Bluff, Arkansas to magnify, click on the photo)

What is interesting is that Joe was the one who suggested and helped to establish the Wiley A. McGehee Memorial City Park. To view Joe’s entire Weekly Grist post with all his professional-grade photos of snowy scenes in Pine Bluff, click here.

After I had prepared this part of the post I received the following photo from Pat Scavo showing the Burrus (Baby Doll) House in Benoit, Mississippi, just across the River from McGehee, as it looked after a recent snow storm. (To learn more about this house and the Hollywood plantation on which it sits, click here.)

Snow-covered Burrus (Baby Doll) House in Benoit, MS

Snow-covered Burrus (Baby Doll) House in Benoit, MS (to magnify, click on the photo)

Sources

The photos and link to the Lake Dick farm cooperative from the 1930s were provided by Paul Talmadge from:
http://daysgoneby.me/arkansas-lake-dick-represents-socialistically-oriented-many-cooperative-farms/

The photo and link to the video about Dockery Plantation in the Mississippi River Delta was provided by Pat Scavo and taken from:
http://dockeryfarms.org/notes/personal-video-tour-dockery-farms

The link to the Tulsa World January 25 review of the book Empire of Cotton: A Global History was taken from Tulsa World Online at:
http://www.tulsaworld.com/scene/books/book-review-empire-of-cotton-a-global-history/article_13922dc7-0410-5ddf-8482-47298e985fc9.html

The photo of the cover of the book Empire of Cotton: A Global History was taken from:
http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Cotton-A-Global-History/dp/0375414142

The Depression-era poem about the price of cotton and meat was taken from a previous post titled “Wish I Was in the Land of Cotton, Part II” at:
https://myokexilelit.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/wish-i-was-in-the-land-of-cotton-part-ii/

The photo of the cotton branch was sent to me by Pat Scavo and was taken from:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/s600x600/10987008_10200213783184814_5568512315629798260_n.jpg?oh=ee69e504e66a3b75df5b967cdb368f43&oe=55592E84&__gda__=1431037819_d931795680f5f11c78ef2d4be49a3159

The photo and caption of the McGehee city park with the cypress trees covered with ice were taken from the February 18, 2015, issue of the McGehee Times and used with permission.

The photo of the snow-covered cypress trees in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was taken from Joe Dempsey’s Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind blog post published on March 1, 2015 at:
http://corndancer.com/joephoto/photo380399/photo387.html

The photo of the Burrus (Baby Doll) House in the snow in Benoit, MS, was sent to me by Pat Scavo on February 27, 2015, and was taken from:
http://www.hollywoodplantation.com/directions.html

Introduction

“If you don’t understand who you are
and where you come from,
it’s hard to understand your place now.”
—actor John Turturro, quoted in
Parade magazine on February 15, 2015

In the previous six posts in this series “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Parts I-VI” I attempted to explain who I am by examining where I came from as a country boy born and raised in rural Arkansas.

In the last of these posts, Part VI, I presented some “false French” that I encountered in my years as a French teacher, translator, and interpreter.

Now in this last post in that seven-part series I offer some of my favorite French quotations collected over the years of my life and career. Due to ongoing health issues, this may be my last post for the foreseeable future.

Favorite French Sayings

Quand nous étions en Arkansas,
dix des Français qui m’accompagnaient
ont demandé un établissement sur la rivière Arkansas.

(“When we were in Arkansas,
ten of the Frenchmen who accompanied me
requested a settlement on the Arkansas River.”)
—Henri de Tonti,
Explaining establishment of Arkansas Post (1686),
Historical Collection of Louisiana, Vol. 1, p. 68

“I started out life as a cowboy in Arkansas
and came to Oklahoma as a French-English translator.
As our Yankee friends say, ‘Go figure!’”

—Jimmy Peacock

If you have followed my blog all through these three-and-a-half-plus years and more than a hundred-twenty-plus posts you may recognize the first quotation above which appeared in my earlier post titled “Arkansiana IV: Arkansas’ French Connection.”

Jimmy Peacock as a cowboy in the mid-1940s

Me as a cowboy in my birthplace of Selma,  Arkansas, in the mid-1940s (to magnify, click on the photo)

Jimmy Peacock dressed as a Frenchman in the mid-1960s

Me as a Frenchman at a French teachers’ institute in the mid-1960s (to magnify, click on the photo)

You may also have noted my explanation of my own personal connection to the French language in a post titled “How the Words in Italics Changed My Whole Life” and my love for French Louisiana that led to our disastrous honeymoon to Cajun Country and New Orleans in December 1962. (See my post titled “Our Honeymoon Was No Honeymoon for Mari.”)

As a result of my years of studying and teaching French I eventually became a French-English translator and interpreter for an international Christian organization in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Later, I became the U.S. representative and translator/interpreter for a traveling French evangelist.

Through all those years of exposure to the French language, I came across several French sayings that have stuck with me.

Here are just a few of my favorites. I must admit that now, almost four decades later, the origin of some of these French quotes is unknown or forgotten.

“Ce qui n’est pas clair n’est pas français.”
(“What is not clear is not French.”)
—Antoine de Rivarol
L’universalité de la langue française
(The Universality of the French Language)

“Chaque jour je fais deux choses que je déteste;
je me lève et je me couche.”
(“Every day I do two things that I hate:
I get up and I go to bed.”)
—Unknown

“Nul homme n’est un héros pour son valet de chambre.”
(“No man is a hero to his personal valet.”)
—Quoted by French evangelist Jean-Louis Jayet

“Aujourd’hui, ce qui ne vaut pas la peine à dire, on le chante.”
(“Today, what is not worth saying is being sung.”)
—Anonymous

“Ne me dites pas que ce problème est difficile.
S’il n’était pas difficile, ce ne serait pas un problème.”
(“Don’t tell me that this problem is difficult.
If it were not difficult it would not be a problem.”)
—Ferdinand Foch

Ferdinand Foch

Ferdinand Foch

Le cœur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point.”
(“The heart has its reasons, that reason knows nothing about.”)
—Blaise Pascale

“L’homme n’est rien, l’oeuvre tout.”
(“Man is nothing, work is everything.”)
—Gustave Flaubert in letter to George Sand,
quoted by Sherlock Holmes in The Red-Headed League,
from “Literary Skills of Sherlock Holmes” by Ted Friedman.

“De la discussion jaillit la lumière.”
(“From discussion springs forth light.”)
(Provided the discussion is honest, accurate, and amiable!)
—Nicolas Boileau

“La France a perdu une bataille,
mais
 la France n’a pas perdu la guerre . . . .
La France
 ne peut pas être la France sans grandeur.”
(“France has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war. . . .
France cannot be France without grandeur.”)
—Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle (to magnify, click on the photo)

“L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.”
(“Audacity, audacity, always audacity.”
or, “Dare, dare, always dare.”)
—Attributed to both Georges Danton of France
and Frederick II of Prussia,
quoted by Gen. George Patton in the movie Patton

Georges Danton

Georges Danton

Frederick II

Frederick II

George Patton

George Patton

And my favorite French quote,
the official slogan of the French-speaking
Canadian province of Quebec:
“Je me souviens.”
(“I Remember.”)

Forget the Past! How Can I Do That?

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing . . .”
—Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

The quote above about forgetting the past was the scripture passage for the daily devotional lesson from The Upper Room for February 21, the day I wrote this section of this post. Coincidentally, it was also the date on which I began work as a French-English translator at the Osborn Foundation in Tulsa in 1977, thus beginning my Oklahomian Exile.

Paradoxically, when I inserted that biblical quote I had already closed this section on my favorite French quotes with my own French self-quote about the past:

“Je déteste le présent et je crains l’avenir,
mais j’adore le passé.
C’est là où toute ma vie est allée
et où moi aussi j’irai bientôt!”
(“I hate the present
and I fear the future,
but I adore/worship the past.
That’s where all my life has gone
and where I too will soon go!”)
—Jimmy Peacock
(To hear this sentiment about the past
expressed in music, listen to 1950s crooner Eddie Fisher sing
“Turn Back the Hands of Time”)

On that note, as a “hopeless romantic and helpless neurotic French cowboy” I conclude this post and series with a link to a video of the inimitable French cabaret singer Edith Piaf performing “Non je ne regrette rien” (“No I regret nothing”) with French and English lyrics on screen. To read about Edith Piaf, click on her name; to hear the song with a totally different view of the past, click on its title.

Edith Piaf

Edith Piaf

On a lighter note, to watch an amusing minute-and-a-half take-off of this song from the popular computer-animated movie Madagascar III: Europe’s Most Wanted, click here.

 Conclusion

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
—Acts 2:4 NIV

Finally, in about 1983, after studying, teaching, translating, and interpreting French for more than twenty-five years, I was invited to come to France for an orientation visit with a French evangelist I represented at the time. It was the first and only time I ever set foot in any French-speaking country!

During that two-week visit I was interviewed on French radio. I still have a cassette recoding of that interview in which I gave my Christian testimony in French. (See my earlier post titled “My Religious Conversion.”)

Not bad for a “cowboy from Arkansas” (the son of a livestock dealer and the grandson of a country Southern Baptist preacher), an “exiled Arkie of the Covenant” whose only remaining contact with French is his daily Bible reading in the same French Bible he used to translate and interpret more than thirty years ago!

Jimmy Peacock holding his father's branding iron

Me holding my father’s branding iron

Rev. Willis Barrett, maternal grandfather of Jimmy Peacock and cofounder/pastor of the Selma Baptist church

Rev. Willis Barrett, my maternal grandfather and cofounder/pastor of the Selma Baptist church (to magnify, click on the photo)

Sources

The photo of Ferdinand Foch was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Foch

The photo of Charles de Gaulle was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Gaulle

The photo of Frenchman Georges Danton was taken from:
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Georges_Danton

The photo of Frederick II of Prussia was taken from:
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Frederick_II_of_Prussia

The photo of General George Patton from the movie Patton was taken from:
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Patton_(film)

The link to the video of Eddie Fisher singing “Turn Back the Hands of Time” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kp-yN7KeFQ

The photo of French cabaret singer Edith Piaf was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89dith_Piaf 

The YouTube video of Edith Piaf singing “Non je ne regrette rien” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRCYEkA0_q8

The YouTube video of “Non je ne regrette rien” from the movie Madagascar III: Europe’s Most Wanted was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTt4SrzibV0

 

Introduction

“It was on this date in February 1977 (the year that King Elvis died, see Isaiah 6:1) that I accepted the invitation from international evangelist T.L. Osborn to ‘come to Tulsa and help me get the Gospel to the French world.’ Thirty-eight years later I am still here . . . in My Oklahomian Exile from the Holy Land (Arkansas).”
—Jimmy Peacock

“In Arkansas there is a mountain,
and a state park on top of it,
both named Petit Jean . . .
But it ain’t Petty and it ain’t Gene!”
—Jimmy Peacock

In an earlier post titled “Moments to Remember/Selma Methodist Church Update” I wrote about our McGehee, Arkansas, High School Class of 1956 senior trip to Petit Jean State Park, which sits atop a mountain named Petit Jean.

McGehee High School as it looked in 1956

McGehee High School as it looked in 1956 at the time of our senior class trip to Petit Jean State Park (to magnify, click on the photo )

In that post and in earlier ones about Arkansas’ “French Connection” (the title of a popular 1971 Hollywood movie) I examined the early French exploration and settlement of what is now the state of Arkansas, including the many French names that have been left behind in it as a result.

Petit Jean is one of them, though, of course as has so often happens, the original French pronunciation (“p’tee ZHAW(N)”) has been anglicized into “Petty Gene.” (To read more on this subject of the French vestiges in my native state, including its very name, visit the posts titled: “Arkansiana I: The Name of Arkansas,” “Arkansiana II: Pronunciation of Arkansas,” “Arkansiana III: Change the Name of Arkansas,” and “Arkansiana IV: Arkansas’ French Connection.”)

Petit Jean State Park (to magnify, click on the photo)

Petit Jean State Park

Now in this new post (the next to final one in the series titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . .”) I would like to continue that theme. As such I will offer several other examples of misunderstanding, mispronunciation, and misuse of French terms and phrases in general among the American public. These are especially evident among TV news and sports announcers who might be expected to know better—or at least to take the time to look them up before mangling them beyond recognition by any real French speaker.

(Note: The correct pronunciations of the French terms and phrases in this post are actually only Americanized approximations since French has an entirely different set of sounds from English, sounds that can only be accurately represented in print by phonetic symbols. In this post, emphasis on syllables is indicated by ALL CAPS. Generally, in spoken French, syllables tend to begin with a consonant and end with a vowel, to be broken and pronounced equally, with emphasis on the final syllable of each word, phrase, and sentence, e.g., “Canada” pronounced in French “Cah-nah-DAH” rather than the English “CAN-uh-duh.”)

Mangled French Terms and Phrases

“Most Americans’ use of French words and phrases
is not just anglicized French, it is ‘manglicized’ French!”
—Jimmy Peacock

“Monsieur Hercule Poirot est blessé,
mais il fait toujours son travail à son bureau.”

(“Mr. Hercule Poirot is injured,
but he continues his work at his desk.”)
—Sample for French mispronunciation/misuse

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot

David Suchet as Monsieur Hercule Poirot

One of the most obvious misunderstandings by speakers of American English is that the final consonant in French is NEVER pronounced. Thus, French terms such as “Monsieur” are incorrectly pronounced “Muh-SIEU” when in reality the final “r” is pronounced in French “Muh-SIEUR.” This rule applies to many French words that end in “-eur” or “-ieur.”

On that subject, of course there is the French word all Americans use for “Miss”—”Mademoiselle”— which they pronounce as “MAM-zelle” when it is actually “Mad-mwah-ZELLE,” literally “my young lady.”

One bit of pretense that grates on my ear, nerves, and soul is the pronunciation of the French Quarter in New Orleans which was originally called the “vieux carré” (meaning literally, the “old square”). People who want to try to show off their knowledge of New Orleans French names will invariably mispronounce this term “VIEW kuhray,” when in actuality it is “vyuh cah-REH.”

Vieux Carre in New Orleans

The French Quarter in New Orleans

And then there is the NBA sports announcer who pronounces the last name of a pro basketball player named “Sucre” (which incidentally should be spelled “Sucré”) as “SHOO-gray”when it is neither “Shoo” nor “gray.” Instead it should be pronounced “Sue-CRAY.” (Incidentally, if the name is actually “Sucre,” then it should be pronounced “SUE-cruh” but still not “SHOO-gray.”)

Speaking of accents in French, which are of great importance in that language, the same type of “false French” occurs in writing.

In a recent syndicated religious devotional in the local newspaper on the subject of respecting the differences in people, the writer ended by noting, “As the French say, ‘Viva la difference.'”

The only problem is that expression is NOT French, it is “Spanglish.” The word “Viva” is Spanish, and the word “difference” is English!

The actual French phrase should have been “Vive la différence.”

Again, the question is: Before using such a French term, why did the writer (and the sports announcer above) not take the time and effort to first make sure it was correct?

Another example of false French is the mispronunciation of terms such as “masseur/masseuse” (“male/female massager”), pronounced in French “mah-SIR/mah-SIRZ,” which are NOT pronounced “mah-sewer/mah-soose”! Likewise, the terms “chanteur/chanteuse” (“male/female singer”) should not be pronounced “shan-tewer/shan-toose”!

Quelle horreur!

Then there is the false idea that French terms such as “poireau” (the French word for “pear”) and French names (such as “Hercule Poirot” in the quote above) are pronounced “PAW-row,” when in truth they are properly pronounced “pwah-ROW.” Another example is the name of the Bahamian-American movie actor named Sydney Poitier whose last name is NOT pronounced “POE-ti-aye,” but rather “pwah-ti-AYE.”

Actor Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier

Another is the false impression that in order to make the final “oh” sound on a French word, it has to end with “eau” and a final “x.” For example, I saw a TV ad for Louisiana State University which showed a sign reading “Geaux Tigers!” (“Go Tigers!”)

That is real cute and clever . . . except that the normally silent “x” at the end of a French word ending in “eau” (pronounced “oh”) simply indicates that the term is plural!

For example, take the common term “beau,” which is pronounced correctly in both French and English as “boh.” To add an “x” to the end of that French word “beau” so that it becomes “beaux” simply changes it to plural, as in the common French term “beaux arts,” which means “fine arts” and is pronounced “boh-ZAR.” (Note: The final “x” in such terms is pronounced only in front of a following word beginning with a vowel; otherwise, the final “x” is silent, as in “beaux regards,” pronounced “bo ruh-GAR”).

Yet in spite of this explanation it seems that any American (even in French-speaking Louisiana) who attempts to create a French word ending in “eau” (i.e., the “oh” sound) will automatically and incorrectly add an “x” to the end.

“Say it ain’t seaux, Jeaux!”

(To understand my double “pun” here in imitation of this practice of false French, click here to learn the origin and significance of the famous “Black Sox” baseball phrase: “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”)

Also consider the common French term “tête-à-tête” which is almost always incorrectly pronounced “tet-ah-TAY.” It is correctly pronounced “tet-ah-TET”— “head to head”—same word “tête” for “head” on each end!

Also there is the common but totally inaccurate attempt to pronounce the popular French show term “Cirque du Soleil” (“Circus of the Sun”) as “SURK-diew-so-lay” when it is actually more like “seerk-du-so-LAY-yuh.”

Then there is the French term so often both mispronounced and misused: “coup de grâce” which is almost always pronounced incorrectly as “koo-duh-GRAH” when it is actually “koo-duh-GRAHSE.” And it doesn’t mean a “death blow” per se since in this case the French word “grâce” means “grace” or “mercy.” It is thus the “mercy blow” given to put a poor suffering soul out if its misery.

And, of course, there is the common American term “chaise lounge” (a long, reclining chair usually mispronounced as “chase lounge”). That example of false French (or “manglicized French”) occurred because of both misspelling and mispronunciation. The actual French term is “chaise longue” (meaning “long chair” and pronounced “shez LOWNG”).

In that same opening quote above about Mr. Poirot working at his desk, there is an excellent example of another type of false French: what the French themselves call “faux amis” (pronounced “foe-zah-ME”), which literally means “false friends.” (Note the use of the final “x” again to indicate that the term is plural.) These are words in French that look like they are the same as English but are not: for example, the French word “travail” (pronounced “trah-VYE-yuh”) means not “travail” or “travel” but “work.”

Here is another set of false friends: The French word “la prune” (pronounced “la PREWne”) does not mean “prune” but “plum”; and the French word for “prune” is “le pruneau” (pronounced “luh prew-NO”). Of course, by now you know that the plural form of “le pruneau” would be . . . you guessed it, “les pruneaux” (pronounced “lay prew-NO”)!

Another false friend is the French term “blessé” (pronounced “bless-AYE”), which does not mean “blessed” but rather “injured” or “wounded.”

Finally, a third example of a false friend is the French word “raisin” (pronounced something like “ray-ZAI(N),” which does not mean “raisin” but “grape.” The French word for “raisin” is “raisin sec” (pronounced “ray-zai(n) SEK”), meaning literally “grape dry” or “dried grape.”

Though I could list hundreds of other examples of false French terms, phrases, pronunciations, and meanings, there is the universal American misconception that the final “r” in all French terms ending in “-oir” is silent. That is NOT true.

Here are examples of such terms with their English mispronunciations and their correct French pronunciations: “boudoir” (English: “BOOD-wah”/French: “boo-DWAHR”); “memoir” (English: “MEM-wah”; French: “mem-WAHR”); “armoire” (English: “ARM-wah”; French: “arm-WAHR”).

And on that subject, despite what you may hear on the old movies channels, the infamous 1940s “film noir” (literally “black film”) genre is not pronounced “film nwah” but rather “feelm-NWAHR.”

Again, the examples are legion, but “voilà” (pronounced not as in English “WAH-lah” but as in French “vwah-LAH”) those that I have chosen!

The others will have to await a future post. Until then: “au revoir” (pronounced correctly not as “AH-vwah” or “OH-vwah” but as “oh–ruh-VWAHR.”)

“Until we see each another again.”

Addenda and Conclusion

“Pralines have an interesting history. Their origin may be traced to France in the 1600s to the grand manor house of the French diplomat Cesar compte du Plessis-Praslin.”
—Barry Fugatt, “Pecan pralines help beat the winter blues,”
Tulsa World, December 27, 2014

On a related subject, Mari and I were married on December 27, 1962, after which we spent our honeymoon in Cajun Country and New Orleans. (See my earlier post titled “Our Honeymoon Was No Honeymoon for Mari.”)

Coincidentally, on the day of our fifty-second wedding anniversary, December 27, 2014, Barry Fugatt, a native of Louisiana and the Tulsa World garden editor, published a column in which he cleared the air once and for all about the proper pronunciation of both the words “praline” and “pecan”!

Pecan pralines

Pecan pralines

First, Fugatt noted the source of pralines (in the opening quote above) as a certain French nobleman named Cesar compte du Plessis-Praslin. I can assure you that name would be pronounced in French something like: “Say-ZAR kawnte du Ples-SEE—Prahz-LAI(N).”

The source of the English word “praline” is that last name “Prahz-LAI(N).” Although French nasals are almost impossible to represent in writing in English, the fact is that as Fugatt notes the proper pronunciation “prah-leen” is closer to the French than the popular but totally inaccurate pronunciation “pray-leen”:

“And while on the subject of pralines, please allow an old Southerner to weigh in on a contentious subject. The proper pronunciation for the fabulous French confection is: ‘Prah-leen,’ with a long ‘aaah’ sound. Only Yankees, or folks with poor speech modulation, use the shrill sounding pronunciation, ‘Pray-leen.’

“And if I may be allowed another small insight—no offense intended—the proper name for the nut from which the confection takes its name is rightly pronounced: ‘Puh-kahn’ and not ‘Pee-can.’ Sons and daughters of the South can hardly endure hearing the confection called ‘pee-can pray-leen.’ It has all the melodic charm of finger nails being scraped along a blackboard.”

Amen, mon ami de Louisiane! (pronounced in French: “Ah-men, mow-nah-mi duh Lwee-ZYAHNE!”)

Speaking of French and Country, on January 2, 2014, I saw an article on AOL about the death of Donna Douglas, a native of Louisiana, who played Elly May Clampett on the highly popular 1960s TV show The Beverly Hillbillies about a country family from the Ozark Mountains.

The Beverly Hillbillies

The Beverly Hillbillies

It so happens that I met Donna back in about 1983 at Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where she was a student after her TV career. I was there to interpret for a French evangelist for whom I served as American representative. The Rhema contact person asked us if we wanted to meet Donna Douglas.

Of course, I said yes. The French evangelist did not know who Donna was, but I explained to him in French that she was a hugely popular American TV star.

When we met her, Donna was very soft-spoken, sweet, and beautiful—just like Elly May.

Donna Douglas

Donna Douglas in 1967

When she learned that I was from Arkansas she asked me, “Did y’all eat grits?”

I said jokingly, “Why, if it hadn’t been for the weevils in the grits we wouldn’t have had any protein in our diet at all!”

She thought that was funny.

Note: The final post in this series, titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Part VII,” will conclude the series with a few of my favorite French quotes. To that list I have added a link to a French song performed by Edith Piaf and an amusing take-off of it from the recent kids’ movie Madagascar III: Europe’s Most Wanted.

Sources

All French-English words, meanings, and pronunciations were verified by Cassells’ French-English English-French Dictionary and the Visual Bilingual French-English Dictionary.

The photo of the McGehee High School building (no longer standing) was taken from the 1956 MHS yearbook.

The photo of Petit Jean State Park was taken from a travel brochure published by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

The photo of the French Quarter, the vieux carré, in New Orleans was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Quarter

The photo of actor David Suchet as fictional Belgian detective Hercule Poirot was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercule_Poirot

The photo of actor Sidney Poitier was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Poitier

The quote from Barry Fugatt’s article on pecan pralines was taken from “Pecan pralines help beat the winter blues,” which appeared in the Tulsa World on Saturday, December 27, 2014.

The photo of pecan pralines was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praline

The Wikipedia article about the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies and the photo of the titleboard of it were taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beverly_Hillbillies

The Wikipedia article about Donna Douglas and the photo of her in 1967 were taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Douglas

Introduction

“Hate to burst your bubble, sweetheart, but a Stetson
and a pair of Tony Lamas [Western boots] doesn’t make a man a cowboy.”
― Victoria VaneSlow Hand, taken from
“Quotes about Cowboys”

In the preceding posts, “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Parts III and IV,” I offered quizzes on the subject of Country-Western terms, grade-B TV and movie cowboys, old Country-Western songs, and John Wayne Western movies.

Now in this fifth post in the series I test your knowledge of some popular 1950s and 60s weekly TV Westerns not included in the quizzes above, which turned out to be a more daunting and time-consuming task than I had envisioned.

I had planned to include in this post samples of some commonly mispronounced and misused French words and phrases that grate on my ears, my nerves, and my soul! That segment will now appear in my next two posts along with some of my favorite French quotations that I picked up over my decades as a “French cowboy” teacher, translator, and interpreter.

The “Dusty Dozen”:
A Quiz on Popular 1950s and 60s TV Westerns

“Riverboat, ring your bell,
Fare thee well Annabel.
Luck is the lady that he loves the best.
Natchez to New Orleans,
Livin’ on jacks and queens,
________ is a legend of the West.”
Theme song of one of the
most popular 1950s-60s TV Westerns
(See the answers section.)

Now here is a twelve-point quiz on some of the most popular 1950s and 60s TV Westerns. (Hint: Jot down your answers to each of the questions.)

  1. This popular series ran from 1957 to 1962 and featured not only the theme song (see above and in the answers section) but also three Western gamblers, cousins by the names of Bret, Bart, and later their English cousin Beau. Question: What is the name of the series and who played Bret, Bart, and Beau?
  1. This Western TV series, shown from 1957 to 1963, featured Richard Boone as an itinerant hired gun who quoted literary sources and spoke several languages. The opening of each episode featured a specially designed business card with the title on it. It also had a popular theme song which began with the name of the gunman. What was the name of the show and its gunslinger star?
  1. Shown from 1955 to 1963 this series featured a very tall and muscular cowboy whose first name was that of a Western Native-American tribe. According to an online source, “After the Civil war adventurer ___________ roamed the west looking for fights, women and bad guys to beat up. His job changed from episode to episode.” Name the title of the show, the Western hero portrayed in it, and the actor who played him.
  1. This series, which ran from 1955 to 1961, was loosely based on the life and adventures of a famous Western lawman who supposedly “cleaned up the country, the old wild west country, [and] made law and order prevail.” Known for his nappy dress, his flat-topped hat, and his long-barreled Buntline pistols, he was played by ruggedly handsome Hugh O’Brian (whom some of my country relatives used to think looked like me when I was forty years younger!). What was the name of the TV series and the famous lawman whose life it depicted?
  1. This series, featuring popular movie star Steve McQueen, ran from 1958 to 1961. According to the Internet, it is about “a Civil War veteran with a sawed-off rifle as a holstered weapon [who] makes a living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870s.” McQueen was perhaps best known for his long and successful movie career in which he starred in such Western classics as The Magnificent Seven and other action movies like The Great Escape and Bullitt with that now-famous car chase scene. What was the name of this Western TV series and the bounty hunter portrayed in it?
  1. Set in a geographical/topographical location in California that provided its name, this Western series (1965-69) was somewhat different from the others of its day in that its lead character was a strong female played by veteran movie actress Barbara Stanwyck. In this capacity Stanwyck ruled and reigned over a family which included characters played by Lee Majors (later to gain fame as The Six-Million-Dollar Man and The Fall Guy and as the husband of famous and iconic model-actress Farrah Fawsett) and Linda Evans (who went on to garner further TV fame in a highly popular “1980 prime time soap opera” titled Dynasty.) What were the names of that Western series and its female head of household?
  1. In contrast to the matriarchal Western family in the preceding series, this series was definitely male-dominate with deep-voiced Canadian actor Lorne Greene playing Ben Cartwright, the head of the Cartwright clan, which consisted of three grown sons. (As someone has noted, it was interesting to see a fifty-year-old man who headed a family of three forty-year-old sons.) Sporting a name related to a huge fortune or good luck, in keeping with its Nevada location, this series “ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series.” What was the name of this series, the names of three Cartwright “boys,” and the names of the three actors who portrayed them?
  1. This Western series originally ran from 1952-1961, prompting Wikipedia to note that it ran twenty years and was thus “the United States’ longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes.” Set in and around Dodge City, Kansas, its principal characters were the resident U.S. marshal, his two sidekick deputies (played in different roles by two different actors for different periods), his “love interest” as the owner-manager of the most frequented saloon in town, and the gruff but loveable local medical doctor. Name the enormously popular series, the fictional marshal, his two sidekick-deputies, his long-suffering “girlfriend,” her dearly beloved saloon, and the dedicated medico—plus the names of the actors who played them.
  1. According to Wikipedia, the next American Western TV series “showed a fictionalized account of the life of real-life marshal/gambler/dandy ___ _________. The title character was played by Gene Barry and the half-hour black-and-white shows ran on NBC from 1958 to 1961.” In real life, the dapper character portrayed in this series went on to become (of all things) a New York newspaper sports writer while the actor who played him went on to appear in a TV show titled Burke’s Law. That later series ran on ABC from 1963 to 1965 and was revived on CBS in the 1990s. Can you name the title of the Western show and the actual character whose life it supposedly portrayed?
  1. According to Wikipedia, this Western series ran on NBC from 1957 to 1962 and then on ABC from 1962 to 1965, eight years in all. The series initially starred veteran movie supporting actor Ward Bond (a longtime friend of John Wayne’s who appeared in several of Wayne’s Western movies). After Bond’s death he was replaced by John McIntire. The scout in the show was played by Robert Horton who was later replaced by actor and horse rancher Robert Fuller. What was the name of the series?
  1. Again according to Wikipedia, this immensely popular Western starred James Drury and Doug McClure and famed character actor Lee J. Cobb. Loosely based on a 1902 novel by Owen Wister, it aired on NBC from 1962 to 1971 for a total of 249 episodes. The first TV Western show to run ninety minutes instead of the usual one hour or half-hour, it lasted nine seasons, making it the third-longest-running TV Western. What was it called and what were the names of the characters played by Drury, McClure, and Cobb?
  1. Finally, but definitely not least, according to Wikipedia this last classic Western “starring Eric Fleming and _____ _________ aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965, before moving to Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965 until January 4, 1966, with a total of 217 black-and-white episodes. . . . . Spanning seven and a half years, [it] was the fifth-longest-running American television Western.” Its star, who played an irascible cowboy character named Rowdy Yates, went on to become a legendary Western movie actor who also made some memorable hard-nosed detective movies. Can you guess the name of the show, the curious name of the character played by Eric Fleming, and the now legendary name of the tough Western actor who played Rowdy Yates? Go ahead and try! “Make my day!”

Answers to “Dusty Dozen” Quiz

Following are the answers to the “Dusty Dozen” quiz on popular 1950s and 1960s Western TV shows:

  1. Answers: Maverick: James Garner as Bret, Jack Kelly as Bart, and Roger Moore as Beau. (To hear the show’s theme song on YouTube, click here.) (Incidentally, James Garner, the native Oklahoman who played the original and lead character named Bret Maverick on TV, later starred in a 1994 movie by the same title as the TV series playing Marshall Zane Cooper with Bret Maverick being played by Mel Gibson.)

    James Garner as Bret Maverick

    James Garner as Bret Maverick

  2. Answers: Have Gun-Will Travel. Paladin(To hear the show’s theme song on YouTube, click here.)

    Richard Boone as Palladin

    Richard Boone as Paladin

  3. Answers: Cheyenne: Cheyenne Brodie, Clint Walker.  (To hear his theme song on YouTube, click here.)

    Clint Walker as Cheyenne Brodie

    Clint Walker as Cheyenne Brodie

  4. Answers: The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp.  (To hear his theme song on YouTube, click here.)

    Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp

    Hugh O’Brian as Wyatt Earp

  5. Answers: Wanted: Dead or Alive: Josh Randall.

    Steve McQueen as Josh Randall

    Steve McQueen as Josh Randall

  6. Answers: The Big Valley: Victoria Barkley.

    The cast of the TV Western "The Big Valley"

    The cast of the TV Western series The Big Valley

  7. Answers: Bonanza: Pernell Roberts as Adam, Dan Blocker as Hoss, and Michael Landon as Little Joe.

    The TV screen titleboard of the Western series "Bonanza"

    The TV screen titleboard of the Western series Bonanza

  8. Answers: Gunsmoke: U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon played by James Arness; Chester Goode played by Dennis Weaver and Festus Haggen played by Ken Curtis; Miss Kitty Russell played by Amanda Blake (the red-haired proprietress of the Longbranch Saloon); and loveable old “Doc” (Dr. Galen Adams) played by Milburn Stone.

    The TV screen titleboard of the Western series "Gunsmoke"

    The TV screen titleboard of the Western series Gunsmoke

  9. Answer: Bat Masterson.

    Gene Barry as the Western TV lawman Bat Masterson

    Gene Barry as the TV Western lawman Bat Masterson

  10. Answer: Wagon Train.

    The lead characters in the TV Western series "Wagon Train"

    Robert Horton and Ward Bond as lead characters in the TV Western Wagon Train

  11. Answers: The Virginian: The name of the Virginian played by James Drury was never revealed in the nine years of the show; the character played by Doug McClure was called simply Trampas; and the character played by Lee J. Cobb was Judge Garth.

    The TV screen titleboard for the Western series "The Virginian"

    The TV screen titleboard for the Western series titled The Virginian

  12. Answers: Rawhide: Gil Favor, Clint Eastwood. (To view a two-minute video with scenes from the show and its famous theme song, click here. To view a two-minute video clip featuring a likeness and the voice of Clint Eastwood as “the spirit of the West” in the popular computer-generated kids’ movie Rango, click here. It is the source of one of my favorite quotes: “No man can walk out on his own story.” That’s why I keep writing and blogging about my own story at age seventy-six when that story is nearing its end with as yet no decisive conclusion or discernible purpose.)

    Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates in the TV Western "Rawhide"

    Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates in the TV series Rawhide

Addenda

More Western Songs

“A time to be reaping
A time to be sowing
The green leaves of summer
Are calling me home.”

—The Brothers Four,
“The Green Leaves of Summer” from the 1960 movie
The Alamo with John Wayne
(To hear this song sung by the Brothers Four, click here.)
(To hear the complete 15-minute
soundtrack to The Alamo film, click here.)

My last post featured several quizzes about old Western TV shows and movies. It also had one quiz about 1950s and 60s Western songs. Here are five others that I have thought of since that time. These five do not include the one quoted above from the 1960 John Wayne movie titled The Alamo, which Mari and I first saw at the drive-in theater in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, before our marriage and while we were attending summer school at our alma mater of Ouachita Baptist College.

See if you can identify each of these five Western songs by inserting the missing words in their lyrics and providing their titles.

  1. “Give me land, lots of land,
    Under starry skies above,
    Don’t ___________ me in.”
  2. “The stars at night
    Are big and bright,
    Deep in the heart of __________.”
  3. “Across the alley from the Alamo,
    Lived a pinto pony and a ________.”
  4. “Away, I’m bound away,
    Across the wide _______________.”
  5. “Out in the West Texas town of ___ ____
    I fell in love with a Mexican girl.”

Answers to Five Western Songs Quiz

Here are the answers to the five Western songs with blanks for the missing words as verified and quoted from Wikipedia.

  1. “Don’t fence me in” from the song of the same title. (To view a three-and-a-half-minute video of this song performed by Roy Rogers with Trigger dancing to the tune, click here.)
  2. “Deep in the Heart of Texas” from the song of the same title. (To view the lyrics to this song, click here.)
  3. “Navajo,” from the song “Across the Alley from the Alamo.” (To view the lyrics to this song, click here.)
  4. “Across the Wide Missouri” from the song “Oh, Shenandoah.” (To hear this song sung by The Kingston Trio, click here.)
  5. “El Paso” from the song of the same title. (To read about this song, click here. To listen to it sung by Marty Robbins on YouTube video, click here.)

Two More Addenda

By an amazing coincidence, while I was making up this post during the last week or so of December, my wife pointed out to me a “Southern Journal” entry on the same subject of old 1950s and 60s Western TV shows that appeared in the January 2015 issue of Southern Living magazine.

The entry was written by Rick Bragg who, according to Southern Living “is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and author of several best-selling books, including Ava’s Man and Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story.”

Titled “Cowboys Are Her Weakness” the entry describes the author’s mother and her abiding love for certain of the TV Westerns described in this post, especially The Virginian.

Also by coincidence, on December 30 the Tulsa World published a long article with several photos titled “Western Collection: ‘Gunsmoke’ fan shows off mountain of memorabilia.'” Written by Jimmie Tramel, World Scene Writer, the article is based on an interview with a Tulsan named Mike Summers whose huge collection of Western memorabilia, especially from the long-running Western TV series Gunsmoke, includes the pistol carried by actor James Arness as U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon, as well as his badge and the holster in which the Colt .45 was carried. The story of how Summers came into possession of these and many other valuable and irreplaceable items is quite interesting. To read the article, click here. 

Sources

Except for the opening quote about cowboys, the musical YouTube videos, and the two entries in the addenda section, all information about the Western movies and TV shows and actors was taken from personal memory verified, corrected, and augmented by the respective entries in Wikipedia.

The photo of James Garner as Bret Maverick was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Garner

The photo of Richard Boone as Paladin was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Boone

The photo of Clint Walker as Cheyenne Brodie was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clint_Walker

The photo of Hugh O’Brian as Wyatt Earp was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_O’Brian

The photo of Steve McQueen as Josh Randall was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_McQueen

The photo of the cast of The Big Valley was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Valley

The photo of the Bonanza titleboard was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonanza

The photo of the Gunsmoke titleboard with James Arness was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunsmoke

The photo of Gene Barry as Bat Masterson was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_Masterson_(TV_series)

The photo of Robert Horton and Ward Bond from Wagon Train was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon_Train

The photo of the titleboard from The Virginian with James Drury was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Virginian_(TV_series)

The photo of Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates from Rawhide was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rawhide_(TV_series)

The lyrics for the song “The Green Leaves of Summer” were taken from: http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-green-leaves-of-summer-lyrics-the-brothers-four.html

The Wikipedia information about the song “The Green Leaves of Summer” was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Green_Leaves_of_Summer

The video of the Brothers Four singing “The Green Leaves of Summer” was taken from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BRqA3DSmpc

The soundtrack to the movie The Alamo was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5epfRO-jHPo

The Wikipedia information about the song “Don’t Fence Me In” was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don’t_Fence_Me_In_(song)

The YouTube of Roy Rogers singing the song “Don’t Fence Me in” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLoYFvbR0XY

The Wikipedia information on the song “Deep In the Heart of Texas” was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_in_the_Heart_of_Texas

The Wikipedia information on the song “Across the Alley from the Alamo” was taken from:
http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/a/acrossthealleyfromthealamo.shtml

The Wikipedia information on the song “Oh, Shenandoah” was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh_Shenandoah

The YouTube video of the Kingston Trio singing “Oh, Shenandoah” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HKAuaU5VlE

The Wikipedia information on the song “El Paso” was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Paso_(song)

The YouTube video of Marty Robbins singing “El Paso” was taken from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zBzZJd-nfw&feature=player_embedded

 

“When a cowboy’s too old to set a bad example,
he hands out good advice.”
—Old West proverb, taken from
“Old West Wisdom, Old Sayings, and Famous Cowboy Quotes”

In my previous post I began a quiz titled “Twenty Telltale Signs That You Might Be Country-Western.” Since I only presented sixteen of those signs, here are numbers seventeen through twenty followed by a quiz on grade-B movie/TV cowboys, a quiz on old Country-Western songs, and concluding with a quiz on John Wayne Western movies.

You might be Country-Western if . . . (see answers section below)

  1. You know the meaning and derivation of each of these Western terms: Bronco, Cayuse, Corral, Hoosegow, Lariat, Mesa, Remuda, Sombrero, Vaquero, Yodel.

Quiz on Grade-B Movie/TV Cowboys 

“Winter must be cold for those who have no warm memories.”
—British actress Deborah Kerr in
classic movie An Affair to Remember

You might be Country-Western if . . . (see answers section below)

  1. You can identify each of the following cowboys and their horses, leading ladies, sidekicks, and theme songs (Hint: Jot down your answers):

18a. Called “The Singing Cowboy,” this Western actor who gained his fame in the 1930s was from Texas but also lived in Oklahoma where a small town was named after him. He was also known for singing the children’s holiday favorites “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “Here Comes Santa Claus,” the last of which he wrote. He went on to become a tremendously successful businessman who owned a professional baseball team.

18b. Billed as “The King of the Cowboys,” this singer/actor, born Leonard Franklin Slye in Ohio in 1911, became famous primarily in the 1940s and 50s. Known for riding a famous Golden Palomino horse and doing riding and gun slinging tricks, he began his long and successful movie and TV career by singing with a Western band called the Sons of the Pioneers.

18c. A bit older than most of the Western heroes of his time, the veteran actor from Tulsa, Oklahoma, sported a full head of white hair, wore a black outfit and hat at a time when only the “bad guys” wore such attire, carried a pair of silver six-shooters, and rode a white horse.

18d. This icon of the Old West was known for his black mask, his white stead, his silver bullets, his “faithful Indian companion,” and his distinctive yell to his horse and his classical musical theme.

18e. Adored by both girls and boys this handsome dark cowboy had a French name, wore all black, rode a black horse, and was nicknamed for his bullwhip which he taught Harrison Ford how to use in the Indiana Jones movies.

18f. The only “Mexican” Saturday-matinee Western champion, this handsome young vaquero with a big sombrero had an older Mexican sidekick with whom he always ended each movie and TV show by calling each other’s name: “Oh, Pancho!” “Oh, C_______!”

18g. This all-American rough-looking red-haired cowboy became famous for the immensely popular kids’ pellet rifle named for him as featured in the perennial kids’ movie A Christmas Story and for his young Indian sidekick played by later TV actor Robert Blake.

18h. Billed as “The Arizona Cowboy,” this Western actor was indeed an authentic cowboy who rode a horse named Koko and was introduced to fans before his first movie by none other than “The King of the Cowboys.”

18i. This good-looking Western star also rode a black horse with a prominent wide breastplate across its front quarters and was known for later providing the voice of Mr. Ed, the talking horse on that popular TV show by that name.

18j. Tall, slim, stalwart, and tip-lipped, this Western actor wore a set of twin pistols turned backwards in their holsters and went by the nickname of “Wild Bill.”

Quiz on Old Country-Western Songs

“Tonight my thoughts are slidin’
down the trail of distant years.”
Roy Rogers, “The Cowboy Night Herd Song”

You might be Country-Western, if  . . . (see answers section below)

  1. You can fill in the missing words in the following old Country-Western songs (Hint: Jot down your answers):

19a. “As I walked out in the streets of _______.”

19b. “Just remember the _____ _____ ____ and the cowboy who loved you so true.”

19c. “Oh my darling, Oh my darling, Oh my darling ______________.”

19d. “Just drifting along with the tumbling ___________.”

19e. “__________ riders in the sky.”

19f. “I’m an old cowhand from the ______ __________.”

19g. “Come a ti-yi-________ ________ ___.”

19h. “I’m headin’ for the last _______.”

19i. “Git along little ________ . . . you know _______ will be your new home.”

19j. “I’ve got spurs that _______, ________, ______.”

19k. “He’s a rootin’, tootin’, son of a gun from Arizona, ________ cowboy Joe.”

19l. “Gimme Eastern trimming where women are women and you’re all mine in ______ ____ _____.”

19m. (And my father’s favorite Western song sung by Eddie Arnold) “He rides in the sun till his day’s work is done . . . singin’ his _______ call.”

John Wayne Movie Quiz

“All the screen actors behaved like real gentlemen. They didn’t drink, they didn’t smoke. When they knocked the bad guy down, they always stood with their fists up, waiting for the heavy to get back on his feet. I decided I was going to drag the bad guy to his feet and keep hitting him.” 
—John Wayne, from Brainy Quotes

John Wayne in 1965 studio photo

John Wayne in 1965 studio photo

You might be Country-Western if . . . (see answers section below)

  1. You know the names of the characters that John Wayne played in these famous Western movies (Hint: Jot down your answers):

20a. The Alamo

20b. Big Jake

20c. El Dorado

20d. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence

20e. Red River

20f. The Searchers

20g. True Grit

The John Ford trilogy:

20h. Fort Apache

20i. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

20j. Rio Grande

Answers

  1. Following are the meaning and derivation of some common cowboy terms (marked by source as M-W for Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and TFD for The Free Dictionary):

Bronco: “A wild horse from North America.” Source: Mexican Spanish, meaning literally “rough, wild.” First Known Use: 1850 (M-W).

Cayuse: “A small Native American pony used by cowboys.” Source: The name of a Native-American tribe in the Northwest United States (TFD).

Corral: “An enclosure for confining livestock.” Source: Spanish (TFD).

Hoosegow: “Jail.” Source: Spanish juzgado (M-W).

Lariat: “A rope for picketing grazing horses or mules.” Source: Spanish la reata (TFD).

Mesa: “A flat-topped elevation with one or more clifflike sides, common in the southwest.” Source: Spanish word for “table” (TFD).

Remuda: “A herd of horses from which ranch hands select their mounts.” Source: American Spanish (TFD).

Sombrero: “A large straw or felt hat with a broad brim and tall crown, worn especially in Mexico and the American Southwest.” Source: Spanish, perhaps from sombra, meaning “shade” (TFD).

Vaquero:  “Herdsman, cowboy.” Source: Spanish — First Known Use: 1826 (M-W).

Yodel: “To sing so that the voice fluctuates rapidly between
the normal chest voice and a falsetto.” Source: German jodeln, from German dialectal jo, meaning “an exclamation of delight” (TFD). (To hear Roy Rogers yodeling “The Cowboy Night Herd Song,” click here.)

18. Following are the identifications of the Grade-B Western movie/TV cowboys:

18a. Gene Autry, whose horse was named Champion, whose most popular female lead was Gail Davis (from my hometown of McGehee, Arkansas), whose theme song was “I’m Back in the Saddle Again,” and whose two most famous sidekicks were Pat Buttram (who later played Mr. Haney in the popular TV series Green Acres) and Frog Milhouse (also known as Smiley Burnette, who appeared in a popular TV series titled Petticoat Junction.)

Gene Autry, "The Singing Cowboy"

Gene Autry, “The Singing Cowboy”

18b. Roy Rogerswhose horse was named Trigger, whose dog was named Bullet, and whose female lead was Dale Evans whom he later married. His theme song was “Happy Trails to You,” and his most famous sidekicks were George “Gabby” Hayes, Andy Devine, and Pat Brady.

Roy Rogers with his leading lady and wife Dale Evans

Roy Rogers, “The King of the Cowboys,” with his leading lady and wife Dale Evans (to magnify, click on the photo)

18c. Hopalong Cassidy, a popular movie and TV hero whose horse was named Topper. One of the actors who appeared in seven “Hoppy” movies and later went on to become a Hollywood legend in his own right was Robert Mitchum.

18d. The Lone Rangerplayed on TV by Clayton Moore, whose horse was named Silver, whose “faithful Indian companion” was Tonto played by Jay Silverheels, whose cry was “Hiyo, Silver, away!” and whose classical theme song was “The William Tell Overture.”

The Lone Ranger and his horse Silver

The Lone Ranger and his horse Silver

18e. Lash LaRuethe Louisiana cowboy whose sidekick was Fuzzy Q. Jones played by Al St. John.

Lash LaRue in his black outfit and hat and carrying his famous bull whip

Lash LaRue in his black outfit and hat and carrying his famous bull whip

18f. The Cisco Kid, played by Duncan Renaldo who was actually not Mexican but was born Renault Renaldo Duncan in Romania. His sidekick Pancho was played by Leo Carrillo, twenty-four years his senior.

18g. Red Ryder, a comic book Western hero who was played in the movies by several different actors and whose young sidekick Little Beaver, a Native American boy, was also played by more than one actor. Another of the fictional characters in his movies was an older woman called simply “The Duchess.”

18h. Rex Allen, whose sidekicks included Buddy Ebsen (later to gain fame as poor-mountaineer-turned-millionaire Jed Clampett in the hugely popular TV series The Beverly Hillbillies), and Slim Pickens (who went on to appear in many movies, notably as the cowboy bomber pilot in Doctor Strangelove and in the comic Western Blazing Saddles).

Rex Allen, "The Arizona Cowboy"

Rex Allen, “The Arizona Cowboy”

18i. Allan “Rocky” Lane, whose horse was named Blackjack and who made eighty-two film and TV appearances, mostly in Westerns. His last roles were in voice-over acting as in the TV series of the talking horse named Mr. Ed.

18j. “Wild Bill” Elliotwho “took over the role for which he would be best remembered, that of Red Ryder in a series of sixteen movies about the famous comic strip cowboy and his young Indian companion Little Beaver (played in Elliott’s films by Bobby Blake). Elliott played the role for only two years, but would forever be associated with it. Elliott’s trademark was a pair of six guns worn butt-forward in their holsters.”

19. Following are the missing words from the old Country-Western songs (in italics):

19a. “As I walked out in the streets of Laredo.”

19b. “Just remember the Red River Valley and the cowboy who loved you so true.”

19c. “Oh my darling, Oh my darling, Oh my darling Clementine.”

19d. “Just drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweed.”

19e. “Ghost riders in the sky.”

19f. “I’m an old cowhand from the Rio Grande.”

19g. “Come a ti-yi-yippee-yippee-yay.

19h. “I’m headin’ for the last roundup.

19i. “Git along little dogie (pronounced “dough-gie,” a motherless or abandoned calf) . . . you know Wyoming will be your new home.”

19j. “I’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle.”

19k. “He’s a rootin’, tootin’, son of a gun from Arizona, ragtime cowboy Joe.”

19l. “Gimme Eastern trimming where women are women and you’re all mine in buttons and bows.

19m. (And my father’s favorite Western song sung by Eddie Arnold) “He rides in the sun till his day’s work is done . . . singin’ his cattle call.”

20. Following are the answers to the John Wayne quiz on his name in various Western movies:

20a. The Alamo: Davy Crockett

20b. Big Jake: Jacob McCandles

20c. El Dorado: Cole Thornton (Do you recall his name in the classic John Ford film The Quiet Man with Wayne playing a Yankee returning to his home in Ireland? Answer: Sean Thornton.)

20d. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence: Tom Doniphon

20e. Red River: Thomas Dunson

20f. The Searchers: Ethan Edwards

20g. True Grit: U.S. Marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn

The John Ford Trilogy:

20h. Fort Apache (1948): Captain Kirby York

20i. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949): Captain Nathan Bridles

20j. Rio Grande (1950): Colonel Kirby York

Addenda

On Sunday, December 28, I went forward at church, put a dollar in the Joy Jar and said: “My joy is named Marion, and yesterday was our anniversary. But when we started dating I asked her, ‘Do you mind if I call you Mari?’ And she replied so sweetly, ‘Just as long as you call me.’ So now it has been fifty-two years, and I am still calling her . . . and all my Christmases have been merry, spelled ‘M-A-R-I'”! (See my previous posts titled “Mari: Anniversary Remembrances.”)

On December 21 Joe Dempsey published his “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.” This is how he described it: “This is our annual Christmas post. It was our first, and we’ve never found one better.” I agree. To read the story and view Joe’s photos of the lonesome cedar tree that stands in the center of it all as the only lasting memento of it, click here.

Sources

The photo of John Wayne was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wayne

The photo of Gene Autry was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Autry

The photo of Roy Rogers was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Rogers

The photo of the Lone Ranger was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lone_Ranger

The photo of Lash LaRue was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lash_LaRue

The photo of Rex Allen was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rex_Allen

 

Introduction

Frank: “A reader asks, ‘Dear Ernie, why was the world
made to have so much pain and suffering?’”
Ernie: “So we could have lyrics for country and western music.”
—Frank and Ernest cartoon, Tulsa World, 08-13-96

In my preceding post titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Part II” I examined some of the Country-Western terms I learned as a child and youth while working in my father’s cattle business in the Ark-La-Miss region in the 1940s and early 50s.

Me holding my father's cattle brand

Me holding my father’s cattle brand, the old Circle P

In this post, the continuation of that series, I offer a brief introductory list of Country-Western language items and activities that indicate that you might be Country-Western. That list is followed by the first part of a longer section titled “Twenty Telltale Signs That You Might Be Country-Western,” which is continued in the next post, Part IV. I had meant for this third post to be the conclusion to the series; however, due to its length I had to separate it into new posts.

So the next post in this series, titled “You Might Be from the Country, If . . . Part IV,” will be published in two or three weeks. It will complete the twenty-question quiz on Country-Western terms and film and TV cowboy stars. The final post in the series, Part V, will be composed of another quiz on 1950s and 60s TV Westerns, a list of some false or mispronounced French terms, and some of my favorite French quotations that I collected during my career as a “French cowboy” teacher, translator, and interpreter.

Country-Western Language and Lifestyle

“Everybody wants to be a cowboy.”
—Director of Cowboys Who Care,
an organization that provides cowboy hats
to hospitalized children to help cheer them up

“In our family we were really earthy.
Why we bred cattle at the breakfast table!”

—Vivian Peacock

As noted by my mother above, in my family our cowboy language was like our lifestyle . . . earthy.  Based on that “down-to-earth” lifestyle and language I came up with the following test.

You might be Country-Western if you have ever . . .

  1. Milked a cow, branded a steer, or castrated a calf.
  2. Candled eggs (to see if they are fertile and will produce baby chicks) or wrung a chicken’s neck.
  3. Churned butter in an old-fashioned churn.

    Old-fashioned butter church

    Old-fashioned butter churn (to magnify, click on the photo)

  4. Scalded a hog to remove the hairs from its skin and then used that skin to make “cracklin’s” (pork rinds).
  5. Bailed hay.
  6. Picked cotton.

    Picking cotton on a 1930s Arkansas plantation

    Picking cotton on an Arkansas plantation in the 1930s (to magnify, click on the photo)

  7. Plowed behind a horse or mule.
  8. Chopped heater wood (from such a wood heater I still bear large burn marks on the backs of my thighs from backing up too close to it) and/or kitchen stove wood (from which I still bear a scar under my right eye caused by a wayward falling jagged piece).
  9. Used an old-fashioned “heat up on the stove” flat iron to press clothes.

    An antique iron

    Antique flat iron for heating on a wood-burning stove and using to press clothes (to magnify, click on the photo)

  10. Used an outdated Sears Roebuck catalog for toilet paper in an outdoor privy.

    An outdoor toilet

    An outdoor privy equipped with a Sears Roebuck catalog for toilet paper (to magnify, click on the photo)

To that earthy language/lifestyle list I have added the following “signs” section on it.

Twenty Telltale Signs that
You Might Be Country-Western

 “I see by your outfit
that you are a cowboy . . .”

—traditional Western song

“I was feeling real good and manly. Until a real cowboy walked by
and told me that I had my hat on backwards.”
—Michael Biehn, quoted in
Celebrity Cipher, Tulsa World 12/1/14

You might be Country-Western if . . . (see answers section below):

  1. You know the origin and meaning of the term “quarter horse.” (See photo in answers section below.)
  2. You know what the parents of a mule are called and what the offspring of a mule is called.
  3. You know why the saying, “sweat like a hog” is inaccurate.
  4. You know what the offspring of a goose is called and what a guinea is. (See photo in answers section below.)
  5. You know what a stile is and have ever used one. (See photo in answers section below.)
  6. You can name another type of hay besides alfalfa.
  7. You know what a Georgia stock and a singletree are. (See photos in answers section below.)
  8. You know what a year-old calf is called and what book and movie bore this same title . . . and the name of their author.
  9. You know what a cow chews and how many stomachs she has.
  10. You know what the meat from a cow, a calf, a sheep, and a pig is called and why each is different from the name of the animal.
  11. You know the difference in the way cattle and hogs are marked for ownership.
  12. You know how to judge the age of a cow or horse.
  13. You know how to determine whether a cow is pregnant or not.
  14. You know what a colt, mare, and stallion are and what they are each called in thoroughbred horse racing.
  15. You know how long the period of the Western cattle drives like those from Texas to Kansas lasted and can name at least one famous trail.
  16. You know how to tell whether a saddle shown in movies and TV shows about the time of the Western cattle drives is authentic to the period or not. (See photo in answers section below.)

Below are the answers to the first sixteen questions in this quiz. The rest of the twenty questions and answers will appear in the following post.

Answers

1. A quarter horse is a horse that is especially bred to run at top speed for the distance of a quarter mile or less. (For more, click here, and see photo below.)

A quarter horse

A quarter horse (to magnify, click on the photo)

  1. The parents of a mule are a horse and a donkey. There is no offspring of a mule because as hybreds, mules cannot reproduce. (For more, click here.)
  2. The expression “sweat like a hog” is inaccurate because hogs have few sweat glands, which is why they wallow in mud to try to keep cool. (For the origin of this term “sweat like a hog,” click here.)
  3. The offspring of a goose is a gosling. (For more, click here.) A guinea is a barnyard fowl something like a “fancy chicken.” (For more, click here and see the photo below). When Mari’s father was overseas during WWII he informed his family where he was located by writing in a coded and censored letter that he was “where we found that nest of eggs.” His family then knew that he was in New Guinea.

    A Guinea fowl

    A Guinea fowl (to magnify, click on the photo)

  4. According to Wikipedia, “a stile is a structure which provides people a passage through or over a fence or boundary via stepsladders, or narrow gaps.” (See photo below.)

    A stile over a fence

    A stile over a fence

  5. Another kind of commonly known hay besides alfalfa is lespedeza. (For other types, click here.)
  6. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a Georgia stock is “a plow beam with handles and a standard to which a moldboard, shovels, teeth, or sweeps are attached.” (When I say that I am of “Georgia stock,” I am referring not only to my rural upbringing but also to the fact that my rural ancestors migrated to Arkansas from Georgia. See photo below.) Mother Earth News: Glossary of Terms for Plowing with Horses defines a singletree as “the pivoted or swinging bar to which the traces of a draft animal’s harness are fixed. Also called ‘swingletree’ or ‘whippletree.’” (See photo below.)

    A Georgia stock plow

    A Georgia stock plow

A singletree, part of the harness for a draft animal

A singletree as part of the harness for a draft animal (to magnify, click on the photo)

To read more on this subject, click here.

  1. A year-old calf is called a yearling (but pronounced “yerlin’ in SEARK), which according to Wikipedia was the title of “a 1938 [year of my birth] novel written by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.” It was adapted into a movie in 1946 starring Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman. (For more, click here.)
  2. A cow chews a cud and has four stomachs. (For more, click here.)
  3. The meat from a cow, a calf, a sheep, and a pig are called respectively: beef, veal, mutton, and pork. The reason the names of the animals vary from the names of the meat taken from them goes back to the time after the 1066 invasion of Saxon (Germanic) England by the Normans (Vikings turned French) from Western France. Since the Normans were the ruling class for several hundred years, both languages, Saxon and Norman, existed at the same time. When the Saxon serfs slaughtered the animals they called by the names they knew them in their Germanic language, the meat they served up to their Norman lords was called by French names: boeuf, veau, mouton, and porc.
  4. Cattle are marked for ownership by branding their hides with a red-hot iron. (See my earlier post titled “My Father’s Brand and Seal.”) Hogs are marked for ownership by making distinctive cuts in their ears (hence the expression about funds being “earmarked” for certain special uses).
  5. The age of a cow is determined the same way as the age of a horse, by examining the animal’s teeth for degree of wear. (I saw my father perform this simple procedure hundreds of times, and he was seldom wrong in his estimate.) Thus the expression, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” (i.e., in order to determine its age and value.)
  6. In the days of my childhood and youth a simple way of determining whether a cow was pregnant was by bumping a fist against her stomach and feeling for the rebounding fetus. (Again, I saw my father perform this procedure hundreds of times, and he was seldom wrong.)
  7. In thoroughbred horse racing the common terms colt, mare, and stallion are called: foal, dam, and sire. (For more, click here.)
  8. According to Wikipedia, the Western cattle drives from the ranges of Texas to the railheads in Kansas lasted only about twenty years, from 1866 to 1886, much less than the amount of time these famous drives have been portrayed in modern Western films and TV shows. One of the most famous and best known of these drives was the Chisholm Trail. Another was the Goodnight-Loving Trail. (For more and other drives, click here.)
  9. You can tell that a saddle shown in Western movies and TV shows is authentic to the time of the cattle drives from Texas to Kansas and other railhead locations by the cantle (back rest) of the saddle. If it is high, then it is true to the period. If it lies flat against the top of the saddle, it is a modern saddle. (See photo below.)

    A high-cantle trail saddle

    A modern version of a high cantle trail saddle

Addenda

While preparing this post I received this message from my longtime friend and McGehee (Desha County) High School classmate Pat Scavo who (like me) has Selma (Drew County) roots:

Dr. Curtis Merrell, one of Drew County’s leading historical preservation representatives, has passed away. He was instrumental in the college’s being able to obtain the land with the Taylor house and cemetery [featured in a couple of my previous blog posts on Arkansas Delta plantations], which has been united with the AR Historic Preservation. Just as his dream of saving the pre-Civil War, two-story log house has come about, we lost him. It will be a great loss for historic preservation in Drew County.

Taylor house on the Hollywood Plantation

Taylor house on the Hollywood Plantation (to magnify, click on the photo)

According to his obituary Dr. Merrill was also instrumental in establishing the Bayou Bartholomew Alliance which works to restore and preserve this historic stream. To read his full obituary, click here. To read my earlier post on Bayou Bartholomew, click here.

Bayou Bartholomew, "longest bayou in the world," which passes between Selma and McGehee, Arkansas

Bayou Bartholomew, “longest bayou in the world,” which passes between my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas, and my hometown of McGehee, Arkansas (to magnify, click on the photo)

To view a twenty-minute video of the history of the Taylor house and the Hollywood Plantation, click here.

On the subject of Arkansas Delta Plantations, here is a photo of a Delta cotton boll Christmas tree sent to me by my longtime friend and McGehee High School classmate Pat Scavo. The source of the photo is found in the sources section below.

Cotton boll Christmas tree

Cotton boll Christmas tree (to magnify, click on the photo)

Incidentally, Mari and I have two cotton boll Christmas ornaments on our tree plus a special Christmas tree decoration with the symbol of Lakeport Plantation featuring a stylized cotton boll on it (see photo below).

Lakeport Plantation Christmas tree ornament

Lakeport Plantation Christmas ornament with symbol of cotton boll on it (to magnify, click on the photo)

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Sources

The photo of an old-fashioned butter churn was taken from:
http://www.scottsanfilippo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/lgchurn2.jpg

The photo of the cotton pickers on an Arkansas plantation of the 1930s was taken from: A Photographic Legacy by I. Wilmer Counts Jr., copyright © 1979 by I. Wilmer Counts Jr., Bloomington, Indiana.

The photo of an antique flat iron was taken from: http://www.featurepics.com/FI/Thumb300/20070823/Antique-Clothes-Iron-426043.jpg

The photo of an outdoor toilet was taken from:
http://th00.deviantart.net/fs16/PRE/i/2007/184/7/2/outdoor_toilet_by_klemmkeil_stock.jpg

The photo of a quarter horse was taken from:
http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2013/206/d/f/quarter_horse_stock_6___rabicano_by_skunktail17-d56rwj3.jpg

The photo of a guinea fowl was taken from:
http://a-z-animals.com/media/animals/images/original/guinea_fowl5.jpg

The photo of a stile over a fence was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stile

The photo of a Georgia stock plow was taken from:
http://www.farmerbrownsplowshop.net/sitebuilder/images/sam_miller-311×224.jpg

The photo of a singletree was taken from:
https://img1.etsystatic.com/000/0/5903109/il_fullxfull.350644803.jpg

The photo of a high cantle trail saddle was taken from:
http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/thesaddleshop/types-trail.jpg

The photo of the Taylor house on the Hollywood Plantation was provided by Taylor Prewitt.

The photo of the cotton boll Christmas tree was taken from:
https://scontent-b-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/v/t1.0-9/p370x247/10502160_853808057974675_4063245730901136825_n.jpg?oh=2e80d3552219960739ed716ea6d46ecd&oe=54FB250A

The photo of the Lakeport Christmas tree ornament was taken from an email offer from Lakeport in 2011. For more information, visit the Lakeport Web site at: http://lakeport.astate.edu/

 

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