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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Things which should not be forgotten

Thinking about Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's current plight and possible future as a limited-edition line of Elmer's Glue put me in mind of a song my grandmother used to sing to me when I was a babe in arms:

Mine all mine
And nobody else's but mine
I met my true love in a glue factory
And that is the reason he's stuck onto me

I Googled a few lines from this song yesterday and came up empty. Maybe my grandmother made up the words herself, or maybe it was something she learned when she was a child. (It has a 1920's ring to it, so I think that's possible.) I remember another song she used to sing, just to amuse herself:

Went to see Old Joe Clark
Found Old Joe in bed
Stuck a finger in Old Joe's eye
And found Old Joe was dead.

Fare thee well, Old Joe Clark,
Fare thee well, I say;
Fare thee well, Old Joe Clark
I'm bound to die someday.

I Googled "Old Joe Clark" some time ago and found that this is a well-known folk song - though, like most folk songs, it has infinitely variable lyrics.

Are songs like this dying out? They shouldn't be allowed to. Folk music, snippets of songs, even aphorisms and obscure cliches all contain grains of folk wisdom, traces of our history that flavor our culture like spices in a meal.

Fortunately the Internet provides a convenient repository for these cultural traces. If you remember any old songs your grandparents used to sing when you were a little kid, why not publish them to a blog or other website somewhere? And, Googlebots willing, perhaps the next time someone does a search on "I met my true love in a glue factory" they won't come up empty.

2 comments:

Betz said...

Momma horse and Daddy horse are proud as they can be...cuz now they have a baby hourse and baby horse makes 3. or something similar.

I think you should do a blog about old fashioned "sayings" My Mom had a slew of those.
2 wrongs don't make a right. LOL!

go said...

I'm so hungry,
I"m so hungry, I'm so hungry
i could eat a flock of ostriches

I'm so hungry
i'm so hungry, I"m so hungry
i could eat a rhinocerous