I love the story about how the native Americans taught the early north American anglo settlers how to fertilize their crops. The story we all learned, along with how to make turkeys with contruction paper and fingers, featured pieces of fish dropped into the ground with the seed.
I remember once, in a little bean patch in my childhood, dropping a piece of breaded freezer shrimp into the ground in imitation of this
fertilizer magic. I never knew if the plants took on from the shrimp, but the idea of planting shrimp still amuses me.
During my childhood, we took lots of drives. My father worked in a two doctor town in which our telephone always rang. In the era in which only the wealthy had mobile phones, the car proved our only
respite from folks who called at home to seek my father's attendance. We'd drive down remote country roads, and through deep woods.
Although in childhood, I remembered those drives as being rather long and drawn-out, my adult refuge also involves seeking out remote places to drive. I love to drive down farm to market roads, making my one rule that I turn at each bend down the road I never travelled before in prior journeys.
When we drove down the road, sometimes we'd sing songs together.
I remember singing the song I know as "Bicycle Built for Two", but its true name is "Daisy Bell". I looked up its author, Harry Dacre.
He got the idea for the song from the experience of coming from his native UK to the US. When the customs agents levied a duty on his bicycle, a friend told him that it was lucky he did not have a bicycle built for two, as the duty might be double.
The song, it turns out, did not sell in the US, but "broke" back in UK music halls, sung by Katie Lawrence. Its stanza is now quite familiar--"Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true. I'm half crazy, all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage. I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet, upon the seat of a bicycle built for two". But although he left the UK to seek his songwriting fame, his fame arose in the UK after all. The planted shrimp sometimes yields strange harvests.
When I drove my eight year old niece back to Texarkana a few weeks ago, I tried to figure out which songs we both knew. I thought sure that her mother would have taught her that standby of my driving childhood days, but when I began to sing it, it was completely alien to her. She knew other things from my childhood, such as "Kum Ba Ya", but "Daisy, Daisy" was as foreign to her as if her uncle had joined the pod people.
I noticed tonight a couple of "community sing" books I own, with easy chording I can usually play on autoharp. These songs are largely in the public domain, and hence get included in the books because they can be published without royalties. I am all for songs without royalties. If I wrote any songs, I think I'd just dedicate them to the public domain or make them subject to an "attribution only" license.
I felt badly today, because I took a position on something mildly political that I could have foregone taking a position about. I think it's important to take a position on things that matter, but I have also that lawyerly streak of just having positions on world of things. This can make me seem (as I, in fact, am) a bit argumentative, if argumentative in a fairly congenial way. Not always a bad trait, but not often my favorite. I particularly dislike taking a position on a matter of style as to someone with whom I largely agree. But I do that sometimes, too.
I went to the Garland Bar Association tonight. The District Judges, who hear civil cases, spoke. We have a good judiciary in Dallas, by and large, but sometimes I think that all of us, judges and lowly lawyers, should just burst into song. Perhaps "Red River Valley", or, failing that, "Peace Like a River". But it won't happen anytime soon.
I want to get a lot done tomorrow. I am ready for my three day holiday, though.