Friday, October 19, 2007

Rats! Oh, We've Got Rats! (now with video!)

No, not like that. You can relax.

Montana has an annual educator's conference that gives kids a four day weekend every October about this time. Four days is a long time. Somebody had to take home the fifth grade class pets, a pair of extra large rats named Rat-a-tat-tat and Rat-a-Louie.

How did we get so lucky to be the selected somebodies?

Things I've said since Wednesday night, several times each:

No, I don't wish to hold them.

Yes, I have held the rats before.

No, I am not afraid of holding them; I'm just afraid that I might be exciting to them. They pee when they are excited.

No, you may not put them down on the floor to run around.

Yes, I am the one who put the library book on top of the tank.

A song has been stuck in my head for the last couple of days. I remember it from about the fourth grade. My elementary school music teacher at Delta Mills School was wonderful. She loved music, of course, but I mean she really loved music, and she wanted us to love it, too. Sure, we did xylophones and recorders and all that, but mostly, she just wanted us to love to sing. And we did. We would sing anything for her, and with gusto, while she wildly pounded on the old upright piano. She was young, much younger than most of the grey-haired teachers there, and she was cool. I remember her flowing mane of long, wavy brown hair and fashionable clothes with macramé belts and tall leather boots.

I remember that she kept me after music class once and asked me to come to the piano to see just how low I could sing. She told me that a deep, rich voice was wonderful and so rare in children. I could have kissed her. I can't remember her name, but I loved her and she made a huge impact on me. I often wonder what became of her and where she is today.

But I digress. The rats. The song stuck in my head.

In fourth and fifth grade, I remember her directing us in musical theater. She came up with her own mini-musicals, I think, simplified versions of things already out there. Fifth grade was You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I wanted the part of Lucy, but Lara O'Brien with the bouncy black hair got it. Still getting over that one. I remember the baseball song from Charlie Brown word for word and my kids like me to sing it for them. Fourth grade was The Pied Piper of Hamelin. I've searched the internet for the music we sang, but can't find it anywhere. The song I remember best from it had the following as its chorus:

Oh, we've got rats!
They're driving us bats!
Oh, we've got rats.

So really, this is a long post just to say that I've been singing these lines a lot in the last few days.


Another song from elementary school, totally unrelated, but stands out as one of my all time favorites. We kids used to beg for this one and she would often hold it out as a special reward at the end of class, if we could stay on task for the entire music class. Does anyone else out there know "Don Gato?" After a little research, I have found that it is an adaptation of a Mexican folk song.

"Don Gato"

El Señor Don Gato was a cat
On a high red roof Don Gato sat
He was there to read a letter (meow, meow, meow)
Where the reading light was better (meow, meow, meow)
'Twas a love note for Don Gato

"I adore you" wrote the lady cat
She was fluffy, white, and nice and fat
There was not a sweeter kitty (meow, meow, meow)
In the country or the city (meow, meow, meow)
And she said she'd wed Don Gato

Oh, Don Gato jumped so happily
He fell off the roof and broke his knee
Broke his ribs and all his whiskers (meow, meow, meow)
And his little solar plexus (meow, meow, meow)
"¡Ay Caramba!" cried Don Gato

Then the doctors all came on the run
Just to see if something could be done
And they held a consultation (meow, meow, meow)
About how to save their patient (meow, meow, meow)
How to save Señor Don Gato

But in spite of everything they tried
Poor Señor Don Gato up and died
And it wasn't very merry (meow, meow, meow)
Going to the cemetery (meow, meow, meow)
For the ending of Don Gato

As the funeral passed the market square
Such a smell of fish was in the air
Though his burial was slated (meow, meow, meow)
He became reanimated (meow, meow, meow)
He came back to life, Don Gato!

Here's what I found on YouTube. We never did it like this in elementary school, but I like it!


Anonymous said...

Oh, your "cracy" side!
Uncle Ed

AmberJ said...