Sunday, October 21, 2007

We Have Been Given Another Sunday

My dad has been given another birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.

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Last night, we attended another of our church's annual harvest dinners. I've come to look forward to these. They are really very simple occasions--a big pot-luck dinner with a wide variety of miscellaneous entertainment acts afterward. A silly quiz game was played, many musical numbers were offered--with varying levels of age and ability, and poems were recited and read.

I loved the poems. The pastor closed the evening with a wonderful reading of James Whitcomb Riley's "When the Frost is on the Punkin." I hadn't heard it before, but it was perfect. It is written in a simple and common vernacular, in an agrarian setting at the end of the 1800s, but it sounded like here and now somehow. I also loved that our pastor, who read it so well, noted beforehand that James Whitcomb Riley is his favorite fall poet, and when the leaves start to turn, he turns to Riley. He has a favorite fall poet.

Incidentally, he also mentioned that his favorite winter poet is Robert Service, who gained notoriety at about the same time as a chronicler of the gold rush in the Yukon Territory. I am familiar with Service's work, having visited my Canadian relatives in the Yukon when I was about sixteen years old. I was a fairly idealistic girl, even then, and didn't want a t-shirt for a souvenier. I bought a book of Service's poetry instead and began to memorize bits of it on the long journey home.

After the event last night, I mentioned to him that I was also a fan of the Yukon poet. His eyes lit up. "Do you know any of his long ballads, like 'The Cremation of Sam McGee'?" he wondered. I told him that I have that particular one memorized and I thought his jaw might actually hit the floor. I think I know what I will be contributing to the Leap Day variety show in February, being organized now by a friend of mine. Listen to Johnny Cash read the ballad here. He does it justice.

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We have broken ground on our home remodel project. By the time it is done, our current two bedroom, one bath home will have a finished basement, expanded living room and dining room, new kitchen, and twin master suites. Whoosh. Andy is madly moving dirt around right now, trying to get the foundation for the expansion laid before the ground freezes. Tano has become quite skilled with the skid steer and today even got to try his hand at digging holes with the excavator. He is quite pleased to have the opportunity to play with such very cool big boy toys.

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I think that's all for now. I really need to get to bed. I have a full day of high school science classes to sub for tomorrow.

Oh, and congratulations to the Red Sox for their tremendous comeback (again) to make it into the World Series. It will be Sox vs. Rox. Nice.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awe yes, the Ballad of Sam McGee. A real person (remember seeing his cabin?), but he really wasn't cremated. My brothr Bill got me onto Sam McGee when I was in school. I memorized it once. A lot of work because it has looong lines. Fortunately the internal reiming helps. I'd love to hear you quote it, maybe at Christmastime in California!

And those big boy toys can be fun too.
Uncle Ed

Anonymous said...

P.S. Johny Cash does do a good job of "Sam McGee". Did you see it acted out when you were in the Yukon with us? I know your parents did.

Sheila said...

Remodel - which house? Are you in the loft or back at the homestead?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the birthday wish (and call from you and those sweet grandkids).

I have loved "Sam McGee" ever since we first heard it up in Whitehorse and then you used it in your speech class. What great fun.

Love Dad