Wednesday, December 3, 2008

From The Jar... #25

I've been a slacker on my jar posts lately.


Tell the words of a song from your childhood and the memories it brings.


So many songs, so little time...

We were a singing family. Well, actually, we still are a singing family. I grew up with my mom teaching us all kinds of songs that we would all sing together. We sang a lot on road trips, mostly rounds. A favorite round that we sang was called Man's Life's a Vapor. The words went like this:

Man's life's a vapor, full of woes.
When he cuts a caper, down he goes.
Downy, downy, downy, downy down he goes.

It has a really fun tune and makes some really nice harmonies when sung in a round, but as a kid, I always thought this was the weirdest song. That might have something to do with how I had the words wrong til I was who knows how old... high school, maybe? Here's the words that my child-mind created:

Man's lives of aper, full of wolves.
When he cuts the caper, down he goes.
Downy, downy, downy, downy down he goes.


Ya. I had no idea what an aper was, nor any clue why this guy's life was full of wolves. I didn't know what a caper was either. I pictured it to be some sort of string that this guy cut with big scissors. And when he cut this "caper string" he fell and went down this big, clear tube.... downy, downy, downy down he goes... down the tube. The guy had a little hat and a pencil-thin mustache and a three-piece, pin-striped suit. I always thought of him like a cross between the cartoon Boris Bandenov from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, the evil and inept magician, Professor Hinkle, on the 1960's animated Frosty the Snowman and the Pink Panther. Sometimes his hat came off when he went downy, downy, down...



Weird, huh? So, that's the memories that that song bring back. Wolves, a big, clear tube, and a detective looking guy.

I just now Googled it to see if, by some chance, they would have the words to this song online. (I wanted to make sure I had the REAL words right!) I found them... apparently, this song is written from a scripture in Proverbs. This is fascinating to me that I've known this song practically my whole life and I've never known what the heck it was from. I just thought it was weird.

On a sweeter and less random note... another song from my childhood that I absolutely love and still sing to my own children is called "Old Dog Tray". This is another that we grew up singing. This one we just sang in a lovely two-part harmony. Maybe I'll get my mom to sing it with me and I'll record it for ya'll. Here are the words.

The morn of life is past,
And evening comes at last;
It brings me a dream of a once happy day,
Of merry forms I’ve seen
Upon the village green,
Sporting with my old dog Tray.

Old dog Tray’s ever faithful,
Grief cannot drive him away,
He’s gentle, he is kind;
I’ll never, never find
A better friend than old dog Tray.


This song was written by Stephen Foster back in 1853. It evokes tender feelings of nostalgia and a connection to my ancestors in the deep south. I always think of my grandmother who was born and raised in Mississippi when we sing this song.

I love that my mom and dad instilled in their children a love of music and singing. While I don't sing with my kids in the car as much as I'd like, I do sing them to sleep almost every night and I hope that is something they treasure into adulthood.



10 comments:

Ginny said...

that first one is too funny...especially your first interpretation!

Holly said...

I love the way kids hear songs. I had some really wierd words to "Love One Another" when I was little. And I still think of my interpretation every time I sing that song. Music is so important, it's great that you sing with your kids.

Genene said...

Well, I love the singing and I really enjoyed reading your writings about it all. I, too, have fond memories of singing and the happy times we had when the songs were taking place. Those are some of the most pleasant times of my childhood. Thanks for reminding me! And thank you for the heartwarming validation you gave to me in this post. (me & Dad)

Love you
Mom

Leah said...

I love the mental image you had of that song!!

Remember that song "going to the chapel and we're...gonna get married" ?? I remember hearing it one Halloween when I was small, and I was positive the lyrics were "going to the jack-o-lantern, gonna get married..." LOL!!

Connie said...

It's funny that those are the two songs you mentioned. Those are the two songs I think of when I think of you because you taught them to us at rough camp one year.

As for a song I rmemeber from childhood; I thought all of the words in the song (rhyme) "Mares eat oats, And does eat oats, And little lambs eat ivy, a kid'll eat ivy too wouldn't you?" were all jibberish when I was little. I didn't recognize a single word in that song until I was older

Holly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holly said...

By the way Clancy, if everyone who went shopping on black friday went with the same attitude as you, it wouldn't have the problems it has, and would probably be super fun (even for nay-sayers like me). =)

Kaci said...

LOL! You are too much Clanc

Polly said...

waddaya know...I sang those songs growing up too. And you're right about the man's life's a vapor...I always pictured a butcher... LOL

Jenni Jiggety said...

My blog title is actually from a little sing-songy nursery rhyme we used to say when we were little, and that I now say with my own boys.

To market to market to buy a fat pig...Home again home again jiggety jig.

I just threw the extra g on jigg because I thought it looked snazzier.