Old love songs no longer loved

“Have I told you lately that I love you?”
There are a few of those golden oldies still kicking around, such as “Oh Susanna,” “The Red River Valley,” and “Clementine”—the latter dating from the gold rush days in California.
Also, “Bring Back my Bonnie to Me.”
But when I took up the guitar to accompany my own off-key singing, I was more attracted to the boisterous stuff, such as “Barnacle Bill the Sailor” and “The Strawberry Roan” (while admitting our romantic croners such as Nelson Eddy and Bing Crosby were certainly in a different league!)
So I tried their songs with nobody listening and later admitted some of our wartime tunes were quite okay, including “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”
And there’s the English number that still holds my attention, “Barbara Allan,” along with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and a trio of my own all-time favourites, “South of the Border,” “Isle of Capri,” and “Mexicali Rose.”
Those are still with me whenever I feel like bursting into song (with nobody listening, of course).
“Beautiful, Beautiful Brown Eyes” can grab my attention, done properly.
At the other end of the scale, have you heard “Sweet Betsy From Pike,” which an American summer visitor taught me recently from her own school days.
“She crossed the high mountains with her husband, Ike. With one yoke of oxen, a big yellow dog, an old Shanghai rooster, and one spotted hog!” It’s outrageous yet rhythmic!
There was a whole string of them coming in during the Second World War, including “Makes No Difference Now,” “Sweethearts are Strangers,” and others that passed quickly preceding “I’ve Got a Gal in Kal-al-al-amazoo” and “Sioux City Sue,” which my sister-in-law had to sing for my oldest daughter Sara’s husband (although he lives in Iowa, he had never heard that song, popular as it became).
I’ll stop here before I exhaust my full repertoire. Just don’t ask me to sing any of the above or you’ll be sorry.
• • •
Say, did you ever hear me on “Cowboy Jack” or “There’s a Love Knot in My Lariat!” Next time, you say?
Or maybe you’d prefer a more patriotic tune, such as one we could roar down the street after school. I heard it again on TV.
“In days of yore from Britain’s shore, Wolfe the dauntless hero came and planted firm Britannia’s flag on Canada’s fair domain. Here may it wave, our boast and pride, and stand on guard forever. Thistle, shamrock, rose entwine the Maple Leaf forever.”
(Learn a song young enough and never forget it).
But hey! Did we forget Queenie? “There’s a burlesque theatre where the gang loves to go. To see Queenie, the beauty of the burlesque show.
“The thrill of the evening is when out Queenie steps, and the band is playing “Strip Polka” while she strips!”
And sometimes a bit of intemperance shows up in the old love songs, such as “Drink to me only with thine eyes. And I’ll not ask for wine!”
Also, “There is a tavern in the town, where my true love sits him down. And he drinks red wine as merry as can be, and never, never thinks of me.”
So today, they’ve taken this idea somewhat further and suggested a song with the line, “Love in a bottle”.
While the course of true love, it has been said, never ran smoothly, there is still plenty of hope out there—and future songs will prove it.
• • •
A pair of the most pleasant young businessmen you’d ever meet, from McDonald’s office in Winnipeg, came for lunch last Thursday while local manager John Myers performed introductions.
• • •
A Brinks truck stopped here the other day and that still can attract attention because that firm is noted for transporting money safely and the driver, who emerged at noon, had a holstered gun at both hips—much like the actors on TV’s Lonestar channel, which I rarely tire of watching.
That driver I’d say could make movie scenes realistic.
• • •
Our September heat wave was interrupted this week with temperatures starting to tumble. So we dig out our jackets and sweaters while leaving the parkas and overcoats for a little later, along with our high-tops and ear muffs (all of which I hope you haven’t forgotten where you packed them so long ago which seems like yesterday).
One of these days I’ll have to start reminiscing about our wild old winters when the Scandinavians among us piled lumber high in the east end among the snowbanks beyond Robert Moore School.
They quit piling only one day when the mercury went down to minus-60 F.
Of course, that was in the ’30s and it surely will never become that cold again (wanna bet?!) And if you wish to discuss our seasons any more, just look me up.
• • •
My grandson, Jordon Vandetti, and his three bandmates, Adam Foley, Marc Lovisa, and Andrew Mueller, have headed out to Vancouver where they hope to find someone with sufficient musical appreciation to offer them a contract at the start of their careers.
Good luck, fellows!
• • •
Town living has certain advantages, but where I lived before, slightly to the west on River Road, we were not expected to frighten bears away or boil our drinking water, and always be ready for whenever the doorbell rang.
I guess I was leading a more independent and serene existence, having done everything to become comfortable, including drill a deep well at the house for water that tested and tasted excellent
As for the other amenities, we did not have to spend so much time watching TV because there were too many others things to do, such as feeding livestock, gardening, building on storage sheds, haying, and sometimes fishing on the river at the bottom of the field on the river.
And we usually had lots of company coming and going, including relatives.
In town, nowaday, I can usually sit alone and read, or pay for long distance telephoning.
So I tackle this column as a hobby and without it, I’m not sure if I could find enough urban satisfaction—aside from maybe robbing a bank or two, which would put me somewhere I could never learn to appreciate.
Or I could turn into a politician to keep busy and help other unfortunates like myself pretend that we are, indeed, needed, but for what?
Such considerations just might drive me straight back into farming.
• • •
It was by far the biggest bear he had ever seen, and Mark Addison guessed the animal loping down Williams Avenue on a Saturday could weigh more than 600 pounds.
Mark might be near the right weight given he’s an X-ray operator at our hospital.
It seems I might be the only person in town who has yet to see any bears this year!

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