Friday, October 19, 2012


Crossword puzzles give Jerry and me a great deal of pleasure.  As much as anything, we do a lot of laughing at what we don't know, should know, have on the tip of our tongue and are happy to know.  Often we end up close to hysterics - such as after wracking our brains trying to come up with the last name of a person named Bobby, but discovering what the puzzle wants is a simple "pin." 

We complement each other; I do the hard puzzles and he does the easy ones.  Within that framework, he is assigned to provide help for all the scientific and math questions, and I help with all the writers, books and religious questions.  We're on our own with foreign words and Roman/Greek mythology!

Early this morning Jer was down to the last unknown word and passed the book over to me.  I found the answer was obvious: OldDanTucker.  It was not obvious to Jer.  "Who's that?" he said.  Unbelieveably, he had never, ever heard of Old Dan Tucker, much less heard it sung.    He didn't challenge me on it but he had that look that said, "I'll bet you are not going to let this go, are you?"

From my earliest childhood my mother sang to my sister and me.  She was not a particularly good singer, but she was full of music.  Now my father came from a musical family but I don't believe I ever heard him sing.  It was always my mother.  Many of her songs were ones that were probably older than she was.  She often sang to us the musical version of "Trees" (I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree....).  She had a darling song that was popular probably in the 1920's "We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye" about the furniture dancing when the singer and his amore decided they couldn't part; my sister and I loved it!  And yes, we heard a lot of the old gospel hymns.

It was from her singing that I remember "Old Dan Tucker."   This morning I tried to sing it to Jerry, but due to my aging vocal cords (which the doctor says appear stiff and inflexible as if they were somewhat arthritic, to my great dismay) and my lapsing memory over the words, I couldn't do an accurate rendition for Jerry's benefit.  So I found a great YouTube version and called Jerry to come hear it.  He now has no excuse for missing it should another crossword puzzle ask that question again. 

Jerry laughed; I'm sure he didn't disbelieve what I had told him, but hearing it sung by a real hillbilly confirmed what his morning crossword puzzle meant.  And then it occurred to me that probably my own kids didn't know about Old Dan Tucker.

Maybe some of you readers don't remember it either.  So shown below is the link that will take you to the fine singing of one of our honest folk songs that dates from the 1840s!


Be sure your sound is up; it would be a shame to not hear and enjoy it.

1 comment:

Friko said...

I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song, well, maybe I have, without taking much notice of it. It’s not part of my growing-up.

But my Beloved and I do crosswords, the hard, cryptic ones. I do anagrams, he does stuff from before I was born. We both puzzle over writers, titles of plays and books and music, and we both need help with science and very big words. We use crossword answer books, which often are puzzles in themselves.

I love crosswords, breakfast is the time we do ours.