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Nov 27, 2023Liked by Debra Esolen

I remembered the song of my great-grandfather: “It is Well With My Soul.”

My brother explains that the people from that bloodline were hobbits. They knew how to enjoy things. No, there was no wealth, but there was goodness.

I just finished reading “Sex and the Unreal City.” As we say out west, Boy howdy. And! Though I am a child of those good hymn-singing hobbit bloodlines, the current of the times took me downstream for a time, though I surely did know better. After college, working at a job in Yellowtail Park, I looked out the window where the local elk were going about the business of nature. Bulls did what bulls do (fight one another, challenge one another, pursue the females) while cows did what cows do (eat grass, and ignore the hubbub.). “Hmm,” thought my college-trained brain, “Males and females behave differently from each other. And no one has socialized them into these gender roles.”

Reality happens!

Glory to God.

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Nov 26, 2023Liked by Debra Esolen

How delightful. In the sixties my third graders and I used to take work breaks by singing the old folk tunes like "The Fox went out on a chilly night" The children loved it and so did I. Thanks for bringing back some sweet memories.

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Nov 26, 2023·edited Nov 26, 2023Liked by Debra Esolen

As I was reading and watching and listening to the text and videos of this SAS episode, a distinct thought came into my head that I wanted to reply with. But before doing so, I did first read the (at this point, so far, anyway) fifteen comments and replies, and realized that they all seemed to have that particular distinct thing in common that I had wanted to comment on, except that I want to say it in a broader and more general manner.

And that broader aspect is about the "purpose" for Word & Song existing in general, but encapsulated well, I think, in this particular post for today. See, as I was reading your comments above, and especially in listening to the three variations on the song -- and even in those fifteen-so-far replies by readers and you -- I couldn't help thinking about what the "common theme" of all the different columns in this site might be. Yes, of course, as you've described before, Word & Song is intended to focus on, and hopefully bring back into our weary and withering society more common knowledge and appreciation of the Good, the True and the Beautiful. And how wonderful that goal is.

But I guess what struck me today was that somehow, just the idea of, and experience of, and expression of pure "JOY" (I can only emphasize it properly by typing it in all caps there) is what I think I "see" in essentially all the various types of articles and clips and such in Word & Song, whether of movies, hymns, poems, literary works, popular songs, word origins, or philosophical commentary.

And oddly enough (and I hope I can say this properly and meaningfully), that quality of joy EVEN applies to -- and perhaps ESPECIALLY applies to -- those entries that have, on their surface, a sense of melancholy, sadness, longing, disappointment, even some degree of horror or sorrow at times.

I realize that sounds almost contradictory, but I mean it sincerely. There is, after all, a way of approaching life and history and art and music and well, everything-don't-ya-know, with an attitude of what I can only describe as joy. And the loss of -- or at least a very strong indication that we are rapidly losing, if not already long there -- a "joyful" approach to life and art and all those things, is the "thing" of that "distinct thought" I mentioned above in my opening sentence.

For there is, even in, say, a war movie that Tony has commented on, or a looking-into-the-face-of-despair described by a poem like Ozymandias or "Crossing the Bar" where Tony writes "Yet he did not despair. He did not give up." For that is, I think, one of the great dangers of (as I described above) our weary and withering society, where even art and music seem at times to be bent on driving hatred and despair and ugliness into our very souls to somehow replace innate joy that God has given us.

And combating that seemingly-willing drive/dive into the abyss by our current cultural forces with a powerful sword of JOY (if you will) that can cut through the worldly morass if wielded confidently and with the skill and knowledge of the Esolens' daily/weekly effort in Word & Song, is, to me, THE unifying principal of the site. I am reminded of that passage in Acts when the high priest and council had Peter and the Apostles beaten and that then "they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name" AND (in a slightly different direction) the first line of the chorus from John Denver's song Matthew, "Yes, an' Joy was just a thing that he was raised on" that follows, even after the verse that ends, "He lost the farm and lost his family, lost the wheat and lost his home, but he found his family Bible, a faith as solid as a stone."

That is all. Thank you for Word & Song and the JOY it brings in all its manifestations. We need it these days.

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This was one of my grandfather Patrick's favorites. :)

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What fun! I picked up a whole lot of songs & lyrics when I was growing up in the Chicago suburbs, not on a farm--from the radio, from movies, from relatives singing around my grandparents’ piano, & from song collection books from the library, & even a couple from guys who grew up on Southern farms. Oddly enough, I never mastered a full version of “Turkey in the Straw”, just one verse which began “Oh, I went down to Sandy Hook the other afternoon....” Always have to make up filler for part B. However, I do know all of “Do your ears hang low”.

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Nov 25, 2023Liked by Debra Esolen

SO MUCH FUN! Thanks for sharing these, which do run the gamut. Speaking of communities which used to dance…….my father-in-law had a small band with his family in the sandhills of Nebraska. He would ride horseback to play, and to dance, at country dances. Then he would ride back to the ranch, in time to get started n the next day’s work. More or less.

My mother-in-law outlived him by fifteen years, and remarked “I had a good life with Charlie, and I have a good life without Charlie. You just have to reinvent your life.” She wasn’t given to self-pity, and had no patience with maudlin moods. But, in her final summer, she seemed to permit herself some tenderness toward her lost love, and would say, with a faraway look in her eyes, what a fine dancer he was.

Check out these pictures, and especially the captions, about the little school in Bynum, Montana.

https://thomasleetruewest.com/2015/05/12/montana-photographs-bynum-dancing/

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This is Liberace at his finest. I believe the middle violinist with the mustache is his brother, George. Great job, Debra, in resurrecting these three videos.

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Nov 25, 2023Liked by Debra Esolen

Wonderfully entertaining. If more people listened to Burl Ives and other folk singers they would laugh and be happy. Made my morning. Thank you.

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Nov 25, 2023Liked by Debra Esolen

Thank you, Debra, this song is lots of fun:) I agree with you, the Liberace version is the best. In the last frame of the video, Liberace is at the piano in his tux as are the violinists. Everything looks so refined and cultured, then you see the ax right next to the unsuspecting bird. It struck me as incongruous. But then again, lots of things, in this life of ours, are!

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