Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sing We Now While Driving . . .

Dad. He of the wondrous voice.

My Dad loves to sing.
Fortunately, for the rest of us, he has a very nice voice.
And great rhythm.
It's just his timing that needs work.
Let me explain . . .
When one lived as far from civilization as we did, 'going somewhere' inevitably involved . . . well . . . travelling.
For extended periods of time.
I'd like to point out here, that wonderful inventions like DS's, cell phones , IPads and the all-important DVD players existed only in science fiction. Our entertainment consisted of visiting, looking out the window, and books.
Or, in my case, just visiting or looking out the window. Reading in a car, though perhaps my favorite diversion, unavoidably made me carsick.
How did I get over here . . .? Oh, right. Dad . . . and singing.
Whenever we travelled, there was always that stretch of road (I know you've been there), usually somewhere in the middle, where we ran out of conversation and the scenery got boring.
And everyone in the car, driver included, got sleepy.
That's when Dad would start to sing.
At full volume.
He really only had one.
See what I mean about timing . . .?
His family was treated to such classics as, "Who Put the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder". Or, "My Diane" (my personal favorite), "Two Little Boys" (which always made me cry), "Daisy", or the ever popular, "The Doors Swing In and the Doors Swing Out".
Usually, Mom would also join in.
Suffice it to say that, before us kids could carry on a lucid conversation, we could sing. We didn't always know what we were singing, and our school teachers sometimes questioned the suitability of a song that took place almost entirely within a saloon ("The Doors Swing In . . ." - see above.)
But that's beside the point . . .
We were in tune and definitely had the words right.
Or at least as right as Dad did.
It wasn't until some years later that I realized my Dad used . . . poetic license. One day, I was singing "Two Little Boys" while I cleaned out a pen in the barn. Unbeknownst (real word!) to me, Dad was leaning on the fence in the far corner, listening.
I got to one line and just did what he had always done. "Da Da Da Da Da Da Dum Dee."
He burst out laughing.
When I glared at him accusingly, he told me that he'd been waiting for me to get to that line so he could finally hear what the real words were. He had never been able to remember and had just put in 'placer' lyrics.
I had memorized them accordingly.
Scary, isn't it that we pick up what we are taught . . . mistakes and all?
I've wandered from the point.
Again.
Now, whenever I drive along a road that Dad took us down, or even a road that resembles a road that . . .
I remember. Feeling happily sleepy. And that beautiful baritone voice, suddenly belting out the lyrics to some song that probably only Dad remembered.
Or possibly that Dad made up.
But so soothing to us denizens of the back seat.

Though in his 87th year, my Dad still drives.
And sings.
Wait, he's started, "Cause Some Dirty Dog Put Glue on the Saddle".
I have to go . . .

6 comments:

  1. I have never heard a single one of those songs in my life! YouTube, here I come....

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're life will be richer for knowing them!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What great memories! I have never heard those songs either. Oh and my husband and daughter both get car sick from reading. Not me though. Thanks for linking up again over at NOBH...and for stopping by my blog too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have heard of "Daisy Daisy give me your answer due" Love that song used to sing it to my daughter and son when they were babies. Hope that is the same song your father sang, otherwise I made a big oops:) Got to look up the others:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Adventurer, You're in for a treat. Of course, you won't be able to hear my Dad sing them, but . . . :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I might have to look some of those songs up on YouTube as well! Or learn them, and then post them!

    ReplyDelete

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