Happy things

This is for the Blogging from A to Z theme reveal:

I choose my theme today: Happy things.

When we first moved to Port Townsend, my mother had recurrent of ovarian cancer. My husband was very unhappy and my son had to switch schools in January, leaving a teacher that he loved in Colorado and all his friends. I was working and finding learning all the new phone numbers, specialists, acronyms and patients difficult.

After a while, I instituted Happy Things. At bedtime I told my son that we each had to say three happy things.

“But mom,” said my son. “I am not happy.”

“Well,” I said, “They don’t have to be very happy.”

“What do you mean?” he said.

“Just a little happy. Like, only three patients cried today and not four. No one died today in my clinic. I didn’t forget my lunch like yesterday.”

He thought about it. “We didn’t have the awful pizza at lunch today.”

“Good job! What else?”

“I only got yelled at by the teacher twice.”

“Great! How about the other kids?”

“I only got hit on the playground once.”

“Good job. Yeah, stuff like that. A meteor didn’t hit the school and destroy everyone.”

“I’d get out of school then.”

“If you survived.”

So we did happy things every night and sometimes they were very dark and gradually they got better. I will do happy things from A to Z and some days they may only be a little happy….

The rat is for my son. He has pet rats. This rat is loose on Hawaii, which is not a happy thing for the native birds, but I think the rat may be happy. It came down the tree and was then holding very still, trying to convince us that we couldn’t see it. Be careful, rat, because we saw a mongoose there too.

For the Daily Prompt: toxic. Is the rat toxic? An immigrant? I would immigrate if I had to, so how can I scorn others who do?

It is a small picture, because I had my phone zoomed all the way in. Hello, rat. We see you.



Songs to raise girls: Billy Barlow

I knew the song “Billy Barlow” as “Let’s go hunting”. It was one of the silly songs that we recorded. I adored this song when I was little for two reasons. One was that it was funny. The other was that I interpreted it as a song that could be changed and sung about more than one animal. I can remember when I realized that no, the adults sang it the same way each time and they would not change the animal. I was disappointed but I still loved the song. And I could change the animal on my own.

It’s a good song to raise girls: an illustration of a group of guys….

Let’s go hunting, says Risky Rob
Let’s go hunting, says Robin to Bob
Let’s go hunting, says Dan’l and Joe
Let’s go hunting, says Billy Barlow

When my son was a teen, another parent commented that the IQ dropped in half for each teen added to a group. Two boys cut the IQ in half, three had it to one quarter and four was trouble.

What’ll we hunt for, says Risky Rob
What’ll we hunt for,
What’ll we hunt for,
Let’s hunt rats, says Billy Barlow

How’ll we catch them,
How’ll we catch them,
How’ll we catch them,
Let’s borrow a shotgun, says Billy Barlow

How’ll we divide them,
How’ll we divide them,
How’ll we divide them,
How’ll we divide them, says Billy Barlow

I also loved this song because the last line changed. Sometimes Billy Barlow said the same thing and sometimes he said something different. When I was very small and still learning the song, that was part of the joy of it, to see what Billy Barlow would do. And clearly he was wicked, like Coyote or Pan or Loki and going to lead the group to trouble if he could….

I’ll take shoulders,
I’ll take sides,
I’ll take hams
Tailbone mine, says Billy Barlow

How’ll we cook them,
How’ll we cook them,
How’ll we cook them,
How’ll we cook them,

I’ll fry shoulders,
I’ll boil sides
I’ll bake hams,
Tailbone raw, says Billy Barlow

Oh, delicious ickiness, raw rat tailbone… It would give my sister and me shivers….

Let’s go hunting, says Risky Rob
Let’s go hunting, says Robin to Bob
Let’s go hunting, says Dan’l and Joe
Let’s stay home, says Billy Barlow

And relief. Billy was messing with them all the time and he doesn’t want to go and he never did, which is why he suggested a shotgun to hunt rats…. I like this Billy.

When I search on Billy Barlow, here is an entirely different song, a civil war marching song for Company B from New York City that marched into Maryland in 1863 and had a 63% loss. My sister had a civil war marching band play at her rehearsal dinner and we ended up marching in pea gravel for a couple hours. It turns out that my oldest cousin had ambitions to be a marching band drum leader. The band thought we were so funny that they offered to return. But the civil war fighters on both sides had marching bands with them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1ZlfsP7dZA

And here is Pete Seeger with our song, in a slightly different style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrgTOPufru4

And here is another site that says the song is a version of “The Cutty Wren” or “The Hunting of the Wren”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_oAPCVkMP0

The picture is my daughter. She was playing alone and was having a wonderful time with her imagination. I am not sure who took this picture…..