Three Sons

There was an old woman had three sons,
Jerry and James and John,
Jerry was hanged, James was drowned,
John was lost and never was found;
And there was an end of her three sons,
Jerry and James and John!

Well, that’s damn depressing. I think I have a pretty good idea why this one never made it into any of my children’s books. I guess this is reality for some families, but yikes, it’s a harsh tale for little ears. Continue reading →

Quarrel

My little old man and I fell out;
I’ll tell you what ’twas all about,–
I had money and he had none,
And that’s the way the noise begun.

Love of money is the root of all evil, right? No, I’m not copping out with a cliché. Not when this rhyme brings up such an interesting question: What do children owe their parents for their upbringing? What does any family members owe another? It must be quite awkward when one family member becomes incredibly rich. But there are so many factors at play. Did the parents do their best at raising the child well or were they horrible? Are the other family members drug addicts and drunks, or have they simply fallen on hard times? Did he become rich through hard work or a stroke of luck, like winning the lottery? Maybe none of this matters at all, but the people in the rhyme are certainly not anomalies. Unlike the coffee and tea issue, this one is worth discussing. Continue reading →

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper;
Dame Jill had the job to plaister his knob,
With vinegar and brown paper.

Jill came in and she did grin
To see his paper plaister,
Mother vex’d did whip her next,
For causing Jack’s disaster.

I think it’s obvious why most of us only heard the first verse of this rhyme when we were kids. Why on earth did Jill have to take care of Jack, and more to the point, why did she get in trouble for what happened to him? I see nothing in the verse that implies Jill caused his disaster. Was she much older than him and supposed to be in charge of his well-being? I don’t know. Either part of the story is missing, or the mother is just a horrible witch who is playing favorites with her children. I’m really starting to think Mother Goose was quite the sexist.

Verdict: Use the paper this rhyme is written on to plaster Jack’s head and then kick him down the well. Continue reading →

Brother Knows Best

Or at least my brother may have a better memory for the geographical history of our family vacations than I do. When I went to Idaho over the July 4th holiday, I believed that I had stepped foot into the one state I had never been to. But that might not have been true. While I was in Kansas last week for Thanksgiving, my brother and I were discussing the places we had been to in the Kansas City area as children…which according to him, were none. I distinctly remember being in Missouri and visiting the Jesse James house, but my brother says that never happened. According to him, we visited a bank in Minnesota that James had robbed.

Then I thought about it some more and realized yes, it’s quite possible that I never did make it to the Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas quartet. Well, shoot. But if that’s true, at least Kansas and Missouri are now knocked off the list for real.

And I mean, I’ve really done Kansas. All the way from the border with Colorado 424 miles across I-70 to Kansas City and back. I left the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and took two days for the eastbound trip. My plan was to stop and see all the kitsch sites along the way, because there are many: a giant Van Gogh painting, truckhenge, world’s largest collection of the smallest versions of the largest things…need I go on? A collection of Americana perfect for the ultimate Heartland road trip. Continue reading →

What Made a 1986 Ford Taurus the Best Car I Ever Owned

It’s Throwback Thursday, something I have never participated in – until now. But I was feeling kind of bad about letting this blog languish with nothing but my horrible haikus to entertain my few faithful readers, so I thought I should put something up today. I found this piece that I wrote exactly 3 years and 1 day ago for the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices (if anyone remembers that). Enjoy!

 

Good gas mileage, expensive options, and a sleek exterior aren’t always what make a car great. For those of us who bought our first cars during our dramatic teenage years, the memories that we made with those cars can be far more important. Continue reading →