Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Part 4: Cradle Songs and Distant Melodies,Whiskey in the Jar

Cradle Songs and Distant Melodies
Part 4: Whiskey in the Jar

Any customer of Period Pilots (serving the needs of the Time Travel Community since A.D. 476) knows that the best way to help answer the commonly-asked question, “Where do you come from?”,  is to step a little farther back in time.

As I’ve said previously, in this journal, my background isn’t only dependent on my bloodline. It’s a collage of experiences from all the people who have influenced me and mine. Some of those folk came from within the family circle and others, just as importantly if not more so, stood outside of it. Because of this, my cultural background includes Henry and Stan in the 1980’s. It includes a Midwestern librarian and farm folk in the 1930’s. And today, with a little help from an old song, I learned a little more about where I'm from.
* * *
I was singing a tune I’d thought was from times long gone, when I was reminded that some times have never truly vanished. There’s more than one way to be carried along back through time, and there’s nothing like a song sung in the right mood to take you there. This one carried me along to one more of the places it appears I’m from.

As I was going over the far flung Kerry mountains

I met with Captain Farrell
And his money he was countin’.
I first produced me pistol,
And I then produced my rapier.

Sayin’ stand and deliver…..

I was humming the old melody to “Whiskey in the Jar” as I trotted along a little hiking path through Edgewood Park. The original song, celebrating the prediciment of the ‘oft times admired highwayman, was widely sung in the Ireland of past times, and continues, I’ve been told, to be a pub favorite today.

If you give me the once over you’ll be pretty sure that many of my ancestors must have graced those emerald shores. The land of √Čire didn’t provide enough in the way of sustenance however, so they lit out for Ameriky as soon as they could find the passage money. For all I know, they may have collected the guineas and shillings they needed for that, from the pockets of the passengers they stopped when they held up coaches on the toby roads of the Emerald Isle.

When the path headed downhill into a heavily forested hollow in the terrain, I began to sing that song, I’d learned a long time back. I learned it so long ago that, in fact, I don’t remember having been taught to sing it. Perhaps it was just born in me, that song.

Maybe it was the intense grassy greenness of the little dell I was passing through at the moment, or perhaps it was that the frolicsome water in the creek below, bubbled up and joined me in the refrain.

Musha ring dumma do damma da 

Whack for the daddy 'ol

Whack for the daddy 'ol

There's whiskey in the jar.
Time travel on a song turns out to be one of the more pleasant methods of transport I’ve found to date. It has a way of pulling you straight into the melody. Before I knew it, I was part of the story of that old ballad. But it was a song somewhat different from the one I’d sung so many times before.
One thing I knew for sure. I wasn’t in Edgewood Park anymore.
…..Next Time: The Highwayman’s daughter

Listen to this entire story in the April Edition of "Unpolished Performances", a free podcast in the iTunes Store. Download it by clicking on this link.

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