Ever wonder why I’m so twisted? Take a gander of some of the dittys my ancestor’s passed down to me.
from Gramma Glen
(Agnes Glenavie Sullivan Heath)
The Cat’s Pissin’
Under the chair.
Get the gun!
He’s all done.
from my dad sung to my brother Jimmy
(James H. Heath to James H. Heath, Jr.)
Donna had a baby She named him Uncle Jim She put him in the toilet To teach him how to swim. He swam to the bottom He dove to the top. When he got excited. She pulled him by the dirty cocktail gingerale 30 cents a glass If you don’t believe me, You can kiss my dirty ask me no questions I’ll tell you no lies. Donna had a bag of doo and hit him right between the eyes
A lulliby from my Grandma Rennie
(Ruby Harrison Rennie)
When I was just a little girl. I heard my daddy say, I had a lot more work to do Than youngsters do today.” And then he goes on to say About the chores he did And you can bet he made it sound like he was quite a kid. ”I had to feed a dozen cows And milk them twice a day. I also had some horses That needed corn and hay. I had to feed and water them And keep their stable clean. And there were other little jobs All scattered in between. I had to get the wood And had to cut it too For it would go in the kitchen stove And then I wasn’t through. Until I carried in the wood And carried out the ashes. And filled the water pails and pans And wiped up all the splashes.” If Daddy had to work so hard And go to school all day I don’t see how he ever had A bit of time to play.
I believe this also came from my Grandma Rennie
Fortunate will Mary Mary be Fortunate will Mary Mary be Fortunate will Mary Mary be, Tomorrow we’ll be sober On a fort nite she’ll marry marry me marry marry me marry marry me a fort nite she’ll marry marry me Tomorrow we’ll be sober.
(James H. Heath)
My dad (James H. Heath) taught this to the kids of our Boy Scouts of America den, which he served as den master. It’s done in an echo, with the kids repeating his words after each line.
The other day I met a bear A great big bear In the woods out there. Chorus: The other day I met a bear. A great big bear, in the woods out there. He looked at me, I looked at him He sized up me. I sized up him. Chorus: He looked at me, I looked at him. He sized up me. I sized up him. He said to me “Why don’t you run? I see you aint Got any gun.” Chorus: He said to me, “Why don’t you run? I see you aint, got any gun.” I said to him, “That’s a good idear.” So come on feet Let’s get out of here. Chorus: I said to him, “That’s a good idear.” So come on feet, let’s get out of here. And so I ran away from there But right behind me was that bear Chorus: And so I ran away from there. But right behind me was that bear Ahead of me, There was a tree A great big tree Oh glory be Chorus: Ahead of me, there was a tree. A great big tree. Oh glory be The lowest branch was 10 feet up I had to jump and trust my luck Chorus: The lowest branch was 10 feet up. I had to jump and trust my luck. And so I jumped into the air but I missed that branch on the way up there Chorus: And so I jumped into the air, but I missed that branch on the way up there. Now don’t you fret and don’t you frown cause I caught that branch on the way back down Chorus: Now don’t you fret and don’t you frown cause I caught that branch on the way back down Now that’s the end There t’aint no more Unless I meet That bear once more. Now that’s the end. There t’aint no more unless I meet that bear once more.
James H. Heath
Another song my dad would sing, that was one of our favorites was done by Phil Harris and I think it’s in one of the musicals, like South Pacific. It’s called “The Thing.”
One verse goes…
“While I was walking down the beach One bright and sunny day. I happened to see a wooden box a floatin’ in the bay I pulled it in to open it up And much to my surprise.. OOOO I discovered a (Knock knock-knock) right before my eyes.”
“I wandered, round for many years, A victim of my fate Until one day I came upon St. Peter at the gate. And this is what he hollored at me As he told me where to go… OOOOHHHH… Get out of here with that (Knock knock-knock) and take it down below.”
Amazing, I haven’t thought of that song now for maybe 20 years, but I can recall every word of every line as if I’d only heard it yesterday.
Donna June Rennie Heath
Now my mother, Donna June Rennie Heath, was perhaps the most “normal” of all my elders, teaching me the familiar kids rhymes of the day…Mary had a little lamb, Jack be Nimble, There was an old lady who swallowed a spider that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her… Perhaps she taught me these tales, to offset any possible detrimental effects of my dad’s stories.
However, my mother wasn’t as “normal” as she at first appears. She had a love for popular music and to this day can Rock n’ Roll with the best of them. I really identified with Cheap Trick when they sang in ?Surrender? about coming home with their friends to find their mom and dad rocking out. ?Mama’s all right. Daddy’s all right. They just seem a little weird.?
However, my mother did have a few unusual ditties that she loved. She loved it when my brother Curtis learned to play “The House of the Rising Sun” on his guitar. She sang about the Eerie Canal and “Down in the Valley” as I recall. She also sang this song that she said her grandmother sang to her, that I have since forgotten all the words to and would love to find it again. One of the lines was:
?One hundred n sixtynine acres of farmland at home.?
Neither she or I can remember all the words and would love to find them. She told me awhile back that that was the average sized farm that people got when they got a land grant and there was a song about it, but she doesn’t remember the words anymore.
Being sure that my parents made all this stuff up, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a poem recanted on “The Walton’s” TV series, that was one of my mom’s old standbys. It went:
Jinny kissed me when we met. Jumping from the chair she sat in. Time! You thief Who’ve love to get Penny for your thoughts Put that in. Say I’m weary Say I’m sad Say that health and wealth have missed me Say I’m getting old But add Jinny kissed me.”
My father also sang another song that I often find myself humming in hard times. I learned later in life, that it was done by Peter, Paul and Mary:
Meat nor drink nor money have I none