And fold their tent like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
Now where the hell does that come from? I know it’s from some famous poem and I could probably Google that line and find out all about it: the poem, the author, and all that kind of stuff, but in my life it came from my father. He is responsible for all the silly lines that come in to my somewhat aged mind.
When I was a kid my Dad read to us three boys every night before he “tucked us in.” It usually started with a poem. Then he would read us a story. He loved Rudyard Kipling and he read us Captains Courageous, Kim, The Jungle Book and all kinds of adventure stories, a few pages an evening.
Then he would end the evening with a reading of some scripture and have us each say our prayers. I guess he thought the scripture things would be the last thing we would think about before we fell asleep.
But is wasn’t scripture that I thought of as I fell asleep but such lines as:
Here’s to you Fuzzy-Wuzzy, to your home in the Sudan,
You’re a poor benighted heathen, but a first call fightin’ man.
I don’t know exactly why Fuzzy-Wuzzy was a first class fighting man. It had something to do with breaking the British Square, whatever that was.
Today I’ll see someone with a hair-do that brings those lines to mind.
By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
I know those lines are by Kipling, but I don’t remember any of the rest of that poem, but these words come to mind when I see someone do something exception that I either couldn’t do or didn’t want to do.
“Beware of the ides of March.”
That line always comes to mind at the end of February. I know that is what the soothsayer says to Julius Caesar forecasting his assassination. I remember the time when income tax was due on March 15 and people would often use that phrase referring to the fact that Uncle Sam’s income tax would kill them. I wonder if the government changed the day taxes were due to April 15 because of the phrase often heard in early March? If so there here’s to good old Shakespeare.
Ever had a song you don’t care for much go over and over in your mind. There is one I hate, and it’s my father’s fault. In the cabinet that held up the old windup Gramophone, there was one shelf of Christian records, one of operatic arias, and the bottom shelf held the cowboy records. My mother loved opera. My father loved cowboy music, which is interesting because he was a fairly good pianist. He loved classical piano pieces, particularly Tchaikovsky’s 2nd piano concerto. He would sit down and play the piano at least half an hour almost every day.
I now share with you one of my dad’s Gawd awfulest cowboy songs. It may be that reading it just once, believe me you wont want to read it more than that, it will become one of those things that plagues your mind as it does mine. Then we will have something in common.
Oh, bury me out, on the lone prairie wide,
Bury my forty-four close by my side.
Cover me over with boulders and stones,
So the wild dogs and coyotes wont dig at my bones.
Thank God I don’t know any more of it, but if remember correctly it had four verses.
“Sleep well, sweet prince, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”
Ah, yes! Now where does that come from?
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The Telephone Killer is now available as an audiobook.
Another new novel of mine, Murder Sets Sail, is now available on Amazon and from Second Wind Publishing. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.
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