Monday, April 30, 2012

ZEBRA (A-Z April Blog Challenge)

I never see a zebra that I don’t view as a “horse in striped pajamas”.  This song was part of my childhood and sung by my family all the time.  “Look there daddy, do you see? There’s a horse in striped pajamas…”

And NO ONE else knew it.  None of our friends. Either then, or now.  I’m embarrassed at the number of times I’ve subjected friends and coworkers to my “singing voice” in the attempt to find SOMEONE who knows the song besides us.  Then the other day, I Googled it.  Just the words “horse in striped pajamas”.  And there it was!   

I found a version by Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans and another by Eddie Arnold and his daughter.  So even if I haven’t found them, I KNOW there are people out there who’ve heard the song.  I won’t admit to how many times I’ve played it over the past few days, but will say it’s been such a joy!

Probably ten years or so at Christmas, when the family was all together, someone brought up the song.  Someone started it and then all five of us kids were singing as were dad and mom.  It was off key, and some mumbled through areas of forgotten words.  It was loud and filled with laughter.  Looking back, it was one of the most connected moments I’ve ever felt to my family. We reminisce in my family – a lot.  We tell stories and kid around, and it’s a good close time.  But there was something so singular and spontaneous about us all singing that simple song.  At that moment, we weren’t married, we didn’t have kids, we hadn’t all grown up and gone on with our lives, separate from mom, dad and each other.  We were just the Wood clan.  Mom, Dad, Craig, Keith, Brooke, Darcey and Amy.  It was nice. 

There was one other song that my family sang.  Well, I honesty, my mom sang it mostly.  Standing by your bedside in the morning, she would sing “Birdie with a yellow bill, hopped upon my window sill.  Cocked a shiny eye and said, aren’t you awake you sleepy head’? We moaned.  We groaned.  And yet we loved it. Or grew to love it.  How could you not love it you’re your always chipper and happy mom wakes you up with a little song in your ear? 

And again, upon Googling, I find it’s actually a poem, titled Time to Rise, by Robert Louise Stevenson.  A poem.  That my mother put to music.  Not surprising, and a revelation to me to find I fell in love with my first poem long before I thought I did.  

And we all sang Birdie with a yellow bill. We sang it in mocking fun to each other over the years.  And when we started having children, we sang it to them.  They moaned and groaned just like we did and it is my fervent hope that they will sing it to their children as well.  If they don’t, well that’s a shame. 

I know Abram grew up hearing both songs, and if the blessing of having children enters his life, I feel confident he will. And if he doesn’t, I’ll be waiting in the wings with my “singing voice” ready.

21 comments:

  1. Great blog! I think all the Zebra people should blog each other. I have one too. Wonder how many used Z for Zebra today? "Horse in Striped PJ's" love it!

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  2. Oh, your mom sounded like such a delight. ANd makes me feel guilty for not being nearly so chipper in the morning! I just snap,, "get up if you don't want a pink late slip at school!" I bet there are lots of zebras today. let's start counting! It's been a pleasure sharing this challenge with you. I think you should print all these out and see how they can be shaped into some kind of memoir of your childhood. Been a pleasure looking back with you.

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    1. Thanks Sandra - she ws an optimist all the way! Interesting idea about the memoir...it's been a pleasure getting to know you through our blog as well. I love your style!

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  3. another beauty of a zebra blog--congrats on the challenge!!

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    1. Even better when you're waking up to it! ;-)

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  5. Oh, this is wonderful, Amy. You found something of real substance to write about for Z! What nice memories for your family to share. I've heard the Stevenson poem, but no, I didn't know the song, either. It's great. I remember when we were kids one of my aunts, who visited often, you to sing (believe it or not) "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts." We loved it. And when the first of my friends had children, I would sing that to the oldest one at bedtime! I wonder if she remembers it. You have done such a wonderful job on this challenge, and I agree with Sandra--these all would make a fantastic memoir. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us.

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    1. I love that coconut song! :) It's been a good month, I have to admit. Different than I expected, but good. Id love to see you put something together with all your posts as well.

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  6. Great memories - I'd not heard of those songs.
    Many congrats on completing the challenge, and thank you so much for visiting mine.

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    1. You're welcome Paula and likewise! (I love that your editor can't stop reading in order to edit!)

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  7. I've really enjoyed your blog during this challenge. It was my first time participating and I'm happy to have found your blog. Keep up the writing! Visit sometime.

    www.dianeweidenbenner.com

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    1. It was my first blog challenge too Diane. I just started my blog January 1st, so it was jumping in all the way, right away! Thank you for reading!

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  8. What a wonderful happy memory. I remember watching Captain Kangaroo, and I remember that funny little song. Great way to finish the A to Z with a bang!! Congratulations!!

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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    1. Ah Kathy, if I'd placed a bet on anyone knowing it through this blog challenge it would have been you and you didn't disappoint! So glad you know it and it's been a pleasure this moth to share blogs.

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  9. And what's not to love about a Zebra? LOL
    congrats on a good month of entertaining posts.I believe I read them all!

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  10. that's cute.. the zebra song.. i hadn't heard of the song until now, amy... and i think it would be a great performance song for my students to sing... :)

    and how awesome that your mom turned a poem into a song...

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    1. It would make an awesome performance!

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  11. Aww the story about your family spontaneously taking a little trip back in time together like that really made me happy, and perhaps a little teary :) Thank you for sharing it.

    ~ Rhonda Parrish

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  12. Thank you for taking the time to read it Rhonda. I appreciate your time and comment and am glad it touched you.

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