Today is the birthday of Burl Ives, the round, bearded, pipe-smoking, banjo-playing folk singer immortalized in claymation as a balladeer for the 1960’s TV special “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” He was also blacklisted in the 50’s and snubbed for a time afterwards for keeping his career going by testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
My favorite thing about Burl Ives is that he was an itinerant folk singer during the Depression, and got arrested in Utah for singing the song “Foggy Foggy Dew” in public on the grounds that it was a bawdy song. This, in spite of the fact that no one could pin down exactly what the term “Foggy Foggy Dew” meant. Some suggestions – Tuberculosis, Virginity, Being Sent to a Nunnery, and of course, Bad Weather.
This is an infectious little tune and there are multiple versions. It is uncommonly friendly to finagling via the folk process. So in keeping with our Theme of the Week, I’ll adapt it to fit one of the more arduous tasks of my youth.
When I was a juvenile I lived with my folks
And a hungry St. Bernard.
And the only, only thing that I sang was this song
As I walked around the yard.
I walked there in the wintertime
And in the summer too.
And the only, only thing that I did all day long
Was to pick up all the Doggy Doggy Doo
One night the hound came too my rooms
Her whimpers left no doubt.
She’d stolen a whole box of prunes
And needed to go out.
She yipped, she skipped, she nearly flipped
So what else could I do?
I leapt out of the sack and I let her go out back
And she filled it up with Doggy Doggy Doo.
Now I’m older than I was and I live with my son
And a different St. Bernard.
And every single time that the dog is in the house
The kitchen has a cupboard guard.
We lock it up in wintertime
And in the summer too
And all the fibered food is protected by alarms
Just to cut down on that Doggy Doggy Doo
What chore do you despise most?