Baboon Redux – Over the River

Today’s guest post, originally posted in November of 2011,  is by Clyde.

When we were raising our children, we lived in Two Harbors and my parents lived above the east end of Duluth, only about two miles from Hawk Ridge. Among the four ways we could drive to their house, our favorite was to take the Seven Bridges Road.

Here is YouTube of a song about the Seven Bridges Road:

In winter the Seven Bridges Road was plowed only part way up the hill. Thus for our traditional Thanksgiving Day drive to my parents house we would always take the Seven Bridges Road, assuming that it would ere long be closed. And a family tradition was born to sing as we passed over each of the seven bridges “Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go.” As our children matured, one would always ask, “What’s another popular Thanksgiving song?” A question which still lacks an answer.

Why is that? Why are there not many popular songs for this second most American of holidays? Everything seems right for songs: the season, the purpose, the mood, the many items associated with the day. But no songs have arisen.

Also, serious writers of serious music, i.e. classical, often embody popular songs, i.e. un-serious songs, in their serious music. Have I missed it, or has no one used Lydia Maria Child’s “Over the River and through the Woods” in this way?

Another mystery: Her poem which provides the words to the song was called “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day.” Why is her poem of her childhood memories called “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day”?

Here are her words:

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood—
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ding”,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood—
And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood—
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Why the dearth of Thanksgiving songs?
Go ahead. Write one.

28 thoughts on “Baboon Redux – Over the River”

  1. Happy Thanksgiving all. Thanks Clyde for this great piece – I remember it from way back when but I’m pretty sure I didn’t come up with an original song. So while I am counting my blessings today, this is a song I like.

    And among my blessings is this community. I am so grateful to have found you all with your wit, poetry, music, reading recommendations and your kindness. Everybody have a safe and blessed day!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not a song writer, either, but as snow is falling here and it’s November, this song seems appropriate. Happy Thanksgiving, Baboons; I’m thankful I stumbled across this blog and found such nice people. I’m also thankful that I finished the portfolio for one of my classes and so all I have to do over the long weekend is study for one final written test (more written quizzes and one final practice test and one smallish final project coming up, but I don’t have to worry abut them this weekend).

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Dale and Jim Ed did a set of Christmas Carols way back when. It went a little like this although I may have messed up the actual lyric.
    To the tune of Rudolph, The Red-nosed Reindeer.

    Gandolph the Thanksgiving Turkey
    Had a day with many woes.
    And if you ever saw him, you’d say “Delicious!” head to toes.
    All of the other turkeys
    used to laugh and call him names
    (Like “Drumstick”)
    They ALWAYS let poor Gandolph eat the final bits of grain.
    Then one dark Thanksgiving Eve
    the rancher came to say,
    “Gandolph, with your meat so white,
    won’t you be my guest tonight?!”
    Then how the turkeys loved him
    and they shouted out with glee,
    “Gandolph, the Thanksgiving Turkey,
    it was better you than me!”

    Liked by 5 people

  4. A song of thanks, if not Thanksgiving, but one I rather like…slowly falling snow, quiet neighborhood out my window – a bit of Glazunov (“Seasons: Autumn”) on the radio, good music and thoughts from my fellow Baboons. Nice way to start the day.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I did one that began
    We Three Beans from Hornbachers (a grocery store chain) are
    In a salad not made from a jar.
    Green, kidney, garbanzo
    Sugar and onion. Oh!
    Not too much vinegar.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Something resembling snow is brightening this grey November morning; my 50th Thanksgiving celebration in the US is off to a good start. Thanks, baboons everywhere, for enriching my life in so many ways.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Son and Dil spent the night in Fargo and will be here in about an hour! The house is clean and the kitchen is organized for them to go to work and help us make a feast. The turkey is almost done brining.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The highlight of Thanksgiving dinner here was when one of the 2-year-old boys was convinced that the pumpkin pie was poop pie and was very upset about it being on his plate. We had a good laugh about that.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. nah, more pie for me if he doesn’t eat it.

        anyway, it would have taken a couple (dozen) people to force him to try it. he was convinced that it was poop and we all know poop is “icky.” you can’t use words to convince a two-year-old about something like this. 🙂

        Like

  9. Thankful we made it “over the river” and back again in one piece (hate driving in the dark, but could not be helped).

    I guess I always felt there were a large number of hymns that qualified as Thanksgiving songs, so I never gave it much thought.

    Thankful for all of you and this lovely corner of the internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Had a lovely feast. The start time was moved up an hour to accommodate last-minute additions to the guest list, one of whom had to leave for work at 2:00. That was a little fluster-making, but everything fell together pretty well and the timing worked out.

    It was the first Thanksgiving in decades that we celebrated without my aunt, who is recuperating from a fall.

    It is a pleasure to read this post again, and to revisit the comments and songs from four years ago. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

    Liked by 2 people

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