So Reads The Fate


I’m perhaps unusual — and it’s perhaps part of the uniquely Portuguese upbringing — in that my earliest memories include story-songs.

Maybe not absolutely unique. A lot of European culture included folk ballads that told stories in song.  Fairytales, mostly, but also strange otherwordly happenings.

Mine were mostly fado. And it wasn’t just being sung to sleep with them (though that was part of it, my being a sickly premature baby who often had trouble breathing through the night, I spent a lot of time being held and sung to. And both parents have operatic-grade voices, well suited to the exercise.)  It was the fact that mom worked from home, and like many women who work at manual (okay, hers was mind too, but the execution was mostly hand) work, she amused herself by singing to herself (when she wasn’t listening to radio programs, mostly on history and mythology because apples, trees, etc.)

Fado, for those of you who don’t know it — go look it up on youtube. I’ll wait — is mostly mournful songs about doomed love.  So, Country, you guys say.  Eh.  Kind of.  If you overlay the left-over-Arab-colonization bullshit about fate.  Yeah.

It’s funny, and I must have been an unusually cynical three year old because my earliest memories of mom’s songs, I dismissed all the ones about a mother’s love as “mommyist propaganda.” But the other ones?

When you’re a kid, you’re sort of a sponge, and you look around everywhere for info about what the world is actually like. EVERYWHERE. I remember looking for clues in brother’s biology books, pamphlets he brought home, books he and my cousin read which were like spaghetti westerns written ten to the day or something, Disney comics, comments dropped by grandma…  And extrapolating. Grandma would say something about how chickens acted when broody, and I would apply it to pregnant women.  (Not even joking.)

Kids are WEIRD.

And I was constantly bombarded with the idea you were born with a “star” with “fate.”

So, how much of this made it into my writing?

I don’t know.

Obviously I use prophecy and foretelling in my fantasy.  Or at least in my historical fantasy.  And sometimes in my historicals, period, since people at the time believed in these things.

And obviously, my stories — at least short stories — often get their emotional punch from a sense of tragedy and trust me, guys, there’s nothing quite so tragic as fado stories,  but… How much does it seep in, really?

I don’t know.

I know I have that issue in my life. I keep realizing I’m planning for things as though there were a fate, and I have to either help or combat it.  Which is deranged, because even if there were predestination, free men and women are honor bound to disbelieve it, because it’s evil and counters free will.  I mean, even if it really were the way the world worked, we should fight it.

Only I don’t think it is.  Except sometimes my back brain defaults to that as an assumption.  Except…  I don’t know if that’s from fados or just normal human nonsense.  We really have trouble with the idea that the future is unwritten, at a fundamental back-bone level. As a species.

Then there are the other songs and stories. A lot of what got sung are medieval ballads, and somehow my crazy family preserved the original/close to versions.  Possibly because most of our women were literate, and either wrote them down or read them in compilations.

There is the one that starts with “It was midnight when the blind man came and knocked thrice on the middle door.”  It doesn’t end well. Or at least it doesn’t end well, if you go with older son’s interpretation.  Having caught me singing it while working, and understanding just enough to get the gist he said “Would you stop singing about death?”

But you wouldn’t know it from the 17th or 18th century version in which the blind man is a king and the girl becomes a queen or whatever.

Those I can trace more directly to my writing, because certain situations in them fascinate me.  One of them being the shepherdess who suddenly becomes a princess.  “Put rings on her fingers and silk on her back” is something that gives me chills for some reason.  Perhaps the sudden change in fortunes.

For the record I’m also fascinated by the “If you like pina coladas” situation in which two cheating spouses find out they are perfect for each other.  But I l like in all sorts of other situations, like two friends conspiring for opposite sides realize they are still friends, etc.  For some reason, the situation is very common to fado. Fado “corrido” which is usually tragicomic.

Other than that?

Most Portuguese literature has a slow and tragic feel.  At least most traditional Portuguese literature.  But not only.  I used to be able to identify Portuguese writers in anthologies, even when they were writing under English names, simply by the “feel” and tempo.

That I was aware of when I first started writing for publication.  That I’ve tried to counter.  At least, unless it’s a short story that calls for it, and I want to emphasize it.  Even then, the tempo is a problem, even when the tragedy isn’t.

So, if you’ve ever read one of my stories that left you sobbing and puddled on the floor? Thank a fado.

If you think I need to speed up my narration and add more action?  You’re not wrong. And I’m working on it. But you should probably curse a fado.

I’ll go into other bits and pieces that might have seeped in, Monday.

For now? I don’t know my influences, except for the slow tempo, are unique.  As I said, all old European-upbringing people would have them, and I find echoes in Pratchett and Christie.

Like most human beings, I came to writing with baggage. And if we look carefully it goes all the way to the Iliad.  At least. Maybe further back.

And all I can say is: And? Other than being human, what does that mean?
I don’t know.


106 thoughts on “So Reads The Fate

  1. Dante spent several cantos throughout the Divine Comedy questioning discussing the tension between “destiny is in your stars,” and “man has free will.” He ended with the (reasonable) conclusion that while “your stars” had an influence on you, free will trumped it..

    1. Is Time sequential or simultaneous? If the former then the Future may be not yet written. The idea of Fate depends greatly upon personality and temperament; is Marty McFly fated to cause a fatal car accident, racing from that stop?

      Or is he chicken?

  2. I do not believe I was sung to as an infink. While I would not likely recall, I had younger siblings and might well remember hearing them sung to sleep. Daughtorial Unit, OTOH, was often settled to Waltzing Matilda. As her Daddy don’t dance and couldn’t carry a tune with a back-hoe I am not sure why she found comfort in his waltzing her but whatever works t settle a babe, right?

    Some years on she developed a great affinity for the Childe Ballads, so there was some intrinsic affinity for stry songs in the child.

    1. “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
      For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.” G. K. Chesterton

      All too true.

  3. … in that my earliest memories include story-songs.

    What is unusual about that?  The Daughter grew up on a lively mix of old Celtic and southern Appalachian story ballads.  

    1. I grew up on old mining protest songs and older hymns, and read McCaffrey’s Harper Hall books at an impressionable age. I’m entirely not sure what the effects *were*, but I can feel them shifting around like icebergs in the subconscious. Just not where I can see ’em, dammit.

      1. Recalling singing along with my parents on road trips. Songs by Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. Such songs as:

        There once was a union maid, who never was afraid,
        Of the goon and the ginks and the company finks and the deputy sheriffs who made the raids.
        She went to the union hall when a meeting it was called,
        And when the Legion boys came ’round
        She always stood her ground.

        Somehow none of that ultimately effected my view of unions.

  4. “Put rings on her fingers and silk on her back”
    And no knowledge, let alone habits to deal with her new station. One tragedy coming up.

    1. Or she may be strong willed and lucky enough to find her way, though that isn’t the way to bet.🙁

      Still, I like tales about the sensible commoner who hits the royal court like a cleansing summer storm. They fit in with my gut feeling that most royal courts are full of inbred imbeciles. Being a commoner may not guarantee that you have the sense God gave a turnip, but if you’re protected by wealth and position you’re likelier to be a fool.

      I think that’s what’s wrong with most tenured faculty.

      1. Better yet, the common lady wife knows the games better than the royal court-because you don’t survive in a small town like she lived in, being who she is, without being better at those games than other people.

        It’s only a different scale on the battlefield.

  5. I dunno what influences were or weren’t there, but I want to read more of the soulmunculous and her world from Noir Fatale….

  6. I grew up with the Child Ballads, and things like”The House Carpenter,” and “The Great Silkie” and other Scots-Irish tales. Fantasy, lots of celestial revenge for running off with a lover and leaving your family, women pining for men lost to war, women who didn’t wait quite long enough and then died of grief when their true love finally returned… And modern folk, stuff like “The Hills of Shiloh,” and “The Brown Mountain Lights,” and stories of “The Flaming ship of Okrakoak” about murder, betrayal, and spirits seeking justice.

    Which I’m sure has absolutely nothing to do with my overactive-imagination and tendency to lapse into 19th century bathos (which then gets excised from the books).

      1. Yes. I learned the other spelling, possibly due to an ancestor who spoke German, French, Latin, and Italian before he learned English.

  7. Born in 1951 my early years were full of the very popular singing cowboy trend in both movies and TV. And I still vividly recall through grade school the class sing alongs, all those PG classics the names of which now escape me.
    And of course Friday nights were a soft drink, a bowl of popcorn, and Mitch Miller.
    A lot of that faded in the mid ’60s as the establishment reacted to the “evils” of rock and roll. Or perhaps my perspective just shifted.

    1. There was also Hootenanny and the whole folk music boom, predicated on the principle of the singalong. You can draw a dividing line between age cohorts by the ability to complete the sentence, “Hang down your head …”

      1. Yep, link below, and for extra credit where exactly did poor Charlie get stuck?

        1. Charlie? Well, he’ll never return, no he’ll never return and his fate is still unlearned.

          1. Determining where charlie is from the text is problematic. The relevant verse is

            Charlie handed in his dime at the Kendall Square station
            And he changed for Jamaica Plain
            When he got there the conductor told him, “one more nickel”
            Charlie couldn’t get off of that train!

            So Kendall Square Station is on the Red Line. He changes to an alternate line heading for Jamica Plain. But there isn’t a Jamaica plain station. There are three candidates, two on the Orange line and one on the E line of the green. Two other things hint at where this might be
            1) back in the old days (pre 1989 or so) to get off at an above ground station on the green line you had to pay additional
            2) Charlie’s ever “dutiful” wife provides him with food as noted in a later verse
            Charlie’s wife goes down to the Scollay Square station
            Every day at quarter past two
            And through the open window she hands Charlie a sandwich
            As the train comes rumbling through!
            Don’t look for Scollay Square Station on a T map, you won’t find it. That’s because it hasn’t existed since 1963. Today it is Government Center. There is NO Orange Line at Government so Green line it is.
            So charlie is shttling back and forth from Heath St to Lechmere and back.

            Of course if his wife put a nickel in his lunch he could have just gotten off the train suggesting perhaps an ulterior motive (or an extreme nickel fetish) on her part.

      2. While I did pick up the Tom Dooley ref. due to hearing it in gradeschool, that might have been a bit of a throwback even then due to things happening Later in the rural-ish areas.

        As for Charlie? Well, that was before my time as it where, but as has been established, I am not as firmly stuck in “my time” as many seem to be Alas, stuck enough I can’t get the next lotto numbers (and I don’t need ALL of them… ‘almost’ is likely a lot less problematic all around. Ah well.

      1. Folks listening to the C&W stations got story songs a’plenty, courtesy of Marty Robbins and others.

        Out in the west Texas town of El Paso …

        Of course, those of us listening to Gordon Lightfoot knew all about the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

        1. And the Canadian Railroad Trilogy. “Oh, there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run/ And the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun.”

          1. Jim Croce could sling some good songs. I try to ignore Jim and Leroy Brown (overdone to death on top 40 radio in the day), but my favorite song of his is “Operator”.

        2. I am still annoyed that “shut up and dance with me” has a better storyline than 90% of modern non country or western songs.

        3. It’s odd how what really is a depressing tune (Wreck..) isn’t such for me. Oh, I get what it is and what it means. But it was one of the precious songs on broadcast radio that both stood out and didn’t make me loathe most broadcast radio – there was plenty reason I listened to shortwave when I could, back when.

    2. Steely Dan did a few “story songs”- Kid Charlemagne, Deacon Blues… hell, pretty much the whole “Aja” album comes to mind.
      And with them, there’s one story in the lyrics, another with the music itself, and the real story behind the recording of the song.

      I also find it amazing that there was a time when bands like Steely Dan, Alan Parsons Project and sundry would actually get top 40 radio coverage.

  8. I grew up on “Tie a Yellow Ribbon on the Old Oak Tree” and “Found a Peanut.” Although “If You Like Pina Coladas” is also a story song.

    No, I like Childe ballads, but mostly that was something I dug up for myself.

    1. So my head sees If You Like Pina Coladas and it wanders off down the bunny trail on the beach.

      I rather liked Pina Coladas before they became fashionable. Once they became the thing I found they were generally not so well made. So I gave them up.

      My mind continues to wander further down the beach and segues to, ‘Blew out a flip flop. Stepped on a pop top. Cut my heal and had to cruise on back home.’ I think – Yeah, that’s a story song, too.

      What, wait, do I have to explain what a pop-top is to the young ‘ens in here?

      1. I not only know that the real name of the Pina Colada song is Escape, but I can still recall before pop-tops came along so if you didn’t have a church key you stayed thirsty.

        1. The writer/performer of “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” song is Rupert Holmes, creator of the delightful television series Remember WENN for American Movie Classics, writing the theme song and all 56 episodes of that series.

          “What you have just described is forty-five seconds of silence.”

        2. We always kept more than one church key in our house. For some applications Momma preferred the ones which produced a short squat equilateral hole. In other instances she used the ones which produced the longer isosceles hole.

          There was a time when people got quite creative with pop tops. At the boarding school I attended in Tennessee there was a girl who made long garlands of them with which she decorated her room. Another girl used pop top garlands to decorate a Christmas tree. There was even one who was attempting to build a long vest out of them.

          1. My preference has always been for the dual use with a bottle cap lifter on one end, a can puncher on the other, and a magnet on the body so you could stick it to the refrigerator door.

            1. +1. I find mine useful for opening various plastic wraps and packaging that so much food comes in.

          2. I actually got praised for “brilliance” in making two holes in some @#$# can in the Navy, because I knew that stopped most of the glug-glug-glug issue.

            1. Whut? In my day every kid old enough for long pants knew to punch two holes opposite each other. If you were particularly “artsy” you made a big one to drink from and a smaller one so the can could breath.
              Then there was that college trick, called shotgunning if I recall correctly, where you only punched one hole in the top, started to drink, then punched the second hole in the bottom. Beer of course and the opposing top and bottom holes meant you had to drink the whole can or get soaked.
              And none of this sissy aluminum for us back then (except for Coors which had to be smuggled in from a western state). Cans were coated steel. Lost a couple cans of PBR once in the back of the fridge and by the time we found them they’d started to rust.

              1. I grew up hanging out around the adults who had been raised that way and had even shown how to make the air-hole small enough to cover with your finger to avoid big spills.

                There are multiple reasons I was identified as hard to get along with. Not fast enough to think of a good reaction.

      2. I get the “summer vibe” from Dire Straits “Walk of Life”, and flash back to being a kid at a certain Florida water park, where that was frequently blasted out over the speakers at the wave pool.

        1. I said I wandered down a bunny trail and segued, didn’t I? My mind is not always very linear, it jumps from one song to another song. From Pina Coladas, I used to like them, to Margaritas, I still do … best when made with real limes.

            1. ‘Cause since the day I left Milwaukee
              Lynchburg and Bordeaux France
              Been making a fool out of folks just like you
              And helping white people dance
              I’m medicine and I am poison
              I can help you up or make you fall
              You had some of the best times
              You’ll never remember with me

      3. ….probably, yes, you do need to explain.

        My brain interpreted it as one of those nasty beer bottle tops that are sometimes rusted to nasty points, but eyeballing it I would guess that it’s the predecessor of the can lid, the ones where you actually rip the whole thing off rather than the lever and flap staying connected.


        Been introducing my kids to his Volcano.

        1. Early days of self opening cans. The pop top was a ring attached to a teardrop shaped section of the can lid. Pry the ring up, give it a tug, and in theory the section would tear free and leave a hole to drink or pour from. Occasionally the ring would pull free leaving the section unbroken and you’d have to find a tool, knife or such, to get the can open.
          Whether true or not, the story told when they were replaced by the device that remains attached to the can it was because fishermen would throw them into the water where fish would swallow them and be killed.

          1. My memory of the shift is that it was done for two reasons;

            One, somebody made the new way practical.

            Two. Nobody liked the litter that the pull tabs made, and they occasionally cut somebody.

            1. Of course back in the day it was considered good manners, if a bit woosy, to hang onto the little buggers and stick them in the can once it was empty.
              Much like a good old boy will throw his empty beer cans in the back of his pickup truck while a redneck just flings them to the roadside.

      4. My mind continues to wander further down the beach and segues to, ‘Blew out a flip flop. Stepped on a pop top. Cut my heal and had to cruise on back home.’ I think – Yeah, that’s a story song, too.

        I’ve often commented that “Margaritaville” has more character development in three verses than most modern novels manage in 500 pages.

        1. I commented on the song being about coming around to accepting responsibility once, and for some reason my mom gave me a weird look.

    2. I discovered the Childe Ballads in 1972, attending a Procul Harum concert and being blown away by the opening act, Steeleye Span.

      Many of their songs consisted of excellent advice to young maidens, which was not necessarily cheered by the lads squiring them to the concert.

      1. Of course, I was listening to story songs well before that concert. For instance, there is this cheerful children’s song …

        … with a sweet moral in conclusion.

      2. I like the implications of the last couple of lines of that song,

        “This couple they got married,
        They live in Huntley town,
        She’s the Earl of Airlie’s daughter,
        And he’s the blacksmith’s son.”

        Which implies to me that HIS father (the Earl) embraced his mettlesome daughter-in-law, and HER father makes much of being father-in-law to an Aristocrat…probably to that pillock’s lasting embarrassment.

    3. I grew up on folk songs as well – there was a program that my parents listened to, and us kidlets memorized many of the songs. We used to sing them in the car, in tight harmony, during long road trips. I found it a good preventive against car sickness…
      Later on – Girl Scouts, and campfire singing. We had one girl among us who was an acceptable guitarist. Once, when we were bored silly, and waiting for a train on our European trip, we were singing – and someone walking past flipped some coins into an empty paper cup that had been left on the platform by our group. We were … startled.

    4. I recall “Tie A Yellow Ribbon…’ as whatever station grandpa listened to (when it wasn’t a baseball game) seemed to play it often. And “Her Name Was Lola…” and it’s summer of 1978 and Pa & I might be on a drive into town in a somewhat rebuilt jeep.

      1. American Pie for me; I first heard it on the car radio as I was headed out on a ten-plus hour drive to visit old friends, and probably heard it five more times over the trip. It had a nice beat and was easy to drive to and the lyrics were … well, let’s just say they were more interesting than, for example, Wild Thing (a song which, I have since learned, needs to have a baseball game in front of it to be properly appreciated.)

        Then there was the trip visiting Philthadelphia phamily the summer of ’78, when driving down broad Street I first heard Cheap Trick’s Surrender and …

        … John Prine’s Fish & Whistle.

  9. My mother has a horrible singing voice, but she loved music so I grew up playing and singing (got Dad’s good voice) American folk songs, country-western, Irish ballads, and playful English songs like “Reuben, Reuben.” My mother was raised anti-Calvinist and solidly Christian, so there was no talk of fate or predestination in our house, except to say Calvinist countries supported segregation and euthanasia because their belief in “the Elect” permeated their cultures.

    “Fate” was when people were tricked into thinking whatever state they were born into was their destiny, or a word people used when, in hindsight, someone came to a bad end. By the way, I noticed even when I was a kid that some books left a bad taste in my mouth because of the “destined child” trope. Too often there was nothing particularly lovable about the protagonist but everyone else went to pains in order to facilitate destiny.

    That hasn’t changed. The most recent one I can think of is Pullman’s Dark Materials where all the servants have dog daemons (evidently because by adolescence they’re destined to serve) and the predestined main character cries about treatment she had no trouble dishing out to a non-aristocratic child. I’d rather have a protagonist fighting against what seems inevitable.

    1. ‘Fate’ was when people were tricked into thinking whatever state they were born into was their destiny, or a word people used when, in hindsight, someone came to a bad end.

      Chance is a fool’s name for fate,

      Chance is the foolish name for fate.
      Give me a name for chance and I am a fool.
      Fate is a foolish thing to take chances with.
      I am a fate to take foolish chances with.
      Chances are that fate is foolish.
      Fate is the foolish thing. Take a chance.

    2. Eh Fate could go either way. There’s an Anthony Hope novel Sophy of Kravonia where the English servant girl is reciting her catechism to the son of the noble house where she works, and he corrects her, because it’s the Whole Duty of Man, and she says, “to do my duty in that state of life unto which it has pleased God to call me. ” — whereupon she, instead of relying on the cook’s recitation that she had been memorizing before, reads it, and reciting it, “to do my duty in that state of life unto which it shall please God to call me.”

      She ends up a queen. But what can you do when it’s your Fate?

    1. Trust me, I could never “correct” all my uniqueness. As is I’m unique bordering on the weird. BUT I do know what I like to read. I try to be more like that.

  10. We really have trouble with the idea that the future is unwritten, at a fundamental back-bone level. As a species.

    So much so that people like our talented & gracious host can’t stop writing their imagined versions of what that future might be.

    My mother had a strong trained soprano voice & soloed in church so she was often practicing church music but she also liked to sing songs from movie musicals. I grew up to songs from The Sound of Music, The Music Man, Finian’s Rainbow and Paint Your Wagon.

    In her later years she became Unitarian (from Congregational) but the Catholic Church in town still had her come to sing.

  11. As to your major point Sarah, the Chinese traditionally believe 5 factors influence your life (yes, they’re big on 5’s): destiny, luck, environment, character, and education. Free will controls the last 2, the first 2 are mostly beyond your influence, and the middle one makes some folks lots of money.

  12. For me, it was the historical songs of Johnny Horton, which I heard on a tape (kids, as your parents) my parents had.

    1. Wore out that record. Dad got really tired of Sib and I singing along (loudly) with “Sink the Bismarck.”

        1. I was very sad to learn the real Battle of New Orleans didn’t involve the use of alligators as improvised cannons.

          1. I had wondered whether “alligator” was a particular type of cannon. A quick resort to Duck, Duck, Go suggests not, but does reveal this interesting historical tidbit:

            Q: Was an alligator really used as a substitute cannon barrel at the Battle of New Orleans?

            A: Mary Starr
            Mary Starr, lived in New Orleans
            Answered Mar 11, 2018
            oh good grief. No. no no. I learnt this song among other reasons of it being very catchy to sing and popular at one time .

            However, it is a line in a song. “Battle of New Orleans” sung by Johnny Horton.

            “” We fired our cannon till the barrel melted down
            So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
            We filled his head with cannonballs ‘n’ powdered his behind
            And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind””

            Lyrics for “Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton

            I could understand nabbing a church bell to use as an emergency cannon, as that actually happened a few times in history. but that would not have made as catchy a tune / line as being tough enough to grab an alligator and using that for a weapon would mean a certain level of ‘ tough guy imagery ’ that the song wants to convey..

            1. Also:

              The Gator Lost His Mind: The Historical Ballads of Johnny Horton
              by The Awl January 9, 2015
              by Casey N. Cep
              I’ve been meaning to write about Johnny Horton. He sang some of the best ballads on country radio in the fifties. There was one called “Comanche” about a horse who happened to be one of only survivors from General Custer’s regiment at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Another one, called “Sink the Bismarck,” was about the Nazi battleship that terrorized Allied ships until it was finally sunk by the British. I also really liked “North to Alaska,” about the gold rush. But the Johnny Horton saga song that my sisters and I could never stop signing was “Battle of New Orleans.” I don’t remember when my father first played it for us, but for years — well, for decades now — we’ve all three loved it.

              “Hut-two,” one of us would whisper in the back seat of the Blazer or the front seat of my father’s Silverado, and the other two would shout back, “Three-four!” My poor mother knew exactly what this nonsense meant, and she’d look away or sometimes even crack a smile as the rest of us launched into the song. My father would take the lead, “Iiiiiiiiiiin 1814,” and then we were off to the races, or our own version of the races down the “mighty Mississipp” with Ol’ Hickory.

              I made the mistake once of trying out this routine in a high-school class, but only one other person knew the wonders of Johnny Horton and the words to this song: our history teacher. He and I sang the whole thing, while those other philistines listened and laughed. You’d think that would have taught me about the refined tastes required for appreciating the masterworks of Johnny Horton, but it didn’t. A few years later, I tried to sing the song again in public, only this time I was living in England and I thought Horton’s patriotic ditty might make for a funny pub night. Unfortunately, “the bloody British” did not appreciate the ballad’s brilliance. But here I am again, trying to convince the world of the genius of Johnny Horton. …

      1. I like playing “Sink the Bismarck” followed immediately by Sabaton’s “Bismarck”. Makes for an interesting juxtaposition.

        I grew up listening to my mother’s Marty Robbins tapes. Still love his music best.

    2. My dad liked the old cowboy ballads, such as this one from the Sons of the Pioneers, A lot of them had a more mournful sound than is popular now.

      I never did quite agree with the refrain, but it did leave a mark. Some things you can’t control.

      1. I’ve long liked Riders in the Sky.

        One of the local NPR outlets used to carry their radio show and it was must-hear programming.

    3. My folks actively encouraged listening to those songs!

      And are still embarrassed it taught us more history than school did.

        1. If the schools were capable of embarrassment over that, I doubt they’d be in the state they are now.

            1. Yeah, there’s a guy in the comments concern-trolling about child abuse in the homeschool community.

              He’s so ignorant that when I asked what state he was talking about for his experience with horrifically abused kids, he informed me that they’re all pretty much the same in their requirements.

              …this is a howler on par with informing people that everything from a tricycle to a three-trailer trucking license and long haul school buses are pretty much the same as far as licensing goes.

              1. Rather — the requirements to home school vary widely from state to state.

                There are ample incidents, reported and adjudicated, involving the abuse of students in public schools.  That has not resulted in a movement suggesting that the public schools should be shut down. Instead we hear that charter schools and home schools need to be shut down because they lack the oversight of those ‘regular’ public schools.

                1. Unlike public school students, the home-schooled are subject to risk of serious abuse absent state supervision.

                  *cough*hack*wheeze* … nope, couldn’t get that to go down.

  13. Played lots of organ music and (much better) CDs when pregnant with son. Mostly classical. Totally surprised when he turned out to love classical music, and could identify many pieces when he was only 4 or 5 by name and composer. Would ask for specific ones to be played. Who knew?

  14. Other than being human, what does that mean?

    I find myself wondering this a LOT when folks online get into a scorn roll.

  15. Just meant that I didn’t realize he was hearing my favorite music before he was born and remembered it. I forget why I was reminded of this by this post.

  16. I collect paradoxes. This is one of the great ones.

    First half of the paradox: Predestination is 100% true. God is in complete control, nothing surprises Him.
    Second half of the paradox: Everything I do is of cosmic significance.
    Both halves of the paradox are 100% true at the same time. It is only in the tension of embracing both halves of the paradox that we find The Truth.

    God invites us to join His plan. This requires listening, then stepping our in faith. You know you have heard God when your response is:
    “You want me to do WHAT?” Just ask Mary about that conversation with an angel, or Elijah told to go to a widow with nothing. Or me to fly to Nashville. (I had told Him i didn’t have $500 to fly to Nashville. I didn’t. Guess how much miraculously showed up?)

      1. Have/had son/s with OCD. Was facilitating a support group for parents at a non-profit. Saw a announcement for a conference in Nashville about fathers and sons. Got sense I was “supposed” to go, (divine suggestion). My response to this “suggestion” was to say to myself and whoever making the suggestion “I don’t have $500 to fly to Nashville”.

        As I drove home, I had a discussion with God; If this is from You, I want a sign to confirm. Also, need to discuss with my wife God’s strange plan.

        You have to understand, money was so tight, it was impossible to go. I was self employed. No vacation, no saving. My response to whoever made this request, was true.

        Got home. My wife taught English to refugees, at another non-profit. She was watching a video from her work. It was about men’s support groups. Sign? I started to tell her about this strange request when I noticed the TV now showed a men’s support group of ” tree pushing down dinosaurs” from a then current sit-com. I told my wife how nice it was that they had gotten permission to use this in the video. It was so appropriate.

        She said: “I turned off the video. This is live.” I had asked for a sign, two had happened. I explained to my wife about the prompting, then said. “I guess if I don’t agree to go, the next thing we can expect is a billboard dropped on the front lawn flashing: “Go To Nashville”… “Go to Nashville”.

        Still impossible: We have no money. So I try to contact the finance person at the non-profit where I volunteer. Do they have any suggestions? They don’t have any money either, but it’s the best I can think of. The conference is in two weeks. There is a deadline. I try to call her. All I hear is: “She is busy”. No return calls.

        Finally at the end of the week, I go by their office, only: “She’s gone.” All seems impossible. As I stand there, I hear a voice. “I’ve told you what to do. Now you need to get out of the boat.” I see a vision of Peter and his boat. I fax an acceptance to the conference. I left a note for the woman about the conference.

        Shortly, I hear from the woman at the non-profit. Someone made an unsolicited donation. It was $500. The exact amount I told God I don’t have.

        I went to Nashville. Further strange impossible things happen.

  17. I grew up, in a very fortunate period of time in California, when my grade school and most of my junior high school still taught quite a bit of the classics. And, they still had those books in the library for me to look further. My teachers tended to march a bit to the beat of their own drummer. One teacher, fourth grade I think, had us do a lot of hands-on things like baking bread or building things. They still had book sales, and I was a voracious reader.

    I think that’s where my stories come from. I’m eclectic, but I know the power of the classical myths, wherever they come from. (Most) work has value, no matter how small it may seems. And, never trust a smiling lawyer.

  18. Just went to Amazon and bought “The English and Scottish Popular Ballads” in 5 volumes. Hardback, ex-lib. for $60.

    I had looked before over the years and could not find the 5 volumes together for a reasonable price. They had 2 – 5 volume paperback versions starting at $100.

    Glad I am finally getting it.

  19. Bit behind. For some reason all the “” emails started going to spam. Thanks gmail. Sigh. Catch up reading time.

Comments are closed.