Seeing the light

I love the expression, “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t an oncoming train.” How many times in life has the train almost run over me? It didn’t kill me, but I did get roughed up a bit by the cow-catcher…speaking metaphorically of course.  Take a course on the Gilded Age and read about the railroad barons and you will learn just how many cows ended up on those darn things. And how many upset farmers complained. 

Arthur Godfrey, who retired from NYC to Virginia used to play his guitar and sing:

“In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia,

On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine”

1953 portrait of Godfrey with ukulele

1953 portrait of Godfrey with ukulele (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rest of the line went,” A cow met a train on a track one day, now her tail’s on a lonesome spine.”  I can’t remember if Arthur sung that last line, or I learned it from one of those little blue-collar boys with whom I played baseball, but if Arthur sang it today he would probably be shouted down by PETA or some other animal rights group.  Not that I don’t sympathize with PETA, but they do cause the biggest ruckus at times.  

My Mom loved to listen to Arthur, whose favorite song was “grass shack” about Hawaii, where he spent some time.

Mom liked Godfrey because he reminded her if her father who also had red hair and freckles.

She would stand at her ironing board, a cigarette burning in an ash tray near by, listening to Godfrey and crying.  A 2-pack a day cigarette smoker, Mom’s Dad died in 1952 of lung cancer. I don’t think Mom ever got over her Dad’s death.  She almost died herself a few years later, though not from smoking.

Mom was freckled too, but her hair was auburn until she began to dye it.  Then she dyed it red and we kids used to laugh at her when she had just dyed it and emerged from the bathroom with a carrot top head. She looked like Lucille Ball and even got into all the trouble Lucy did too. And, Dad was just as overbearing and controlling as Ricky Ricardo. 


 As for celebrities retiring around here these days, Robert DuVal and Sissy Spacek each have farms/ranches in Virginia. Others too, although I don’t keep up with celebrity retirees, so I can’t name them all.

My youngest granddaughter Joy works on a “green” farm out in rural Virginia not owned by a celebrity I think, but two escapees from day jobs in the city.  Joy is a member of the Future Farmers of America.  She was recently admitted to the school of Agriculture at Virginia Tech for Fall 2012. We are awfully proud of her.  On weekends during the months May to December, Joy works the Farmer’s markets, so she has met all sorts of organic farmers. I think it is grand that she has found her vocation so early in life. Maybe someday she will have her own farm in Virginia.


15 thoughts on “Seeing the light

  1. I recall Arthur Godfrey, too. He guested on our TV show and I had to get a cup of tea for him. I couldn’t find a tea bag in the whole station until some gal finally dug one out of the back of her desk drawer. Heaven only knows it couldn’t have been fresh. When I presented it to him on camera, mentioning it was Tipton — his long time sponsor. He quickly informed us he promoted the competitive brand now (forget what it was.) He’d had a fallin’ out with Tipton, it seems, or they with him. His TV show had long been off the air by then, I think, — maybe because Tipton stopped advt. there — and we hadn’t kept up with whatever he’d been doing since, much less his new tea preference. He was nice about it. He reminded me of my Dad, too. So did Jackie Gleason.


  2. Well, on the whole it all sounds good to me. Even taking money out to pay for treats doesn’t seem a hardship to me.

    I love that you have worked out how long you are going to live. 92? That’s pretty old, isn’t it? Why not go for a few more years after that. By then it won’t matter, provided you’re fit and healthy.

    I have quite a lot of yellow one way or another in the garden. Unfortunately also various shades of pink, which is the colour I don’t like.


  3. I do remember Arthur Godfrey very well. I got a ukulele thanks to him and it was the only instrument I could kind of play. Hope your grand keeps you in fresh veggies. What a neat profession for a youngster today.


  4. Tilly, John Boy is my son.

    Gigi, yes the trend is toward urbanization, but we need the small farmers to grow our veggies and they a all dying off. Plus agriculture these days includes nurseries.

    Mage, I love the FFA too!!

    Meryl, I agree.

    Hattie, I would love to hear that. You shoudl record yourself and put it on your blog.

    LInda, Joy and I have exchanged much information concerning gardening, birds, etc. She is the person who introduced me to the Forthergill shrub.


  5. Enjoyed the history both personal and other. Plus, I was intrigued to learn that your granddaughter is stepping up to help resolve that dearth of young people choosing agricultural careers that you shared in a previous post. Could she perhaps have gotten some of your gardening genes?


  6. Farming is hard physical work. Isn’t the trend toward urbanization, though? You hear of lads relocating from their farm to the city, not the other way around. This is the first time I have heard of a female majoring in agriculture with the intent of owning or working on a farm. Incredible!


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