Happy Days Are Here Again–But Why?
I used to wake every morning with a song playing in my head. That hasn’t happened for quite some time. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I woke to my own internal juke box. This morning, I did. The song playing for me as I stretched in bed was “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Don’t get me wrong, with all that’s going on in our world today, I’m not turning into Pollyanna. These days, in fact, I more often feel like a modern day Cassandra, or Κασσάνδρα to give her original name. But for some reason there it was.
A Good Day
Yesterday was a good day. Aside from the Mirro Aluminum Cookie Press set back, things went well. And even that turned out just fine as we got fresh cookies for Grandma’s Cookie Jar. Tim finished the work on the lower rose garden and it looks terrific. Most of the gladiolus bulbs we planted between the irises have come up and are now reaching for the sky (28 of 32 have broken ground). It may be too late for them to bloom this year, but a guy can hope, right?
In the afternoon, we drove to Lozeau where my friend Bill is building his retirement home. Tim and Bill talked construction, and I enjoyed the time out of the house. On the way home, we stopped by the Cowboy Up Montana Roadhouse in St. Regis. Ten years ago, Kevin and I spent a great weekend at Cowboy Up, camping with members of the Pacific NW Gay Rodeo Association. The house and landscaping is gorgeous, but one feature caught my eye. Jeff and John had built a creek with waterfalls alongside the stairs leading from the front yard to the back. Kevin and I would like to do something similar, and I wanted Tim to see the work. And during our visit, several other things that Jeff and John have created over the years inspired me to go home and do likewise.
A Good Evening
But still, why Happy Days Are Here Again? Last night, I stepped outside to gaze, yet again, on my new rose bed and, once again, fell in love. I have trouble believing that we have created such a gorgeous space out of what was, in essence, a giant weed patch. While I attempted to get a good night shot, Tim told me that the real shot came from where he was standing, in the middle of the driveway. I walked over to him, turned the way he faced, and OMG. The moon was just rising over the eastern hills and between the solar lights in the garden and the moon rising, the scene was spectacular. Unfortunately, my camera couldn’t get the view I wanted. Tim’s phone did. Go figure.
I tried a variety of methods, including putting on the 400 mm lens, which did, at least, get me the moon, but no decent shot of the moon and the lights together. (That orange dot above the hanging lanterns is the moon.) This morning, I’ll go out and get a shot of the garden as it looks in the light (no moon).
Happy Days Are Here Again–the Song
I remember hearing the song used as theme music on a Billings, Montana, tv station when I was a child. It wasn’t part of a family connection, but the song always seemed bright and upbeat. I had no knowledge of its history. Written (or at least copyrighted in 1929, and first recorded just after the stock market crash that year, the song became the theme song for Franklin D. Roosevelt and his re-election campaigns. Almost every singer has recorded their own version of the song. Here is the 1930 recording by Annette Hanshaw.
In 1962, a new singer whose name was Barbra, recorded a single not released outside New York City. Her version made it into her first album. I still remember Uncle Schu, the instrumental music teacher at Portola Jr. High in El Cerrito, California. He played the song and told us that we would hear a lot from this new singer. It was my introduction to Streisand, and I did not like her version of the song. Sung in a much slower tempo than I was used to hearing, the song came across as melancholy and ironic. I just learned today that Streisand sang the song on the Garry Moore Show, in a skit portraying someone who had lost everything in the Crash who was selling her jewels to buy drinks. Now the song makes sense to me.
That’s pretty much everything I have to say, today at least. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Stay healthy, stay calm, and try to think pleasant thoughts Maybe, just maybe, Happy Days Are Here Again. (Here’s Barbra’s version.) And to prove that I truly am a gay man, here’s a duet of Barbra and Judy Garland!)
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