playing around as a high school senior, I waxed poetic. Here
are four examples of my notebook nonsense.
upon a time there was a man named Irving.
a name like that can be extremely unnerving!
his sons were born, he decided he'd try
give them names that were fine for any ordinary guy
that when they were grown up, they would never have to hide.
named the first one Tim and the second one Clyde.
Tim and Clyde grew up and were wed,
soon each had two more mouths to be fed.
had two sons. He called them Tim Junior and Clyde.
Tim's two boys were his father's pride!
Clyde had two sons. He called them Clyde Junior and Tim,
Clyde's two boys looked just like him!
this generation grew up and got "caught,"
before very long, each one had a tot
And then another.
Junior said to his cousin Tim,
got two baby boys. What shall I call them?"
know," said Tim. "Name one of them
After Granddaddy Irving!"
Junior didn't like this. "What do you think, Clyde?"
asked, and his brother replied,
you I don't know, but I'm going to name
two boys bless their hearts the same
we were. I'll call them Tim and Clyde."
that one statement the issue decide?
Not at all!
Junior had an indomitable will.
decided to name his boys Tim and Bill!
Clyde exploded: "Tim!" he said,
sort of a thought has come into your head?
you've rejected all your relative Clydes
your uncle, your cousin, and nephews besides
you've gone and named your second son Bill!"
forget it," said Tim. "Let's go out and build a grill."
see, the town they were in had no café or grill,
the two of them worked on building one until
forgotten their quarrel.
town prospered and grew,
the descendants of Granddaddy Irving did, too.
rabbits in April, every Tim and Clyde
two sons. How the family multiplied!
There were 128 Tims.
There were 127 Clydes.
in all the Irving family, there was only one bill:
a dollar forty-seven at Tim & Clyde's Grill.
I discovered that very establishment in Cadogan, Pennsylvania, in
2015. It appears that Clyde, who never really forgave his
brother, must have bought him out.
in high school, I assembled the following 223-word sentence in
reaction to the complexity of such mythic stories as Homer's Odyssey.
the gentle soothing
the beautiful goddess
no longer so overwhelmingly attested to
its erstwhile certainty
the hope of the tearful wayward soldier
his faith in the mystic power of his shield
protect all who carried it
the admitted parsimony of the saint
had given the golden sword to the maiden
sat by the side of a gentle waterfall
gazed at all who chanced to pass by
a sad and sorrowful expression
belied her inward joy
having the power to change stones into men
thereby to raise such a great army
no one in all the kingdom
to challenge her right to be the first
that great procession
every year slowly wound its way
from the valley
the top of the high mountain
the gods did live
offered to them all pleasing sacrifices
that no harm would come
men on earth who feared the gods
delighted in offering to them
was made by an old hermit
lived beside a cave deep in the forest
lay at the foot of the mountain
extended in all directions
its trees of cedar and sycamore
its marvelous unicorns
centaurs and phoenixes,
also wrote a few parody lyrics to the classic Rodgers and
Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! But first, the backstory.
High School, home of the Tigers, was in the process of merging with
Byhalia High School, home of the Falcons. Byhalia was an even
smaller town than Richwood; at least Richwood had a movie theater of
sorts in its old Opera House. The two groups of students had
been rivals, but from now on, they'd all have to be North Union Wildcats.
addressed a similar situation in the song "The Farmer and the
Cowman," which I started to rewrite as "The Tiger and the
Falcon (Should Be Friends)." I only got as far as these fragments:
like to say a word fer the Falcon.
is an underpriv'leged area.
Young farmers cannot go
To the moving-picture show.
they still do get some idees that can scare ya!
Union folks should stick together,
North Union folks should all be pals,
guys date Byhalia's females,
B'halia boys date Richwood gals!
had some other parodies in mind. The title song, of course,
would begin with:
the wind comes sweepin' down the plain.
What a Beautiful Morning" would become an sarcastic "Oh,
What a Wonderful High School."
Up to Date in Kansas City" would become "Everything's Out
of Date at Richwood High School. They've gone about as fur as
they can go (straight down)!"
"Poor Jud Is Dead" would become "Poor Jud Is
Wed." Evidently Jud had gotten one of his classmates pregnant.
few months later, when I was a college freshman, I did manage to
complete an entire verse and refrain for one song. Set to the
tune of "People Will Say We're In Love," it alludes to the
frustration of the cheerleaders, whose cheering during class time had
been curtailed by Principal Dean Cochran.
WILL SAY IT DETRACTS
is a school!
Is work and learn.
tion can we earn.
That we should see:
that is not
Just should not be.
hang those signs up here.
cheer around the halls.
sing up and down the halls.
Cochran will say it detracts!
shout those songs up here.
songs" aren't right at school.
can't have this "fight" at school.
Cochran will say it detracts!
must not decay.
Give the pep sessions the axe.
we must not display.
Cochran will say it detracts!
I found the stirring Welsh national hymn "Men
of Harlech" in an old songbook. I have since
learned that Division III football power Mount Union College uses it
as its alma mater, "Dear Old MUC." But back then, I
thought that it would make a good mock-heroic fight song for our high
school athletes whenever they were predicted to lose, which was often.
of Richwood! In your hearing
now a mighty cheering:
opponents now are nearing,
In their eyes a gleam.
come boldly, loudly shouting,
fearing, never doubting
quite soon they will be routing
Richwood's Tiger team.
are sad mistaken!
will not be shaken!
And should the game
Be lost, our name
never be forsaken!
'Tis your school that calls you!
your best, whate'er befalls you!
the cry that still enthralls you,
"On for Richwood High!"