Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oh, for a time such as these

ere's an ol' man called de Mississippi
Dat's de ol' man dat I'd like to be!
What does he care if de world's got troubles?
What does he care if de land ain't free?

Ol' man river,
Dat ol' man river
He mus'know sumpin'
But don't say nuthin',
He jes'keeps rollin'
He keeps on rollin' along.

He don' plant taters,
He don't plant cotton,
An' dem dat plants'em
is soon forgotten,
But ol'man river,
He jes keeps rollin'along.

Denise and I watched Showboat yesterday, it was the first time I have seen the 1956 movie  in

years, I think high school (no I wasn't in high school in 1956) I am not partial to musicals, Showboat and Fiddler on the roof are the only two musicals I enjoy, and fiddler is my favorite movie of all times.
i had never thought of times being different, I remembered Showboat as being a good wholesome love story without any nonsense in it, overt violence, any thing that's is common to today's movies. And for the most part I was right.  But times have changed, and views have changed
and so as the movie went on Denise and I had a quite interesting discussion.

You an'me, we sweat an' strain,
Body all achin' an' racket wid pain,
Tote dat barge!
Lif' dat bale!
Git a little drunk
An' you land in jail.

Ah gits weary
An' sick of tryin'
Ah'm tired of livin'
An' skeered of dyin',
But ol' man river,
He jes'keeps rolling' along.

Colored folks work on de Mississippi,
Colored folks work while de white folks play,
Pullin' dose boats from de dawn to sunset,
Gittin' no rest till de judgement day.

Don't look up
An' don't look down,
You don' dast make
De white boss frown.
Bend your knees
An'bow your head,
An' pull date rope
Until you' dead

Paul Robeson was a popular singer in the 30's and 40's and for all of you who may be to young o remember, I know most of you don't being popular and afro-American at that time was not a combination many people got. He. got respect. As they say. And the Song Old man River has brought tears to my eyes many time, just like Satchmo's "What a wonderful world."
I never thought much of the words, but my daughter was quite upset that the words to the song was uh, defeating. 
I explained to her, they weren't. Because He, Himself was lamenting his fate and wanting it to get better, Which it did, but Paul Robeson didn't live to see it, neither did a lot of people back then. But it was a hard time to row, and a part of our history.

The movies a bout a showboat, that traveled the Mississippi. It stopped and performed at various stops. The daughter of the owner met a gambler fell in love left the ship. Gambler's being as they are of course, did well for a minute, but of course began to lost and suddenly found himself sneaking his wife out of a hotel ion the dark of night without paying, this Apparently humiliated him to the point that he too sneaked out in the middle pf the night leaving her "with Child" and alone in the big city. Where, she, as you do in most movies, finds her dad on  New years eve, goes home and makes a name foe herself. 5 years pass the gambler who had been in the doldrums all this meets up with a friend who says, hey you got a kid, so he takes off  runs back t the showboat, meets his daughter picks her up in tears turns tot he mother where they confess undying love and everyone burst into song. 
Great story right?
Well I thought so, my daughter has different ideas. She is furious with the movie because A. She took him back. and B. She took him back and C. H had the nerve to pick up his daughter and hug her and he rmom took him back. 
"In the first place," she growled "you don't pick up a strange child, they should have sent him to jail who knew who he was? and in the second place, Why hould she take him back. he was a jerk He should have been taken out and shot." What she hated most was, I guess the insinuation that the women's life was now complete because her jerk of a husband came to his senses. 
I guess I see her point. 
Movies now days are so true to life it is hard to enjoy them. Everything has to be realistic. What happened to the old days when movies were fantasy? Where you believed that love was going to be forever and happily ever after was true.
Our kids have grown up cynical, looking for the bloopers in the TV shows to prove they are not real.  Sometimes I think the magic of the old age is a good  remember make believe?
Then I guess no for all of us, for the other side as the song Old man river represents it would not have been a good time to be African American. 
So make believe never existed for everyone. Did you ever wonder what happened to Cinderella's stepsisters? What bout the wicked witch? And the seven drawfs, did they get a new mine and a new house after helping Snow white?
And most importantly, What happened Tomorrow to Scarlett? Did little orphan Annie live happily ever after in a big house with a grouchy old man? What does happen when the singing is done?
Well, I guess growing up is tough, but make believe is tougher. But remember really, for one shining moment when you were 678 and everything was possible, you could be Cinderella, your prince was around the corner....
For a times such as these...

Let me go 'way from the Mississippi,
Let me go 'way from de white man boss;
Show me dat stream called de river Jordan,
Dat's de ol' stream dat I long to cross.

O' man river,
Dat ol' man river,
He mus'know sumpin'
But don't say nuthin'
He jes' keeps rollin'
He keeps on rollin' along.

Long ol' river forever keeps rollin' on...

Well maybe not for all of us....
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