All Bob’s Children

All Bob’s Children

On Georgetta Drive Bob built his crowning glory
But before too long he had to add another story
Had to quit his job at Dyke’s Automotive
Seven hungry children were one hell of a motive

But they were all Bob’s children
We were all Bob’s children
Yes, they are all Bob’s children
No matter what the milkman says

If you want to catch a Marley like a Royal Canadian Mounty
Hop on your Harley and head to Humboldt County
Commence your search at Reggae on the River
Bob sure had a lot of arrows in his quiver

But they were all Bob’s children
We are all Bob’s children
Yes, they are all Bob’s children
No matter what the mailman says

Whose woods are these, all hoary with frost?
Don’t look now, but I think we’re lost
Miles to go on the road to Davis
But keep your promises and Bob will save us

Because we’re all Bob’s children
We are all Bob’s children
Yes, they are all Bob’s children
No matter what the DA says

Bob gave us so many stories, such a number of things
When the pirates found the treasure they were happy as kings
Bob gave Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde to blame
Bob even gave me my middle name

Because we’re all Bob’s children
We were all Bob’s children
Yes, they are all Bob’s children
No matter what Maury says

Archibald MacLeish and Conrad Aiken
Thought the laurel leaves were theirs for the rakin’
But the times they were a’ changin’ and to their surprise
They gave Zimmerman the Nobel Prize

But they were all Bob’s children
We were all Bob’s children
Yes, they are all Bob’s children
No matter what the DNA says

Christopher R. Craddock © 2018

This is a song about my father, Robert Louis Craddock. It is also about some other famous and influential Bobs or Roberts. I reserve the right to add other verses. Mitchum, Mueller, Denver, and Redford come to mind. Oppenheimer, too, but he is kind of a downer. Robert is really his middle name, as his first name was Julius. That is Groucho Marx’s real first name, too. Julius Henry Marx. But I digress. Oppenheimer is known as the father of the atomic bomb, the head of the Manhattan Project. When he detonated the first one as a test at Los Alamos he quoted the Bhagavad Gita:

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

Remember Los Alamos. This Bob put the boom on Baby Boomers, and we have been under a metaphorical mushroom cloud ever since. So, yes, you could add a verse to this poem about Oppenheimer, because we are, like it or not, all this Bob’s children, too.

I performed this at the Open Mic Poetry reading at Dagny’s on March 2nd, 2018. It wasn’t quite finished, and the performance was a humiliating disaster. I accompanied myself on ukulele. The ukulele I used was my father’s ukulele. He was a busker and performed with it, though he mainly played his soprano saxophone. It was a purple ukulele, and the other song/poem I performed, though it was also unfinished at the time and I wasn’t ready to perform it, was called “The Purple Ukulele Blues.”

The Purple Ukulele Blues

When a year begins on Monday with a super Jade Blue Eclipse
When a year begins on Monday with a super blood moon eclipse
That’s when you’re in like Flynn, at least until Flynn flips

(Thought you said you weren’t going to discuss politics!)

I threw a rock through my window and called it a Valentine
I threw a rock through my own window and called it a Valentine
Dancing barefoot on the shards, well the blood flowed just like wine
(Desperate, much?)

Sure, I’ll March 2nd, as long as I can just dance first.
Yeah, I suppose I’ll March 2nd, as long as I can just dance first.
But we’ll all march on March 24th, or we’ll all be cursed

(March for your lives!)

It said Manchester United on his jersey but it wasn’t what it seems
It read Manchester United on his jersey but it wasn’t what it seems
Because since Man and Chester fighted she’s delighted to be changing teams

(I hear Liverpool gave Watford the what for?)

I was waiting for the bus on Chester when I heard the news
Waiting in the rain on Chester when I heard the news
That had me waving my shillelagh with the purple ukulele blues

(The 22 is only on time when I’m late)

The purple ukulele blues. I got the purple ukulele blues.
The purple ukulele blues. Got them old purple ukulele blues.
They got me waving my shillelagh in the middle of a melee with the purple ukulele blues

(Is that your father’s ukulele?)

When I tune my ukulele, I tune it to “my dog has fleas”
When I tune my ukulele, I tune it to “my dog has fleas”
From Kentucky to Nantucket pour your tears into a bucket, please.

(It doesn’t sound like it’s in tune)

It really drove my sister crazy when she saw that I had hit the skids
It really drove my sister crazy when she found that I had really hit the skids
She went ukulele crazy and she formed the Kook-a-lele kids

(Don’t drink the Kool-aid!)

Out of all her ukuleles there was one that she kept hid
She had a million ukuleles, but there was one that she kept hid
I took the purple ukulele so I could busk like my daddy did

(I’m telling mom!)
The purple ukulele blues. I got the purple ukulele blues.
The purple ukulele blues. Got them old purple ukulele blues.
Caught me lying in my gravy. Why’d I have to join the Navy?
With the purple ukulele blues

(You better give it back!)

The purple ukulele blues. I got the purple ukulele blues.
The purple ukulele blues. Got them old purple ukulele blues.
Got me crying in my gravy like a kindergarten baby
With the purple ukulele blues

Christopher R. Craddock © 2018

This was how I wish I would have performed it on March 2nd. The featured performer at the reading was Dr. Tim Vivian, professor of Religious Studies, defrocked (well, more like retired) priest of St. Paul’s Episcopalian on 17th Street, and the leader of our Scripture Study group that meets Sunday mornings at Dagny’s. March 2nd is my niece, Lindsey Lulu’s birthday. It is also the birthday of Lou Reed and Dr. Seuss.

I need to write a verse about Lulu, my trip to Maui, Purple Rain of Prince, and the Purple Haze of Jimi Hendrix. While studying the scriptures I was reminded of Lydia of Thyatira, a seller of purple mentioned in Acts 16:14

Acts 16:10-40 King James Version (KJV)

10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;

12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.

36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.

37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.

39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.

40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain

So, purple was pretty lucrative. I think the purple she sold was purple cloth. It was worn by rich folk, the only ones who could afford it, as a status symbol. Besides the Lydian Mode, one of the Greek Musical Modes, built around the 4th degree of a Major Scale, the other Lydia I am reminded of is the tattooed one in the song that Groucho sang:

Lydia the Tattooed Lady

Lydia, oh! Lydia, say have you met Lydia
Oh! Lydia, the tattooed lady
She has eyes that folks adore so
And a torso even more so
Lydia, oh! Lydia, that “Encyclopedia”
Oh! Lydia, the Queen of tattoo
On her back is the Battle of Waterloo
Beside it the Wreck of the Hesperus too
And proudly above the waves
The Red, White and Blue
You can learn a lot from Lydia
She can give you a view of the world
In tattoo if you step up and tell her where
For a dime you can see Kankakee or Paree
Or Washington crossing the Delaware
Oh! Lydia, oh! Lydia, say have you met Lydia
Oh! Lydia, the tattooed lady
When her muscles start relaxin’
Up the hill comes Andrew Jackson
Lydia, oh! Lydia, that “Encyclopedia”
Oh! Lydia, the champ of them all
For two bits she will do a Mazurka in Jazz
With a view of Niag’ra that no artist has
And on a clear day you can see Alcatraz
You can learn a lot from Lydia.
La la la La la la La la la La la la
Come along and see Buff’lo Bill with his lasso
Just a little classic by Mendel Picasso
Here is Captain Spaulding exploring the Amazon
And Godiva, but with her pajamas on
La la la La la la La la la La la la
Here is Grover Whalen unveilin’ the Trylon
Over on the west coast we have Treasure Islan’
Here’s Nijinsky a doin’ the Rhumba
Here’s her Social Security numba
La la la La la la La la la La la la
Lydia, oh! Lydia, say have you met Lydia
Oh! Lydia, the champ of them all
She once swept an Admiral clear off his feet
The ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat
And now the old boy’s in command of the fleet

 

This song was written by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen in 1939 and first appeared in the Marx Brothers movie At the Circus (1939) and became one of Groucho Marx’s signature tunes. I once mentioned torso in a poem, and like to think I thought of it myself, but maybe I nicked it off
Yip Harburg: “I’d while away the hours gazing at her torso. So perfect as it was. How could it be more so?” Now that I think of it, the other part of it was stolen from Arlen and Harburg, too, since they wrote the songs for The Wizard of Oz. If I only had a brain.

 

 

 

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