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Happy November!

November Newsletter

“One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.”

“After their return from the trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip.

‘It was great, Dad,’ the son replied.

‘Did you see how poor people can be?’ the father asked.

‘Oh Yeah,’ said the son.”

“’So what did you learn from the trip?’ asked the father.

The son answered, ‘I saw that we have one dog, and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end.’”

“‘We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.’”

“‘We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.’

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, ‘It showed me just how poor we really are.’”

This story puts what we own and what others own in perspective, doesn’t it?

In a few weeks, we will celebrate Thanksgiving, a national and family holiday in our country. We will gather together for fun, food, and fellowship. But will we be thankful for what we have?

Will we count our blessings? Name them one-by-one? Will we serve others?

I am so thankful that you support me and my writing. I am grateful and appreciate you more than you could ever realize. I am rich because of you!

November Events 

  • November 7 – Historic Camden Field Days
  • November 13 – Book Club in Spartanburg
  • November 30 – Steele Creek Historical Society in Charlotte, NC

A Living Link to the American Revolution: South Carolina’s Marsh Tacky


In June 2010, the Marsh Tacky horse, a breed now on the verge of extinction, became the official State Heritage Horse of South Carolina. If you’ve never heard of Marsh Tacky horses, you’re in good company. This horse is a living link to the history of South Carolina.

Most people haven’t, but I found out about them when researching Elizabeth Jackson. She and her sons rode Marsh Tackies, just like General Francis Marion and his troops did. Over and over the sure footedness of these horses kept the British from capturing Marion in the Low Country swamps during the Revolutionary War.


Listen to David Grant talk about his Marsh Tacky herd.


As Mr. Grant said, Marsh Tacky horses are descendants of the horses Spanish explorers left behind on the south Atlantic coast in the 1500s, which bred with the stock Spanish settlers later brought to the New World. They are native to our state.

They are beautiful animals. John and I visited a Marsh Tacky farm in the lower part of the state several years ago and watched them enjoying themselves in a field.

Marsh Tackies got their name from the fact that they live in marshy areas, and the term tacky, which means common. Feral herds adapted to the conditions of America’s southeastern coastal regions. Sturdy and smaller than many common breeds at only 13 to 15 hands high, Marsh Tackies adapted to swamps and wooded wetlands, surviving on marsh grass and other available forage that couldn’t sustain most breeds. Their distinctive gait provides a greater stability in the terrain, and when stuck in quagmires. This is called the “Swamp Fox Trot.” They learned to lie down on their sides, pull their feet free, and get up, instead of panicking as most horses would.

Marsh Tacky’s habitats originally ranged from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia. They were widely used in the Gullah community for transportation, farming, and hunting until cars and trucks became prevalent.

During the Civil War, these horses became popular again. Because the Marsh Tacky was such a quality worker, he was seen in every yard in those days. They delivered the mail, plowed fields, brought people to visit and functioned in every way required of a horse in a community. During WWII the Tacky and his rider roamed the SC seacoast looking for German U-Boats.

But by the mid twentieth century they could be found only on outlying islands. Fewer than 300 Marsh Tackies remain today, none in the wild, and efforts are being made to save the breed from extinction.

For some beautiful pictures of these horses, visit

The Carolina Marsh Tacky Association was formed in 2007 to preserve and promote the Marsh Tacky horse; check out their Facebook page for information about their work.


We need to pay attention to what we read and hear about these Carolina horses; the Marsh Tacky is ours.

Welcome Home! And Thank You!

Image result for vietnam war commemoration flag

On Saturday, October 10, Kate Barry Chapter NSDAR celebrated our local Vietnam Veterans with breakfast and certificates of appreciation. Three local businesses, the Beacon, Cake Head Bake Shop, and Westside Chick Fil A, helped us. WSPA filmed some of the event and interviewed the veterans.

The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and “in conducting the commemorative program, the Secretary shall coordinate, support, and facilitate other programs and activities of the Federal Government, State and local governments, and other persons and organizations in commemoration of the Vietnam War.”

Statistics Fact Sheet

Our National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) were encouraged to become a commemorative partner, and my chapter did. A partner had the opportunity to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring our Vietnam Veterans and their families.

For several months, we worked with the local Vietnam Veterans group to thank and honor these men and women for their service.

It was pouring rain as the veterans arrived that morning; they had a short meeting, and then we invited them for a buffet breakfast of grits, eggs, bacon, chicken biscuits, fruit, and a variety of muffins. To quench their thirst, orange juice, iced tea, and coffee was available. It was wonderful to see some of them go back and fill their plates a second time!

With a few remarks, I introduced them to NSDAR and our purpose in promoting patriotism, helping to preserve American history, and promoting the education of this history. This is a 125-year-old lineage society. We trace our ancestors back to those Patriots that fought in the Revolutionary War, and we continue to reach out to local veterans to say thank you for your service.

Then we started giving out certificates of appreciation and lapel pins. These lapel pins were given to us from the Vietnam Commemoration Committee. The son, an eight-year-old cub scout of our Chapter Vice Regent, presented these in a dignified manner to each Vietnam veteran. He shook hands with each one, and big smiles were exchanged. It was an emotional time for all of us.

This lapel pin is symbolic. The eagle represents courage, honor and dedicated service to our nation. As one of the most recognizable and notable American symbols, it is emblazoned with distinction on numerous military insignia. The color blue matches the canton of the American flag and signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice. The circle shape and blue color also match the official seal of the Commemoration. Laurel Wreath is a  time-honored symbol representing victory, integrity and strength. The stripes behind the eagle represent the American flag. The six stars represent the six allies who served, sacrificed and fought alongside one another: Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and the United States. The message, “A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors You,” is embossed on the back, closest to the heart of the veteran who wears it.

We also presented the group with a commemorative flag.

This war was fought on a tiny land mass and followed by citizens on nightly television. Movies tweaked the reality of those rice paddies and deadly land minds. Lyrics spoke against it, and politicians spouted words.

This version of the “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” music video was created by Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum as part of its ongoing effort to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The men who are featured in the video are all Vietnam Veterans who have helped to build the exhibit. “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” was one of the most requested songs by United States Armed Forces members

For those who spent time in the Hanoi Hilton and other camps, for those who gave their lives, and for those who returned home, I am so grateful. I honor you and thank you for your service.

Whatever our thoughts then and now of the US being involved in this war, we are late in saying thank you to the men and women that fought in Vietnam.

This YouTube video reminds us of the importance of this. It’s never too late to say thanks and welcome home!



Happy Birthday to our Constitution

In 1682, William Penn landed on the land that became the “City of Brotherly love.” It was a city of religious tolerance. The first school in the colonies was established there in 1698, and in 1719 the city was the first to buy a fire engine. The first botanical garden, first library, and first hospital were built here in the 1700’s. It was a city that looked for ways to better itself.

This port city of Philadelphia soon became known for its broad, tree-shaded streets, substantial brick-and-stone houses, as it continued to grow.

In 1787, the wharves on the Delaware River were crowded with ships, passengers, merchants, Indians, and laborers. All interested in the imports from Europe and the West Indies.
Market Street was crowded. Women and men shopped the stores, looking for luxury items. The bakeries were busy all day, because women bought fresh bread every day; the smells of fresh bread lured the customers in.

There were open-air markets on the street that opened 3 days a week where farmers brought in their wares from the farms. They sold fresh produce, dairy goods, poultry, fish, and meat.

Dry good stores sold coffee, sugar, and spices. Also available were sundry other items. From books and spyglasses, Windsor chairs, teas from China, shoes made locally, baskets, buckets, wine and horses.

Philadelphia was the leading publishing center in America; there were 10 newspapers published in the city.

Claypoole and Dunlap published the Pennsylvania Packet and were asked to publish the first copies of the Constitution. In 1784, the Pennsylvania Packet became the first successful daily newspaper published in the US. They also printed books, proclamations, posters, and political pamphlets. Their business served as an information center. Often people gathered there to bring and exchange news. During that time in our history, the printed word was the best way to communicate over long distances.

Philadelphia now boasted 33 churches, a Philosophical Society, a public Library, a museum, a poorhouse, a model jail, a model hospital, and 662 street lamps.

Taverns, inns, and beer houses were scattered around the city; most of the beer houses were on the water front. The Blue Anchor was a popular fish house that opened in 1682 and still serving patrons 200 years later. The City Tavern on Second Street was new; it could accommodate 60 men overnight on its third floor. It boasted club rooms, lodging rooms, two kitchens, a bar, and a coffee room. To encourage visits, they supplied the public rooms with magazines and newspapers.

The roles of unmarried women were clearly defined. They opened their homes as boarding houses or were a school mistress in their homes. Teaching positions were also available for them as tutors in Young Ladies Academies. Women also earned money by spinning, as hat makers, and as menders. Married women ran their households.

This was the city that hosted the framers of the Constitution. On horseback and in carriages, the delegates traveled to meet together. In one accord, their jobs were to hammer out a ruling document to govern the new United States.

Around 40,000 people lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1787, as 55 delegates from twelve states gathered; Rhode Island wasn’t represented. They gathered in the same building, where many of them had signed the Declaration of Independence, worked hard on the Articles of Confederation, and now these learned men were back. As one historian noted, it was a “Convention of the well-bred, the well-fed, the well-read, and the well-wed.”

They were called framers, because this word defines their job. These men shaped, planned, and constructed a new document to govern a new country, the Constitution of the US.

The delegates all arrived and settled in boarding houses and taverns and then they went to work. Even at night, they didn’t talk about their thoughts and plans. When in the taverns or boarding houses, they were silent.
On the starting day of May 21, 1787, only eight state delegates were present, but soon others trickled in. The Convention was convened on Friday. George Washington was elected President, and the South Carolinian William Jackson was elected secretary. Elected that same day for the Committee on Rules were George Wythe from Virginia, Alexander Hamilton from New York, and Charles Pinckney from SC.

All were familiar with the two story building, the Pennsylvania State House, where they conducted their discussions and debates, because this was the same site where many of the same men wrote the Declaration of Independence eleven years earlier. This building of Georgian architecture boasted a bell tower and steeple that gave it the look of a church. That bell today is called the Liberty Bell.

It has often been remarked that in the journey of life, the young rely on energy to counteract the experience of the old. And vice versa. What makes this Constitutional Convention remarkable is that the delegates were both young and experienced. The average age of the delegates was 42 and four of the most influential delegates—Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Randolph, Gouverneur Morris, and James Madison—were in their thirties. Over half of the delegates graduated from College with nine from Princeton and six from British Universities. Even more significant was the continental political experience of the Framers: 8 signed the Declaration of Independence, 25 served in the Continental Congress, 15 helped draft the new State Constitutions between 1776 and 1780, 40 served in the Confederation Congress between 1783 and 1787, and 35 had law degrees.

George Nash has written a book about these men entitled Books and the Founding Fathers. Want to share some facts from his book.

To summarize Nash’s point: the Framers 1) read, 2) owned, 3) used, 4) created, and 5) donated books without being simply bookish or “denizens of an ivory tower.”

1. John Dickinson, the person whose legacy is his August observation at the Constitutional Convention that “we should let experience be our guide” because reason may mislead us, would, at university, “read for nearly eight hours a day, dined at four o’clock, and then retired early in the evening, all the while mingling his scrutiny of legal texts with such authors as Tacictus and Francis Bacon.” William Paterson, who introduced the New Jersey Plan in June at the Constitutional Convention, in large part because it was a practical alternative to the Virginia Plan, took his college entrance examinations in Latin and Greek, and entered Princeton “at the age of fourteen. For the next four years he immersed himself in ancient history and literature, as well as such English authors as Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, and Pope.”
2. Benjamin Franklin’s personal library “contained 4,276 volumes at the time of his death in 1790.” George Washington’s library at his death in 1798 contained 900 volumes, “a figure all the more remarkable since he was much less a reader than many.”
3. Washington, in turn, “used” Joseph Addison’s Cato in drafting his Farewell Address. Jefferson “sent back books by the score” from Paris to Madison that, after three years of intense reading, the latter used to draft the Virginia Plan as a response to the history of failed confederacies.
4. The Papers of Madison constitute “52 volumes.” The Jefferson Papers are comprise 75 hefty volumes.”
5. Finally, Franklin, Dickinson, Madison, and Jefferson were each “a faithful patron of libraries.” For example, Dickinson “donated more than 1,500 volumes to Dickinson College.”

They met behind closed doors and windows in sessions. Reporters and visitors were banned; these leaders wanted no outside influences. Guards were placed at the doors to keep sight-seers out.

James Madison was the note keeper. (We know this because his wife Dolly sold his notes to the federal government in 1837 for $30,000 after his death.)

James Madison of Virginia was a quiet fellow, but you could always tell that his mind was working and sifting through ideas. He stayed at Mrs. House’s boarding house, and he kept a candle burning all night so he could get up at any time and write down thoughts as they came to him. He told her he’d always done that. He never slept but 3 or 4 hours anyway.

Mrs. House didn’t know whether to charge him extra for all the candles. She had other boarders from Virginia, including Governor Edmund Randolph.

These dedicated men worked six days a week from 10-3 with only a 10 day break. It was during this July 4 break that James Madison and a few others put together a rough draft.

Their work took place in the Committee of Assembly Chamber Around tables laden with candlesticks, books, paper, ink wells, quill pens, and clay pipes. The newspapers printed regular articles of encouragement. Ben Franklin livened up the proceedings by using his cane to trip various delegates.

The city street commissioners had gravel put down in front of the State House to muffle the sounds of carriages and horses so as not to disturb them. Philadelphia was proud of the history being made there. In those summer months debates, bitter arguments, and compromises were on the daily docket; it was a time of hot weather and even hotter emotions.

George Washington later wrote to his friend Lafayette, “It (the Constitution) appears to me, then, as little short of a miracle.”

The American Revolution had been over for four years, and the Articles of Confederation weren’t strong enough to hold the new states together. In 1786 Alexander Hamilton called for another convention to create a stronger government.

These men called it the Grand Convention or the Federal Convention. Today its name is the Constitutional Convention. Except for Rhode Island, all states were represented. George Washington was elected President.

George Washington’s presence made the convention a prestigious event. His arrival in Philadelphia was spectacular, and a spontaneous parade quickly formed. The general was riding in his fine little coach called a chariot, and he was met by the officers of the Revolution. All those officers were joined by the Philadelphia Light Horse Company, and they rode into the city all in uniform. The city church bells were rung; some cannons were fired, and most all of Philadelphia turned out along the way to applaud the general.

He was going to stay at Mrs. House’s Boarding House, but Robert and Mary Morris insisted he be their guest. It was one of the most elegant homes in the city. Washington just took time enough to get his things in, and then he set out to pay a call on his 81 year-old friend Benjamin Franklin.

These 18th century leaders clearly had developed bonds through the Revolutionary War years.

One by one the delegates arrived and began their work.
Time moved slowly during those summer months, but the men continued their meetings.

Three plans for the Constitution were examined, and a compromise finally reached for the institution of executive, legislative, and judicial arms of government. All states would have equal representation in the Senate, and the elected officials for the House would be based on population. Even on that last day, a change was made to lower the population number for representatives.

George Washington was the first to sign his name. As the delegates moved to sign the Constitution on September 17, it was Franklin, who on the last day of the Convention said of the rising sun chair that Washington had sat in at the front of the room for four months. “During the past four months of this convention, I have often looked at the painting. And I was never able to say if the picture showed a morning sun or an evening sun. But now, at last, I know I am happy to say it is a morning sun, the beginning of a new day.”

On the night of September 17, the delegates met for one last time together at the City Tavern on Second Street to celebrate the birthplace of America’s new Government.

It seems fitting that they chose this tavern in Philadelphia. Built in 1773, many had stayed there during the First Continental Congress. A few years earlier, Paul Revere had ridden up to the Tavern with the news of the closing of the port of Boston by the British.

These leading figures of the Revolutionary War would now go back to their home states and encourage them to ratify the Constitution of the United States of America.

As James Madison proclaimed, “The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.”

Historically, new governments come about because of war or chance. Madison’s words ring true today, as we continue to celebrate this living document.

The Framers of the American Constitution were visionaries. They designed our Constitution to endure. They sought not only to address the specific challenges facing our nation during their lifetimes, but to establish, broad foundational principles that would sustain and guide the new nation into an uncertain future, even in September, 2015.

Labor Day – a Holiday

Happy Labor Day 2015!

It’s a day to celebrate American workers who have in the past and still do work with their hands.

Did you know that Labor Day was recognized as a federal holiday in 1894, but some states had already started celebrating it? It’s held on the first Monday in September.

For many, it marks the unofficial end of summer. When I was in elementary school, we didn’t start the school year until the day after Labor Day.

My family would make a trip to Hendersonville, NC in the 1950’s to see my Granny and go to the Apple Festival down town. I can remember Critt and I sitting on the curb with our knees resting on our chins. We waved small flags. There were bands, floats, old cars, clowns, and lots of people to keep us entertained; this parade hasn’t changed much, but I am not sure I could get up off the curb if I was able to get down there.

Many hawkers walked Main Street with their wares, including my favorite candy apples. We always ended the day at my great grandmother’s house with a picnic. Since several of her eight children lived in the town, the yard was cluttered with chairs and a groaning table of fried chicken with all the trimmings. (Mother never had to persuade my dad to go visiting on this day; he knew it would be good eating.)

Today we celebrate this three day weekend with cook outs, road trips, sales, and just enjoying an extra day off. Workers in the 1880’s fought for this holiday.

pittsburgh, first labor day parade, 1882, labor day, labor day celebration, holiday

Laborers in the 1800’s often worked twelve hours a day, every day of the week. In 1882, Pittsburgh was the place for one of the first Labor Day parades. Most men worked 84 hours a week for $10 in the steel mills. Andrew Carnegie owned those mills.

Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded the plight of mill workers in “Sixteen Tons.”

In 1894, President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday after a failed attempt to break up a railroad strike.

Typically clad in a black dress, her face framed by a lace collar and black hat, the barely five-foot tall Mother Jones was a fearless fighter for workers’ rights—once labeled “the most dangerous woman in America” by a U.S. district attorney.

Mary Harris Jones was an activist and radical who helped win the end to child labor in America. In 1897, Jones addressed a union convention where the workers began to affectionately call her “Mother Jones.”

Called the “Children’s Crusade,” Jones lead children on a march to Teddy Roosevelt’s hometown to show the millionaires in New York the faces of child labor. Their banner said  “we want to go to school, not mines.“This march paved the way to the end of child labor.

Famous for writing “This Land is Your Land, This Land Is My Land” and numerous other radical songs, Guthrie’s songs captured the history of the movement.

The Industrial Revolution changed our country from an agrarian society, where products were crafted as needed by hand, to machine-aided factories in the cities. For protection against the industrial giants who owned the factories and the company stores, the workers protested low wages and long hours. They weren’t afraid of hard work, but the schedules were back-breaking.

Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor said, “All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day…is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.”

I have enjoyed researching this holiday today. Labor Day isn’t about putting up my white shoes and white linen or recognizing that summer is officially over.  It is a day to remember the contributions workers have made to the strength and growth of our country. There is much to be grateful for.

“The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson



Bury the Past? Oh, No!

My grandmother, Lulu, loved history, and she shared its stories often. As a card-carrying member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, and the Magna Charta Dames, she was proud of her heritage. As a former teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Kentucky, she never lost her love for learning. As a former home school teacher of her three sons and daughter, she put their education on a firm footing in their early years on Mirror Lake Farm, outside of Shelbyville, Kentucky.

When she wasn’t reading, she was writing. Her book shelves were full of history’s stories, both fact and fiction. She regularly visited the Shelbyville Library, attended her monthly book club meetings, worked as a reporter for the local paper, researched family history in neighboring counties, and wrote multitudinous letters to family and friends inquiring about their histories.

Carrying pads and pencils, she spent hours in the NSDAR Library while visiting with her oldest son in Washington, DC. She was an extraordinary researcher and never gave up on finding the truth, even if it meant chasing rabbits. She said she smiled when she walked into this library.

Born on May 17, 1896, in Woodford County, Kentucky, she never lived in any other state. Her imaginative travels to other places in the past would have made for good reading. She described them as if she had been there.

Whether it was the Hitt family traveling by raft down the Kentucky River to escape the Indians or Jesse James on a lathered horse, running from the law, the escapades were never dull.

And, yes, he is a relative I will tell you about another day.


As a retired teacher myself, I find it fascinating that my grandmother taught in a one-room school. For three years, she lived one month with a family and then another throughout the school year. This was part of her pay, free room and board, and the town shared the expense. Lulu took her packed pail to school, just like her students. Wood for the stove was donated, but it was her job to lay the fire for the day during the winter. She had various numbers of students throughout the year, since school attendance was governed by the crop season. Grades 1-8 worked at the same time in the same small room; it must have been bedlam at times with all the recitations.

This teacher and lover of books became the wife of a future farmer when she married Wallace C. Collins. Moving from Louisville to Shelbyville, she cooked over an open fire while their farmhouse was being built. The family lived in the garage until then.

As the Collins family increased, so did the work for Lulu. She made her own butter and bread and canned and froze vegetables from her garden. Rising at 4:00 each morning, she fixed breakfast for the family and any workers that were there. My dad often spoke of the biscuits, gravy, potatoes, bacon, sausage, and eggs that were a staple.

On Wallace and Lucile’s 25th wedding anniversary in 1943, Wallace died. At age 47, Lulu took over running their tobacco and dairy farm on Mt. Eden Road. During this time, the tobacco make the farm payments to the bank, and the cows paid the other bills. Both were necessary to make ends meet, and Lulu never faltered.

When we visited every summer, it was a unique experience from our city life. We always went in June, and I slept in my aunt’s bedroom. Roosters woke us up, and the mooing of cows headed to their pasture from the barn was the breakfast music. Several times a day neighboring peacocks visited and added their raucous noises to all within hearing distance.

It was like time stopped for me there. The agenda was loose, and the days were lazy. We went to the Shelbyville County fair, visited relatives, and checked out the horse farms. I read to my heart’s content and listened to the tales of yesterday. The cadence of the voices was mesmerizing, as both nostalgia and excitement peppered the stories.

Oh, how I wish I could remember more. Bury the past? Oh, no!

“Do Lord, Do Lord, Do Remember Me”

On our summer vacation trips, Daddy taught us lots of songs. “Do Lord” was one of those that we enjoyed singing and clapping our hands to. The melody and lyrics are simple, but it is one of those tapping-the-feet songs.

There were times that we sang it at family reunions and in Sunday School. Unless you’re in a car, a person has to stand to sing, because sitting just won’t do. “Do Lord” is such a fun song. Adults also liked it; their smiles, hands, and feet proclaimed their enjoyment.

John’s family used to sing it in church and on the porches as a family.

In 1925 Garner Bros. released the first recording of this song. Johnny Cash made it famous. Even though an author isn’t clearly identified for this gospel song, it is attributed to Julia Ward Lowe, speaker, author, and promoter of women’s rights.

Image result for julia ward howe

“Do Lord” also falls into the category of a camp song. At camp, children sing songs that are fun, upbeat, harmonious, or inspiring. Most of all, the songs are easy to sing and remember.
They sing folk songs; spirituals; patriotic songs; religious songs; fun, nonsense, novelty, action songs; and melodious (rounds, partner songs).

I have seen “Do Lord” listed as a spiritual, along with “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” and “When the Saints go Marching In.”

Songs are universal. I can remember at church camps one of the favorites, accompanied by a guitar, was “Kum Bah Yah, My Lord, Kum Bah Yah.” Just recently I found out there were other versions: French: “Venez par ici, mon ami,” Spanish: “Venaca, amigo, venaca,”Russian: “Prihadi, moi druk, prihadi,” and
Japanese: “Wareno, motoni, kitare.”

Folk song writer, Pete Seegar, pronounced the importance of song with these comments.

“Once upon a time, wasn’t singing a part of everyday life as much as talking, physical exercise, and religion? Our distant ancestors, wherever they were in the world, sang while pounding grain, paddling canoes, or walking long journeys. Can we begin to make our lives, once more, all of a piece? Finding the right songs and singing them over and over is a way to start. And as one person taps out a beat while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a harmony they never knew existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world.”

The floods in Kentucky, my dad’s home state, have shattered both homes and communities this week of July, 2015. Pictures of houses floating in flash floods have been terrifying. Acts of nature debilitate and destroy on one hand and give joy on the other; the weather is fickle. The regions of Appalachia have given us so many songs through the years: soulful melodies and lyrics that look backward and forward. With the inborn strength of preserving their culture, I know they will build again. I am sorry they are faced with another endurance test.

Let’s hope together and sing along,


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