I can’t sleep tonight for some reason, and rather than lay in bed tossing and turning, I’m following my own advice that I give people in similar situations and I’m up trying to do something else until I’m sleepy again. As usual, one of the things that I’m doing is surfing the internet to see what I can see.
Tonight, I was watching Catch Me If You Can, a terrible name for a good movie about Frank Abagnale, a con man who impersonated an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and a teacher before finally being caught. I had previously read his book “The Art of the Steal”, which was a fascinating book that made you never want to lose your chequebook or let anyone read your mail.
In the movie, at one point, Frank and his girlfriend are at her parents’ place, watching “Sing Along with Mitch“, and I looked the show up, since I hadn’t ever heard of it. It was a show that you can’t imagine being made today, featuring Mitch Miller and a choir, singing songs while urging folks at home to follow the bouncing ball and sing along. I’m just old enough to remember shows that asked you to follow the bouncing ball, but not old enough to remember Sing Along With Mitch.
Earlier in the week, I went to a violin recital for kids, which brought back a ton of memories from my own days as a young viola player. I had played about half the music that I heard that night (generally transposed down a fifth) and it was a lot of fun to see the kids playing it (note I said see them play it, not hear them play it). One of the tunes the kids played was “Turkey in the Straw”, a fiddle classic.
I’m now so tired, I honestly don’t remember if I went to YouTube and searched on Mitch Miller or if I searched on Turkey in the Straw, but whichever it was, I found this:
That’s Mitch Miller and his band with Turkey in the Straw, being played on an old record turntable exactly like my grandmother Robertson’s.
As a kid, I never much liked going to my grandma’s. There wasn’t a lot to do there, because she had no toys and didn’t have cable (this is back when cable meant we got 13 channels instead of 2) and there weren’t any kids in the neighbourhood (or so it seemed), but one thing I did like was her record player and large collection of red vinyl 78 kids records, which I assume once belonged to my dad or his brother or sister.
I can’t claim that Turkey in the Straw was one of them, but seeing that video took me back with a wave of nostalgia to the back room at my grandma’s place, listening to those little red records and their scratchy songs. How old must they have been? It makes you wonder what you have sitting around your place that a kid would listen to two generations later and then forget about for 30 years.
I think you can see why I can’t sleep now, can’t you? My brain is going a mile a minute in no particularly useful direction. Still, I’m grateful for the memories it brought back.