Jerry Jeff Walker wrote Mr. Bojangles but it has been recorded by everyone including a famous version by Bob Dylan. Walker has said he was inspired to write the song after an encounter with a street performer in a New Orleans jail and that the song does not refer to the famous stage and movie personality Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Walker said while in jail for public intoxication in 1965, he met a homeless white man who called himself “Mr. Bojangles” to conceal his true identity from the police. He had been arrested as part of a police sweep of indigent people that was carried out following a high-profile murder. The two men and others in the cell chatted about all manner of things, but when Mr. Bojangles told a story about his dog, the mood in the room turned heavy. Someone else in the cell asked for something to lighten the mood, and Mr. Bojangles obliged with a tap dance.
the words really read like a beautiful poem:
Knew a man Bojangles and he’d dance for you in worn out shoes
Silver hair, ragged shirt and baggy pants, that old soft shoe
He’d jump so high, he’d jump so high, then he lightly touch down?
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, dance.
I met him in a cell in New Orleans, I was down and out
He looked to me to be the eyes of age as he spoke right out
He talked of life, he talked of life, laughing slapped his leg stale
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, dance.
He said the name Bojangles and he danced a lick all across the cell
He grabbed his pants for a better stance, oh, he jumped so high and he clicked up his heels
He let go laugh, he let go laugh, shook back his clothes all around
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, dance, yeah, dance.
He danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs throughout the south
He spoke with tears of 15 years of how his dog and him but just travelled all about
His dog up and died, he up and died, and after 20 years he still grieves
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, dance.
He said, “I dance now at every chance at honky-tonks for drinks and tips.
But most of the time I spend behind these county bars, ’cause I drinks a bit”
He shook his head, yes, he shook his head, I heard someone ask him, “Please,
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, dance, dance, Mr. Bojangles, dance.”
Here’s my favorite version by Harry Nillson, an amazing musician who wrote most of his own music and sadly died as a young man.
A local history lesson: John E. Mack was a District Attorney and later a State Supreme court Judge from Poughkeepsie. He was a Democrat when that word was not even used in these parts. His fame came when another Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to enter the political arena. John Mack nominated him for President twice. But when he was District Attorney he represented the County in the case of Harry K Thaw. In 1908 Thaw was sent to a mental hospital in Dutchess County when he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the infamous shooting of the architect Stanford White at the old Madison Square Garden. The dispute was over his wife Evelyn Nesbit who according to testimony had an affair with Stanford White.
John E. Mack was the person who succeeded in keeping Thaw in Mattawan, the mental institution in Fishkill, in spite of many legal maneuvers to get him released. This all occurred from 1908 until 1913, when Thaw escaped to Canada aided by his mother. The Wikipedia story is long but filled with interesting aspects of the case, such as Thaw’s life, the first use of the word “playboy” to describe him, and many other juicy details.Harry Thaw on the left, Stanford White on the right and John E. Mack with his famous string bow tie in the center below.
Let’s face it, not a lot happens in Millbrook that is out of the ordinary, although there was a 12,000 square foot house that burned down on North Tower Hill last week. I haven’t found out who owns it but a picture in the Poughkeepsie paper looked like it was what used to be called a five alarmer.
The point of this post is that I got an email yesterday from a woman who is opening an art gallery in Millbrook and wanted to know if I would inform my readers. I said I would although my readers in far off places are unlikely to visit or at least come to Millbrook just to see it.
But here is the email from the owner Sherry Crawford and – no charge for the free publicity. Some explaining perhaps is in order. I think she was talking about the Southern Dutchess News but I can’t quite figure out how she got to me. Also the “he” mentioned is someone named McFadden and the only McFadden I know is John McFadden who has worked in the same restaurant in New York for 30 years.
He mentioned that one edition goes out to thousands of households and the weekly? only to the community.. I’m sorry I don’t remember exactly what he said, just that to reach the masses, Tuesday was the deadline. I would appreciate any help you can provide without cost, as most of my Capital has gone for inventory and my advertising budget is nil! My new gallery, in a nutshell is a Fine Art Gallery, with Oil and acrylic paintings by many Native and non-native Artists . The decor is Aboriginal themed, and we have beautiful stone carvings, hand sewn moccasins ,etc. ..also, in a separate room, the Elly Nelly Vintage Boutique offers a combination of High end women, clothing, handbags, hats, shoes & scarves. Lots of cool things to see! Please let me know if you would like to come by.
Crawford Fine Art
18 King St. E. Millbrook
705 872 2938
Last Saturday morning there were two huge bald eagles and a younger immature one eating a fresh deer carcass lying down in the field by the beehives. The deer have had a terrible winter with cold temperatures and a lot of snow ground cover. I’m sure when Spring comes we will find a lot of Winter kill in the woods. But for now the Eagles are back. They come through this area towards the end of Winter and stay for about a month. Each year there are more of them. So I received a great picture from a neighbor as well as an unfinished eagle carving from a talented woodworker.
Not quite related to that are my chickens who have had a rough winter, none have died but they are laying infrequently and I cant wait until I get them out of the coop when the weather warms. Our neighbors kids love to come up to pick up the eggs and I received a picture of one giant egg among four or five others. When I cleaned it and opened it I found a triple yolker, manybe my first. Here are a few pictures
Posted on March 3rd, 2014 No comments
I received quite a few responses to the Ron Delaney story, a few of them are below. I apparently struck a responsive note. The latest comment not posted is from a reader who while quite a bit younger had not seen Delaney run but who pointed out that Eamonn Coghlan, while not a 1500 Olympic champion was known as the King of the Boards as he was extremely strong running on the indoor wooden tracks. He was a three time Olympian and set many indoor records, among them the mile in I believe 3:50. But as Casey and I have said, “You could look it up.”
Thanks so much for this! I never heard of Ron Delaney (not being a sports buff!) but know so many of the places and people mentioned, including Robert Briscoe, the first Jewish Mayor of Dublin! What a beautifully written piece…brought tears to my eyes…and nostalgia for all the other cultural events that were innocent and clean. I’m sending it on to my brother as this Sunday is Washington Heights’ “Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K” race that Coogan’s started to raise money for the Armory indoor track in WH. Now one of the best in the country and he’ll love this!
Fabulous. I could not get interested in Olympics this year for even a nanosecond
Did you know that my grandmother’s maiden name was Delany?????? Dad’s mother. She died before I was born, but I know she was very proud of her Irish heritage.
I loved the video.
You are so right about the Olympics.To keep attracting an audience, the athletes,like the stunt pilots after World War I, are expected to do more and more daring (figure skating) and dangerous (half-pipe) things.
The quarter of me that is Irish found this fascinating. I had never heard of the record-breaker, but I still got chills watching him.
That’s very impressive.
Well, I watched some of the Olympics but had trouble getting fired up about it. First, I like the summer Olympics better than the winter and in either case the word amateur no longer exists. It seems to be a method to sell advertising time on the networks and if it weren’t for Bob Kostas’ pink eye, nothing was out of the ordinary.
So let me harken back to another and better time. Ron Delaney was one of my early heroes, Ireland’s greatest runner. He won the 1500 meters in Melbourne when he was 21, beating John Landy the Australian who was considered the greatest miler at that time. It was an epic upset. Delaney had an unusual gate, called pitty pat at the time but when he was within striking distance on the last lap, there was no one in the world who could beat him.
I found a great story from Sports Illustrated at that time about the tumultuous reception he got in Dublin when he returned after his victory. The following fall he returned for his senior year at Villanova and made ten bucks a week helping out at the local Catholic church. They sure don’t make them like they used to. Read this story, it’s worth the time and effort. Here are two pictures on Ron then and now.
The word SCOURGE comes to mind. I was with a friend last week at breakfast with a few of his kids. They are pre teens, both girls and the entire breakfast they were looking at I phones in their laps and texting away for dear life, not a word spoken to us or even to each other. What information could they possibly be sending and to whom?
No one under 30 reads or writes anymore but here is where I am guilty and weak and almost as bad as those two kids, binge watching TV, 26 episodes of House of Cards ending with, and here I don’t care if I ruin it for non watchers, Francis Underwood becomes President of the United States. Frank Underwood, that scoundrel, what is the world coming to? Forgive me I have to leave now to watch the last episode of Downton Abbey.
Zack is from Jamaica but has lived over in Poughkeepsie for many years. He works in the big orchards pruning the apples in the early Spring and comes over to the farm each year to cut the excess suckers from the branches. He is a master at what he does. He can’t read or write as far as I can figure out but is strong as an ox. But when I call him after two or three words he knows just who I am and knows just how to get to the farm. When he comes he works all day and finishes about 20 trees. With all the snow on the ground, this year was a real challenge, but he keeps at it, never stopping until the end of the day.
i have been studying Mandarin with a great friend, a scholar from Beijing. In three years he has become proficient in English and I am struggling to even communicate in the most primitive way.
Here are a few reasons why.
In Chinese many words that are spelled the same have different meanings based on the tone of the word being used. Here is a description of the tones.1stHigh and level.2ndStarts medium in tone, then rises to the top.3rdStarts low, dips to the bottom, then rises toward the top.4thStarts at the top, then falls sharp and strong to the bottom.NeutralFlat, with no emphasis.
To make it even more complicated let me give you an example of the word “jaio”. Depending on how it is pronounced it can have any of the following meanings:
glue, teach,reef,pour, suburbs,burnt,chew,foot stir, call,relatively,teach, sedan chair, proofread.
To me the most astounding fact is that 1.5 billion people have somehow mastered this language. In fairness the characters are how you can tell the difference but memorizing them is a challenge also. But I am not giving up. It is a sort of footrace to see which comes first, Chinese or the grim reaper!
Posted on February 16th, 2014 No comments
I have a very old friend who lives down in Winter Park Florida who posted a video of his grand daughter who is a serious chicken farmer. I must say, that while I have raised chickens for years, I never quite figured out how to make it anything but a money losing proposition. This winter in particular I fed them kept them relatively warm and gave them fresh water but 12 hens went on strike and maybe lay 3 to 4 eggs a day and usually they were frozen as solid as hockey pucks by the time I get to pick them up. I will admit in the summer when they are outdoors and enjoying life they lay pretty regularly and there is nothing like fresh eggs. They really do taste better than store bought.
But hats off to a family that is trying to do it right and actually survive doing it! Enjoy the video, it’s impressive. One hint….I see they are raising chickens to sell to “end users” like me so maybe that is how they will not lose their shirts. The video makes it look like fun I will say that. I wonder whether heritage chickens are like heirloom tomatoes?
chicken farm Full Circle Farm Chickens raised right.We’re building a business raising laying flocks of heritage chickens–and we’re building a sustainable life for our family and our community.