Print Story A moment...
By ana (Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:45:32 AM EST) (all tags)
Well, an annual moment, from childhood. 

 So when I was a kid, Independence Day was a Very Big Deal. Summer at last, though school nearly always let out before my birthday in mid-June.

I remember countless summer mornings, shivering next to a smooth-as-glass swimming pool before our first-in-the-morning lessons. The 'rents thought it was important for everybody to be able to swim, so for years we awoke at dawn (not hard if you're young, and your dad works 35 miles away and so leaves in the wee hours of the morning) to attend swimming lessons, which must have been before breakfast.

Anyway. On the 4th of July every year, the City and the University went in on a fireworks display, which was best observed from the football stadium on campus. Admission was free, and it was a good old-fashioned 1950s day out. As dusk was falling, we'd make our way to the stadium, which was perhaps half a mile from the first house I remember living in.

So then there's the question of how to amuse a few thousand people (the stadium was never anything like full, and people sat in the horseshoe section at the south end), many of whom were under 10, and were really there for one purpose: pyromania.

The University Marching Band (or maybe the Concert Band... They were much the same organization, except for years [between The War and the late 60's, so that both my mom and my sister were in the marching band] women were not allowed to march.) would give a concert. They set up a platform on the football field, familiar to rock-concert goers of (then) future decades, and played stirring march music until the kids were bored, and I, budding young physicist, was reduced to amusement at the sound propagation: direct line of sight (hearing?) vs. via microphones and loudspeakers.

And then out would come Warner Imig, dean of the Music School, to lead everybody in corny sing-alongs. One, designed to delight the heart and tax the intellect of sleepy adolescents, went like this:
Old Mr. Ford had a puncture in his tire
(puncture in his tire, puncture in his tire)
Old Mr. Ford had a puncture in his tire,
and he fixed it with a wad of chewing gu-uu-um.
And we'd sing it right through twice, and then Dean Imig would start introducing hand motions (both hands overhead in a big O for the word "tire"), and substituting sounds for some of the words (a hiss for "puncture"), one at a slow time.

By this time it's nearly dark, and the spotlight-wielders would sweep the crowd, showing everybody holding their hands up in a big O over their heads. It was just exactly the thing, when you're seven.

One of my high school classmates quoted that song in her facebook status today, so I went googling, and found that Imig retired in 1978, that he died in 2005 at the age of 92. And, given said classmate's niece's befuddlement, nobody else took over that particular piece of silliness.

Who knows, perhaps Dean Imig himself stopped doing it in the so-much-more-serious late Sixties.

And there were fireworks, and it was wonderful, and I'm sure Dad carried me home, sleeping, on his shoulder more than once.
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A moment... | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Loved it, thank you... /nt by yankeehack (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 12:02:36 PM EST

"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB
Whichever merchant next uses the term by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 02:30:56 PM EST
Independence Day earns my business for life. Thanks for your observation.

This emasculated "Happy Fourth" nonsense is part of the liberal plot to take down the notion of America.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Carrying kids home on shoulders by notafurry (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 02:13:40 PM EST
I recall as a young child feigning sleep more than once so Dad would carry me in from the car, especially after fireworks and similar events.

What I didn't know until the last few years is how much fun it is as the Dad, too.

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