April 27, 2007

Big Rock Candy Mountain

sansa-silver-earphoneJon and I recently purchased a refurbished, Sandisk MP3 player from Woot. It was only $30.00 and with this purchase, we have landed feet first in the 21st century of technology. Between our recent purchase of cell phones with cameras, our upgrade from digital cable service to DVR and this recent purchase, we are finally the techno savvy Gen X'ers we were always meant to be. Some friends showed us how to convert our CD's into MP3's. They came over on Monday night. We ate pizza and drank beer (I think we still owe money for pizza come to think of it). And had a great time. We got some good advice and in the process, Jon and I have discovered a new hobby that we can enjoy together. We only purchased one to see how we liked it and now I'm sorry we didn't buy two. It's not that it's a problem sharing it, except that when we're sharing it, only one of us can use it at a time.

Last night, Jon added the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou. When he brought it to bed and sharing the earphones, we listened to my favorite song from the soundtrack, Big Rock Candy Mountain by Harry McClintock. I'm sure I'm not the first one to discover the joy of this song. The lyrics speak of a hobo paradise where everything a hobo could dream of exists in abundance.

The reason I love this song so much is it exemplifies how people dream who they are. For example, if you are school teacher, you might dream of having your own school where all the teachers work with a curriculum that you've designed; where all the supplies grow with the apples on the trees in back of the school house; where all the children behave like angels and all the parents agree with your teachings and the school's paradigm. If you're a fire fighter you might dream of a machine that can be lowered over a fire to snuff it out immediately without causing further damage to the people within or the structure without.

At Big Rock Candy Mountain, the hobos dream of empty trains where they can ride alone; where bulldogs are rendered harmless by their rubber teeth and where every barn is full of hay for their comfort. Here are the lyrics, if you don't already know them. Read them, and you'll see what I mean. It's charming.

Big Rock Candy Mountain
One evening as the sun went down and the jungle fire was burning
Down the track came a hobo hiking and he said boys I'm not turning
I'm headin for a land that's far away beside the crystal fountains
So come with me we'll go and see the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains there's a land that's fair and bright
Where the handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out every night
Where the boxcars are all empty and the sun shines every day
On the birds and the bees and the cigarette trees
Where the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains all the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth and the hens lay soft boiled eggs
The farmer's trees are full of fruit and the barns are full of hay
Oh, I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall and the wind don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains you never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol come a-trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats and the railroad bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew and of whiskey too
You can paddle all around 'em in a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains the jails are made of tin
And you can walk right out again as soon as you are in
There ain't no short handled shovels, no axes saws or picks
I'm a goin to stay where you sleep all day
Where they hung the jerk that invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

I'll see you all this coming fall in the Big Rock Candy Mountains

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