X Is for Xerxes: #atozchallenge

 

Lying in bed this morning, I came up with the perfect Y word. I began gathering information and working on an introduction.

Then something in my brain clicked and I realized today is X. I figured I might as well go back to sleep.

But then one of my characters, the sweet and very young Baptist preacher who told the teenagers he would drive them in the church van to take dancing lessons, walked into the cafe and sat down at a table with an old man who’s still cussing Roosevelt and long-haired hippies.

And then here came the old lady who’s always mad about something, and she jumped all over the preacher about the dancing thing, and she’s not even a member of his church, and then she whacked the back of his chair with her cane and scared him half to death.

She’s always on a rampage about something, and I knew they weren’t going to shut up and let me go back to sleep till I write chapter two and give them something else to do, so I gave up and got up. At 4:14 in the morning. 

Downstairs I turned on the TV to Youtube and Frederica Von Stade singing “Song to the Moon,” and then a string of other sopranos. I thought I might fall asleep listening. But so far I haven’t.

I have, however, come up with an X word: Xerxes. I heard about him when I was a toddler and my mother read nap time selections from The Bumper Book. The volume was big and pink and had tape–old yellowed tape–holding some of the pages together. The faded cloth on the hard cover had started to peel off at the corners, showing what looked like cardboard beneath. The book was obviously o-l-d, and I wondered where it came from, but I never asked, so I’ll never know.

But back to Xerxes.

He showed up in Edward Lear’s “A Nonsense Alphabet”:

X was King Xerxes,
Who, more than all Turks, is
Renowned for his fashion
Of fury and passion.

X

Angry old Xerxes!

I don’t remember hearing the poem, just X and Xerxes. To my embarrassment, I didn’t remember anything about Xerxes either, so I googled him. He was a Persian king who appears in the Book of Esther under the name Ahasuerus, and husband of Esther.

Regarding The Bumper Book, it’s available for purchase through Amazon. (Looks like the cover is yellow now.) Prices run from $41.76 for a Used copy to a Used-Like New copy for $245.00. Eighty-three per cent of reviewers give it a five-star rating. The low ratings refer to the condition of the used books. One reviewer, (four stars) said it was a replacement for the copy her dog ate and was smaller than the 1950 version. Just as I suspected.

In addition to Xerxes, it includes Lear’s “The Owl and the Pussycat,” A. A. Milne’s “Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers,” and Eugene Field’s “Winken, Blynken, and Nod” and “The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat.” If I had my way, all of those would be required reading for children. I heard “The Owl and the Pussycat” so many times that I can still recite it from memory. Jan Brett’s picture book of TOATPC has the absolute best illustrations in existence.

Just sayin’.

Here’s Frederica Von Stade singing Dvorak’s “Song to the Moon.” You’re welcome.

 

 

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Images of The Bumper Book and The Owl and the Pussycat via Amazon.com

 

8 thoughts on “X Is for Xerxes: #atozchallenge

  1. These are such fun posts! I haven’t been ignoring you, just swamped with visitors, getting ready for our new chapter meeting tomorrow, then Malice next weekend. Had to stop in to say I appreciate your alphabet!

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    1. Thanks. I’ve decided there was a poem with the alphabet, but it wasn’t the one in the book now. Hmmm. I know you’re not ignoring me. Is that a new SINC chapter? Hope you have fun at Malice. I’m green, but I hope you have fun anyway.

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  2. I had a big bumper book as well, Kathy, but also a Myths and legends one that seemed to cover EVERYBODY as it was very fat, large size and too heavy to hold. That said, I only remember Edward Lear from early Secondary School but it was fun using the illustrations to make posters to decorate our brand new school library. (Dr. Seuss featured as well in loads of posters) that was c. 1964 or so.

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  3. For a long time, I thought Bumper Books were a thing of the ancient past; I was in my thirties when I found out they were still in print. My third-grade teacher read The Cat in the Hat to us. I’ll bet they heard us laughing all the way down the hall. That was about 1960.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Nancy.

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