Too Old to Dream

 

I just returned from physical therapy and then walked 866 steps from the car to the recliner (it might have been 766 steps because I lost count of 100s, but it felt like 866) and my brain is fried, so I won’t try to write another episode in the Saga of the Knee.

I know that disappoints readers, but I’ll get back to it later.

I shall instead write about the song running through my head when I woke this morning.

I awaken every morning with a song. Like knee surgery, it’s not as much fun as it sounds.

For too long, it was, “Deck the Halls,” no matter the season. The song was especially irritating because I insist on putting in extra Fa-la-las, going up on each FA in a little chromatic interlude: FA-la-al-la-FA-la-la-la-FA-la-la-la-FA-la-la-la-‘Tis the season . . . every time the FA-la-las come along. That gets tiring pretty fast.

Often it’s “O Worship the King,” one of my favorite hymns. I like it because of the imagery.

O worship the King,
all glorious above!
O gratefully sing
his power and his love!  . . .

His chariots of wrath
the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is his path
on the wings of the storm. . . .

Sir Robert Graves, via Wikipedia PD

It’s uncommon to sing of the wrath of God these days, but the lines, “His chariots of wrath/The deep thunderclouds form,/and dark is his path/on the wings of the storm” make such a stunning image that I can’t object. After all, the hymn was published by Sir Robert Graves in 1833 and reflects the views of the time.

I like the hymn so much that I taught myself to play it by doubling the bass, which makes quite a sound on the Methodist’s upright grand. It used to be the Presbyterian’s upright grand but was moved down the street to the Methodists when Presbyterian members sort of aged out. Some of us know it as Aunt Jessie’s piano because my father’s aunt played it for the Presbyterians for a million years.

My piano teacher had told me I should double the bass on all hymns and play the tenor part with the right hand. I was eleven and thought, I’ll never play the piano at church. Oh, silly me. I never learned to play the tenor with the right hand–soprano and alto were enough of a challenge–but on that one hymn, and on that piano, double base made a magnificent sound. Just like chariots of wrath.

Oscar Hammerstein II, via Wikipedia PD

But back to this morning. I woke with a song I hadn’t thought about since high school: “When I Grow Too Old to Dream.” I don’t remember the choir’s singing it, but we girls thought it the loveliest thing we’d ever heard. I don’t know how my brain came up with it, but I’m glad it did, because the memory is welcome.’

According to Wikipedia, it’s a “popular song with music by Sigmund Romberg and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II,

Years ago, I read that Mrs. Oscar Hammerstein II heard someone say that musician Jerome Kern had written Showboat’s “Old Man River.” She responded, “Jerome Kern wrote ‘dum dum dum dum.’ My husband wrote “Old Man River.” And he did.

So for the following lyrics, I give Hammerstein top billing.

The song has been recorded by numerous artists, including Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, and Linda Ronstadt. Some jazz it up. It should not be jazzed up.

Nelson Eddy, via Wikipedia PD

I’ve included two clips from Youtube. The first is by Nelson Eddy, the singer probably most identified with the song. He does a whale of a job with it.

The second is by Vera Lynn, singing it as a tribute to members of the Royal Air Force, “the few who defended Great Britain in its finest hour.”

Here are the lyrics of “When I Grow Too Old to Dream.

 

We have been gay, going our way
Life has been beautiful, we have been young
After you’ve gone, life will go on
Like an old song we have sung

When I grow too old to dream
I’ll have you to remember
When I grow too old to dream
Your love will live in my heart

So kiss me, my sweet
And so let us part
And when I grow too old to dream
That kiss will live in my heart

And when I grow to old to dream
That kiss will live in my heart
And when I grow too old to dream
That kiss will live in my heart

So kiss me, my sweet
And so let us part
And when I grow too old to dream
That kiss will live in my heart

Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Sigmund Romberg

Dame Vera Lynn by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA-3.0 via Wikipedia

 

Nelson Eddy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu-PwwDlizk

Vera Lynn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1vXsbqZnK4

The link to “Old Man River,” above, is a clip of Paul Robeson singing the song.

Paul Robeson, via Wikipedia, PD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Too Old to Dream

  1. Kathy, I think you have a song in your heart . . . several, in fact. O Worship the King is also one of my favorites. We also share playing the piano, or at least I’m getting back to it . . . but not at church.

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    1. I guess I do have songs in my heart. Inherited from my mother. Unfortunately, through lack of use, I seem to have lost my voice. When we moved to a smaller apartment (no stairs), I had to get rid of my piano, and the last time I played it at church the result was just plain embarrassing. But now that we have more room, I am surreptitiously checking out used pianos for sale. I might be able to get back to junior high status.

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  2. Reblogged this on My Corner and commented:

    When I worked as a registered music therapist with nursing home residents, I often sang this song. Now, here’s Kathy Waller with her reflections on this and other songs that have been going through her head. By the way, Kathy is recovering from knee surgery and has been blogging about her experiences with that. So, you might want to check out her other posts. Even though her genre is mysteries, she’s quite the humor writer. Enjoy!

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    1. Abbie, thanks so much for reblogging and for your kind words. I’m so glad to know that someone else knows and has sung the song, My knee surgery certainly provides content for my blog, although I’m not it would be encouraging to anyone contemplating taking that step. Still, there have been some funny moments–if you think about it hard enough.

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  3. I like “O Worship the King.” I like the imagery the words evoke .In the same vein of thought, I also like C.H. Spurgeon for his beautiful language. Some of his words should be set to song.

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