A few weeks ago I mentioned my maternal grandmother was quite a character. She loved to play cards and board games with us grandkids; she loved to fish, she played the meanest rag-time piano I’ve ever heard, and she couldn’t read one note of sheet music, but knew by heart about every song she’s ever heard.
Grandma Ann also traveled with a troop of USO entertainers to military bases in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska to entertain troops.
Grandma Ann also had another special talent. She wrote songs and penned poems for fun and to while away the many years that she lived alone in the Missouri Ozarks, near the little town of Aldrich, on Stockton Lake. Her most prolific years were in the 1950s through the 1970s. She wrote serious romantic songs and funny, upbeat songs, but due to her inability to read musical notes, she always had to hire or coax a friend to put her new songs into printed music sheets.
At one time, I knew the words and could sing a lot of Grandma’s songs. But time wears on old memories and I can remember fewer and fewer of her song lyrics and melodies.
Except for one song. The lyrics and music of one song remain imprinted on my mind. That is a humorous song entitled, “Oh, For the Life in the Ozarks.” The words popped up in my mind a few days ago and they won’t leave. So, I’m going to pass along the words to “Oh, For the Life in the Ozarks” in this column and dedicate them to all my old friends still in the Ozarks to whom her dated words might still ring true. Here are the words. You’ll have to think up your own melody:
Down in those Ozark Mountains,
They make old Mountain Dew.
And, if you drink too much of it.
It’ll get the best of you.
The hillbillies there take life in stride.
Maybe they’re smart at that.
While we’re working our fingers to the bone,
They sit around and get fat.
They cut enough wood for winter,
And buy beans, tobacc’er and such.
They hunt and fish whenever they wish
And their clothes don’t amount to much.
(Chorus) Oh, for the life the Ozarks,
That’s where I want to be.
I’ll spend my life in the Ozarks
‘Cause it’s like Heaven to me.
The kids start smoking at the age of two.
They even have their own tobacc’er to chew.
And, their folks don’t care, ‘cause this is true.
They did the same danged thing or two.
The men drive old trucks and skin big bucks,
And gig fish at night with a torch.
They spit and whittle and watch the world go by
From a rocker on their front porch.
I read about a research project conducted by a west coast university that studied 1,700 old men like me over 75 years old. They measured only five factors to see if they had any impact on the men living at least to 90 years old. The five factors were: alcohol consumption, coffee consumption, weight, exercise, and hobbies.
Normally, I don’t agree with lifestyle research, but I concur wholeheartedly with this study’s conclusion.
The researchers found out that the men most likely to live into their 90s drank a bit of alcohol every day, drank at least two cups of coffee every day, did very little vigorous exercise, enjoyed at least one or two hobbies, and were pleasantly plump, not skinny. I fit the 90-profile perfectly.
So, happy days are here again. I’m on my merry way to 90 — until I’m not.
Here’s a story that speaks sorta well for getting older. An elderly rancher walks into a cattlemen’s convention social dance at a swanky hotel. He is well into his 80s, very well-dressed with expensive Stetson, fancy bolo tie, polished boots, well-groomed white beard, sharp crease in his Levis, and smelling slightly of an expensive after shave. He presents a very nice image. He spies a classy looking cowgirl in her mid-seventies sitting alone at a table. So, the sharp old gentleman walks over and sits alongside her. He orders a drink and takes a sip. Then, he slowly turns to the lady and says: “So, tell me … do I come here often?”
Remember this: Life is so much funnier when you have a risqué mind.
If you have cows, hope you’re surviving the calving season. Have a good ‘un.