Friday, March 15, 2019

Oh, the farmer and the cowman must be friends

Dude (2019)
Rodgers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma! (1943)—

The farmer and the cowman should be friends,
Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.
The cowman ropes a cow with ease, the farmer steals her
butter and cheese,
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends—

Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.


The American poet Robert Penn Warren (whose voice I love to listen to) came from Southern roots, and some of his ancestors had served on the Confederate side during the American Civil War. In Warren's wonderful memoir (which I have just finished reading), Portrait of a Father (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1988), he recalls a misunderstanding he had when, as a boy, he was visiting his maternal grandfather's home. Here's the story—

There was another remark among the daughters which seemed related to the notion that the old man [his grandfather] was a visionary. They had said, more than once in their protracted and loving diagnosis of their father, that he was a "Confederate reader." Or so it seemed. I would wonder what a "Confederate reader" might be. But as my vocabulary widened, it suddenly dawned on me that the old man was an "inveterate reader." In fact, he was. As long as eyes held out.