This morning I was checking the tuning of several new strings on the piano and playing a couple of songs which I hadn’t tried for some time.  One was a rather pretty little tune from the 60’s (of course) made famous by the Rascals (or Young Rascals.. during their formative years) called How Can I Be Sure?  I decided to include it in this post because you may recall that I discussed the relative dearth of 3/4 songs in popular music (where’s Johann Strauss when you need him!)  So, here’s the exception to the rule… and it’s a good one, you can be sure…

If you’ve never heard the original… or would like to hear it again, here it is… (listen for the accordian)

Great stuff, eh!

That got me thinking (rare as it is) about the funny thing called memory.  There’s a song I haven’t played for years and still it sits somewhere there in my little brain to be pulled up upon request.  On the whole, I’m thankful for being able to do that where music is concerned.  I was listening to a medical expert this morning on the CBC (radio) who spoke of how alcohol inhibits the ability of memory to move from short term (seconds/minutes) to long term (days/years).  And then, there’s the matter of how things from childhood can lodge in your aging brain, even if you don’t need them or especially want them…

Exhibit A

It was a part of the education ritual for young children (many years ago- when I was a child) to commit to memory certain works of poetry and literature which would stay with us and enhance our adult lives.  So what pivotal passage has lingered in my memory to this day?


by Laura Richards

Once there was an elephant,

Who tried to use the telephant-

No! No! I mean an elephone

Who tried to use the telephone-

(Dear me! I am not certain quite

That even now I’ve got it right.)

Howe’er it was, he got his trunk

Entangled in the telephunk;

The more he tried to get it free,

The louder buzzed the telephee-

(I fear I’d better drop the song

Of elephop and telephong!)

Yes, I’ll admit that I had to check online for the brackets () and the poet’s name.  But the poem… it’s all me.

Exhibit B

One of our dogs enjoys nothing more (when off-leash) than marinading in whatever body of water/mud (puddle, creek, swamp, river, lake) she can locate. That particular vice has often prompted me to sing a little tune…

swamp dog, swamp dog, tail on her bum… 

(additonal lyrics depend on the degree of swampiness and my level of exasperation)

Jane was intrigued by my musical outburst and I explained its source was a little song I learned in childhood.  I can blame Walt Disney for clogging my synapses on this occasion…

In summary, I call on respected poet, Leonard Cohen, to put the role of memory into perspective…

And I can’t forget

I can’t forget

I can’t forget

But I don’t remember what. 

p.s.  Speaking of the Rascals, they had quite an extensive hit list, including…

People Got To Be Free, Groovin’, Carry Me Back, It’s Wonderful, It’s a Beautiful Morning, I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Any More, A Girl Like You… and this one, their first #1…

p.p.s. HB, LD!


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