Ol’ Man River…hmmmm, I don’t know why, but I think of the hauntingly beautiful song…Ol’ Man River … every time I see a large, meandering river.
For a little background, In the mid 1920’s….composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II teamed up to write about life along the Mississippi River for the soon to be famous Broadway musical …Show Boat!
According to Murray Horwitz, Director of the American Film Institute Silver Theater and Cultural Center, Horwitz says that a strong part of the song’s appeal lies in its insistent rhythm. “The pulse is like the pulse of the river itself,” he told NPR’s Scott Simon in a 2003 interview. In fact, the character Joe sings the lyrics as an expression of both hope and despair.
For me, personally…hope comes to my mind when I hear the song sung in it’s slow deliberate cadence or rhythm.
For those of you who do not know the lyrics…below are a couple verses.
“Ol’ Man River, That Ol’ Man River
He don’t say nothin’, he must know somethin’
Ol’ Man River, he just keeps rollin’ along
Tote that barge, lift that bale, you get a little drunk
And you land in jail
Let me go away from the Mississippi
Let me go away from the rich man boss
Show me that stream called the River of Jordan
That’s the old stream that I long to cross
I get weary and so sick of tryin’
I’m tired of livin’, and afraid of dyin’
But Ol’ Man River,
he just keeps rollin’ along”
The Mississippi River is not the river I am going to discuss…however, it does come to mind when I see a large river!
And a large river…for me…. brings up images of the Ol’ Man River song and lazy days of either sitting or standing beside a slow, meandering river… watching the occasional piece of twig or perhaps a flower sporting a dragon fly …..slowly floating by, or as the song implies, rolling along.
So why am I mentioning a River?
Because we live close to a large river…and the other day I was sitting on a park bench watching our River, which is called the Caloosahatchee River.
(I guess the name of the river is not a common name…Spell Check tried to change the name of the River to the Chattahoochee River!)
The Caloosahatchee River is about 70 miles long and stretches from the West coast of Florida into Lake Okeechobee, through the St. Lucie Waterway and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean.
As the Caloosahatchee River nears the West coast of Florida….it becomes tidal, forming an estuary along its lower 25 mi and broadens as it nears the gulf.
There are several locks on this large river….it is that important to the estuary as the locks raise and lower and redirect the waters flow.
And then in my reverie…..the river becomes “Ol’ Man River”…..it just keeps rollin’ along!
Have you thought much about a river’s course?
Have a great Wednesday!
thanks Sandy for your insight…good point. I keep looking ahead as the river rolls on….hopefully around the bend..:)
Interesting post, Kari. Whenever I hear “Ol’ Man River” I think of everyone who is struggling to get by. It reminds me of despair and the courage to keep plugging along.