Monday, January 23, 2012

Memory lane and the long reaching influence

Have you ever heard of "Kangaroo Court"? When I was in youth group during my junior and senior high years, we would have kangaroo court as the evening's activity. You would be the defendant accused of some bogus, often true "crime", and then judged by your peers. I was often "accused" of talking too much. (Go figure. is that really shocking for those who know me? ) The first time I had this "charge" I was in grade 8, likely 14. My punishment was to have my toenails painted with liquid paper. I remember shrieking in horror because I was being singled out and because they were touching my feet of all things. (I have a thing about people seeing my feet because they have always been big.)

The last time that I remember kangaroo court was at a camp in the middle of winter, Camp Buchan, known as the Boy Scout camp. It was a youth retreat with the same youth group. My girlfriend reminded me that I had extra blankets that I wouldn't share. (She got cold water all over her sleeping bag because someone did the "stick your hand in the bowl of water while you sleep" trick, but she woke up and it spilled all over her. So she tried to get me to part with one of my blankets but I was asleep and had a death grip I guess.)

I was likely accused of the same thing, I can't remember the charge. But I was soooo embarassed because my "punishment" was that I supposed to serenade a boy. I was painfully shy and it took forever for me to sing to one. It was a friend of the youth leader. He was likely in his 20's at the time, and his clowning around didn't help the matter. He put a scarf on his head like a bonnet and fluttered his eyes at me. After 10 minutes, someone finally said "enough already, sing something." to which I replied that I didn't know what to sing. "I dunno.. "you are my Sunshine". Do you know that one?" So I sang the first verse of this song to Gordon and never forgot it.

Ever since then, this song has been my signature song. When I worked at camp and got caught with my elbows on the table (which was often, especially when I was so tired from cooking the meal) that I would sing this song in response to being caught. (When you have your elbows on the table at a meal, anyone is allowed to "catch" you and then the whole room sings (your name here) and tells you your punishment. So the song goes


Joe, Joe, strong and able
get your elbows off the table
this is not a horses stable
but a first class dining table

Round the table you must go
you must go
you must go
Round the table you must go,
my fair Lady-o.


Stand up on your chair and sing, chair and sing, chair and sing,

Stand up on your chair and sing, my fair lady-o.

So, I would often stand on the chair and sing "you are my sunshine."

When I was staff, (I cooked for 3 summers in 2 different camps) I would be in charge of "lost and found". If people lost something, like a hat, or sunglasses, and wanted to claim them back, they had to "do something" to get them back. The staff member in charge of lost and found could assign something crazy for them to do and then they would get their stuff back. Otherwise, it was mine to keep. After a while, most staff and campers knew that they had to sing "the song" for me before I gave them their stuff back. It wasn't until I worked in a nursing home in NS for 3 years that I learned there were verses for this song. I only learned the 1st one, but there are apparently more.

Lyrics | Ricky Nelson lyrics - You Are My Sunshine lyrics

Interesting how long this song has been with me. And now I sing it to my kids.

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