Thursday, December 23, 2010
Deck Us All . . .
Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!
Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby Lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!
If you recognize those lyrics (and can recite the rest of them), you belong to my generation, the one that grew up in the 1950s when Walt Kelly's immortal "Pogo" comic strip appeared in every American newspaper worth its ink.
Every day when my father came home with the Chicago Daily News, my older brother and I would fall upon him for first dibs to the funnies, and we'd read the strip out loud to each other. "Pogo" was hands down the family favorite -- except for Mother, who never could see what the fuss was all about.
"Pogo" awakened my love of wordplay, of antics with language. Kelly was a joyous master at it, and every holiday season he'd roll out the barrel of "Boston Charlie" with Pogo, Albert the Alligator, Mam'selle Hepzibah, Porky Pine and even Grundoon all chiming in. Dad, Buck and I would join in, and at about the third Christmas we could recite all the lyrics without prompting.
I'd give them here, but there's some pointed copyright language on the official Pogo website, so I'll direct you to the proper page.
Now then, one two three . . .