Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Music

Like many Americans, we here at The Stone Age Techie felt that yesterday was a really, really great day. Relatives sent e-cards expressing sentiments such as "Today, I feel like I'm finally dating a great guy after dating one for 8 years who took all my money," and "Now we can stop pretending we're Canadian!" On Facebook, status updates read "So it is 'nuclear' then?" and "Aimee is eating her first apple of the new administration."

In our house, we sat enthralled through the oath, the speech, the benediction - "when tanks are pounded into tractors!" - and all the wonderful music, by Yitzak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma, and the military orchestra, and all the bands and troupes performing for their new President.

All the excitement made us want to dance, too, so we put together an Inauguration Mix; very eclectic but fun nonetheless. It's got Jim Croce's "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," "Superman" by REM, Fatboy Slim's "Praise You," Me Phi Me's "Revival" - but the song on it that, to me, has come to symbolize these last 8 years and this transition of power is an Irish one, "Red-Haired Mary."

This song is about two Irish traveling people - tinkers - heading to a fair. Tinker #1, whom we'll call Barry, offers to carry a lovely lady tinker, Mary, on his donkey to the fair. When they get there, who should step in and claim Mary as his own but Tinker #2; he needs a name too, so let's think of him as George.

George and Barry have an epic battle for Mary, in which they lose teeth, get shoved through doors, and brawl through many verses. Finally, Mary steps in and chooses her man - and it's Barry that she chooses (how could the song end any other way?)

The last verse is the best: "Now through the fair we rode together/ my black eye and her red hair/ Smiling gaily at the tinkers/ And by God we were a handsome pair!"

Such a good metaphor for what our country's been through, and where we are now - banged up, maybe, but full of hope and happiness.

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