Thursday, November 27, 2008

Travel: Over the River and Through the Woods

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON - According to Wikipedia, Lydia Maria Child wrote the poem "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day" in 1844. Before long, it was set to music and became the song we know as "Over the River and Through the Woods" today.

While written as a Thanksgiving song, many variations have come into existence over the years, mostly notably lyric changes to make it apply to Christmas instead of Thanksgiving. I somehow learned the song as "to Grandmother's house we go" instead of "to Grandfather's house we go." This is not surprising, as the most typical Thanksgiving of my youth was to visit my maternal grandmother and her sister Lucile east of Renton, Washington. It wasn't a long journey, and technically it didn't cross a river (though Coal Creek was close) though there were woods and one year there was even snow, but it was still easy to relate to the song.

Today, for the first time in over a decade, I will be traveling to my paternal grandfather's house for Thanksgiving. The song applies, as there are multiple rivers and multiple woods in the 225 miles between Bellevue and Kennewick, Washington, and there is undoubtedly snow on Snoqualmie Pass. Modern vehicles are a far cry from a horse and sleigh, but the journey will be much like the adventure written about a century and a half ago.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood -
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ding",
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood -
And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood -
Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!
Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

W6MPB said...

Yup - Grandmother's house is also the way we learned it down here in the deserts of So Cal...