Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Massachusett's Song (You Athol)

As the earth warms and the delicious aroma and sparkling sunlight of spring pushes winter away, I long to be outside on this New England spring day. It's the kind of day I like to look for the chipmunk's new home or lift up the granite rocks to try and find a black and yellow spotted salamander. I found one last spring and hadn't seen one since childhood. The biggest salamander in the area, these critters are elusive and shy.

Like a rain soaked dog, I shake away the winter blues and run to the back stream to see if the mallards are nesting. I  lean over and scoop up some rich black soil and inhale the luscious earthy aroma, wondering if the Native American Pequots reveled in this springtime blast of sun.  How did they know exactly when to plant their Indian corn? Where did they store the kernels during the winter?

Our egg farmer, whose small pristine farm, is a family jewel, told me he plants his peas in March and it always has to be on St. Patrick's Day. Why St. Patrick's Day I ask him? He shrugs. "Dunno, it's the way it's always been."  I'm thinking next year,  I'll plant my peas on St. Patrick's Day too and think about Saint Paddy ridding the Emerald Isle of snakes.

Bob, the farmer, turns and tells me that the honeybees have made a comeback. It's been a strange couple of years with no friendly honeybees in our gardens. Scientists claim that pesticides have damaged their "radar" so they weren't able to find their way back to the hives, thus they died and left the flowers wondering where their friendly pollinators were. Bob's beekeeper friend, has several hives on the outer edge of his farm and thanks to him we'll have luscious honey this year.

Suddenly, a rowdy catbird lands to my right, in the huge burning bush. He flicks his long dark gray tail and sings his warbled song that startle the dogs who begin woofing at him. I whistle back at him and he moves closer to me, so close I could reach out and touch him.

Two summers ago, I was walking toward the stream and above my head I heard a crow frantically cawing. It's the crow warning signal that something's not right. I look up at him and notice that he's circling and glaring at something behind me.

I turn and stop dead in my tracks. A coyote is racing at top speed in my direction, but doesn't see me because he has his eye on the huge crow. I fall on the ground and cover my head with my arms, praying that I don't become Wile E. Coyote's morning snack. They say that life passes before your eyes when situations like this arise, but all I kept thinking about were the mallards and their ducklings on the bank of the stream. Would THEY become his morning snack?

With a woosh, the coyote flies over me, so close that I feel his underbelly fur on my arms. What seemed like an hour, was only a few minutes before I could even sit up, I was shaking so hard. I looked out at the stream as the critter bounded to the bank and leaped across the water. The crow continued to dive bomb him, screeching and cawing, as I stood up and brushed myself off.  I'll never forget it and still listen for the crow when I venture to the stream.

Being a native of Connecticut, and living along the coast, I'm a steadfast New Englander. I'm very familiar with our northern neighbor, Massachusetts, having spent vacations on the Cape, Martha's Vineyard and reveling in jaunts around the historical city of Boston all of my life.

Walks on the beach of the Northern shore of the Cape,...the weathered clapboard cape cod style homes, chunks of  buttery lobster...breath taking, spine tingling whale watching boat rides... the smell of the salt air...  the terns dive bombing as they screech "get away from our nests!"....  walking the "Freedom Trail" in Boston and listening to stories of Paul Revere.... Standing where the Boston Massacre happened that fateful day during the Revolutionary War and so much more reminds me that New England is where I want to be... forever.

Fond memories of those summer vacations in Massachusetts came flooding back as I listened to this very clever, whimsical,  tune called "Massachusetts Song (You Athol)  that Dana Edelman and his son, Jaiden, sing.  Yes, you read it correctly "You Athol".  Athol IS a town in Massachusetts. Sung with a slip of the tongue,  Athol becomes, you guessed it.  A**hole.  HA! A very witty play on words!

 If you listen carefully you'll hear 50 Massachusetts towns as Dana and Jaiden sing this father/son duet.

Do you recognize the names of these towns? I was very surprised when I heard "Cheshire" because that's my hometown in Connecticut. I never knew there was one in Massachusetts!

Taunton, Cheshire, Athol, Holyoke, Sandwich, Milton, Braintree, Brewster, Lynn, Gardner, Worcester, Falmouth, Marblehead, (Marbles in Your Head) Russell, Springfield, Buzzard(Buzzard's Bay) Martha's Vineyard..

What?? You thought I'd list all 50 towns?? HA! No! You have to listen carefully and add to the list!
Guaranteed you'll listen to this song more than 50 times!

Many thanks to Dana and Jaiden for this VERY cool New England tune
that will make you want to tap your toes and slap a knee!!
Click on Jaiden's shoulder to hear it!


  1. I just awarded you with the One Lovely Blog Award! Check out my blog for more details.

    My (Not So) Elementary Life

    1. Heidi Thank you sooooo much for the lovely blog award! I had replied to your note but it had disappeared so I'm replying again. I'm also going to pop over to your blog!

  2. Oh my gosh...your coyote story is amazing...and so scary. We have so many coyotes back behind our house (we live on the edge of a small town with a bean and corn field behind us, then the Rock River). The coyotes are always waking us up at night but I once saw on by the creek that runs through the field to the river at dawn. Our dog was even chased by one one night but the coyote didn't enter our yard after my husband yelled at it. Thankfully there wasn't a pack of them.

    Thanks for sharing your story & Dana & Jaiden's song! Love it!

  3. Tracee I really thought I was a goner when that coyote flew over me. We have a pack of them living in a farmer's field and the howling and yipping is a common sound nowadays.Someone in town told me the coyotes are now "pairing up" with feral dogs and they're calling them coy-dogs.I haven't seen on yet but they're supposedly bigger. Another animal that's new to our area is the fisher cat. They've moved down from northern New England and are very destructive. They're in the weasel family. Thanks for your comment!