Oh, right, it’s day 3 of this wretched 25 days of song. This one is supposed to be a song that reminds one of a parent(s). There were a lot I could have chosen, like “Cats in the Cradle”, except my parents weren’t totally absent from my life and that song is quite possibly the worst song ever, ever, ever known to man. There’s also “Butterfly Kisses” if you want to vomit or “Daddy’s Hands” if you want a song about how your dad beat the crap out of you with love.
Then I remembered the song “A Battle of New Orleans”. This is a really old song, from the 50’s, but that’s okay because it’s about something even older, the War of 1812. I think of my father when I hear this song because he is a huge history buff, as am I. The man can name all our presidents, in order, with their vice presidents, and the men who ran against them.
Our country has a short history, but we make it count. If all you’ve ever seen of American history is a textbook, you are most unfortunate. I’m not sure how they do it, but somehow textbook writers manage to suck all the interesting parts out of history and leave you with mind numbingly boring facts. But if you get a good teacher, history comes alive. It did with my father, who was my first teacher.
One thing America loves more than anything is the tale of the underdog defeating the much larger force. The British had a huge trained, disciplined fighting force whereas we had a small group of random angry guys. Of course, the British were already divided what with also fighting Napolean in France at the same time, but nevermind that. We beat ’em! Not because we were all that skilled or honorable, but specifically because we were devious little upstarts, which the British probably should have remembered from the Revolutionary War.
But wait, this is supposed to be about my father. Well, one other thing we liked to do together besides talk history was sing. Neither of us was a particularly good singer, but we liked it anyway. And this song, “The Battle of New Orleans”, exemplifies both in a catchy song about actual history. Though they might have made up the part about using an alligator butt as a cannon.
In order to make it more appealing to some of you with intense dislike of country music or history, I have left you a video acting out the song through lego people. You’re welcome.