Tuesday, May 14, 2013

That's Keuka Lake, 1949 Kodachrome

            As the 1940s approached, so did World War II, when the frantic production of war materiel led to full employment and a labor shortage that ended the Depression for our family as well as the rest of the country.  And with a little disposable income, my folks “took” the Saturday Evening Post.   The magazine had all those wonderful Norman Rockwell covers, excellent poetry I pretty much ignored, and short stories by the finest writers of the day, men (of course men) like Steinbeck, Faulkner and Fitzgerald.
            I paid no attention to the authors’ names in those days, but I read all the stories, and the one I remembered for years told of the space bum, a blind troubadour hitch-hiking on spaceships so he could get back to Earth to die.  At the final verse of his ballad I started crying, and I never forgot it
                          “We pray for one last landing
                            On the globe that gave us birth;
                            Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
                           And the cool, green hills of Earth.”   

  And then last week I came across a battered old paperback being offered for 25 cents (same price as the original PocketBooks of my childhood) -- a collection of short stories by Robert Heinlen.  I don’t read science fiction, wouldn’t even have picked it up – but there was the title “The Green Hills of Earth.”  And there was the story.
          Seems the troubador’s name was Rhysling – suitably Welsh, though that bit escaped me when I read it years ago.  And reading it again this morning, when I  got to that last verse – I found myself crying.

1 comment:

  1. I've listened to all of the settings of this song that I can find on Youtube, and frankly, don't bother. Lot of people playing guitars badly and breathing in the middle of words or phrases. (grumble, grumble, grumble). We can do better.