I haven’t been able to post to my blog for a while because the iWeb file had gotten corrupted and I had to copy everything from it to a word processing program and then back to a new iWeb template. I thought the old stuff was still up, so I was waiting till I got everything re-done before I posted so as not to erase the old stuff. But I hear the blog is now just a template in fake Latin, sorry about that, so now I’m posting what I’ve done so far of the old stuff and adding what I wrote from my January trip to Montana. Here’s the first part of that:
I’m sitting in Judy Fjell’s guest cottage, looking out across the Yellowstone river and bare trees and tan hills to the snow-covered Crazy Mountains. I’m here in Big Timber, Montana, to work with Judy on a new CD for children, but I get to drink in the gorgeous scenery too. I’ve been here a week, a week that started out cloudy but all that’s blown away and the mountains are sharp against a few wispy clouds in a winter-blue sky. My part of the cottage is a little ways down the slope to the river, so the trains that run along the other side of the street aren’t loud enough to disturb my sleep, but I hear the wind most of the time. Judy says she sees whole trains dedicated to one cargo—coal sometimes, or often corn syrup. The idea of a whole train dedicated to corn syrup got my attention, and I wrote some lyrics (not for the CD) about it. I have read that the rise in diabetes coincides with the introduction of high fructose corn syrup. Judy loaned me a keyboard so I could write a tune.
The Corn Syrup Special is rollin’ ’cross the plains
Heading for some place along the coast,
Where it will meet some berries and plums on other trains
To make the jam that’s yummy to put atop your toast.
    Oh, hear that whistle blow
    It sounds so fine
    And it’s time to blow the whistle
    On that corn syrup line.
High fructose corn syrup coming down the track,
On its own train of red tanker cars
If sugar were cocaine, this syrup would be crack
A faster high than sugar when you eat your candy bars.
Corn syrup’s cheaper cause the government pays
Farmers extra when they have a bigger crop
But your candy isn’t cheaper, it’s the profits get a raise
And they sell you on a bigger can of corn syrup pop.
Corn syrup’s cheaper but it’s harder on yourself
It’s in the soup, it’s not just in the pies
So it’s good to read the labels on the supermarket shelf
If you want something cheaper, try the smaller size.
© 2009 by Nancy Schimmel
We realized before I came up here that we had enough songs we wanted to record to fill three CDs, and we’ve spent some time figuring out how to divide them up and which CD to start on. They seem to divide into songs of empowerment (which we’ll do first), songs of the West (which was our original idea before it got out of hand), and songs of farming and gardening.
On Tuesday I went with Judy to the two rural one-room schools where she teaches music weekly, and she led the kids in three songs we have written together, which happen to fit one each on the three CDs. “I Think of a Dragon” (about standing up to bullies) will be on the empowerment one, “Montana, Colorado, Nevada” (about all the Spanish words in cowboy lingo) will be on the Western one, and “Every Third Bite” (“for every third bite you eat, thank the bees”) will be on the one about farming and gardening. In the afternoon we went to an after-school program she visits once a week here in town, and Wednesday to a two room school. Judy told me that before Christmas one of the boys there showed her the dragons he had drawn and hung around the edges of his desk for protection. She said, “Do I have a song for you!” And all the kids love to sing it. I enjoyed telling “Elk and Wren” to kids who have seen elk.
©2009 by Nancy Schimmel
Here’s Sweet Grass County in Montana. Big Timber, population 1600 or so, is the county seat.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009