I’m leaving tomorrow for a week-long vacation in Florida. The state of Florida is my favorite place in the world. The moment you drive across the Georgia-Florida border, life improves, because now you’re in Florida. Florida is a magical place; just ask Piers Anthony. (For the record, my current home, North Carolina, is also pretty magical; and in a letter Piers once told me that if Xanth hadn’t been in Florida it would’ve been in North Carolina.) Florida is my heart’s true home, and in honor of my trip there and my love of that great state, I am posting the state song today.
Commentary from me is in bold.
Way down upon the Swanee River,
Far, far away,
There’s where my heart is turning ever,
There’s where the old folks stay.
All up and down the whole creation,
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for the old plantation,
And for the old folks at home.
The Suwanee River is in Northern Florida. For some reason the words “Swanee River” are associated with Yoohoo and snack cakes in my mind. I think this is because in Tallahassee there’s a street named after the river, and on that street there is a convenience store, where my parents purchased Yoohoo and snack cakes for me.
All the world is sad and dreary,
Ev’rywhere I roam;
Oh! loved ones, how my heart grows weary,
Far from the old folks at home!
Since a year or so before my sister was born, my maternal grandparents have lived in Florida, and my paternal grandparents have been there since my dad was about three.
All roun’ the little farm I wandered,
When I was young;
Then many happy days I squandered,
Many the songs I sung.
When I was playing with my brother,
Happy was I;
Oh! take me to my kind old mother,
There let me live and die.
When my dad was in library school he and my mom made friends with a couple, and the woman in this couple had a family farm. It was a cane farm, and every year they’d have a big family reunion on Thanksgiving. The couple invited us there a few times, and I would run around with all the kids of this family and with my little sister. It was a lovely place. I liked watching them make cane syrup. I also liked drinking cane syrup. I’ve recently discovered that I prefer things sweetened with dried cane juice. Yay, Florida! Cane is also a major crop of the West Indies, and a source of great wealth for the people pirates plundered.
One little hut among the bushes,
One that I love,
Still sadly to my mem’ry rushes,
No matter where I roam.
When will I see the bees a humming,
All roun’ the comb?
When will I hear the banjo strumming,
Down in my good old home?
I never lived in a hut in Florida. House, townhouse, duplex. No hut. I also don’t really care for bees, and I’m indifferent towards the banjo.