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Alyce Faye BraggDANNY
Oh, Danny boy, the pipes the pipes are calling,
From glen to glen and on the mountainside.
The summer’s gone and all the leaves are falling
‘Tis you must go, ’tis you must go and I must bide!

But come you back, when summer’s in the meadow,
Or when the valley’s hush and white with snow!
Then I’ll be there in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh Danny Boy, Oh Danny Boy, I love you so!

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.

And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you’ll not fail to tell me that you love me
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
Oh Danny Boy, Oh Danny Boy, I love you so!

This haunting song is probably the most popular Irish melody ever written. There is no consensus regarding the precise origins of this tune, although one researcher claims there is evidence that the original tune was written by a blind harpist named Rory Dall O’Cahan.

The tune is the same as “Londonderry Air” and is as soulful and sad as only an Irishman can be. Some think it was composed regarding a parent bidding a son “good-bye” as he leaves Ireland for another country, knowing they will never see him again.

Whatever the origin, it is a song that stirs the heart of the Irish everywhere and other people as well. It seems that the true Irish have a melancholy streak; as quick to shed a tear, as they are to be merry. My maiden name was O’Dell, and my father was typically Irish. He loved a good joke even when it was on himself, and could spin old tales by the hour.

That sentimental side was there, however, and he couldn’t hide it. One day he was looking at an old photo album of us children when we were small, and tears were rolling down his cheeks. Mom told him, “Gay, don’t look at those pictures if they make you feel so sad.” He retorted with a small grin, “But I like to feel sad!”
I’ve been fascinated with Ireland since I was a small school child. We had a book in the library (which was actually just a bookcase) called “Sean O’Day, Boy of Ireland” or something to that effect. I read that book over and over, and fell in love with the land of my ancestry. Of course at that time I had no idea that the O’Dells’ came from Ireland, but there seemed to be a bond there.

When we were growing up, we pretended to believe in fairies. (The Irish have a touch of whimsy, too.) Of course we knew better, just as we knew that Santa Claus was a fable also, but it was so much fun to pretend. I’m glad Mom and Dad didn’t squelch our imaginations, but let us pretend and play our childish games.

We made fairy houses under the road bank, digging out square holes in the dirt and lining the floor with moss. Penny matchboxes made ideal beds, especially when covered with the velvety leaves of mullein. Mary Ellen and I played for hours with our fairy houses, using materials supplied by nature. Sometimes we would use a thorn to pin a shiny button on the wall, which I would later sneak and remove. I’d tell Mary Ellen that the fairies got it.

Usually on Saturday Daddy would take Mom to the grocery store and other places she needed to go. She didn’t drive, and as Daddy worked away, Saturday was their day. Mary Ellen and I would hurry and clean the house from top to bottom, finishing with a bouquet of wildflowers on the table. When Mom came home, she would exclaim in surprise, “Well, who in the world cleaned the house like this?” We would tell her the fairies did it, and it felt so good to surprise her.

I see plenty of ready-made plastic playhouses situated on lawns, complete with kitchen appliances and all the accessories. They are very pretty, and I am sure that little girls have a good time playing in them. But to me, there is nothing like building one from scratch, using materials at hand and letting the imagination run riot.
It seems to me that much of our children’s toys today are already pre-planned and pre-digested, which takes all the imagination out of it. I love to see my grandchildren abandon the TV set and computer games for a fast game of ball in the front yard or the growing playhouse on the creek bank. Patty built a fire in the fire pit one warm day last week, and the grandchildren and great-grands flocked around roasting marshmallows. I told Patty, “The season has begun!

We had a new great-granddaughter to add to the mix this week. Little Autumn Lili was born to Tabitha and Adam Luke Thompson, weighing seven lbs. and one oz. She has a head full of black hair, and is beautiful. (Just ask Patty, her grandmother.) The Lord has been so good to us, giving us another healthy, perfect baby. Randy Thompson is the proud grandfather.

With all the horrendous disasters in Japan, it makes a person feel guilty to be covered with the blessings of the Lord. Every day “He loadeth us with benefits.” We should be filled with gratitude, and with deep compassion for those who are suffering horrors we cannot imagine. If all we can do is pray, then pray.

I found some March weather sayings that are quite interesting.
“When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lion.”
“So many mists in March, so many frosts in May.”
“April borrows three days from March, and they are all ill.”
“A wet March, a wet spring.”
“As it rains in March, so it rains in June.”
“March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.”
“A dry March and a wet May fill barns and bays with corn and hay.”
“When your bones hurt a storm is coming.”
“If it rains on Easter Sunday, it will rain every Sunday for seven weeks.”
“When bees stay close to the hive rain is close by.”
“Count the cricket chirps to tell the temperature.”
“Moss dry, sunny sky; moss wet, rain you’ll get.”

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Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer