(A tribute to Eddy Arnold in verse)
Edwina! Edwina!” the little bird called
“Gather around, the sun is about to enthrall”!
So Edwina the Egret with Daffy the Duck in tow
And Brigette the Budgerigar and Calvin the Crow
Fluttered together in the weak light of an august dawn
To listen to the legend of how a star is born.
Mercy the Mynah shrilled excitedly “We have a minute to spare
I hope Mowgli can make it and Bhaloo the Bear”!
No sooner had the words left her bright yellow beak
When out of the near by woods of strong dark teak
Rushed forward a skinny half naked pint sized boy
Astride a big brown bear here on known as Leroy!
“Look to the east! Look to the east!” they cried in unison
As over the horizon appeared in slow majestic crimson glory
The warm-hearted sun.
The moon shimmering in her giant silver dollar state
Prepared to leave then appeared to hesitate.
Silently she hung about and watched as the sun grew larger than all life below
Warming the earth and setting the upraised faces of the motley group aglow.
The Moon’s ride, the North Wind, picked her up as if on cue
And away she sailed to the West where she was due.
With a Da Vinci like master stroke the Sun painted the sky
Blue, white and gray like a unique tie-die.
Then for special effect he added red, orange and bright yellow
He knew they were especially appealing to Mowgli the little jungle fellow.
Brown or black bear the sun could tell you from its height
Bhalloo was important to the ecosystem as day is to night.
“Hello Friends of Mother Earth” The Sun fired out his hearty greeting
“What would be the nature of this impromptu meeting?”
Mercy the Mynah flew up excitedly ”A tale! A tale!! A veritable tale from you!
That will gladden our hearts and tame Shirley the Shrew.
Or make it a riveting and popular folklore
Perhaps a real life story of a hero in a distant shore.”
Now Bhalloo the bear, the movie star incognito
Looked up through the dark shades he regularly wore
“Come on Sun, ole buddy, you have been promising us for years
You have a story to tell us that would be music to our ears.”
The sun beamed brightly as the stage seemed all set
To tell the most inspiring story he had ever told anyone yet.
The muddy bubbling river, the dense forest so green
The birds, beast and man ever so keen
The air hot and sticky it was enough to oppress
Even Mother Nature in the background in her green and brown dress.
“I will tell you a tale as beloved as can be
That will lift your spirits as you will see.
You have heard of a City of Trees abroad and in India a City of Joy
Now hear this Bhalloo or do I call you Leroy?
With dark shades or without you are still Bhalloo the Bear
You can’t fool the public, movie star, but you can try if you care.
Now back to the place I am going to speak of today
Where a legend was born and is alive and well on this day.
In a land far away he was born strong and free
The living legend’s name is Eddy Arnold and he lives in Tennessee.
Tennessee is a state in central U.S. of A
Where the whippoorwills echo in the land every day
Between the Mississippi River and the Appalachian Mountains
It nestles golden farmlands, industries, and posh cities with enchanting fountains.
With Nashville its capital and Memphis its chief port
In summers don white and in winters a light overcoat.
Rich in flora and fauna and feathered friends is the state
With deer and rabbit and songbirds that sing for their mate.
Amidst life so rich and farmlands bursting with cotton, maize, pecans and hay
In 1918 in Henderson Tennessee
To Georgia and Will Arnold was born Richard Edward Arnold on the 15th of May.
Eddy grew tall and pleasant and obedient to his parents by choice
God was pleased with Eddy and gifted him a golden voice.
As musically inclined as his mother he was and just as poor as the proverbial dormouse.
So he borrowed his cousin’s Silverton guitar and practised at his own house.
Eventually he learned the names of the chords that he was playing.
Meanwhile sadly there was a loan his family had deep trouble in paying.
Eddy had to drop out of school and labored hard as a farm boy
Later his guitar, gifted at the tender age of ten by his father, his special joy.
The Tennessee Plowboy soon turned into a charming handsome young man
Who sang at church choirs, fairs, and even near a swinging frying pan.
Anywhere he could sing to earn a dollar or two
He had his destiny to fulfill and a dream to come true.
Fate bowed to his will and showed him the way
When he met Col.Tom Parker in a show one day.
Col. Tom Parker was a manager par excellence
But he drove Eddy hard and sometimes tried his patience.
With the tent shows and the Opry becoming a balancing act
Eddy opted out of the Grand Opry and that is a fact.
Plus a fifteen percent fee to the Opry was too high to pay
Just to announce Eddy’s shows for the day.
Logically too then Col. Parker had to be fired
He pushed too hard and Eddy eventually got tired.
Soon after a short stint with Pee Wee King gave Eddy a fine head start
But he returned to performing solo and soon topped every music chart
With god gifted stupendous talent and a discerning ear
He produced golden musical nuggets year after year.
Through wartime and peacetime it didn’t take Eddy very long
To record an outstanding blazing number of 1,107 songs.
The metamorphosis was now complete
The lowly caterpillar had turned into a butterfly that his fans were dying to meet.
Eddy’s hillbilly image was laid to rest
And in his new avatar as country western crooner Eddy did his best
With his smooth mellifluous voice and soft back up orchestration
Eddy rose from a plowboy to a grand singing sensation.
Movie contracts and block theatre bookings where he sang
Wherever Eddy’s records sold the cash registers rang.
The 20th century has his name written everywhere
As the most popular country singer on air.
Eddy brought slick country music to the exultant masses
His fans frenzied for tickets or a few coveted passes.
The only superstar to so beautifully evolve
He sang country and pop with equal élan and resolve.
His first single in ’44 “Mommy Please Stay Home With Me”
Put him on the road to success you will agree.
Soon his “Each Minute Seems a Million Years”
Quelled all doubt, removed all fears.
It charted among the top five in 1945
Followed by “That’s How Much I Love You”
In ’46, that charted just as high
Smashing every sales record with its 650,000 copies sold!
The dam had burst, it is in admiration and envy told
As single after single Eddy turned out chart topping hits
Perhaps his rivals may have lost their wits?
I’ll Hold You In My Heart (‘Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)
Had the makings of an evergreen hit with all its charms
The lyrics, the music and Eddy’s voice will never fade
As it became the number one hit of the decade!
His “Bouquet of Roses” and “Cattle Call”continued to top the charts
While Eddy toured his native country and traveled to foreign parts.
ABC and NBC aired Eddy’s own television show
Even as Eddy churned out hit singles like “Please Don’t Go”.
Such an overwhelming streak of hits, not once or twice
Eddy charted in seven decades with singles like “I’m Throwing Rice”.
In this incredible feat Eddy stands alone
His voice now polished to a sophisticated baritone.
Cross over to pop music was a major commercial success
“Make The World Go Away” won him a wider audience, not less.
By the 1960’s the country music’s first superstar
Eddy Arnold was receiving awards near and far.
In 1966 Eddy was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
The next year as Entertainer of the Year the CMA emblazoned his name.
In 1984 the prestigious Pioneer’s Award was bestowed on Eddy Arnold
Three years later the President’s Award from the Songwriters’ Guild.
Now you must be wondering did all this great success go to his head
And who did his laundry and who made his bed?
If you are an Eddy Arnold fan here’s a good start
Discover if you will who captured his heart.
In 1941 he married the sweet darling Sally Gayhart
His loving, most cherished, beloved sweetheart.
Through country roads they traveled and fortunes’ bye lanes
She was patient and loving and that kept him sane.
When the Elvis Presley of country music was put to the test
His tally in the ‘90s was 85 million sales, a record that is still one of the best!
But his true fortune he always said was his great family
His pretty wife Sally, his daughter JoAnn and the apple of his eye his son Dickie.
Will Eddy ever receive his due recognition from the Kennedy Arts Center?
His fans fanatically write to every publisher and recognizable Senator
Who can vouch for Eddy’s brilliance as an artiste extraordinaire.
You too can participate in the campaign if you care.
An honorable gentleman, talented to the core
You are proud of Eddy as you petition from door to door.
Now twilight fades and the sun sinks to the West
As it spreads its warmth on Eddy taking a well deserved rest.
And east is east and the west is west and never the twain shall meet
Unless they follow the sun in the footsteps Eddy made beneath their feet.
There is much to learn from Eddy’s life
Like the patience he displayed in family strife.
When you honor your parents as he did his
Who knows you may become as famous in show biz.
Be faithful to spouse, country and home
Wherever there is peace, there let your heart roam.
Hone your skills and strengthen your spirit
If Eddy earned honor you too can do it.
Who’s the greatest country singer? ask a music fan
Without fail he will point to Eddy and say, “He’s the Man!”
Wouldn’t it be nice if you were a great man or woman too?
You have his charted history in your hands now you can do it too.
Edwina the Egret and Calvin the Crow
Had dropped off to sleep long before
Mercy the Mynah filled with fatigue
Bowed down to the animals in a different league
For Bhalloo the Bear was still raring to go
His dark shades on, we know, only for show.
He challenged Mowgli to an unbelievable race
The winner’s prize a honeycomb and the best seat around the fireplace.
Screaming with laughter Mowgli gave chase
His eyes shining in the starlight, his lungs measuring his pace.
Soon the stealthy shadows of night crept out from the forest
As the black velvet sky laid out to rest
Stars, that twinkled like diamonds set on fire
The Moon back in place in her patchwork attire.
A warm gentle breeze just drifted along
Like a prayer from the lips of old Charon.
The river boiled and bubbled with unseen energy
As nearby bullfrogs bellowed aggressively.
Fire flies darted and sparkled the thick atmosphere
As in the distance Sher Khan the tiger roared without fear.
Crickets and owls had a field night
The one hooting eerily the other crick cricking the night.
I am Father Time a part of Nature’s mystery
I have just told you a tale that is part of my glory
I hold the key to sun set and sun rise
The Sun is my aide does it fill you with surprise?
The path you follow is important you see
Stand up tall and straight as that Plowboy in Tennessee.
As Mother Nature turns from green to gold
I have said my piece, my tale’s been told
I will take your leave here now forever after
As I close and end this final chapter.
Song of Mowgli and Bhaloo around the campfire:
Praise the Lord! Bless His Name!
He gave Eddy Arnold such grace and fame
To teach us there is so much good in every place
Your world or mine people, we are the human race.
We all have some god given gift as Eddy did
We just have to work at nurturing it.
It’s a wonderful world and with a he’s a jolly good fellow
Let’s sing to Eddy Arnold again….
Sandra: Many thanks for sharing this beautiful tribute in verse with us. Thank you, Don Stewart, for asking Sandra to do this project and for encouraging her to do so. I am so proud of the contributions that Sandra and Don have made to this website. Bill Comer
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