Katie is our daughter-in-law.  She and Sam have now been married for over ten years.  Her grandfather, Lloyd, writes emails to the family.  He has included Jan and me on the list of ‘subscribers’ and gave me permission to pass along one of his recent emails.

Hope you like it.



A parent should be careful what songs they sing around their kids!

I was just sitting down to lunch today and found myself first humming, then singing:

My name is Charles Guiteau
That name I’ll never deny.
For the murder of James A. Garfield
I am condemned to die.

My mother would sometimes sing that song when I was a little kid— often enough that I still remember it. (My version is a bit different from the one you’ll find on the Internet.) Mom was born in 1893. Guiteau was hanged for the president’s assassination about ten years earlier, so I would guess my grandmother may first have sung the song around her kids.

A popular song when my wife Nita was in grade school was ‘Juanita’.  When they sang it in school, all the boys would look around at her and grin! Nita dislikes the song to this day. She was named Juanita because at the time of her birth her parents were preparing to go to Nicaragua as missionaries so a name with Spanish roots seemed most appropriate for their new daughter. A revolution there prevented their fulfilling the call.

I was about six or seven when I first heard the Thoro Harris hymn, ‘Eternal Rest‘. Even today when the opening words come to my mind, I am a little boy again, sitting in an old Presbyterian church in Medford, Oregon on a stormy Sunday evening.

Time’s clock is striking the hour,
Jesus will soon descend,
Clothed in the garments of power,
The reign of sin to end…

It was a rather dark sanctuary, with great wooden beams and chandeliers that did not give enough light. The Presbyterians had built a beautiful new church, and our struggling assembly was renting the old building.

As those words come to mind, I feel myself even now, a boy again, turning in the pew, looking up through the great cross-beams into the darkened peak of the building.

This power of music to trigger all sorts of memories and emotions is what makes it hard for us old timers to give up the hymnals that are so full of our personal history and deep feeling.

Amazing how we are molded by the songs we sing!



Stay happy,



About rlhoover

A perspective on life and cycling in the Ozarks. I started serious cycling in 2008, after seeing my wife be on the bike for a few years. We have biked many places and hope to continue. I am no where near being a real good cyclist, but I have fun trying to improve. Who am I kidding? Me? Improve??
This entry was posted in Cycling, Ozarks, springfield missouri. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Singing

  1. Juanita K. says:

    Hey, Jan/Ron:

    Boy, could I ever relate to your blog today regarding singing! When I was in the 6th grade, we had a time for singing each week. We all had song books and the kids could select whatever song they wanted the class to sing. Invariably, one of my classmates would chose to sing the song: “Juanita” which was so popular at that time. For whatever reason, I would nearly die and turn beet red when they wanted that song. I think my classmates knew how much it embarrased me and chose the song just to harass me! It was ironic that Katie’s grandmother also endured the same problem.


  2. Steve A says:

    That goes both ways – so I’m stuck with the “Barney Song.”

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