It seems that the more I learn, the less I know.
I was hearkinging back to one of the lingering questions from my youth and I realized a troubling thing. The fact was, I was spoon fed a line and with the underscoring of Mrs. Thayer’s (elementary school music teacher) upright piano playing, I sang out about this alleged information I had. But now, with the harrows of time, questioning of my own sanity, access to the online world, and all the information at my fingertips, I feel I may have spoken in err.
“I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad,” is a classic tune from my youth; it was a song I’d sung on more than one occasion; even going so far as to display myself and my classmates in concert format with all of our teachers, parents, and a few friends there sitting, watching, judging, and even in some cases videotaping our statements. No doubt for use in a later prosecution on the matter. But as I said, I only was repeating what I was told. I don’t think I, nor my classmates, ever had any idea the ramifications for the statement we were making.
Allow me to take a step back for the reader. “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad,” is a song that my classmates and I were given to learn, reherse (on school time, no less), and perform at the aforementioned concert. There is a line in the song which throws out accusations at one, DINAH. Now I haven’t heard any retaliation from this “Dinah” so the claims we made may be true; however the issue was never resolved; by he, my classmates, Mrs. Thayer, or any other person of authority; I feel this must be addressed presently.
The line my classmates and I were given to recite; perhaps a similar line was once sung by you and yours; had to do with the kitchen activities of this one Dinah. Apparently Dinah was down on the job, slacking off, and allegedly, he had an accomplice. The line I was given goes:
“There’s someone in the kitchen with Dinah,
Someone in the kitchen I know;
Someone in the kitchen with Dinah,
Strumming on the old banjo;
Strumming ‘Fie, fi, fiddly i o; Fie, fi, fiddly i o
Fie, fi, fiddly i o; strumming on the old banjo.”
One could imagine how this could be troubling; who was this strummer? What was he doing in the kitchen workspace? Where did this alleged banjo come into the mix? And what the heck does “Fie, fi, fiddly i o” mean anyway?
My obvious concern was brought out this morning as I recalled these former years. What I found most troubling was the language of the accusation. In the song it says; the song I sang; “someone’s in the kitchen…I know.”
But I didn’t know.
And I still don’t know, to this day! This is an issue which has never been resolved for me! Or, so far as I know, for Dinah! Where did this kitchen incident ever leave off? What about the diners of Dinah’s eatery; what about their well being?
My obvious concerns, at this late stage in the game are for the descedents of this Dinah. If there is still this slander going on about Dinah, all these years later, and with so little evidence aside from the apparent hersey of the songbook, that’s wrong. So I would just like to strike any commentary I had made on this matter from the record. I didn’t know Dinah; I didn’t know his kitchen; and I certainly have no evidence of a co-conspirator banjo player in his midst; despite my comments, years ago, to the contrary.
Furthermore, I’ve never labored on the rails before; even though I may have said as much in the same song.