Saturday, March 21, 2009

Stop me if you've heard this story before...

Over on the Spunky Rav Group, we're talking about ear worms. Actually, the conversation started out with the simple question of "Who's on Twitter?", but in true Spunquistador form, took a turn for the worse by page 2. I had some alone-time last night (Mike was congregating with the old office mates and realizing, WOW, the old office is a veritable shit-hole), so in between drum carding (woot! batts!), I checked email and Ravelry.

Anyway, my contribution was the theme from The Facts of Life. It's pretty catchy, most of us have seen it (either first-run or re-run), and it is definitely a song that can get all up inside yo' head.

My husband has his own lyrics for that song. In fact, he regularly makes up his own lyrics for lots of songs, most of which are not fit for public consumption. His version of "Big Rock Candy Mountain" takes inspiration from Brokeback Mountain - 'nuff said.

Now, Mike and I have been together a LOOOOOONG time - we met in '90, started dating in '94, and married in '96. So, he's been a part of my life for, well, more than half of my existence. As such, he's taken on a lot of family memories as his own - even those that he wasn't around for - simply because he's heard the stories so many times. My favorite is when he tells the story of my dad and his buddies doing donuts at the local Catholic school being put under citizen's arrest by Davy Crockett. But, that's another time.

Way back when I was a kid, my mom sponsored a child in Africa. Mom's always been one to reach out and help others. I inherited that from her, though I consider it a blessing and a curse since I've been known to help others at my own expense. Still. The child she sponsored in Africa lived in Kenya and his name was Josphat Kipligat (or Kiplagat - it's been years since the paperwork was discarded, which is ashame because it would be kinda cool to look at those drawings and letters again). He was a black-as-night-save-for-his-gleaming-white-smile sweetie of a kid and would send drawings and little notes of gratitude. He'd share stories about what he'd been up to, how his family was doing, and such. The letters were fairly regular for a couple of years and then, one day, they stopped. Some time after that, mom got a letter from the sponsoring organization informing her that our little Kenyan boy had died. We were all very sad. Despite his health and our support, Josphat died of a snake bite he'd received while getting water from the nearby lake. The nearest hospital was too far away and there was no medical help available in the village. We mourned the loss of a kid we never really met and my mom then sponsored Sonia Thunder Cloud, a Native American.

You're wondering how this ties in to the song from The Facts of Life, right? Well, here it is. Mike made up a song as a way of, er, celebrating Josphat's life and death as we knew it:

You give me this, you give that,
You gave me Josphat Kipligat,
The facts of life, the facts of life.
When you cross the street
You're hit by that
You go fly-ing and then go splat,
The facts of life, the facts of life.
When you're bit by a snake -
There's nothing you can do
but go and die by the lake -
And that's just the facts of life,
That's just the facts of life......

Poor Josphat! Though, there's something to be said for remembering - seemingly forever - a child that lived half a world away and died 20 or more years ago. I don't know what that something is, but it's something. We've incorporated Josphat in other ways, too - the recordable bottle opener? Sings just "Jos-phat Kip-li-gat". Henry the Talking Gnome sings a fast-paced, high-pitched Josphat song (on occasion - Henry also says naughty things like "eat shit and die" and "if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it" and "ouch, my taint!" - such are the perils of living with Mike, people. Also, ladies - back off, he's all mine....). Holidays inevitably feature Josphat and his little song at some point. In fact, hardly a week goes by when I don't think of that little boy in some way. So, thanks, Josphat, for the memories. I hope wherever you are, you're smiling big and bright - I know we are.


Eve (ALittleQuacky) said...

Oh how I love you heather!

diana said...

Um, Heather - where to start on this post? So much to love - the Facts of Life, Josphat, your husband's version of the Facts of Life song, Henry the Talking Gnome (which I now must buy). Enjoyed every word!!