And the band played on

Was talking with a sister last week about her eldest daughter’s engagement to an Australian and she brought up the song “Waltzing Matilda”, how she was unfamiliar with it and he’d introduced her to the song during his Christmas stay with the family. My mind went immediately to “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” done originally by Eric Bogle, later by the Pogues and others. I forget there’s any other version. But no the one she’d heard was the anthem, not the anti war song.

I texted myself so I’d remember to find and download “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. Both the recordings by Pogues and Bogle, which I used to have.

I did today.

And I choked up as I listened to Eric Bogle sing. And the tears rose up out of the choked throat and sat at the edge of my eyes, for I nearly always cry when listening to this song. But I managed to not cry and I thought it was over as I sat to write this post, the song playing again…

I was caught unawares, cracking into a sob. Then another. I had to stop writing.

It’s just the kind of cry I needed after reading last week about Bush’s remarks on the war on March 13th.

“I must say, I’m a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed,” said President George W. Bush in a Thursday video conference.

He was responding to civilians and military personnel who gave him an earful about the problems in Afghanistan where the war has dragged on for over six years.

“It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks,” continued the 61-year-old Bush.

You can download the Bogle version of the song I was listening to here. The link is down toward the bottom of the page.

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

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