Kate Cumming: A Scottish, Confederate Nurse

This is my second post made on Kate Cumming, a native of Scotland and resident of Mobile, Alabama. Kate served throughout the war as a nurse attached to the Army of Tennessee. My friend and Celtic musician, Jed Marum, wrote another song about her that I often do in my own Civil War shows. I’ve included the lyrics here. This song is emotive, with a beautiful melody.

New Orleans: The City that Dreams Stories

There are certain cities that have always appealed to me: Charleston, S.C.; Mobile, Alabama; Savannah, GA; Dallas, TX: and certainly New Orleans. The writer side of me wants to write in these cities, and about them, to capture the images of their residents with my words.

Here are some quotations from the chapter

A HERO’S CONSCIENCE: A STUDY OF ROBERT E. LEE by Gamaliel Bradford, Jr.

A friend’s query on where to find a quote led me to this fine article. The older historians knew and believed things about America’s War Between the States that many modern historians do not. If you wish to understand the real Robert E. Lee, this article provides fine insights and wonderful quotes. I did not keep the original pagination of the article, but you can find this article archived in the entire issue on the Web in pdf form.

New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City by Andrei Codrescu

A Short Review: New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City by Andrei Codrescu (Algonquin, 2006)

During the holidays, I read Condrescu’s book. What I suspected would be a good read, delighted me as it turned into a great read. It is a collection of Condrescu’s writings about New Orleans. As usual with good books, I learned much more than I expected and intended to learn. The NPR commentator is a skilled writer and poet, and because I’ve heard him so often on NPR, I could almost hear his voice narrating the text. The diction is that of a poet, and the the allusions those of a careful student of history.

If you are attached emotionally to New Orleans, this is a book you will enjoy reading. Likely, just to list the quotations will require more than one post. Today, I wanted to lift some phrases from the inner jacket that describe the content of the book. In my future posts, I’ll list the books, the historical and cultural allusions and the phrases in the book that I found particularly interesting.

The book’s jacket says: “New Orleans has always been more fabulous than anywhere else.”

Christmas in the South, 1864

I wish my readers health and happiness during the holidays and for the New Year. A friend shared this with me and I thought it would be a good post on Christmas Day. I don’t know the original author to give proper credit, but if you know, send me his or her name and I’ll add it to this post.

There are reasons, good ones, that Sherman is the most hated man in the South. Nat Rudolph in his essay “Why America lost the ‘Civil War’ ” quotes Sherman as saying in a letter to Grant: “You and I and every commander must go through the war justly chargeable with crimes.” You should read Rudolph’s essay. You can find it here:

A Sherman Christmas

A Sherman Christmas

DECK THE HALLS (Sherman Style)

Burn the house with lots of torches,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis the season to make marches,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

On we move, our faces sullied,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Move the columns down the gullies,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the blazing homes before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Strike the tents and join the chorus.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow me the food we gather,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While I fill my bursting haver,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away the landscape passes,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hide your food, ye lads and lasses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sing we joyous, Bummers merry,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Shermans coming, hide your berries
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Song Lyrics from HBO’s True Love: Charlie Robison’s “Good Times”

While watching HBO’s True Blood series, I heard another song I wanted to learn for my Americana music songlist. Evidently I ‘m not the only one impressed with this series. I did recently purchase the whole Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris and I’ve listened to two of them on audio CD. I dug a little on the Internet, and there’s a huge subculture of fanatical fans. Harris has changed the vocabulary of America with this series and altered the sensorium of an entire generation regarding the topics of the horror genre.

About Charlie Robison, whose song I wanted to post today: The native born Texan’s music is both brash and reflective. He has a ranch outside Bandera, and according to his website it’s a place “where Robison’s family has ranched for eight generations since the 1840s.” You can and should read more about this talented musician and songwriter here:

“Good Times” by Charlie Robison

Pick up a pizza, pineapple ham
And put it in the back of a Good Times van
Well go out and pick up the rest of the band
We’re gonna have a good time

Yeah Lilly of the valley, Lilly on a rug, Lilly drove here in a VW bug
Am I on the guest list, give her a shrug
We’re gonna have a good time

Yeah we gonna be like an icecream cone
Better eat it quick gonna be long gone
By me a whiskey, get yourself stoned
We’re gonna have a good time

Well sit on a table, sit on the floor
Act like a virgin, act like you’re sore
Winner or loser they’re both too fine
We’re gonna have a good time

When we see you in Atlanta or Abilene
The prettiest girls that I’ve ever seen
Be sweet as honey girl don’t be mean
We’re gonna have a good time

Yeah we gonna be like an icecream cone
Better eat it quick gonna be long gone
Buy me a whiskey, get yourself stoned
We’re gonna have a good time

Well, a lot of people talk can shut the hell up
Sneak out a beer in a styrofoam cup
I’m gonna start singing so don’t interrupt
We’re gonna have a good time

Well live in the country, live in the town
Come out tonight gonna burn them all down
Don’t let the bastards get yourself down
We’re gonna have a good time

Yeah we gonna be like an icecream cone
Better eat it quick gonna be long gone
Buy me a whiskey get yourself stoned
We’re gonna have a good time
I said buy me a whiskey, get yourself stoned
We’re gonna have a good time

Kate Cumming: A Tribute to a Scottish, Confederate Nurse

Kate Cumming was a Confederate Nurse for the Army of Tennessee during the Civil War. Her journal has been used as a textbook for nursing schools. Scottish by ancestry, she deeply loved Scotland and the South. With my emphasis on writing about Celtic issues and people, I decided some posts devoted to this Mobile, Alabama resident would be appropriate.

Jed Marum: Lyrics and Chords (For more information on Jed Marum, go to http://www.jedmarum.com/)

Jed Marum has written two songs about Kate Cumming. He says this about the one I decided to post today: “The song was inspired by a poem I found in the diary of Kate Cumming – a nurse who worked the hospitals that followed the Confederate armies as they moved throughout the South during the American Civil War.

Kate was a bright, intelligent and eloquent woman, a Scottish immigrant and woman of deep faith. She is a genuine hero to me for her dedication to the young men who fought and died so bravely for their various causes during America’s most trying times. She left her thoughts and recollections for us in a book called; Kate Cumming: Diary Of A Confederate Nurse. You’ll find it still print at Amazon and elsewhere.”

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER

Saturday Signing, Sherman, Texas

My friend, Jed Marum, will be at Enoch’s tonight in Monroe, Louisiana, so if you’re in town, do drop in and hear him. He is a great musician.

Today, in just a little while, I have a book signing at the Books-A-Million here in Sherman, Texas. I’ll have all three books, but of course, the Scottish Alphabet is the newest one that I’ll be promoting. Last time I wore my kilt. I spent the night with my parents, rose at 5:00 a.m for breakfast with them, then I drove to Paneras so I could drink coffee and wrap up my online classes I teach for Virginia College. (I have got to get Internet at my parents’ house!)

I always enjoy the drive to this part of the world, and coming in at dusk and driving here at sunrise reminded me of the beauty of the area this time of year–the big sky, the Christmas lights, the fallow fields and pastures full of cattle. Tomorrow, I’m taking my parents to Grapeland, Texas to visit one of my mom’s last remaining relatives, then we’ll drive on to Monroe to celebrate Christmas together. I’ve never been to Grapeland before, and I love going to places I’ve never seen. I must have a Viking ancestor who passed his wander-lust on to me.

Pardon the brief and rambling post today, but that’s just the way it is sometimes.