Somebody’s Goose is Cooked!

Mother Goose thought she had heard and seen everything. In my fifty something years of life, nothing has hit me quite so hard as this nursery rhyme. I’m quite certain you’ll agree. Please consider the poem “Goosey Goosey Gander”:

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

The downright horror of this little ditty kind of takes your breath away, doesn’t it? I’m deeply disturbed….

But let’s “break it down” as they say. The narrator of the story is an unknown character, but let’s say that the narrator is of the female gender. In fact, let’s take it a step further and give her the name Mildred. I hope this doesn’t offend any of my precious readers who are named Mildred. We can tell right away that he or she has a somewhat unusual perception of reality because Mildred consults with Goosey Goosey Gander concerning where should she go. “What place shall I wander to today?” she queries the hapless fowl.

Geese are generally ornery birds when you get too close to them. You can trust me on this one, friends. They don’t like to be bothered with silly questions regarding a decision that would be best left to someone else, in this case Mildred herself. In keeping with Goosey’s personality, she tells Mildred exactly where to go!

So Mildred goes back into the house, wandering hither and thither aimlessly. The context shows that Mildred must be a house servant, perhaps a chamber maid. Perhaps she wishes she were somewhere else rather than waiting on the mistress of the household. She eventually gets upstairs to the bedroom chamber of her gracious lady.

Lo! and behold! Good Lord, there’s a MAN in the chamber, and obviously not the husband of the gracious lady! What the heck is going on in this chamber anyway? I don’t think Mother Goose has to describe the scene to you — your imagination will suffice. But just remember one thing — this man is not in the lady’s chamber for a prayer meeting.

The strange man’s left leg is obviously not firmly planted on the bedroom floor so Mildred grabs his leg and drags him out of the room and into the hallway. I can imagine him yelling his head off, perhaps cussing a blue streak — that old prayerless, lecherous, adulterous old man! And then with a whoop and a holler, Mildred tosses him down the stairs and presumably out of the house.

Let’s just give that servant goose girl a round of applause for her “way over the top” service to her mistress! Who would have ever thought that a goose maid could be the Heroine of the Day?!

My friends, we have explored some troubling nursery rhymes in this series, haven’t we? But none QUITE compares to the circumstances in this short story. And this is children’s literature? Honk honk, I think not. Mother Goose is ready to contact her local schools, her local libraries and bookstores to have this rhyme banned and perhaps burned because of its inappropriate nature. Just let me know if you’re onboard with my crusade, and we’ll meet up to clean up children’s literature once and for all!

Occupy Nursery Rhymes

Mother Goose was shocked to discover civil disobedience in her nursery rhyme research this morning. Please consider closely the events surrounding the story of Mary and her little lamb:

Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
whose fleece was white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
and everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day
school one day, school one day,
It followed her to school one day,
which was against the rules.

It made the children laugh and play,
laugh and play, laugh and play,
it made the children laugh and play
to see a lamb at school.

And so the teacher turned it out,
turned it out, turned it out,
And so the teacher turned it out,
but still it lingered near,

And waited patiently about,
patiently about, patiently about,
And waited patiently about
till Mary did appear.

“Why does the lamb love Mary so?”
Love Mary so? Love Mary so?
“Why does the lamb love Mary so,”
the eager children cry.

“Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know.”
The lamb, you know, the lamb, you know,
“Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know,”
the teacher did reply.

The poem is pastoral in its simplicity — its childhood innocence is charming to say the least. Mary has a dear pet lamb, and like most pet/mistress relationships, they are lovingly devoted to one another. Mary dotes on the little lamb, grooming it incessantly to keep its wool so clean and white. (Mother Goose has been to sheep farms and knows that most lambs and sheep are not as white as snow. Ordinary unloved sheep are dingy and stinky and messy, my dear friends.)

But Mary loves her lamb and the lamb loves her.

Mary and the lamb making the decision to enter the school yard.

Going on in the story, the lamb follows Mary wherever she goes, and alas! even tags along with her to school. And here’s where things get a little dicey… Mary is fully aware of the school rules about bringing lambs onto the school property and into the classroom. The rules are posted at the entrance to the school and in the hallways. They are listed plainly in the behavior booklets which were sent home the first week of school. Her parents have received the emails regarding sheep visitations at school, and they have certainly attended the school district and PTO meetings where this issue has been specifically addressed.

Scene of Occupy Nursery Rhymes

Civil disobedience can be defined as the active and professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power, or of an educational institution. Mary’s decision to bring Little Lambie Pambie onto the grounds of The Redstone School was truly an active refusal to follow the rules of said institution. Can you imagine how this simple act of civil disobedience must have stunned school and government officials at the time? I believe that Mary caught the attention of the Wall Street crooks and bankers as well.

I’m certain the teacher called security immediately as soon as she realized the borders of the classroom had been breached. Panic and pandemonium, chaos and general disorder reigned supreme in the school building — the obvious result of civil disobedience. The rhyme clearly states that this situation “made the children laugh and play, laugh and play, laugh and play.” What kind of a learning environment is that? How will they ever test well and meet the state’s standards if the children are laughing and playing? The Redstone School is very close to losing their governmental funding because of this Occupy movement.

Education suspended until further notice.

In time, the lamb was turned out of the building. Its First Amendment rights to gather peacefully were trampled upon the ground on that notorious day.

The lamb is forcibly turned out of the school.

How can we ever forget the look on the lamb’s face as it was lead away? Though the text is unclear, we can surely assume that Mary was pepper-sprayed. Surrounded on all sides by big burly policemen… Mary and the small sheepish creature hang their heads low to avoid identification by the authorities and the glaring news cameras. Hear the chanting and the shouting as once again justice is denied. And we are left wondering, Why? Why use pepper spray on Mary and her innocent little lamb? How much longer will this police brutality go on? When will the President address the problems that America is having right here at home?

And it was all about love! Mary and her lamb and their love for one another! All in the name of love, dear and gentle reader!

Omigosh, Mother Goose is just squawking beside herself… Please excuse me whilst I go and settle myself down…

Mary's poor little lamb...

Hey Diddle Diddle. Could It Really Happen?

Well, this is just plain old nonsense, right?

Hey diddle diddle,
The Cat and the fiddle,
The Cow jumped over the moon,
The little Dog laughed to see such sport,
And the Dish ran away with the Spoon.

Let’s look at a few images and get a better feel for this bit of posie.

And this one….

And this one….

I realize as I examine these illustrations of cow, cat, dog, dish and spoon that I haven’t much to add! Surprise, surprise! The pictures speak for themselves. This is nothing but nonsense. Whoever heard of a cat playing a fiddle? Olivia from Bolivia plays the CD player and that’s it. A cow jumping over the moon? Who makes this stuff up anyway? I’v been looking outside for many years at the moon, and I’ve never seen it happen. A dog laughing — smiling, yes. Laughing? I think not.

But the dish and the spoon running away could be a very real situation. I actually did see that happen once! I was baking cookies in my kitchen, listening to some Aerosmith on the radio. I happened to be sipping a tiny glass of white wine when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a spoon running across the kitchen floor. It was being chased by a dish with a strange leering grin on its face. I quickly set down my very small glass of wine in order to follow the action a little more clearly. I was sitting on my good old fashioned metal stool with the retractable steps. Mother Goose sometimes has trouble focusing when she sips her wine in the kitchen, so I leaned way over to get a better look at this amazing sight. And then, I fell off my stool knocking my forehead on the edge of the counter as I went down, down, down onto the floor.

Needless to say, I didn’t see where the dish and spoon ran away to with all the ensuing commotion. But rest assured, I really did see what I saw…. And the moral of this story is so very obvious — it doesn’t matter if you are drinking wine out of a tiny little jelly jar. If you’ve refilled it five or six times, you may see ordinarily inanimate objects behaving quite animatedly in your kitchen.

And fill your night with love and fun. Love, Mother Goose

Jack Sprat and Peter Pumpkin Eater

Today Mother Goose is exploring two marriages in her world of nursery rhyme characters. We will compare and contrast the life and loves of two very famous couples, Mr and Mrs Jack Sprat and Mr and Mrs Peter Pumpkin Eater. Maybe it’s been awhile since you thought of these two romances. Let me refresh your memories:

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but couldn’t keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.

She's not as happy as she appears.....

and also:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean

The perfect couple.

Let’s first of all consider the wives. Peter has a wife, but he really doesn’t know what to do with her! Maybe she has a mind of her own (OMIGOSH!), and speaks up for herself. Maybe she has an independent spirit which Peter cannot tolerate. Perhaps she wishes to start a career of her own. I like to think that Mrs. Pumpkin Eater has gotten the kids all raised and now she’s ready to bloom professionally. Before the children came along, she had a fine job in the junior department at Kohl’s — maybe she could go back to school for fashion merchandising and work as a buyer for a boutique in Wheaton now that the kids are all grown and on their own. Basically, Mrs. Pumpkin Eater is ready to get out of the house!

Mrs. Sprat is very very different from Mrs. Pumpkin Eater. She can eat no lean! She’s hangin’ on the couch. She’s got her bag of cheetos, and her Breyer’s ice cream, and her Domino’s Pizza delivered to her front door. She’s got American Idol on the TV and laptop open where she’s playing some online games with her facebook friends. She is happy. She is content. Life is good.

And in walks Jack Sprat after a long day at the office. Jack is thin as a green bean — he’s livin’ the vegan lifestyle and workin’ out at the gym every morning before work. Ridin’ the bikes and lovin’ the burn. He’s careful of his cholesterol and checkin’ his blood pressure at Walgreens. Not a speck of fat crosses his lips! His wife adores him because he spoils her with Godiva chocolate, Brie cheese, triple cream and fine wine.

Contrast Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater. That old control freak locks his wife up inside a pumpkin shell! Not only does she not get the opportunity to realize her dreams, but she’s got that yucky pumpkin stuff stuck to her night and day. Ewwww…..

Who is the happily-ever-after couple in THIS study? And the moral of this story? It’ so much better to lick the plate clean with some who loves you, than to live in a well-decorated pumpkin shell with a control freak. How does your life compare to these married couples? Are you the Sprats or the Pumpkin Eaters? Think about it…..

And bee blessed!

Mother Goose Acquitted!

Mother Goose had her proverbial “day in court” this past Wednesday. We are honking with delight to report that she was acquitted by the Honorable Justice Regina M. Sonopoplio. The traffic courtroom was packed, and you could have heard a pin drop as the judge called Mother Goose to the stand. (You may recall from an earlier report that Mother Goose was ticketed and charged with “failure to reduce speed” leading to a three car collision on October 27 of this year.)

The fowl heart of Mother Goose was pounding as she approached the Judge. My daughter and I had been taking this episode quite lightly up until now. We had been scolded by a sheriff’s deputy outside the courtroom for giggling about silly things, like bringing Greek yogurt through the security check post. As we waited for the judge to enter the courtroom, we had imagined ourselves in a Lifetime movie with Mother Goose in the starring role of the undeservedly accused woman.

But now it was time to get serious.

“Mother Goose.” I stood before the judge. “Good morning,” she said in a friendly manner. “How are you?” And I thought about how I should answer that question, but she was busily shuffling through her papers, so I just smiled in a nervous sort of way. She called the name of one of the other parties involved in the crash. “Dennis Stoppers.” There was no response and no reply. The plaintiff in my case was not present in court! The judge looked to the ticketing officer and the court’s legal counsel. “Was there personal injury?” I began to walk over to the lawyer and the policeman to explain that my knee was still hurting from the accident. “No, not you, Mother Goose. You just stay right here with me,” sternly warned Judge Sonopoplio.

The counsel and the police officer spoke briefly, and then the counsel spoke quietly to the judge. And, of course, you can imagine the bony legs of Mother Goose quavering by this time.

“Your case is dismissed,” the judge announced.

Incredulously, I replied, “Thank you, sir.”

She looked at me in a strange way, and then said, “And here is your driver’s license.” And I extended my shaking hand, took my license and turned to face the courtroom. Loud cheering and thunderous applause spontaneously broke out as I gathered my jacket and my bag. It was more than I could bear, and tears of joy rolled down my feathery cheeks as I walked out. Behind me, I could hear the judge pounding her gavel over and over, “Order! Order in the court!”

Exonerated! Free at last from the burden of defense and the worry of evidence and proof and the fear of incarceration!

Of course, there was a media circus waiting for me outside the Richard J. Daley Center. With microphones shoved in my face and flashbulbs popping all around me like fireworks on the fourth of July, I held up my hand for silence. “Justice has been served. Today Mother Goose has been acquitted of all charges stemming from the rear-end collision last month and now walks away vindicated and pardoned. Thank you. No other comments.”

Free at Last. Free at Last. Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!

Humpty Dumpty

Any fair analysis of nursery rhymes must include the study of Humpty Dumpty. Mother Goose is inclined to think that this bit of poetry has some underlying meaning, as so many of the childhood ditties do. Let’s take a quick look at Humpty Dumpty:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Raise your hand if you think this nursery rhyme is about an egg… Yes, many people do assume that. According to my research, however, the poem is actually a riddle. Originally put to paper in the early 1800’s, the story had a different line at the end which changes the meaning altogether:

“Could not set Humpty Dumpty up again”

And here’s what the kind folks at Wikipedia say about that: “According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term “humpty dumpty” referred to a drink of brandy boiled with ale in the seventeenth century. The riddle probably exploited, for misdirection, the fact that “humpty dumpty” was also eighteenth-century reduplicative slang for a short and clumsy person. The riddle may depend on the assumption that, whereas a clumsy person falling off a wall might not be irreparably damaged, an egg would be.”

Wow! That’s a mouthful, even for Mother Goose! I will interpret the interpretation so that most of us common readers can understand. Humpty Dumpty was a short and clumsy fellow who spent the afternoon at the local eating and drinking establishment. He had stopped there for a lunch of some soup and sandwich and had planned to head right back to the office. But then he ran into his good friend Simple Simon and they started having a little drinking contest.

Well, as you might imagine, Humpty Dumpty got pretty tipsy. His drink of choice, brandy boiled with ale, probably went straight to his small and balding head. As he was walking back towards home later that afternoon, he stopped to rest at The Wall, another local pub. Actually, he climbed up onto the roof and started hollering for Simon to join him. And that’s when the accident happened. He was so clumsy, and down he tumbled onto the cobblestones below.

Of course, they called 9-1-1. And the King as well as his soldiers came out of the pub for a look.

“Oh, it’s just old Humpty Dumpty again,” they muttered and went back inside for a bit more libation and fun and games. They just left him lying on the street. The paramedics eventually arrived — they had been detained at the other end of the village where Simple Simon had fallen into his pail of water whilst he was fishing again. The first responders carefully dragged Humpty over to the wall of the tavern and propped him up against the building.

He tipped over again, completely passed out. Drunk as a skunk, you might say.

“Oh well, let’s just let him sleep it off, shall we?” They discussed it amongst themselves for a few minutes, and then joined the King and all the merry men inside The Wall.

Folks, the lesson today is so obvious. I shouldn’t even have to spell it out for you, but I will because I’m Mother Goose and that’s my job. If you find yourself sitting next to Simple Simon at lunchtime, get up and run away. And if you’ve had a few too many brandies with your ales, please do not climb onto The Wall.

Old Mother Hubbard

By special request today, Mother Goose will analyze a most curious nursery rhyme. Old Mother Hubbard was first published in 1805. I feel I must warn you that it is a long rhyme and fairly disturbing. Please click away if you take offense at dogs impersonating humans. In modern vernacular, let’s break it down. Here is the poem in its entirety:

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone:
When she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

She went to the baker’s
To buy him some bread;
When she came back
The dog was dead!

She went to the undertaker’s
To buy him a coffin;
When she came back
The dog was laughing.

She took a clean dish
to get him some tripe;
When she came back
He was smoking his pipe.

She went to the alehouse
To get him some beer;
When she came back
The dog sat in a chair.

She went to the tavern
For white wine and red;
When she came back
The dog stood on his head.

She went to the fruiterer’s
To buy him some fruit;
When she came back
He was playing the flute.

She went to the tailor’s
To buy him a coat;
When she came back
He was riding a goat.

She went to the hatter’s
To buy him a hat;
When she came back
He was feeding her cat.

She went to the barber’s
To buy him a wig
When she came back
He was dancing a jig.

She went to the cobbler’s
To buy him some shoes;
When she came back
He was reading the news.

She went to the sempstress
To buy him some linen;
When she came back
The dog was spinning.

She went to the hosier’s
To buy him some hose;
When she came back
He was dressed in his clothes.

The Dame made a curtsy,
The dog made a bow;
The Dame said, Your servant;
The dog said, Bow-wow.

This wonderful dog
Was Dame Hubbard’s delight,
He could read, he could dance,
He could sing, he could write;
She gave him rich dainties
Whenever he fed,
And erected this monument
When he was dead.

Many of Mother Goose’s readers are dog owners and many are cat owners. Some have birds, some have fish. Some, like Mother Goose, have all of these and more. The one thing that we know for sure about pets is that they require a certain degree of care. You have probably noted the extreme amount of care that Old Mother Hubbard is showing her dog in this poem, and undoubtedly you can relate to the attitude of “whatever it takes” to keep the pup happy.

Image courtesy of the good folks at Wikipedia

My first observation is that the poor old woman had nothing at all in her pantry. Not a bag of oatmeal, not a cracker, not a bag of beans. No canned venison or tomatoes. Not a can of spam. No flour for baking bread. Now this is abject poverty, dear and gentle reader. Not a scrap of food for herself or anyone else in the home. And what did she do? Did she run out and get herself some groceries? No, she goes to the bakery to buy something for the dog to eat — a loaf of bread. Strange times and strange food for the family pet…

Well, and then the dog begins his tricks. He plays dead — she has to go out and buy a coffin for him. She gets home, and there he is just as alive as she is! Miraculous recovery or is he just messin’ with her?

It gets more and more bizarre… tripe, beer, wine red and white, some fruit. I feel so very overwhelmed at the oddity of her dogfood choices. And how the dog responds is not common at all — at least not at Mother Goose’s home. The dog is smoking a pipe, sitting in her chair, standing on his head, playing the flute. If I came home and found Fran doing these things, I would faint away. My heart, my heart…. and speaking of Fran, she never complains about eating Pedigree. It’s easy to purchase at the store and easy to serve.

And then it becomes very obvious what the problem is — Old Mother Hubbard has Alzheimer’s Disease. This is suddenly some of the saddest poetry I’ve ever read. She has mistakenly identified her dog as her long-departed husband, Old Father Hubbard! She buys her dog a coat, a hat and a wig — he responds not with much tail-wagging and barking, but by riding a goat, feeding her cat and dancing a jig. She has confused the dog with her late husband, and now lives out her grief by dressing him in some fancy finery and feeding him all the special delicacies and sweeties that Old Father Hubbard used to enjoy.

Her disorientation grows day by day. The wardrobe becomes more and more fine as she attempts to turn the pup into her beloved Hubbard. Buckled shoes, silken stockings, linen for his shirt. Nothing is too extravagant for this case of mistaken identity and Old Mother Hubbard. She curtsies, the hound bows. She is his servant, and he is the master of the house at long last.

All the wonders of the dog — his reading, his dancing — and I tell you, dear reader, he knew. He knew how sick and disturbed Mother Hubbard was, and YET he continued his little charade. He could have been decent and gotten her some help for the dementia. Obviously, the dog could communicate — he should have done something for his dear mistress. But no, not this pup. He’s taking all the dainties and treats that he can from this poor old woman.

Mother Goose is very distressed at what she has learned today about Old Mother Hubbard and her dog. I hope that I haven’t upset you too much. Try not to think about it….

And bee blessed. 🙂

Thankfully borrowed from Wikipedia

Little Jack Horner

On this chilly November Sunday, Mother Goose is thinking of the coming holidays. I’m planning my Thanksgiving menu, considering some Black Friday shopping, making my Christmas lists and checking them twice. Mother Goose enjoys this time of year because there are so many opportunities to show folks some love. I try to keep my patience with the children more than ever this time of year, and keep my honking to a minimum so as to maintain the peace and joy of the season. I was ecstatic to remember this bit of rhyme about Little Jack Horner, and thought it might be wise to consider his story today.

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said ‘What a good boy am I!

So we meet a young fellow named Jack sitting in the corner. Jack is a common name in my nursery rhymes and we will be analyzing several Jacks in the coming days, but none are quite like Little Jack Horner.

Why do children sit in the corner anyway? Are they usually prone to playing games and having fun in corners? Does a child, especially a boy, go and sit in a corner of his own accord? Mother Goose thinks not. In fact, any parent knows that if a child is sent to the corner, it’s not because he’s being such a good boy.

Jack has been naughty. And being naughty at Christmas time is never a good choice. Santa Claus is surely aware of Jack’s bad behavior. I would imagine his mother is at her wits end with Jack, and probably has gently guided him into the corner in a last effort ditch to correct his bad behavior before he becomes a total juvenile delinquent. I know his mother is very concerned about Jack, and she’s hoping that perhaps this discipline will touch his heart and prevent him from joining a neighborhood gang.

But lo and behold! There he is with the Christmas pie! Mother’s pie that she got up early to prepare for the family. Plum pie with plums from her special plum tree in the backyard — it would have gone so nicely with the juicy goose duck she was roasting in the oven for the Christmas dinner. Poor Mother, she will be so disappointed in Jack.

How did Jack get that Christmas plum pie anyway? Is this some sort of a conspiratory? (Or do you say conspiracy?) Perhaps Jack has not acted alone in his naughtiness, but has an accomplice in the Christmas plum pie caper? I am not a goose who points fingers, but I am immediately suspect of Jack’s sister, Mary Mary Quite Contrary. And we WILL be getting to her story in a day or two….

So Little Jack stuck his thumb in the pie, ruining the dessert for the family. He pulled a plum out of the pie, examined it carefully, and then declared, “WHAT A GOOD BOY AM I!” The little hypocrite! He’s already in the corner for misbehaving, he’s messed with the pie, and now he is quite assured of his goodness despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Good and gentle reader, do you know anyone like Little Jack? Do you know that self-righteous somebody who is busily convincing the world of his or her own goodness all the while they are cheating and spoiling the day for somebody else? Mother Goose HAS known people like that, but I would never tell you their names.

The moral of this little story is: beware of young men sitting in the corner and smiling at you, for surely they will steal your plum pie and maybe even your heart.

Yikes! Jack looks like the first husband of Little Wife!

The Woman in a Shoe

Mother Goose has always related well to this incredible story.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread;
She whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

And here’s an alternate last line. It’s a little more graphic…

She whipp’d all their bums, and sent them to bed.

There are many people who would take great offense at this little ditty.

The freedom of women’s choice folks would say, “She didn’t really have to have so many children. We recommend birth control for this old woman, and if that fails, she could just ‘take care of it’.” “Tsk tsk,” says Mother Goose. “And honk honk.” Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord, and Mother Goose would know. For goodness sakes, she has a stepson and six children of her own

How interesting that this story is about an OLD woman — probably past the childbearing years! So who do all of these kids belong to? My guess is that they are her grandchildren. Where are their parents? We really don’t know, but isn’t she kind to keep them all with her in the shoe? Mother Goose is very proud of the old woman — she is the sole guardian and custodian of all those kids and they are her grandbabies.

Now let’s talk a bit about her dinner plans for the kids. The “Feed the Children” advocates would be all over this woman for the lack of substantial meals for her children. She could be planting a garden and growing some organic veggies for the kids. She could go to the local food pantry for decent groceries for the tots. For goodness sakes, what about food stamps and the WIC program? She’s obviously not aware of the options available to her as a single guardian of many children. Where is her social worker? Who is her welfare contact? C’mon, she couldn’t even bake a loaf of bread for the kids?

Here’s Mother Goose’s take on the hunger issue at this shoe: there’s nothing at all wrong with a little broth before bed. It warms the heart and settles the children so they can sleep better. I think this old woman is very wise to feed them a bit of soup!

And now the bottom line of the poem. Is spanking children EVER a good idea? Child protection agencies have been all over this one for years. Should kids be spanked before they go to bed? Or is it better to spank them when they wake up, and get it over with? Imagine the kids going through their whole days knowing what bedtime brings! I would guess there’s such a lot of anxiety building in the hearts of the children by dinner time and then afterwards as well. Perhaps life in the boot is getting pretty crazy with all those kids running around trying to escape the bedtime spanking ritual.

Mother Goose highly recommends that children be spanked when they rise in the morning. That opens up the evening to all sorts of fun activities like playing xbox 360 and watching family movies and even reading books together on the couch. The children would be happier at bedtime, and the old woman could relax a bit too after her long day.

What are your thoughts on rearing children in an old shoe? Is it safe? Is it sanitary? Is it smart?

Mother Goose wishes you well — come back tomorrow for more nursery rhyme studies! Bee Blessed!

Simple Simon

Today Mother Goose begins a new and important series about nursery rhymes. If you are like me, you learned the rhymes as a small child without even realizing or understanding the function of memorization. Maybe you heard them from your mother. Maybe you heard nursery rhymes as a bedtime story. Maybe you watched videos where the Mother Goose stories were dramatized by cheezy actors and actresses… Wherever you learned these delightful bits of posie and prose, I strongly encourage you to revisit them now that you’re all grown up and have a world of experience in your pocket.

We will begin our study with the story of Simple Simon.

Let’s first of all put this into a historical setting. The incredible story of Simple Simon has been floating about since the late 1600’s, a rough time in world history. England, Ireland and Scotland were fighting amongst themselves about who is the most popular and most powerful, and whilst they’re not looking France is headed to the new world to establish some colonies in Texas and along the Mississippi River. And amidst this world of great confusion, Simple Simon comes onto the scene.

He’s at the fair, and he’s hungry. He can’t find the corndog stand or the cotton candy or the funnel cakes so he asks a pie guy for some of his yummy pie. We do not know from this context what kind of pie is available from this particular pie man. We could assume mince meat or chicken pot pie, and probably not a French silk or a lemon cream pie.

So let’s just stop there for a moment…. Simon has no money, not one penny, and yet he has the boldness to ask for a pie. You just have to give the guy credit for trying, right? Perhaps he has had free pie before and expects that all pie is free. Sorry, Simon. What a harsh world he lives in, how troubling that he doesn’t even have a penny? I’ve walked past so many pennies lying on the ground and on the sidewalk. I just leave them there…. Perhaps a modern day Simon would pick them up and save up about three thousand of them to buy a pie today.

Let’s look at the next verse. Simon goes fishing. He gets his fishin’ pole and his tackle and some worms for bait. He loads up his rod and reel and heads for the fishin’ hole — yessirree Bob, today’s his lucky day and he’s gonna catch a whale. Atta boy, Simon — it’s good to have a plan, especially when you’re going fishing. Set some goals and make it happen. Watch your dreams become reality! But, ooops, again Simon makes some logistical errors by dropping his line in Mama’s milking pail. Yikes, Simon, what were you thinking? What are you, simple or something?

And finally the last verse of the rhyme, not often recognized as part of the original Simple Simon story.

Simple Simon went to look
If plums grew on a thistle;
He pricked his fingers very much,
Which made poor Simon whistle.

Poor Simon. He didn’t get the pie. He didn’t get the whale. He’s still hungry, the poor fellow, his tummy is growling and grumbling like a grumpy old bear. So he’ll take anything at this point, even a plum. A bit of fruit for the sake of starvation. But omigosh, he’s looking in the wrong place for plums, isn’t he, gentle reader? Thistles have thorns, not plums. Even Mother Goose can see this one coming. So, of course, Simon gets injured in the course of his thistle adventure. And did he grab a bandaid or at least a kleenex to stop the flow of blood? Nope, he just gives a good old whistle — kind of a “pheeet, pheet, pheeeewww” to ease the pain of the puncture. Or maybe he’s just decided to forego the whole plum harvesting strategy and settle into more of a song and dance routine to attract attention to his hunger issues. Anyway…

The moral of the story is this: it’s a big scary world out there. Don’t be a simpleton like our friend, Simon. Take your debit card with you — it’s welcome at most McDonald’s and Starbuck locations. Or pack yourself a lunch. Or call Mother Goose and she will pack one for you.

(a big thanks to Wikipedia for all of this important information and these wonderful pictures…)

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November 2011