It occurred to me today, one of those memories from what the hell was that, that when I was a small child I was sure that SELDOM was the discouraging word in Home On the Range.
My West Virginia grandma played ukulele and sang that song when I was a itty bitty baby, with a truly mournful feel, or that was my take. She was 36 when I was born, drove a red Mustang convertible, her and the spoiled curly baby boy, me. Everyone thought she was me mum. We were a hillbilly family of sorts, and the music of the hills is dutifully mournful I guess.
I realized, much later than I quit believing in Santa Claus, that HOtR was supposed to be a happy song; in fact was. There were deer and antelope playing for fuck's sake, but to my young mind it always went back to seldom.
Sure the skies are not cloudy all day I thought. Good on you for making the best of it, you and the sky, since you seldom got to eat.
Seldom was there a year with no plagues of locusts, or chigger infestations indescribably heinous.
Seldom did daddy not beat your ass, and seldom he wasn't drunk, speaking of daddy.
Seldom, indeed, a discouraging word, was heard.
Flowers aplenty isn't there, once again accentuating the positive. But why, I say WHY, is the curlew screaming??? The curlew is in pain, out there on the range. Seldomly not. And that's discouraging. Especially that you take pleasure in the poor curlew's sadness, you prairie beast.
THIS: I just learned. "In 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt claimed it to be his favorite song. Since then the song has been used in countless movies and shows, being sung by everyone from Willie Nelson to Porky Pig."
Whole lot of seldom isn't it.
Also, it's the state song of Kansas where seldom do they take education seriously, therefore more sadness.