Monday, June 08, 2015


Not long ago I was sitting on the pizer with Cousin Blanche. I can't remember what we were chatting about, but something reminded Blanche of a song from her youth (Blanche is 95 year old). She began to recite the lyrics of  "A Good Man is Hard to Find." (I did some research afterwards and discovered this song was composed and performed by Eddie Green during the time of piano rolls (1918). The song became a classic Blues standard, and was performed by Bessie Smith, Sophie Tucker, Frank Sinatra, and Brenda Lee. Flannery O'Connor wrote a short story with the same title in 1955.

Blanche recited the song flawlessly:

A good man is hard to find,
You always get the other kind
Just when you think that he's your pal,
You look for him and find him fooling around with some other gal
Then you rave, you even pray,
To see him lying in his grave.
So if your man is nice,
You better take my advice:
Hug him in the morning,
Kiss him every night,
Give him plenty of loving,
Treat him right
'Cause a good man nowadays is hard to find

When Blanche was finished with "A Good Man is Hard to Find" she was reminded of another song from her era, a hymn titled "A Perfect Day" written in 1909 by Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1862-1946). She recited that song for me also:

When you come to the end of a perfect day,
And you sit alone with your thought,
While the chimes ring out with a carol gay,
For the joy that the day has brought,
Do you think what the end of a perfect day
Can mean to a tired heart,
When the sun goes down with a flaming ray,
And the dear hearts have to part?
Well, this is the end of a perfect day,
Near the end of a journey, too,
But it leaves a thought that is big and strong,
With a wish that is kind and true.
For mem'ry has painted this perfect day
With colors that never fade,
And we find at the end of a perfect day,
The soul of a friend we've made.

But Blanche was just getting started. Next she began singing (not just reciting) "The Sidewalks of New York."

That reminded her of "A Bicycle Built for Two." I listened reverently as sweet melodies wafted down the sandy lane.

The song was over much too soon, but, alas, it was time for me to depart. Reluctantly, I arose, thanked her for the impromptu performance, and assured her I'd be back again before long.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:


  1. Julie S.7:30 AM

    What a blessing your Aunt is! My grandmother used to sing us "Bicycle." I wonder if Blanche might know "Redwing" or "Sweetheart Tree?"

  2. Anonymous12:05 PM

    School children these days seldom are they required to memorize a poem to recite from memory. Oh I suppose it is only meant for drama majors to memorize lines. But what a gift to launch into a soliloquy... To be or not to be, that is the question Whether tis nobler in the minds of men to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to dream to dream and in that dream blah blah blah lol it can come in handy Try Turning a Winne the Pooh poem into a rap for a young child words are magical. I had a little beetle, beetle was his name......

  3. Anonymous1:08 PM

    Would love to join you on Blanche's pizar someday. What great fun. Jude

  4. She is such a wonderful woman. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting her a few years back and talked for a good little while. As you mentioned here... It was way too short a chat Maybe soon I'll have the pleasure of meeting her again, soon.

  5. Anonymous5:34 PM

    "Pizer (noun): A porch or veranda. From the Italian 'piazza', corrupted by Down Easters to present form.

    now we are all enlightened.