Feliz Cumpleaños, Mi Madre

The last time I left yellow roses here on my blog in memory of my mother’s birthday was on her birthday three years ago. I think the first time I left these roses here for her was two years prior to that. Yellow roses were her favorite flowers. I think the reason for her adoration of yellow roses was the song, The Yellow Rose of Texas. My mother was proud of her Texas heritage. That song spoke to her of that heritage and the civility and gentleness of “the old days.”

But, this morning, after listening to the song on a YouTube video, I decided to do some research on it. I learned that it can be traced back to a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania racist minstrel show from 1853. The lyrics at the time were (by today’s standards) patently offensive and coarse. The sheet music version, classified as an American folk song, was published in 1858 by Firth, Pond & Company. The lyrics changed over the years until it became a far more innocuous love song, the one I think my mother appreciated. I hope so.

At any rate, happy birthday, Mom. I’ve lived more than half my life so far in your absence, but there remains in my memory (as poor as it is and has always been) a place with you in it.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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