Comrade Cotton-Eyed Joe
PARTIALLY DUE TO THE INCLEMENT WEATHER and the seemingly endless weeks of battling bugs of varying virulences we have been watching a lot of TV.
My wife, the lovely and the ultimate Amazon Prime Minister, Dawn, and I have gathered up blankets, Kleenex, and hot tea so we could do some serious binge watching.
With Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap we settled ourselves down for a long winters Ripping Yarn. Dawn had been scouting the terrain and had come up with a series that had six years of episodes in the can. We figured that should hold us until Spring. Well… After one week we are halfway through Season Four. Spring better arrive soon.
Our selection has been most satisfying even if it requires that I stay awake and focus to follow the action. We have become engrossed in the series “The Americans.”
Sesame Street it ain’t.
It is high drama about the lives of two Soviet Union era undercover Russian spies in Washington D.C. Neither one of them is in Congress.
“The Americans” has, pound for pound, more shootings, strangling and butt cheeks than any TV show since the Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s – at least that is how I fantasized about that show while I was going through puberty at the same time as Mouseketeer Darlene.
But, enough strolling down memory lane and back to the TV show in question.
The Russian spies have been in place in the USA for about fifteen years and have two children. They are the perfect suburban family except for the fact that they can kill you 37 different ways before breakfast.
It really is an excellent show.
As we were watching “The Americans” last night, our third episode of the evening, our two favorite spies traveling to Oklahoma City in pursuit of a vital agricultural secret (I know, just trust me on that).
To blend into the local environment the Hubby Spy was sporting a Stetson Cowboy Hat and Mommy Spy had long blonde curls and too much make-up. She even commented aloud, “Do you think they’ll pick me as ‘Queen of the Rodeo?’”
That lighthearted scene took place moments before they broke the neck of an innocent lab technician. Tough going, but that’s part of the job – for the spies, not the lab techie.
When I saw them in their “blending in” wardrobe I turned to Dawn and said, “I’ll bet they are the only two Russian spies who can do ‘The Two-Step.’” Not missing a beat, she replied to my bit of nonsense with, “Cotton-Eyed Joe.’”
I had no idea what that meant.
“Who, or what, is ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe?’”
Hit the Pause Button on “The Americans.”
“Alexa, play ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe.’”
Instantaneously, Alexa, the Amazon know-it-all hockey puck, launched into a high speed song by some
enthusiastic Texas band. It was “Cotton-Eyed Joe” at 235 miles per hour and at 120 decibels. Dawn shouted out, “That’s too fast. You try dancing to that and people will be injured.
“The Americans” in OKC had to wait as we looked for a more rational version of “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”
“Cotton-Eyed Joe” – I was instructed, is Classical Music if you are growing up in Texas. As a youngster, Dawn grew up in South Texas and learned how to dance the “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and has fond memories of it all. I, on the other hand, grew up two blocks from a Steel Mill in Pennsylvania. We had Punxsutawney Phil, but he didn’t dance.
Dawn did locate the version of “Cotton-Eyed Joe” that she had been weaned on. It was at a much safer and saner dance tempo. I could imagine people dancing to that without fear of injury.
I’ve never been much of a dancer. When I try to dance people think that I’m having a seizure and I end up on the floor with a pencil between my teeth. Dawn grew up dancing to “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and, looking hopefully at me, she asked, “Can you skip? If you can skip you can do the ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe.’”
Hit the “Play” Button.
I’ll bet nobody ever called Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”
(Caution: Injury Inducing Version)