Friday, September 28, 2012

johnny hunter will find you quick and you'll wind up in a stew

Partridge, Partridge you better stop hummin'
Look around you who's that coming
Johnny Hunter will find you quick and you'll wind up in a stew.

My former SUNY Fredonia colleague and now friend, Dan Berggren is an accomplished folk singer and writer.  His cd, Adirondack Green, has given me hours of joy as I listen to it in my car or at home.  Dan taught Radio and media courses when we both were in western New York. Together with a few others we started a Communication and Media department at SUNY that flourished and as far as I know is still popular.

There are many songs on Adirondack Green that I like, but my favorite is Johnny Hunter.

Old Black Bear You Better Not Wait
If I were you I'd hibernate
Johnny Hunter will find you quick and you'll wind up in a stew.

I first heard Dan perform this at an outing for kids near the college campus.  The kids loved it but I think I enjoyed it even more.  As you can tell from the excerpted stanzas, it is about critters in this case in the Adirondacks who are on the lookout for Johnny Hunter, lest they wind up in a stew.

The idea of a group of animals getting together to warn each other makes me smile. And while you can't tell without listening to the accompanying music, the tune is catchy  as well. Each time the song comes along on the cd I break out in a little smile.  I probably have heard it thirty times this past week as I tend to play the hell out of cds for a stretch and then when I realize I have heard the same songs over and over, make a switch.  Today when I heard Johnny Hunter I smiled as I do, but then thought of Johnny Hunter a little differently.

What if Johnny Hunter is not a real hunter, but is metaphorically, some agent out there that if we dont watch out can mess with our path.  If you think of Johnny Hunter as the anti-Cupid, some agent that derails us from following our heart, well the song works that way as well.  If we do not follow our hearts, then Johnny Hunter tends to find us quick and we wind up in a stew.  How many of us have wound up in a stew when instead of doing what our heart has suggested, we follow some safe and comfortable path to avoid hunger?

The last stanza of Dan's song goes like this:

Whenever you're in the woods alone
Sing this song with mighty tone
Or Johnny Hunter will find you quick
And you'll wind up in a stew.

Not bad advice whether you're a partridge avoiding Johnny Hunter, or a person sensing that if you're not careful, and continue on an enticing if incorrect path, you might wind up in a stew.

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