Saturday 9: Battle Hymn of the Republic (1968)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
This performance of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is from Robert Kennedy's funeral. So this week, we focus on him.
1) During WWII, when he was just 17, Robert Kennedy enlisted in the Navy. He was disappointed he was never involved in combat. Tell us about a time when you felt fate/circumstances kept you from something you wanted. First of all, I think it's a good thing that Bobby didn't see combat. I mean, consider his poor mom and dad! His parents had already lost their oldest son and their son-in-law in that war, and their second oldest boy (the future President) had his health severely compromised in the Pacific. They also serve who ride desks, Bobby.
OK, now to answer the question at hand: I used to think I wanted to marry the guy I spent my 20s with. I even daydreamed about what we'd name our first child (a girl). But that relationship was tempestuous at best, ugly at worst, and I'm always glad I didn't get what I then wanted. I think of that whenever I hear the Garth Brooks song, "Unanswered Prayers."
2) Bobby was trained as an altar boy and throughout his life regularly attended early morning mass. When is the last time you attended a worship service? It's been awhile. But I want to go this Sunday. I pray often, but sometimes it feels important to me to do it in a sacred place.
3) He may have been an altar boy, but he was no angel. During junior high he was suspended for punching a classmate. Who is the last person who made you very, very mad? My pervy old neighbor Walt, whose attention to me is most unwelcome. I have a right to relax in my own home, and it's hard knowing that at any moment he could rap at my door or slip another note into my morning newspaper. EW! ICK!
4) He had his first date when he was a senior in high school. Looking back, Mary Bailey Gimble told Kennedy biographers that she knew he had a crush on her and wondered why it took him so long to ask her out. Tell us about one of your early crushes. When I was very young -- maybe 4 years old -- our neighbors were a very friendly couple named Bill and Mary. Every few weeks, their grown son, Billy, would come home to do his laundry in their washer/dryer and wash his car in their driveway. I loooooooved him. He had shiny black hair and always wore black t-shirts in summer when he sudsed up his machine. He would give me the honor of washing his hubcaps, and would tell me that I was such a "happy helpmate" that he wanted to marry me someday. I believed him. Consequently I was furious when I was forced to attend his wedding to some hairsprayed bitch named Sandy. To her dying day, my mother loved telling the story about how sullen and angry I was all that day because the bride had stolen "my husband."
5) Bobby's wife Ethel is as bubbly and talkative as he was introspective and shy. He was organized, she's messy. While opposites may attract, do you believe the happiest marriages are between partners who are more similar than different? Oh hell, I don't know. I'm terrible at the relationship thing. Maybe because Billy dumped me and ruined me for all other men.
7) In 1777, Colonists celebrated July 4 with the firing of cannons and muskets, followed by a public reading of the Declaration of Independence. What is your neighborhood doing to observe the day? There's a parade in the morning and fireworks at dusk.
8) The Revolutionary War still raged during that summer of 1777. General George Washington allowed his soldiers to celebrate with a double ration of run on July 4. Do you know anyone who is serving in the military this 4th of July? My oldest nephew is in the Navy, assigned to The Nimitz.
9) Celebrity chef Rachael Ray says she considers mini-hamburgers, or "sliders," the All-American food. What will you be eating this 4th of July? There's a salmon filet in the freezer. It would taste so good grilled and smothered in barbecue sauce.