In this season of family, good friends and, of course, the annual roasting of a grand feast, whatever that may be (Tofurkey is always nice!), I proffer a wee excerpt from my pally’s, author Jennifer Susannah Devore, upcoming Savannah of Williamsburg: Washington’s Folly and the Western Frontier, Virginia 1754. Though originally written as a springtime campfire song, Bloody Mary, Don’t Roast Me Tonight makes for a great family sing-along, no matter what the occasion! One might hear it ’round an 18thC. Appalachian campfire, or ’round your own Thanksgiving table, anywhere across this great country. Happy Thanksgiving, history geeks!
Dante turned his attention to Jeremiah, whom was tuning his cittern: a small, medieval-era, stringed instrument. It was similar to a mandolin, but with a longer neck and a flatter back. Usually played with a quill or a plectrum, Jeremiah needed neither. His claws were the perfect, natural plectrum. Cincinnatus was sitting up straight, lengthening his diaphragm as he prepared to sing. Both Mason boys had removed their trail hats, leather tricorns, and replaced them with what they called their ‘fficial sing-songin’ hats, which looked very similar to simple Robin Hood hats. They were green wool and sported an interesting and plentiful collection of feathers, one feather collected on each adventure they shared. The current adventure with Lt. Col. Washington had yet to provide the perfect find.
Jeremiah and Cincinnatus had an affinity for medieval music and their feathered hats helped them get into that frame of mind. In between them, staring dumbly into the campfire they’d built outside their tent, sat Sparky. He did not possess a ‘fficial sing-songin’ hat, but was always eager to join whatever the scene was. So, he took one of his neckerchiefs, one which happened to be of a thick, olive-green linen, and tied it around his head. He pulled it backwards into a point so it approximated a Robin Hood hat and sported it proudly as he awaited the music. When he tore he gaze away from the fire, he realized Dante was in the camp and yelled out to him, a little too loudly.
“Dante! Dante! Over here! Come sit with us! Jeremiah and Cincinnatus is playing themselves music! We’s having ourselves a mee-dee-vull sing-salong!” he patted the empty space on the log next to him.
Dante happily obliged. This was easily more fun than editing his reports for Washington and Governor Dinwiddie. He settled onto the log and crossed a boot over his other leg, the way Washington did. It turned out that the earlier argument he’d heard between the two ermine brothers was about a song. More precisely, it was about the title of a song. In the end, Jeremiah ceded to Cincinnatus’ choice: “Bloody Mary, Don’t Roast Me Tonight”.
Bloody Mary, Don’t Roast Me Tonight
lyrics by Jennifer Susannah Devore
Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary,
Why is your heart so black tonight?
The sky is so clear, the stars so bright.
Why is your heart so black tonight?
Summer of 1553 began your Terrific Reign of Might.
Oh, why is your heart so black tonight?
Hair of Titian, your smile faint like a ghost.
‘Tis a beauteous evening for a campfire,
But not for a Protestant roast.
Note: As with previous songs, in previous titles, Bloody Mary, Don’t Roast Me Tonight is inspired by the author’s many musical friends. Thank you, pals!
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Excerpt from Savannah of Williamsburg: Washington’s Folly and The French & Indian War, Virginia 1754, Book IV of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books, by Jennifer Susannah Devore. All rights reserved. Property of KIMedia, LLC. Excerpt may be shared digitally for entertainment, non-commercial purposes only and may not be reprinted in analog format or sold in any format, digital, analog or otherwise.