It’s happened to all of us. A song gets stuck in our heads and refuses to budge. It could be Wheels on the Bus from nursery school, Frank’s version of New York New York or any one of a dozen one hit wonders. Different songs take up residence in my head throughout the year and vary by season. Twelve Days of Christmas seems to take hold for the entire month of December. Old Girl Scout camp songs come and go throughout the summer. As for Motown hits, they can catch hold at anytime.
From Memorial Day through D-Day commemorations, Flag Day and the Fourth of July, it’s not a song but a poem that creeps into my brain and refuses to budge. It’s Henry Holcomb Bennett’s famous poem. Whenever I pass a house with flags flying I get the urge to shout, “Hats off! The flag is passing by!” And then maybe rave a little about bugles, white stars and crimson stripes.
It’s my sister’s fault.
My sister Brenda is a few years older than me. I still remember when she memorized Mr. Bennett’s poem. It was not on a lark but a school assignment. I don’t know whether she chose that particular poem or if it was thrust upon her. I do know that for days on end (or so it seemed) she memorized and rehearsed; out loud and often. She rehearsed. And rehearsed. And rehearsed.
I can’t speak for the rest of my family but she practiced until I knew the poem by heart. Heck, I still remember parts of it all these years later. Truth be told, it’s a bit like having Muskrat Love stuck in your head for all eternity but much more patriotic.
And so now if it’s not there already, I’ll stick it in your head. Mr. Bennett’s poem that is, not “Muskrat Love”:
The Flag Goes By
Blue and crimson and white it shines,
Over the steel-tipped, ordered lines.
The colors before us fly;
But more than the flag is passing by.
Sea-fights and land-fights, grim and great,
Fought to make and to save the State:
Weary marches and sinking ships;
Cheers of victory on dying lips;
Days of plenty and years of peace;
March of a strong land’s swift increase;
Equal justice, right and law,
Stately honor and reverend awe;
Sign of a nation, great and strong
To ward her people from foreign wrong:
Pride and glory and honor,—all
Live in the colors to stand or fall.
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums;
And loyal hearts are beating high:
The flag is passing by!
Henry Holcomb Bennett, 1900
Happy Flag Day on June 14th! Unfurl your flag, enjoy the early days of summer and bon appétit.
Strawberry or Blueberry Gelato
Strawberries are in season. A perfect excuse to pull out the ice cream machine that’s been sitting in the back of the cupboard all winter. Use this same recipe for Blueberry Gelato later in the summer. Enjoy!
1 pound fresh strawberries*, hulled and roughly chopped
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Framboise** (optional)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh berries for garnish
In a blender combine the strawberries, sugar, half & half, vanilla and Framboise. Puree until smooth.
Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
If the gelato comes out of the freezer rock hard, put it in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. It will soften a little and be easier to scoop. Garnish with fresh berries and serve.
* You can substitute blueberries or make a batch of each! Add a scoop of Brown Sugar Gelato for a star spangle bannered dessert.
**Framboise is a French raspberry liqueur.
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Feel free to visit my other, cleverly named blog, Susan Nye’s Other Blog, or website www.susannye.com. You can find more than 200 recipes, links to magazine articles and lots more. I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. ©Susan W. Nye, 2010