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Song of the Far Southwest:

There is an “ancient” (well, dating from the 1890s I gather) playground-style filksong which goes;

After the ball was over
Annie took out her glass eye,
Set her peg leg in the corner,
Corked up her bottle of dye.
Put her false teeth in the tumbler,
Hung her false hair on the wall,
The rest of poor Annie went bye-byeeeeee
— After the ball.

My grandfather used to sing this venerable plaint around the family house.

Ma, as a child, found the whole idea of “poor Annie” disassembling herself after a party to be unutterably horrible. Consequently, being Ma, she would set up an enraged howl whenever she heard it.

The notion that children’s tender feelings must upon no account be offended is a fairly recent one. In that family — the family being what it was — Grandpa would start warbling it whenever it happened to come to mind, just to set her off.

This all no doubt continued until Ma reached the scornful adolescent “Really, Father!” stage, and I suppose he eventually must have dropped it. Which would have been an unalloyed relief to her, and probably rather a regret to him.

So. Will you please explain why Ma made such a point of singing it to me?

And, while you’re at it, try to imagine what must have been her feelings when the response which this impromptu concert brought her — rather than the horrified wail she was hoping for — was an interested inquiry as to where the rest of poor Annie went bye-bye to, once she had taken herself to bits, after the infamous ball.

“She died.” Ma told me, curtly, in somewhat of a huff.

Evidently, not everything that goes around, always quite manages to come around.

(Years later, Dad informed me that however much I may physically resemble Ma, in disposition I take after her father.)