Dubious! This Smoky Bar saloon singer was definitely dubious when the Point Lookout Civic Association asked me to open their 73rd summer’s ending Children’s Day by singing “the Star Spangled Banner”. Singing for friends, neighbors, beach staff, local politicos, little kids itching to get out there and compete? But then I got to thinking thinking about the flag, thinking about America - then and now, thinking about the appropriation of the flag and how 9/11 had given the flag back to all Americans. I thought about the words and the story they told, and I decided that I would tell that story - the story of the largest battle flag ever flown, flown for our final war of independence from the British, The Forgotten War, the War of 1812.
It was 1814, the White House had been burned, the Battle of Baltimore loomed, and Fort McHenry’s Commander Armstead wanted a flag large enough to be seen by the British from afar. Thus Mary Young Pickersgill, a widowed flagmaker, born in 1776 in Philadelphia became famous, along with Betsy Ross. Mary and her daughter, 13 year-old Caroline and a friend, built the largest battle flag in the world (30 feet by 42 feet, now hanging in the Smithsonian).
Working by candlelight in the largest place available, a nearby brewery, they stitched flat felled seams and tight stitching against the wind, four hundred yards of woolen bunting, making15 stars and 15 stripes (the original 13 plus Vermont and Kentucky).
And then as I sang they raised the flag.
O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
"I started writing my Crane's Clarion in 1986 when it became clear that
Writing under the premise that brevity is the soul of wit, and aided by the talents of artist, D. Bruce Stevens, I have picked up almost as many readers as listeners. If you scroll down you'll get a sampling of past issues, and I hope you enjoy them.
BACK TO TOP QUIET YEAR CLARIONDecember 2002 Vol. XVIII No 1
Dec. 2002 Volume XVIII No 1
"New York is the concentrate of art and commerce and sport and religion and entertainment and finance, bringing to a single compact arena the gladiator, the evangelist, the promoter, the actor, the trader and the merchant. It carries on its lapel the unexpungeable odor of the long past, so that no matter where you sit in New York you feel the vibrations of great times and tall deeds, of queer people and events and undertakings."
Here Is New York by E.B. White
Hard to believe over a year has passed since the unthinkable. The New York skyline still seems strange, startlingly empty, kind of like we've lost our two front teeth. It's been bumpy, but we're still here, and it feels good. Still, life seems more and more random, snipers, anthrax, the specter of war - going after the oil-meister, a distraction from the "wanted-dead-or-alive" Osama and all the rest. More than anything, I think we've all learned to go on, to lean on one another and find the joy. -Cynthia Crane
We're doing something this Christmas we've never done before. The children (?) are off to their in-laws for the holidays, and Cynthia and I are taking a long trip to Paris by ourselves. She'll sing a few private parties, and we'll train travel a bit to see a few places new to us. Leaving on the 17th, we're going to miss some of our favorite parties and celebrations and the chance to wish many of you a Merry Christmas in person. So we'd like to do it right now. Joy is what we send you. -Ted Story
Two Months After September 11 the Story family got "on with life" and flew to Mexico, for the marriage of our daughter, Alexandra Victoria Story to Kent Kilroe, a journey in every sense of the word. One hundred of us flew to Puerto Vallarta to witness their love - so radiant, uplifting and life-affirming that we, all of us, bathed in it and were filled with joy and gratitude. The long tropical days and nights shimmer on in a luminous Renoirish haze. Horseback riding through the jungle, spectacular birding (7-colored Painted Bunting), kayaking on the gorgeous Bay of Bandera, daily assignations with the hotel's resident four foot iguana, every night a party at wonderful restaurants and all around us love.
One year 'Renovationended just before we left for Mexico when, 11 months to the day, we moved back into our house. The termites are history and we're putting it all back together (yes, Ted back up on the dread ladder, his Dec. '97 fall a fading memory).
Describing 9/11, Bruce Weber in the NY TIMES said "I've never felt smaller or more insignificant...And this is a terrible irony because I'm among the lucky." Here I am; I offer music, songs and heart. I'm proud to be an American, and I'm grateful to those who safeguard our freedom.
Yuletide greetings to you and yours all year long. Happiness and health and peace in the world..
I'm proud to be an American, and I'm grateful to those who keep us free.
Opened my show, "MOON CRAZY" (Larry Ham duo) on the Election Day that wouldn't end. Songwriters Clark Gesner ("You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown") and Annie Dinerman ("The Child in Me") dropping by to hear their songs. For those who didn't think last year was the "real" Millennium there's this year to celebrate. Dionysius began his Gregorian calendar in the 6th century, with "the birth of Jesus" at year 1 - not Year 0. So Year 100 ended the first century and 101 began the second. A circulating message says: "The millennium begins on Jan. 1, 2001; please be patient." Maybe this is the source of our election miasma.