Wednesday, January 24, 2018


I have many obsessions. They feed off of each other and are usually related. I'm obsessed with purses, yarn, hearts, Hollywood Regency architectural style, yarn, crochet, knitting and arranging everything into a grid, including crocheted granny squares, of course. I'm also obsessed with playing my ukulele and learning new songs. When I find a song I like I play it OVER and OVER again, to my husband, Larry's exasperation. He always says that every girl he's known has played either the same song or record album over and over again if she likes it. Yup! That's me..."every girl."
If you follow my Instagram feed (@ellblo) or my life on Facebook, you know that my latest song obsession is "Smokey the Bear." I hadn't heard this song since I was a tiny girl. It was very popular among the cub scouts in my neighborhood. At the Boulevard Music Holiday Show, owner, Gary Mandell sang the song, accompanied by his guitar. Even though we were all singing lovely holiday tunes, the smell of smoke hung heavily in the air due to the recent fires in many areas surrounding Los Angeles. So many lives and property were lost to these horrendous fires. Gary felt that he should pay attention to Smokey's warning, so he sang this song from his boy scout days. It resonated with me. I had to learn this song on the ukulele!

Gary Mandell, performing "Smokey the Bear," December 2017, Culver City

I searched the internet and found YouTube versions by Eddy Arnold, Gene Autry and the children's version by Johnny Jones and His Peter Pan Rangers. I found the sheet music, above, song written in 1952 by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins. I even found the guitar tabs with lyrics. Perfect! I started playing the song on my uke. I love this song. I cannot stop playing this song. I love the perky tune, the lyrics and the long-lasting message to live by that we all can help prevent wild fires.
On further research, I found the actual story of Smokey Bear, a bear cub in New Mexico who survived a raging wildfire. Yes, his name was Smokey Bear. "The" was added by the song writers to maintain the rhythm of the song. My friends, Jeff and Audrey have visited Smokey's grave at Smokey Bear Historical Park in Capitan, New Mexico.  I want to go there too!

Smokey Bear is my hero. I plan on teaching this song to my ukester friends soon. Hopefully, we'll learn it well enough to make our own YouTube video!

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At 6:36 AM PST, Blogger ken bloom said...

Hey Ell, If you do a video you should combine two obsessions and crochet some Smokey Bear hats for you guys to wear, wither the classic National Park Service style hat or a bear head similar to the pussy hates. What do you think?


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