30 January 2009

While Gazing Into Her Lightning Blue Eyes, We Toasted With A Glass Of Funky Cold Medina

The following poem was inspired by my lovely daughter, Wee Lass, and a song, and came about from a morning ride to her day care:

Steering wheel cool in my hands
As we head off to school,
And spheres of perfect lapis peer at me
across a few feet of mirror

Helpless laughter as I warble off-key
to something by the Secret Machines
and the Princess sings "Rudolph
With your nose so bright...”
(She will win my heart tonight)

Hair the color of cedar just
turning under the sun,
A face like a million brilliant memories:
Shimmering, as joy fills my weary eyes

This long, patient search ended not in the
virid womb of a distant jungle
Nor burrowing the igneous heart of a mountain
No, this singular jewel fell into my hands,
cast up by the tremors of my fluttering heart

“Daddy, you have to say ‘check!’ when I say the words!”
“Not yeetttttt!”
“Oh, sorry, sweet pea.”
“Sunglasses!” “Check!”
“Tote bag!” “Check!”
“Jacket!” “Check!”
“Brass Monkey!” (laughter) “Check!”

So began another typical day in the Gumbo house, getting the Wee Lass bundled up and out the door. We have developed a routine approaching that of the pre-flight checks the pilots do on 747’s, and she is really into it some mornings. When it is sunny out, YOU MUST HAVE SUNGLASSES. She insists, and she has a transparent blue pair that look sort of like the glasses Bono wears that make him look like a fly.

This morning we got in the car and I turned on the radio and heater to get things going, and of course Wee Lass loudly proclaims that we must hear 'Brass Monkey'. I have mentioned this in a previous post that it is one of her favorite songs. The CD it is on has a number of songs on it like that, but normally the she only wants to hear 'Brass Monkey' and the song right after, 'Word Up’ by Cameo. And she likes to listen to them loud.

This morning was a little different. I put the disk in, and the first song starts to play. I was about to hit the track select button, but Wee Lass says, “No, Daddy, I want to hear this one, then the next one, and the next one all the way up to Brass Monkey.” I started laughing and she wanted to know what was so funny.
“You want to hear this song?”
“Yes.” By this time I am belly laughing.
“Why are you laughing, Daddy?”

She is starting to grin and laugh, which makes me laugh even harder, and then she starts laughing even harder. At this point, I start seat dancing and singing the lyrics, even doing my best to do some turntable scratching* at the appropriate moments. By the time we neared the school, we were both dancing and bopping around** and having a great time. She found my attempts at singing to be hysterical. And so did I. I was surprised at how many of the lyrics I remembered, after all, the song came out back in the ‘80’s. What song, you ask?

“Funky Cold Medina” by Tone Loc. “This is the eighties, and I’m down with the ladies…”

*Funny, but don’t try this at home, kids. I mean, don’t try this while you are driving. It’s dangerous, and should only be attempted by people like Run-DMC or the Bomb Squad from Public Enemy, not by rhythmically challenged ordinary white guys like me. Unless you are really, really careful.
**I was REALLY careful, so no outraged phone calls or e-mails, please. I let Wee Lass take the wheel while I ‘scratched’.***
***I’m kidding. She drove the entire way.****
****No, she didn’t. Really.

The poem title is “Her Lightning Blue Eyes” and was inspired by the song “Lightning Blue Eyes” by Secret Machines and by my daughter’s lovely, lovely eyes. Oceans that I could swim in forever.


  1. LOL!! Love the song (Funky cold medina)! and the poem!

  2. Beautiful song, great story, and I LOVE your daughter's taste in music.

    I once listened to "Word Up" continuously for two hours. I was driving from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, to my parents house in Scottsdale. It was 1985. I wanted to learn all the words. I did.

  3. I meant to say beautiful POEM, inspired by a lovely song too... Sorry.

  4. Beautiful poem but I'm laughing hysterically at you "scratching" and Wee Lass loving that song.

    Mine loved (and still does) "Baby Got Back" and would request it over and over and over again.

  5. Thanks for the trip down the memory lane. Wee Lass sounds very well versed in the 80's. We once got GnR Appetite stuck in the tape deck of the green VW Rabbit, I still remember all of the words...

  6. I LOVE the poem.. beautiful.

    and that Wee Lass.. what a character. wonder where she get's that from! ;)

  7. May be just a typical day in the Gumbo house, but you tell it so very well.
    My ex-bf turned me on to your writing and I am so glad he did.

  8. She is a girl after my own heart!
    I remember the days of actually drinking Brass Monkey while listening to the song. Man that was one funky monkey. Tilt your head back...let's finish the cup. Yep.

  9. What a pair you two!

    Is she blogging yet?

  10. I'm a seat dancer too. My kids USED to love it. Now they're teens and they beg me NOT to do it. Which makes me laugh even more ......

  11. Another car seat dancer here, too.

    Your daughter is very fortunate to have such a wonderful, loving father.

  12. DUDE!! Yeah! What a brilliant post! You took me right into my car driving with my three little ones jammin' out to all kinds of wacky tunes and then zip! You transplanted me to the late 80's partying as a college chick at USC to that funky cold medina!! Hilarious!! I am smiling and that is ALWAYS a good way to start the day!


  13. I once sang Funky Cold Medina at karaoke. I don't know any of the words. It was as horrible as you'd imagine.

  14. Great post! I loved the poem and ...I NEED a copy of that CD! That is too funny! I could picture you two seat dancing.

  15. I haven't heard "Funky Cold Medina" in so long!! The 'scratchin' made me laugh too.

    What better way is there to get to school than dancing all the way?

  16. I will GLADLY take Funky Cold Medina over the kiddie crap that's been plaguing my thoughts all morning!
    You know, this perfectly qualifies for the Spin Cycle. Wanna?
    Let me know!

  17. my heart is totally gushing for you right now! will you be *my* Daddy?

    ooh that sounded kinda not good. lol

  18. "singular jewel" = fantastic!
    That's what they are....
    Love it!

    I watched both videos. I never heard of Secret Machines...it was cool!
    LOL @ Funky Cold Medina....you know I never saw the video for it...lmao

  19. Oh Gawd. Tone Loc! A true classic! (Remember "Wild Thing"? It's like the same song.)
    Great poem.

  20. Such a fun story. Sharing music with your kid is one of the most fun parenting jobs. I think. I think my 13 yr old will really like the Secret Machines. :-)

  21. Wee lass reminds me of my little Mary.

    Remember that song by Lou Bega, Mambo #5? Yeah, that was Mary's joint about 8 years ago.

    Miss those days.

    Peace - Rene

  22. This was such a gentle, sweet post! Nothing is more beautiful than the laughter of a little girl!


  23. Gumby, you just make me laugh. Loved the poem, and what a great song to jazz up the morning!

    Wee Lass is just like you!

  24. Your talent never ceases to amaze me.

    Wee Lass has incredible taste in music. What's her opinion of Black Betty?

  25. You crack me up. What an artistic man you are.

  26. How do kids pick up on music so quick? It takes me something like 20 times before I get the lyrics down good enough to sing at the top of my lung while driving (alone). The girls on the other hand hear a song once on the radio over the speakers at the mall and can walk into Sunday school and belt out all the lyrics to "My Humps."

  27. Me thinks you are such a wild thang. You sound like an awesome dad.

  28. what about alligator woman? by cameo?

    you a mess
    i must confess
    you make me hot
    with what you got


  29. LOVE IT! Maybe parents DO understand after all... at least when they're this young we can be cool ;)
    Love the poem and the song that inspired it. Your writing always inspires me.

  30. i was just singing Funky Cold Medina the other day, love that song!!

    your mornings sound awesome, and familiar :)


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Don't suffer your crimes
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