Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another Candle

"Put another candle on my birthday cake...I'm another year old today", a familiar refrain to any child from the 50's who lived in Southern California. Sheriff John would bring out a lighted birthday cake and sing the birthday song to all his freckle faced, birthday club members but most especially to those who had a birthday.

This morning on the last birthday of my 50th decade, it seemed appropriate to bring out the old ditty and play it on my grand piano. The simple little melody continues to bring a smile to my lips and a sense of childhood to my day. After all it is just another candle and the fact there are so many that I can read by them now is reason enough to celebrate. By virtue of remembering the tune and the words, I have remained a member of the birthday club for over 50 years. I may be a card carrying AARP member but Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade is truly a "badge" of honor.

I was 9 years old. My brother Johnny, sitting by my side, pulling my hair and my little sister, Susie watching quietly on the couch, as my mom turned on the TV to Sheriff John on KTLA channel 5 out of Los Angeles. We watched him in black and white (no color TV) sing the song and tell the birthday child where to find a gift hidden in their house (parents of course, were in on this deal, but who knew?).

Sheriff John read a 100 names a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year for 18 years, you can imagine how many children waited anxiously to hear theirs. The show first aired in 1952 with Sheriff John telling us to laugh and be happy and sharing bits of wisdom like don't play with matches. Kids would send in their own tips that he would read, like "never put a snake in the bathtub without telling your mother".

Today I share my birthday with my granddaughter and I will proudly sing "Put Another Candle On My Birthday Cake", because that's what a wise Lunch Brigade grandma would do.

The Birthday Polka by Sheriff John

Put another candle on my birthday cake
My birthday cake, my birthday cake
Oh, put another candle on my birthday cake
I'm another year old today.

I'm gonna have a party with my birthday cake
Come on and take some birthday cake
Put another candle on my birthday cake
I'm another year old today

We'll have some pie and sandwiches
And chocolate ice cream, too.
We'll sing and play the day away
And one more thing I'm gonna do.

I'll blow out the candles on my birthday cake
And when I do, a wish I'll make
Put another candle on my birthday cake,
I'm another year old today.
Happy Birthday to you!
I'm another year old today.


Nona Nita said...

Thanks so much for reminding me of this song, which I had all but forgotten! I bookmarked the u tube and plan to share it all year long with friends as the occasions arise.

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