Seven Old Ladies…

Growing up in a musical family, it was nothing for a sing-song to break out after an evening meal or on a Sunday afternoon. Someone would grab a guitar, another would take a seat at the piano…then Poppy would lean against the doorway with his harmonica, or sit at the table with a set of spoons…just waiting for his chance to jump in.

Some of my very favourite memories have been spent singing silly songs and heartfelt melodies with people I dearly love.

One song in particular was a favourite…much for the words in the tune as it was for my Uncle Mike’s addition of a few extra key phrases. Basically…it’s about seven “old” women who get stuck in an outhouse for various reasons, and get themselves into rather peculiar predicaments.

For example…”the first old lady was Jennifer Pim, she went inside on a personal whim, somehow got stuck ‘tween the bowl and the rim…and nobody knew she was there!”

Then…”the second old lady was little Miss Humphrey, she sat down and made herself comfy, tried to get up but couldn’t get her bum free…and nobody knew she was there.”

Or my favourite…”The fifth old lady was little Miss Bartlett, she paid her penny and straight in she darted, what a waste of a coin, ’cause she only farted…and nobody knew she was there!”

Between each “old lady” was the rousing chorus of…”and it’s oh, dear what can the matter be? Seven old ladies got stuck in the lavat’ry. They were there from Sunday to Saturday. Nobody knew they were there.”

As you might imagine…as a young girl, this was HILARITY AT IT’S FINEST…and when Uncle Mike would chime in after the “Nobody knew she was there” with a “Covered all over in…” WELL…that was just PERFECT!

A while back, we celebrated my parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary with a grand party at White Point Beach Lodge. Family came from one end of the country to the other and yes, there was a sing-song. After the weekend, driving with my youngest, I asked about her favourite part of the weekend and….like mother like daughter…she loved the guitars coming out and the songs that were sung.

“I just don’t get the one about the Lava Tree,” she said.

“The what?” I asked.

“You know, the one with the tree and all those old ladies stuck in it.”

“A LAVA tree?” I inquired…”Like…hot molten lava?”

To which, she went on to explain that it wasn’t really very funny about old ladies burning and bursting into flames and then I went on to explain (through much laughter) that a “lavat’ry”…where you drop the “o” to make the song flow better…was actually an OUTHOUSE!!!

And she said…”oooohhhhh…well now that makes more sense!”

A few days later, I was online with cousins and told them the “funny story” about Meg’s interpretation of the song but…turns out…she wasn’t the only one who thought the ladies were stuck in a volcanic tree! Nope…my cousins Tina, Debbie, Jillian and Mark and/or Matthew (can’t remember which but they’re also a twin that I could never tell apart so we’ll just say it was both of them)…along with others…all who grew up hearing this song on MULTIPLE OCCASIONS…each began admitting that yes…they too thought it was a Lava-tree…BECAUSE VOLCANIC TREES THAT SHOOT HOT MOLTEN LAVA APPARENTLY EXIST??!!!

A few months back, a card came in the mail made out to Megan (who absolutely loves getting mail!) When she opened it, she stared for a moment trying to decipher what was before her and next…pure laughter. “It’s a Lava-Tree,” she said showing me the card…”see…they do exist!!”

My cousin, Tina (also believer of “lava-trees”) had commissioned the drawing from her friend and wonderful Newfoundland artist, Keli-Ann Pye Beshara. Inside the card, the amended words to remove “lavat’ry”…and switch it to “lava tree”…as a reminder of what an absolutely nutty family we come from.

I contacted Tina and thanked her for the card (which I’m framing and putting in my bathroom along with the other “bathroom art”) and she said, “I thought it was soooo funny that all these years the cousins all thought the same thing and Megan finally said it. The idea of a lava tree being painted was funny to me, too, and I thought Keli-Ann’s style and sense of humor would match perfectly. I also felt it was a nice way to connect our family – with song, art, and silliness.”

And indeed it is. Our “family tree” is definitely a wild one…made of hot molten lava, bursts of volcanic eruptions…and the most amazing, hilarious, talented people including seven old ladies…and a few old men!

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Seven Old Ladies

And it’s oh, dear what can the matter be?
Seven old ladies got stuck in the lavat’ry
They were there from Sunday to Saturday
Nobody knew they were there

The first old lady was Jennifer Pim
she went in on a personal whim
Somehow got stuck ‘tween the bowl and the rim
And nobody knew she was there

The second old lady was little Miss Humphrey
She sat down, and made herself comfy
Tried to get up, but could not get her bum free
And nobody knew she was there

The third old lady was little Miss Draper
She went inside and she couldn’t find any paper
All she could find was a bricklayer’s scraper
And nobody knew she was there

The fourth old lady was a Catholic lass
She went in just to try and skip mass
A thief was inside, and he pinched her…handbag
And nobody knew she was there

The fifth old lady was little Miss Bartlett
She paid her penny and straight in she darted
What a waste of a coin, ’cause she only farted
And nobody knew she was there

The sixth old lady was little Miss Murray
She went in, in a heck of a hurry
When she got there, it was too late to worry
And nobody knew she was there

The last old lady was little Miss Mason
The toilets were full, so she peed in the basin
And that was the water that I washed my face in
‘Cause I didn’t know she’d been there

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Have you ever messed up song lyrics? Tell us about it in the comments below! 

5 Replies to “Seven Old Ladies…”

    • Oh Laureen…you’d love it! I am blessed with 40+ first cousins and think the world of each of them. It’s lovely when we get to spend a little time together.