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Day-Oh!

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Jim Ellison has gotten into the habit of listening before he unlocked his front door, making sure there weren't any nasty surprises inside. He could easily have heard from the street, but he found that, in most cases, using his enhanced hearing just outside the apartment was good enough. What he heard surprised him. Harry Belafonte. Singing.

Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Stack banana till de morning come
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home


Jim opened the door to find Blair listening to a tape and writing on a notepad.

"Hey," said Jim, "That's the Banana Boat Song!"

"Got it in one, man. Also known as 'Day-O'."

"I haven't heard that in years. What, you got a sudden yen for Harry Belafonte? I'm surprised you even know who he is."

Blair rolled his eyes. "Of course, I know him. He sang 'Shake, Shake, Shake, Senora' in Beetlejuice."

"What's Beetlejuce--oh never mind. So, what's with the music? And why are you taking notes?"

Blair shut off the tape. "You remember Addison Clarke? She was a TA. We worked on a project a couple of years ago."

Jim thought. "Petite brunette with a great sense of humor. Made the best brownies I've ever had."

Blair laughed. "She'll be thrilled to know you remember her for her culinary skills."

"Well, those were some fantastic brownies. And I did mention her sense of humor," he countered.

"Anyway, she's opened up a progressive pre-school/daycare. They want to expose the kids to all kinds of knowledge and cultures. So, she asked me to talk about this song. You know, what the lyrics mean, how the workers used it to keep pace, kind of like marching songs or sea shanties. I'll also explain about how bananas are grown. I'm picking up a banana cluster from a friend who grows them in his hothouse. I'm sure most of these kids think bananas come from a store.

"Anyway, a friend of Addison's, Aayla Lawrence, is Jamaican. She's going to talk about calypso and teach them how to dance to the song. When we're done, the kids will pick their own bananas from the cluster. So, what do you think?"

Jim smiled. "I think those kids are very lucky. I wish I was going to be there instead of chasing perps."

Blair grinned. "Thanks, man. Now, I need your help. Listen to this lyric. Is he saying 'bunch' or 'punch'"?

Jim listened as Blair rewound and played the passage. "Bunch. Definitely," he added when he saw Blair was about to say something.

"Well, I can't argue with your ears. Thanks. Now I've got to look up whether the black tarantula really is deadly." He turned off the tape again and went to his laptop.

Jim smiled again, then headed for the kitchen. It was his turn to cook, after all. He made a note to try to get away tomorrow. Watching Blair teaching, especially with kids, should be a lot of fun.

~~the end~~