The Camptown Ladies sing this song,
doo da, doo da,
The Camptown racetrack’s five miles long,
Oh, de doo dah day.
– Stephen Foster (1826-1864)
I have been humming this very vintage song lately. Not because I’ve ever been to the camptown races (or even know what they are, if I’m honest).
I have a rather frilly and can-can-esque vision of the “camptown ladies” from the song in my head (probably wrong and sexist to boot but I’m a little afraid to google “camptown ladies”) and I had no idea that the song’s writer was walking around (and probably humming some annoying song from his village mistral), well before Canada’s confederation.
I can’t help but be impressed. 200 years is some serious longevity for a song that isn’t, y’know, required singing like the national anthem or 99 Bottles of Beer On the Wall.
I wonder if, in 200 years, people will be walking around humming one of Taylor Swift’s extremely catchy/annoying songs.
Ack! Just a second while I (groan) shake it off, shake it off.
Or as we’ll sing it in the year 2214: Shake It Off 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall while We Stand on Guard For Thee.
Anyway, back to the camptown races because yep, that song is annoying me almost as much as Taylor’s is these days, and I believe it all started with the doo da-s.
Yep, it’s all their fault.
On account of the fact that I have recently become the proud owner of four of them.
Doo dahs, that is.
Two amber ones:
And two purple ones:
I can’t decide which colour is my favourite. The purple ones remind me of the beautiful glass we have found while beachcombing in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Apparently the process used to make glass back in the day meant the clearness (insert technical glass-making term here) wasn’t stable and over time, glass would turn a lovely purple hue.
I love beautiful mistakes, don’t you?
So yes, the purple ones are wonderful. On the other hand, the amber doo da-s are like owning a piece of tree sap that has turned into something mystical and fairy-like and gorgeous. As a result, both pairs have been given pride of place in our living and dining area.
I looked these flowery beauties up online and they were frequently described as “antique, Victorian depression glass”.
I’m not quite sure how something can be of the Victorian and depression eras simultaneously.
Sounds a bit like time travel to me.
But, despite their muddled pedigree and annoying accompanying campfire races ditty, I really do love the doo da-s. They used to sit on my friend, Mother Nature’s window sill, catching the light and sparkling it around on the beamed ceiling at her house. Before that, they were at Mother Nature’s oldest sister’s house, having been rescued from a yard sale, auction or some other upcycling venue.
One lovely day, Mother Nature asked me if I wanted the doo da-s for my very own.
She said she wanted to give them to me because I would “do something with the doo da-s”.
Do something with the doo da-s. Haha.
See how I almost wrote an annoying song there?
Anyhoo, we brought the doo da-s home and Practical Man got out the measuring tape so they would end up equal distances from the floor, once installed.
Boring measuring and blah blah blah but, with happy results.
They make me smile (and hum an annoying little tune).
Yes ma’am, I think to myself, those are some mighty fine doo da-s.
Doo da, doo da!
Shake it off. Shake it off.