The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2316   Message #1827710
Posted By: Don Firth
05-Sep-06 - 04:02 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Why Paddy isn't at work today
Subject: RE: Origins: Why Paddy isn't at work today
My first acquaintance with this was not as a song, but as a skit.

It was about 1950 or so when I was a freshman at the University of Washington. A student organization I belonged to did a program of songs and skits, and I took part in one of the skits (this was a year or two before I became interested in folk music and took up the guitar). The fellow who was putting the thing together took one of the skits out of a book. I'm not sure, but I think the book may have been The Desert Island Decameron, compiled and edited by writer and humorist H. Allen Smith. It was a script from the Sunday night radio program "The Fred Allen Show." The skit was a "courtroom drama" with "Judge Allen" presiding. As I recall it, Instead of a sick note, the poor sod was suing the construction company that employed him because of injuries on the job.

I was cast in the role of the poor victim. They wrapped me up in bandages like a mummy and carried me in on a stretcher. I delivered my testimony lying flat on my back, going through the whole routine of the foreman's unreasonable request, my slightly less than brilliant idea, and my many unfortunate encounters with the barrel of bricks. It was one of my finer moments as an actor (I had all the good lines), and the audience was howling with laughter. Lotsa fun!

When, at an informal party during one of the Northwest Folklife Festivals a couple of decades ago, I heard one of the Vancouver B.C. singers sing the routine to the tune of "I Met Her in the Garden Where the Praties Grow," of course I immediately recognized it.

I learned the song and have since performed it (unaccompanied) a number of times, always with good effect. Many thanks to Pat Cooksey for putting this into song form.

Don Firth