Friday, October 14, 2011

"When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain"

Does anyone else remember Kate Smith?  She was a rather large woman with a very large voice.  She had an extensive career singing for movies, radio, recordings, and she even had her own TV show in the early 50's (I think).  She introduced Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" and her performances of the song are outstanding!   Many people may not know the history of this song and Kate Smith.

God Bless America

In early 1940, Kate Smith, a fiercely patriotic American and the biggest star on radio, was deeply worried about her country.

She asked Irving Berlin if he could give her a song that would re-ignite the spirit of American patriotism and faith. He said he had a song that he had written in 1917, but never used it. He said she could have it. She sat at the piano and played it and realized how good it was. She called Mr. Berlin and told him that she couldn't take this from him for nothing. So, they agreed that any money that would be made off the song would be donated to the Boy Scouts of America.  Thanks to Kate Smith and Irving Berlin, the Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties.
Frank Sinatra said that when Kate Smith, whom he considered the greatest singer of his age, first sang this song on the radio, a million guys got 'dust' in their eyes and had to wipe the tears the 'dust' caused.

Kate Smith YouTube - click to play

Her success had nothing to do with her looks.  In fact, she wasn't a particularly attractive woman.  Unfortunately, dowdy is about the best word I could use to describe her look.  But oh my word, the woman could sing.  I loved hearing her voice.  It was powerful and rich and very stirring. There are many different videos and such on YouTube that show her wonderful versatility.  If you aren't familiar with her or her voice,  click on the photo above to go to YouTube. 

"When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain" was her theme song.   Whenever a certain kind of moon is visible in the sky I remember this song and the incredible Kate Smith.

(Not-so-clever segue...)

I was reminded of that song tonight.  I went out to get the mail this evening and peeking through the trees between the houses across the street, I saw the moon.  Not following the phases of the moon in any regular fashion, I have no idea if the moon is waxing or waning (not that I actually know which is which).  Either way the moon was fairly low on the horizon, not quite full, but looking like a big golden balloon hanging in the sky.  It was lovely.

It occurred to me that I have noticed the moon several times in the past few weeks.  The moon always catches my attention when it is the wonderful golden color that makes me think of melted butter.  It is my impression that that particular shade of gold is usually what happens when a full moon is just beginning to rise.

Well, I know there typically there is only one full moon per month.  Right?   So if the impression that I have gathered over the course of my life (i.e., gold comes only with full moons) is correct and if there is in fact, only one full moon per month, why have I noticed this golden color a few times over the last several weeks??
A golden moon low in the sky is hard to miss.  At that low angle, just above the horizon, the moon is not only golden, it seems huge!  I read somewhere a while ago, that the size of the image you see when the moon is low is actually the same size as the image you see when the moon is high.  Supposedly, the change in one's impression of the size is caused by the moon's proximity to things like trees and houses, whereas when it is in the middle of the sky there is nothing close by to change the perspective.  Does that make sense to anyone?  I don't see how that can be true, but I haven't figured out how to test it out.

Anyway, it seems a bit odd to me that I have noticed a big golden moon several times lately.  Has anyone else noticed that??  I figure that if there was something unusual going on, there would be lots of news stories and such about it and I haven't seen or heard anything, so I guess it's just me.

No matter whether it's just me or not, I sure do like looking at that big ole round yellow ball hanging in the sky.  I usually just stand there for a bit and watch it and all of a sudden I'm humming, "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain" while I think lovely thoughts about all manner of things.

I think Kate would approve!


  1. I'm so glad you posted that video and the story! Beautiful. I LOVED when the choir joined her. I got chills listening to it!

    I have noticed the moon a couple of times lately when I leave to take Chickie to school or to take a walk by myself. One morning I went out while it was still dark. The moon was just barely covered with a "mist" of moving clouds. It looked like something from a movie. It was so lovely!

  2. I do remember Kate Smith and "God Bless America." What a wonderful story behind that song. I'm glad you told us.
    Waxing moon is the increasing towards the full moon and waning is decreasing towards a new moon (which we can't even see so why call it new) I have noticed that the moon is lower and brighter, but I don't know why either.
    I just learned the waxing and waning stuff while I was "aiding" in 6th grade science. Why didn't our teachers tell is that when we were in school?
    Remember Jimmy Durante singing "I'll Be Seeing You?" "I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you." Perhaps my favorite "moon" song!

  3. Full moons always seem brighter and more magical in autumn, at least to me. And yes, I certainly do remember Kate! She reminded me of a singing tree.

  4. Is that called a "harvest Moon?' There's another song. Kate Smith..... haven't thought of her forever, just about. Who was that guy who was always with her? Ted somebody. Oh yah, and I loved the words to that song Jimmy talked about.... I'll be looking at the Moon, but I'll be seeing you.
    Hope you have your car back soon.


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