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Response to The Daily Post prompt: The Transporter

Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.


mom & dadI don’t even have to think about this prompt. My dad was born playing a guitar. From the time he was 13 he had his own band in one form or another. Even when he went off to war he was a member of the Army band The Artillery Jive Bombers. In his retirement years he had a band in the Quartzsite, Arizona area called Desert Varnish. They would play out among the Airstream trailers when the snowbirds all went down for the winter. Never missed a Saturday and Sunday. They used 18 sheets of plywood bolted together for a dance floor, but in the end the Bureau of Land Management actually poured them a concrete one out in the middle of the desert. It was christened The Star Dusty Ballroom. The band even had their own TV show on a local station on Saturday nights.

There’s one song that dad sang that never failed to take me back to my childhood. The first time I remember him singing it to me was when I had chicken pox. I was all of four or five. They used to believe you had to keep your children in a dark room so their eyes wouldn’t be affected by the disease, and I was having a hard time sleeping during the day. So dad laid down on the bed with me one afternoon and sang me to sleep. The song was Daddy’s Little Girl, first made famous by the Mills Brothers.

I’ve looked up the words to the song countless times trying to track down the second verse to it, but I’ve never been able to find it. Dad did write music, and I’ve always wondered if he actually wrote that verse himself. The last time he tried to sing it to me was down in Quartzsite at one of their Saturday night dances one winter when we visited with my folks. He tried, but his voice kept cracking. He finally said he’d forgotten the words. I could have repeated them to him, but the truth was, he couldn’t sing it without getting all teary. He wasn’t well at the time.

I’ll always wonder about that last verse. If anyone ever runs across it anywhere, I’d sure like to know about it. These are the original lyrics to the song written by Robert Burke and Horace Gerlach in 1906:

You’re the end of the rainbow
My Pot of Gold
You’re Daddy’s Little Girl to have and hold
A precious gem is what you are
You’re Mommy’s Bright and shining star.

You’re the spirit of Christmas
My star on the tree
You’re the Easter Bunny to Mommy and me.
You’re sugar
You’re spice
You’re everything nice
and you’re Daddy’s Little Girl.

And this is the extra verse my dad always sang:

You’re the treasure I cherish
So sparkling and bright.
You were touched by holy
And beautiful light.
Like angels that sing
A heavenly thing.
And your daddy’s little girl.