January 31, 1882 Happy Birthday Peter Dawson, Australian bass-baritone!
My grandmother on my father’s side was named Matilda and everybody called her Tilly. She lived at my Uncle Chet’s house in Westbury, Long Island. Uncle Chet worked for Reingold beer and had a working slot machine in his basement. Tilly had 5 kids – Emma, Lorraine, Eddie, Chet and my dad Harold.
Tilly always carried a can of Carnation milk wherever she went and she was always sitting at the kitchen table with tea. That’s where she held court. They’re all gone now but there are lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren and great great grandchildren to keep the memories alive.
I don’t know why this song is a popular kids song, but it is. I looked up the meaning of it, and although I might not have sung every verse, it’s about this Australian wanderer/drifter type of guy who chooses to die jumping into the ravine after killing a sheep on somebody’s land rather than go to prison. Real cheery for the kiddies!
Seems more like a old drinking song.
Either way I dedicate it to Grandma Tilly! And Happy Birthday to Peter Dawson who made this song popular.