Monday, December 15, 2008

Waiting at the Window

I come from a huge family of Utah Bennetts. When I was a little girl my great grandpa Bennett was still the head of the family and each year at Christmas time there was a huge family party held at McCune Mansion. My grandpa was one of several siblings - the third son of Harold & Emily Bennett. He and my grandma had 8 kids of their own, and his brothers and sisters all had similarly large families. At this time aunts & uncles were adding cousins to my family all the time. The party was huge every year. I remember running all over that mansion, hiding and playing games, causing mischief. We had fancy dinners & wonderful programs there each year. The whole family is very talented, very outspoken and very desirous of the limelight. It was always a boisterous event. And at the end of the night Great Grandpa would always sing a few songs. When Great-Grandpa went on his mission to England in 1919 he brought home 4 song books by A A Milne, all of which are now out of print. The songs were all about Christopher Robin (which I think was A A Milne's sons name) and Great Grandpa sang them to his children as they grew up. Grandpa sang them to my mom and sometimes she'd sing them to us. But really the memories I have are of Great Grandpa Bennett singing them to us at the Bennett family Christmas party. My favorite was Waiting at the Window - a song about two drops of rain. The direction at the beginning of the music isn't legato or andante etc, it tells the performer "fast or slow - depending on which drop is winning" lol
Saturday night me & my cousins gathered at my Grandpa Bennett's house for their third annual Grown Grand children's Christmas party. Grandpa calls himself an actor who sings, not a singer who acts. And each year he has prepared a reading. Last year it was The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (One of Seuss's few non-rhyming and oldest stories as well as Grandpas favorite). This year he had selected some poetry & I started thinking about Great Grandpa's Christopher Robin songs.
"Grandpa, can you sing?" I asked after he'd finished the poems. I told him I very much miss the song about the two drops of rain. A lot of my younger cousins looked at me like I was smoking crack. But the older ones all nodded smiling & Grandpa went to find the old tattered music book to be sure he got the words just right.
He sand Waiting at the Window and Vespers. I cried just a teeny bit. It was great. Then I kicked myself all the way home for not pulling out my camera and recording the little ditties for YouTube. I'm an idiot. But here is the poem by A A Milne for anyone interested. I wish I could post the song.


by A.A. Milne

These are my two drops of rain
Waiting on the window-pane.
I am waiting here to see
Which the winning one will be.

Both of them have different names.
One is John and one is James.
All the best and all the worst
Comes from which of them is first.

James has just begun to ooze.
He's the one I want to lose.
John is waiting to begin.
He's the one I want to win.

James is going slowly on.
Something sort of sticks to John.
John is moving off at last.
James is going pretty fast.

John is rushing down the pane.
James is going slow again.
James has met a sort of smear.
John is getting very near.

Is he going fast enough?
(James has found a piece of fluff.)
John has quickly hurried by.
(James was talking to a fly.)

John is there, and John has won!
Look! I told you! Here's the sun!


  1. That was a great party, and I'm equally upset that I didn't record your Grandpa's performances. I just enjoy being in the moment of it, and totally forget about anything else. I'll definitely have to get some footage of next weeks singing.

  2. that's sweet. how wonderful to have a family tradition like that. i'm from barbados from a family of self-employed entrepreneurs (that's not redundant is it? who work right up til xmas day then sleep n eat for 2 days straight. my wife's family try to be on their best behavior-you need a chainsaw to cut through the awkward tension what with so many of them not really liking each other but feeling some obligation to come together for the holidays. the food and presents make up for it if nothing else. My mom-in-law is a bad-ass cook and they never skimp of gifts.

  3. I love hearing about traditions. How sweet that you remember that song so well.

    ... Yeah Utah is full of Bennetts, huh. I knew a few myself. Do you watch "Big Love"? I love that show because they get it so freakin' right on. Every name they mention is a last name I'm so familiar with, but my boyfriend's never heard before. (Don't think I've ever heard Bennett, just bear with me on this tangent.) Can't wait for it to come back!