Music in the Family Part V – Jacko and Papi

Every week that I post something about music, my sock monkeys Jacko and Papi have been begging to include them in a post.  “After all,” Papi said, “I am the one that taught you how to sing.”  I always thought it was my mom and dad.  They did do a lot of singing when I was growing up.  But I also remember spending time with Papi when I was a kid.

Here is a photo of me with Papi when I was three years old.  It sure does look like he may have been singing in my ear!  He assured me that he was singing the “Yo! Ho!” song to me.  “What?” I asked, “That song wasn’t written until our Reunions Adventure.  This picture was taken way before that.”

“I know,” Papi said, “I started the song years ago when I taught Buddiloo to sing.”  So now he’s trying to take credit for teaching my mom to sing!  I know he was around back then, but I never really know when to trust what he is saying.

“Yes,” he explained, “It was around the time I was coaching Murder to sing for those old recordings you shared with everyone a few weeks ago.  I told you that!  You never listen to me.  Some sock monkey whisperer you are!  Hmmph!”

“You weren’t even there back then,” I started, but then I realized that he had been there.  I have a picture of him with Mama back in 1938.  Jacko shared it with y’all in the Sock Monkeys in the Past post.  And the recordings of Grandma (Myrtle Phenice Bucklin, not Murder as Papi incorrectly calls her) were done around 1944 “when those German Nasties were around,” as Papi likes to put it.  I’m sure he’s going to take credit for teaching her to play the baritone now.  “No,” he said, “She learned that at school.  I just sang along with her when we called the cows.”  That’s good to know.

So today I’m going to share with you “Papi and Jacko’s Traveling Song.”  According to Papi he started it in the 1940s, then he and Jacko added some more verses in 2007, and finally Jacko and I added the last part in that same year.  I’m sure some of you will recognize the melody from “The Lonely Goatherd” song from “The Sound of Music.”  It’s a rather catchy little song.  I hope you enjoy it.

Yo! Ho! Going on Adventures –
Jacko and Papi’s Traveling Song


Long, long ago lived a monkey sock

And a little girl that everyone called Betty Lou.

She played him a song on her baritone

Til the cows all came a-runnin’ with a moo.

They went to church with her Ma and Pa

And sang and gave their Glory Be’s to You Know Who.

She took along little Cyrus sock

Cuz he promised that he wouldn’t throw his poo!

After the service he told them tales

Of many of the places that he’d traveled to.

He made sure that they knew his skills

So they wouldn’t want to put him in a zoo.

Yo, ho! Going on adventures.

Yo, ho! Always on the move.

Yo, ho! Going on adventures.

That’s what I like to do.

Much later on in a different state,

He befriended a sock monkey who was very new.

His little friend took the name Jacko

And Cyrus then became his Papiloo.


Most of the time they stayed at home

With a family of several kids who grew and grew.

They looked forward to summertime

Cuz the fam’ly always went to somewhere new.

Yo, ho! Going on adventures.

Yo, ho! Always on the move.

Yo, ho! Going on adventures.

That’s what we like to do!

All of the kids grew up and left

and the house that they had lived in was too big for two.

The ma and pa got a smaller place

And they decided just one sock would do.


Poor little Jacko was sent away

and Jacko and his Papi had a big boo hoo!

They gave him a tag with an asking price.

At least they didn’t put him in a zoo.

He sat on a shelf with some other socks

as people walked right by with not much else to do.

Kids always grabbed them and pulled their tails

and some of them were taken home in twos.


A man by the name of Van came in,

And he journeyed from the same state as Papi Lou.

With help from above Van and Jacko met

And they became a trav’ling team of two.

Yo, Ho! Going on Adventures.

Yo, Ho! Always on the move.

Yo, Ho! Going on Adventures.

That’s what we like to do!


Not long ago Papi surfed the web

and came upon a story too good to be true.

Though he was old he still liked to see

the adventures of sock monkeys on the move.


There on the screen was his friend Jacko

and he traveled with a man that Papi thought he knew.

When he heard that his name was Van,

he knew it was the son of Buddiloo!


He sent off a note to his friend Jacko

to see about returning to the place he knew.

Jacko and Van came to pick him up

and their reunion was a big todo.


They met up with friends on their way back home,

and Papi hugged and kissed the girls of Rue Cou Cou.

Though Jacko and Van begged to take him home,

Papi went to live with Betty Lou.


Yo, Ho! Going on Adventures.

Yo, Ho! Always on the move.

Yo, Ho! Going on Adventures.

That’s what we like to do!

The Cows All Come a Runnin’ With a Moo!

1949 - Betty Lou charming the cows with Papi

1949 – Betty Lou charming the cows with Papi

For several years now, I’ve been sharing stories of the Adventures of Jacko.  As everyone knows, they are stories about the travels of me and my wonderfully charming sock monkey Jacko.  In the travelling song that Jacko and his mentor/grandfather Papi wrote, it mentions my mom and the fact that she used to play her baritone out in the fields of Hathaway until the cows would come.

I didn’t know that she had a photo of this until quite recently.  She has talked about her serenading activity for as long as I can remember.  I don’t know why she didn’t mention this photo or show it to me.  I mentioned this to Papi and he said he couldn’t imagine why his old Buddiloo never showed me this photo.

“Of course,” he said, “back then we didn’t see photos as soon as we took them.  But I do remember seeing it once.  I titled it ‘Nature Girl.'”

“‘Nature Girl’?” I asked, “Why did you call it that?”

“Well,” he said, “it was around the same time that Nat King Cole’s song ‘Nature Boy’ was playing on the radio.  That was really exciting.  Radio was one of the rare conveniences that we had out in the country.  There certainly wasn’t any air conditioner, so when Buddiloo would practice her horn, she liked to go outside.  She played all kinds of songs, but the one that the cows liked best was ‘Nature Boy.’  And every time they showed up, they said the same thing.”

“Of course they did,” I said.  “Mama always said they would moo at her when they showed up and it made her laugh.”

“Yes, sometimes she could be a silly girl.  It’s what I love the most about her.  But those cows kept trying to tell her something and she never listened.  I, of course, listened to them attentively.  I am a cow whisperer,” he said with more than a little pride.

“So what was it that they said?” I asked. “Were they making requests for different songs?  Or maybe for a different instrument?  Like a trombone?   Surely not a clarinet?!”

“No, no, none of that,” he said with a scowl.  “I see you inherited more than a little bit of silliness from your mom.”

“Whatever,” I said, “Just tell me what the cows said.”

“Okay, but it would be better if I sang it for you.  Since ‘Nature Boy’ was the song that they were drawn to, I decided to put the message into my own words for the song,” he explained.  “I call it ‘Nature Girl,’ hence the title of the photo.  It goes like this.”

He then started singing the song with a haunting melody.  It really was quite moving.  Here are the words:

Nature Girl

There was a girl, a very sweet and charming girl.

She liked to play her baritone all alone in the fields each day.

Her monkey friend would give a grin.

When she’d start to play.

And then one morn, a magic morn she played that horn.

And all the cows they gathered round.  Stood their ground.

This they said to her:

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn

is grass tastes great, but when brown it can burn.”

After sitting a while stunned by his performance, I shook myself back to alertness and asked,”Wait, does that mean that brown grass burns in the stomach or that it can catch fire?”

“Silly boy,” he said, “what is hay?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said sheepishly.

“If there are still any doubts in your mind about the answer to your question,” he continued, “just mention the words ‘grass fire’ to a herd of cattle.  It’s the quickest way to start a stampede.  When they would say the same thing over and over to Buddiloo, there was always a look of fear in their eyes.

“Now if there are any more questions, they can wait.  Jacko and I are going to the other room to watch a movie.  You can join us if you like…as long as you bring popcorn.”  At that he was off.

So that, my friends, is the story of this week’s photo.  Straight from the monkey’s mouth.

Jacko’s Adventures – A Decade of Fun

Jacko's Adventures:  To The Faces and Beyond

The first book in the series of Jacko’s Adventures

Can it really be 10 years ago that Van and I started our Grand Adventures?  At least that’s what he told me.  I’m not good with the numbers or keeping track of time.  I do know that it’s been several munce since we went to see those Faces up in the North.  But if Van says it’s 10 years, I’ve gotta believe him.  He keeps track of stuff like that and I don’t really care if he is right or wrong.

All I know is that we had a lot of fun!  And that’s all that matters.  The cover of my first book (Jacko’s Adventures: To The Faces and Beyond) is one of my favorite photos.  I’m sitting on a giant’s foot in Tulsa, Minnesota or somewhere.  That foot is so big that it makes me look small.  But I’m not.  I’m just the same size as when I became.  I don’t look any older now, either.  The same can not be said of Van.

2006-06-08(17)Papi&MtRushmore3The other really good thing about that trip was that we came across a photo of my Papi at Rushmount.  I had told stories about Papi to Van for a while, but until we saw that picture of him in real life, I don’t think he believed anything I said.  It’s not like I lie like he does.  Everything I say is really real.  Because of this picture, we started moving to the point of reuniting with my old Papi.  He read about us in the book about our Adventures, sent off an email to see about getting together with us, and the rest is history.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  This post was supposed to be about our first Adventure and celebrating 10 years of fun.  So “Happy Anniversary” to us!  I’m feeling festive.  I think I’m going to go get Van to play the guitar so we can sing our fun little traveling songs.  “Yo! Ho!  Going on Adventures.  That’s what we like to do.”

Sock Monkeys in the Past

Hello!  Your friendly, charming sock monkey here.  Now we’re going to do something good for Throw Away Thursday. Van has been a bit serious and boring lately showing all those photos of serious dead people. None of them ever seem to be smiling. That’s not fun. And you want to know why? Just look at the photos – there’s not a sock monkey in sight! And everybody knows that sock monkeys bring joy wherever they go.

My Papi tells me about how excited Van used to be when he visited his grandma Murder and found him in the toy chest. (See second photo in this post.)  It was the highlight of the visit.


But this post is not about Van. It’s about sock monkeys bringing joy. I found a real old picture – probably a bunch of munce ago – and even though it is old, the humans are smiling. Why? Because a sock monkey is in the picture, that’s why! Case closed. This is Papi and his Bettilou back in the day.








Photo of Van with Papi in 1964.  See how happy he was?