Essay On A Picnic In The Woods

Elizabeth Shippen Green, 1906.

In 1932, an Irish popular songwriter named Jimmy Kennedy penned one of the most sinister sets of lyrics ever composed. Kennedy—who had already had Tin Pan Alley success with numbers like “Barmaids Song” and “Red Sails in the Sunset.” Later, he would go to write “Isle of Capri” and “My Prayer.” But to the contemporary ear, perhaps none of his compositions is as memorable as that terrifying song he set to John Walter Bratton’s 1907 two-step.

I refer, of course, to “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.”

The original tune (portions of which are a blatant rip off of the “Death or Glory March”) is chilling enough: the ominous, minor-key lead-in, the burst of forced major jollity come chorus—but Kennedy took it to a whole new level. One can only assume the wild popularity of the teddy bear served as muse, although Kennedy lived in Somerset, and is said to have been inspired by a local grove. Well, that grove must have been terrifying. 

If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You’d better go in disguise!

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain,
Because today’s the day the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears

Every Teddy Bear who’s been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play.

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
‘Cause that’s the way the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears.

If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better not go alone!
It’s lovely down in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home!

For ev’ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them frolic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears.

The whole thing has the air of something made up to scare children, by someone who doesn’t understand children: don’t go out alone! Mind your parents! Only good little bears get to go! But beyond the song’s cheap moralizing, there are mixed messages: if you do go, you’ll see something secret and awesome.

And sinister, of course. Not only is the listener urged to disguise himself like a creepy peeping tom, but there are consequences if discovered: one senses that the gay gadding has something of the forbidden rite about it. Like Masons, the teddy bears guard their secrets closely—and will punish any spies in their midst. The picnic sounds less innocent playtime than Secret History–style bacchanal, with a dash of Wicker Man into the bargain. Your terrible teddy-bear suit will provide no protection; they will sniff you out, tar you with hunny, shout and howl and stare out of their horrible blank button eyes. And there will be no one to hear your screams.

Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review, and the Daily’s correspondent.

As Jens was away for work during my birthday, we had a mini celebration of sorts during the weekend and I specially requested for a picnic outdoors. It was so nice that Jens did everything he could to make the weekend special.

The morning started off with the typical Swedish birthday tradition of breakfast in bed and a Swedish birthday song. In case you are wondering how the Swedish birthday song sounds like, here is a video you can watch since Jens didn’t allow me to record his singing, hahaha! A short translation of the song is that you are wishing the person to live to a hundred years.

Jens then prepared the picnic food he bought the day before. Got to give him extra brownie points for going supermarket shopping on his own while I was out and putting together a typical picnic meal.

We then took out the Key Lime Cheesecake we baked together the night before for some photos. We were so happy that it was a success and really close to the Cheesecake Factory’s version which we always order whenever we ate there.

Jens also picked out an unconventional friend for me which he describes as “more practical than flowers”. So now I have a new touch-me-not plant whom I have since randomly named Tamagotchi because of one of our conversations.

We headed out to this nice picnic spot that Jens found near our apartment. I don’t quite know how to describe the place but it is a place where people can run/hike/cycle, it is also near the water where you can sunbathe/swim during summer, animals do graze the fields at times and it is also a good place for camping.

I was so amused by these step ladders we had to climb over because we don’t see such things in Singapore but they were put in place to prevent the animals from crossing certain boundaries.

We wondered around the area a bit before settling at a wooden table and bench which was near this campfire area. I can already imagine how lovely it would be to have a BBQ out here in the summer. We had a lovely meal of sandwiches, cheesecake, biscuits and saft (the swedish version of cordial/squash).

We took turns to take photos after we were done eating and our favourite spot was this huge fallen oak tree. Sometimes I find myself having to stop and take it all in that this IS where I live now. I truly wish that everyone at home would be able to make a trip here at least once so that we can enjoy the beauty of Sweden together.

We also climbed a tree for fun and it was hilarious trying to get down. It was almost as if we were doing a team building challenge no one asked us to do.

Before we left, I plucked some vitsippa (a Spring flower) which sadly wilted on our way home because it is really fragile. It is really nice though that the grass patches are littered with these white flowers now and it makes me happy just looking at them.

Thank you Jens for everything. Till the next time!

Like this:

LikeLoading...

Related

Food, Nature

Birthday, Picnic

0 Thoughts to “Essay On A Picnic In The Woods

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *