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The musical version of Eudora Welty’s Shoe Bird is fantastic.  Buy it now!  My mother and I listened to it over the weekend.  We intended to just sample and come back later, but like a good box of chocolates, we soon realized we’d consumed the whole thing.   You should also buy the book, of course, but the musical is just delightful. 

You would especially enjoy sharing it with children.  This is Welty’s only children’s book.  But you don’t have to be a child to love it.  My mother and I had a fine time with it.

If there isn’t an animated film made from this, I’ll be highly disappointed.

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Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Halley Came to Jackson” is based on a tale about Halley’s comet in Welty’s One Writer’s Beginnings.

The lyrics:

Late one night when the wind was still
Daddy brought the baby to the window sill
To see a bit of heaven shoot across the sky
The one and only time Daddy saw it fly

It came from the east just as bright as a torch
The neighbors had a party on their porch
Daddy rocked the baby, Mother said “amen”
When Halley came to visit in nineteen ten

Now back then Jackson was a real small town
And it’s not every night a comet comes around
It was almost eighty years since its last time through
So I bet your mother would’ve said “amen” too

As its tail stretched out like a stardust streak
The papers wrote about it every day for a week
They wondered where it’s going and where it’s been
When Halley came to Jackson in 1910

Now Daddy told the baby sleeping in his arms
To dream a little dream of a comet’s charms
And he made a little wish as she slept so sound
In nineteen eighty-six that wish came ’round

It came from the east, just as bright as a torch
She saw it in the sky from her daddy’s porch
As heavenly sent as it was back then
When Halley came to Jackson in nineteen ten
Late one night when the wind was still
She’s also published “Halley Came to Jackson” as a children’s book.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kate Campbell, and other artists will be in Jackson on April 17 as part of the Southern Literary Festival and the Welty centennial celebrations.

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