Author Rickey Pittman, who has published numerous children’s books and produced music CDs, visited MVC on Wednesday, March 7, to tell stories about the South and sing folk songs and ballads. He referred to himself as “the Bard of the South.”
His first appearance on campus was at the Murrell Memorial Library, where his enthusiastic audience included more than 100 children from Marshall elementary schools. Saying he is a Scotsman born in Dallas, Texas, and now residing in Monroe, Louisiana, he added, “I am a story-teller, a folk singer, a teller of mysteries and tales.” His second presentation was in the evening at the R. Wilson Brown room. He also spoke to English classes.
For the children, he sang “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Sweet Molly Malone,” “Eating Goober Peas,” and other songs. During the “Goober peas” song, two fourth-grade girls, who he referred to as “Gooberettes” danced on stage.
In another part of his presentation, three boys served as models as he dressed them in hats and jackets that Civil War era soldiers wore.
MVC students Flannery Crump and Tessa Belcher, in separate presentations, showed the use of fans as Pittman explained the “language of the fans.” Pittman said ladies’ fans were “the text-messaging of the day.” Pittman also showed a “courting” candle and other historical items, and played the guitar as he sang songs, including ones he’d composed.
In the last song for the children’s audience, he sang, “How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough? Is forever enough?”
For the evening program, Pittman said he made 150 presentations last year. “It’s the Viking in my blood that makes me want to go out and pillage and conquer,” he joked. He said he liked telling stories about the Civil War which “changed everything in Missouri.” At MVC, it was the first time he said he sang in public a song he’d composed about outlaws Frank and Jesse James. The song mentions Missouri.
Pittman told the story of one of his children’s books “Jim Limber Davis, A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House” about a
black child who was adopted by Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his wife. Pittman’s books range from “The Irish Alphabet” and “Scottish Alphabet” to short historical stories about the South for adult readers.
(Photos by David L. Roberts)