Fun_People Archive
27 Aug
The Tragedy of Hemiola

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 96 11:58:04 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: The Tragedy of Hemiola

Forwarded-by: Lani Herrmann <lanih@bliss.SIMS.Berkeley.EDU>
Sender: Irish Traditional Music List <>
From: Zouki@AOL.COM

It may be of some limited interest to Irtrad listers to know that my uncle
Durward, who spent most of his life in Altoona PA, suffered many years from
a severe case of hemiola, which apparently he had contracted in the South
Pacific during WWII under circumstances he never discussed.

The classic "hemiola effect" - dorian verrucae, locrian phthisis, and
pronounced mixolydia around the ear-lobes - as I recall used to get
particularly severe around the beginning of October. I also recall Aunt
Gladys mixing Uncle Durward his favorite medicinal potion from three or four
little black bottles that we kids were never allowed to touch. After each
"infusion", his state of mind (if not necessarily his symptoms) would
improve markedly, a condition invariably indicated by his desire to sing
"Old Man River" while looking into the eyes of Aunt Gladys' favorite cat
Fluffens. We kids never tired of watching the show, even the follow-up part
where Aunt Gladys had to apply iodine to Uncle Durward's badly-scratched
face (Fluffens apparently hated either the song or the singing, although he
seemed pretty neutral about Uncle Durward at most other times.)

Uncle Durward passed away quietly at the age of 94, never having overcome
his hemiola. His obituary in the "Altoona Times-Observer" mentioned that in
lieu of flowers, donations to the local branch of the National Hemiola
Sufferers' Society could be made in his name.

Just thought I'd pass this along before everbody got caught up in long
learned threads. Thanks, Janice, for helping revive an almost faded memory
of a beloved relative.

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