Snowbirds from Maine to Minne-snow-ta to Alberta have begun showing up at our local chamber of commerce on their journey south to balmy weather in their favorite Arizona winter residences.
On my regular Thursday morning volunteer shift at the chamber, I’ve already spoken with dozens of retirees who are making their annual journey to the warmer lands of Tonto Basin, Yuma, Tucson and the greater Phoenix area. And who can blame them for wanting to escape the harsh winter climate of the upper regions of North America.
But humans aren’t the only creatures who have been traveling down the map lately. The real snowbirds have been descending onto Payson in droves the last couple of weeks. The adult American bald eagle and juvenile eagle have both returned to their winter homes at Green Valley Park, along with a number of other waterfowl. I’ve recently counted upwards of three dozen American coots and widgens and a couple of ring necks and mergansers, just to name a few.
Yet to arrive — though and it should be any day now — will be nearly 200 honkin’, poopin’-all-over-the-sidewalks Canada geese. They will join the nearly two-dozen geese that apparently missed the bus last March back to their summer homes in the northern states and Canada.
We are truly blessed, aren’t we, here in Payson to be able to share our community with all of these beautiful snowbirds?
If you haven’t been down to our beautiful park at the end of West Main Street lately, you may want to consider taking a leisurely, late afternoon stroll around the lake. You’ll see brilliant late-fall colors, beautiful waterfowl and maybe even catch a glimpse of one of the majestic bald eagles circling the lake, dive-bombing into the lake, sinking its razor-like talons into an unsuspecting trout, and then flying off with it to enjoy its evening meal.
This week’s question
You may remember the song “Snowbird,” which debuted in the summer of 1970 and peaked as a Top-10 hit on both the pop and country charts. The beautiful ballad began with these lyrics:
Beneath this snowy mantle cold and clean
The unborn grass lies waiting
For its coat to turn to green
The snowbird sings the song he always sings
And speaks to me of flowers
That will bloom again in spring
This week’s question is — who was the Canadian-born artist whose debut song “Snowbird” became an instant hit?
As a child in Nova Scotia, music was always one of this crossover artist’s hobbies. She built her musical influences from the pop sounds that her parents listened to (Rosemary Clooney and Perry Como) and the Top 40 sounds that AM New York radio stations piped into Canada (Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and Brenda Lee).
After graduating from college and teaching high school physical education for two years, she was invited to sing on the Canadian television show, “Let’s Go!”
In 1968, she began her professional recording career and after her breakout single “Snowbird” and she moved to California to become a regular on Glen Campbell’s syndicated television show. However, she didn’t like the California lifestyle and she quickly returned to Canada.
Her 1974 song “He Still Thinks I Still Care” (an answer song to George Jones “She Thinks I Still Care”) became this artist’s first No. 1 hit and propelled her to stardom.
Over the course of the her lengthy recording career, she would chart 32 songs on Billboard’s pop chart and 54 on its country chart, with 10 songs reaching No. 1, including “You Needed Me,” which peaked at the top spot on both charts.
Some of this artist’s most popular songs were “Danny’s Song,” “I Just Fall in Love Again” and “Could I Have This Dance” — an often requested wedding song.
Is this “Snowbird” artist A) Olivia Newton-John; B) Anne Murray; C) Shania Twain; or D) Dolly Parton?
If you are caller number five and have the correct answer, you’ll win a CD of this artist’s greatest hit. Good luck!
Last week’s question
Last week’s question asked if you could name the singer who in June of 1974 scored a No. 1 hit with his song “Band on the Run.”
Born in England on June 18, 1942, this musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer gained worldwide fame as a member of a fab-four British quartet. His songwriting was one of the most celebrated of the 20th century. After the band’s break-up in 1970, he pursued a solo career, then later forming the band, Wings, with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine. More than 2,200 artists have covered his song “Yesterday,” more than any other song in history.
The choices were A) Paul McCartney; B) Ringo Starr; C) John Lennon; and D) George Harrison.
The correct answer was Paul McCartney. As you may guess, each of the other choices were also members of the Beatles.
There were a number of callers who had the right answer, but, because of their schedules, none had the opportunity to use last week’s prize, which was two tickets to last Friday evening’s TCCA Sonic Escape concert. (Which, by the way, was another hand-clappin’, foot-stompin’ good time.)
Have a great Rim Country week!
DJ Craig, (928) 468-1482
Web site: www.djcraiginpayson.com