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I missed the news last week that a firm in the Netherlands had purchased the rights to the Rodgers & Hammerstein songbook. Funny to think, isn’t it, that the Dutch now own these musicals? “Amsterdam, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the dikes.” Or that great musical North Atlantic—to say nothing of Het Geluid van Muziek, Carrousel, and De Koning en I.

I’m waiting for them to buy up the Carter Family catalogue, as well. Just think Jimmy Brown the Newsboy in Dutch: My father was a drunkard, sir / I’ve heard my mother say. / But I am helping mother out / As I journey on my way.

Or, given my co-blogger Sally Thomas’ extraordinarily sad essay about a son’s participation in his mother’s euthanasia—“Shadows in Amsterdam” in the current issue of First Things—maybe the song should be the Carter Family’s funeral classic Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

I was standing by my window
On one cold and cloudy day,
And I saw the hearse come rolling
For to carry my mother away.

Will the circle be unbroken?
Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye.
There’s a better home a-waiting
In the sky, Lord, in the sky.

Oh, I told the undertaker:
Undertaker, please drive slow,
For this body you are hauling
How I hate to see her go.

Rating: 82 out of 100.

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