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Finding your Perfect Summer Time Event

The Cheese Stands Alone

Out of the Vault

The cheese stands alone.

The cheese stands alone.

The cheese stands alone.

Hi-ho, the Derry-o.

The cheese stands alone.

This childhood song stays prominent in my head. Going round and round.  Most summers I’d be on the shores of Lake Tahoe wondering if the wind would be picking up this afternoon. One summer, I was in my mother’s old Kansas farmhouse.  We were helping her make sure she has everything that she wanted in her nursing home.  It was a sad day for my siblings and myself, but we also shared memories in the place many of us spent at least 18 years in this farm home. I had made it a common stop-off place for my two global nomads. It seems Kansas is always on the way when you are traveling from Indonesia, Thailand, or Nigeria to the USA.

That summer, I wrote this about my mother’s home.

As I lean in to clean the refrigerator a random or isolated slice of individually wrapped cheese sits in the fruit and vegetable crisper. The cheese stands alone.

We have not had cheese on this summer visit to Kansas, so that means the cheese is at least six months old if not older. Why a lonely piece of cheese is here, I will never know.   Did someone in my family think processed cheese is a vegetable? Surely, they knew it was not fruit! Did some hamburger go naked because someone randomly threw in groceries and forgot where they put the cheese? I wish these thoughts would be going through my head, but no…it is the song “the cheese stands alone.”

I wonder if this how old people feel like as their pocket of friends die out. Do they feel like they are standing in the wrong place? Do they wonder how they got so left out and isolated?  Was there a cheese party and they were not invited to it?

I often have seen expats feel this way. They moved away from their pocket of friends. A great friend relocates, and it seems as if this friend has died. Was there a cheese party and they were not invited to it?

Even as a serial expat, I decided not to become ‘the lonely cheese.’

I will surround myself with other people so we can continue to move through life and enjoy each day.  Even if I am cleaning out a refrigerator and singing  “The cheese stands alone,” in isolation, I know soon I will be with family and friends and not alone.

Children’s lyrics and music can be found here if you are not familiar with this song.

There is a process unique in organic chemistry, whereby dairy products never actually expire; they simply become more expensive milk products. So:

milk > buttermilk > yogurt > sour cream > cottage cheese > cheese > more expensive cheese

Interesting!  This seems like a good way to view serial expats – we start out interesting and only get more and more interesting and complex.


Like most children’s songs, there are geographic variations.

In the UK, it is the “Farmer in his Den. The progression is farmer, wife, child, nurse, dog and ends with the bone.

The Romanian version has a farmer in the field that has a child with a nurse. The nurse has a cat. Cat catches a mouse. Mouse eats cheese. The cheese was in a cask, and the cask is in the garbage. Then the farmer gets to choose which cask he/she wants. (I hope farmers can be either gender.)

In Thailand – same tune but a different story. The three verses roughly translate to “Why does the frog have a stomach ache? Why does the frog have a stomach ache? Because he has been eating wet rice. Why is the rice wet? Why is the rice wet? Because it has been raining. Why has it been raining? Why has it been raining?, Because the frog has been croaking.”

If you have a unique version of this childhood song, please let me know. 


Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/westm/4744190890/

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