Friday, September 07, 2007



We walked after dark tonight and for the first time in a long time, there was no rain and the sky was clear of clouds. Our path took us past our community to a dark meadow near a small creek and it was there that the stars jumped out at us. There's been so much rain here in the hill country that we haven't seen stars for a long time. I had forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful they could be on a clear, dark night! The Big Dipper was just overhead, positioned as if to pour its contents down on us. Off in the trees along the creek, two fireflies blinked off and on as clear and bright as if turning a light off and on. These were different from the ones we had earlier this year: not a cloud of them as before but their light was bigger, stronger, clearer.

On the way home I found myself singing, "The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas." Back in my grade school days every child of Texas learned that song. I found myself wanting to know more about the song. If you do, too, read on (lyrics are at the end):


This 1941 song features lyrics by June Hershey and music by Don Swander. The song was first recorded by Perry Como with Ted Weems and His Orchestra on December 9, 1941 for Decca Records. It spent five weeks at the top of Your Hit Parade in 1942.

The song was also recorded by Bing Crosby in 1949. That version reached #3 on the Billboard charts that year. Other famous artists to record the song include Ray Charles, Hank Thompson, Bob Grant, George Strait and Nickel Creek. The University of Texas Longhorn Band performs the song during each football pregame, and the Texas Christian University Horned Frog Marching Band performs an arrangement during each pregame also. Fans sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" followed by "Deep In the Heart of Texas" during the 7th inning stretch of Houston Astros baseball games.


The song's title was borrowed for a 1942 western film starring Johnny Mack Brown as a man instrumental in restoring Texas to the United States following the Civil War. It featured Tex Ritter singing the title song. Gene Autry sang the song in "Heart of the Rio Grande" in 1942. His version may be the most well known.


The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas, The prairie sky is wide and high, deep in the heart of Texas. The sage in bloom is like perfume, deep in the heart of Texas, Reminds me of, the one I love, deep in the heart of Texas.

The coyotes wail, along the trail, deep in the heart of Texas, The rabbits rush, around the brush, deep in the heart of Texas. The cowboys cry, "Ki-yip-pee-yi," deep in the heart of Texas, The dogies bawl, and bawl and bawl, deep in the heart of Texas.

We didn't see any rabbits rushing but we did flush out a white-tailed deer ahead that showed his "white flag" as he scrambled ahead of us.

Photo by Ben Borkowski

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