Monday, December 05, 2011

MARIAH - Some Call the Wind

Strong windy weather is happening where I live. Racing through the mountain passes and canyons tonight, and the next two nights, are predicted 40-50 mph winds arriving in my area about 2 A.M. -- much weaker than earlier winds. We can expect continuing winds for another week. Due to the drying nature of these winds wild fires persist in being a significant dangerous risk.

I’m being reminded of “Mariah,” or “They Call the Wind Maria,” composed by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe as the song was titled for “Paint Your Wagon,” a 1951 Broadway musical, later a 1969 film.

Singer, orchestra leader, Vaughn Monroe offers his “Mariah” version.

Incidentally, I recall Vaughn Monroe making a guest appearance on the ‘50’s-‘60’s television talk show with which I was associated. He was exceptionally nice and impressed me even further when he spent time after the show providing counsel to a young “girl singer” -- as female vocalists were referred to then. She had arrived from a nearby small town to audition with our Quintet a few weeks earlier, impressing all of us with her vocal talent. Coincidentally, her name was “Marie” (I’ve forgotten her last name.) With the help of music world contacts, including through our show’s host, she relocated to successfully and regularly perform in Chicago clubs. She surprised me with a visit when she returned home a few years later, having chosen for the time being to leave the music business and start a family. We lost touch but I've often wondered how her future unfolded.

On with my present personal windy saga.....
Batten down the hatches, shutter the windows, tie down loose ends has recently become the mantra for those of us living in Southern California’s Los Angeles area. We’re accustomed to what we know as Santa Ana Winds this time of year, but they’ve taken on high velocity ferocity this season. Hurricane strength winds (75 mph to 150 mph) without the rain have been gusting through our valleys. Thousands of homes and businesses are still without power they lost five days ago.

Uprooted trees have fallen into the streets, crashed on to houses, crushed cars, coupled with felled power poles and lines generally wrecking havoc. Traffic lights at major intersections ceased to flash. Some businesses had generators for backup power. Others had to close or were forced to conduct business using old-fashioned mathematics with hand-held battery powered devices, or simple paper and pen to compute sales and make change.

Here’s Frankie Laine, reported to have been in his eighties when he sang this Mariah rendition.

My personal wind experience began last Wednesday night with weather alerts we could expect some strong winds in the mornings wee hours. I became sleepy so retired unusually early, but recall being awakened around 1 A.M. to rushing wind sounds outside my bedroom window. Knowing there was little to be done, I went back to sleep.

Thursday morning when I finally left the comfort of my warm bed I encountered unusually cold air and discovered a household power outage had rendered my furnace impotent. I determined to save my cell phone battery since my land line was still operative. The following hours of news on my battery powered radio increasingly revealed the wind’s widespread damaging effects.

Only small branches had blown into my front yard, which I was able to gather for placement in my green recycle bin. I had a good-natured laugh at myself when I discovered I'd need to wait for power to get the bin because I forgot the procedure for raising the garage door when there’s no electricity. Even more ridiculous, I couldn’t locate the instruction book I received when I had the door installed only a few years ago. I did have the key to the back door into the garage, but I didn’t want to drag the bin into the backyard, around to the front, then back again. Later in the afternoon when I still had no power I phoned the electric company. A recorded message for my area stated electric service was not expected until Friday’s early hours.

I was able to keep appointments Thursday, so could see for myself on nearby streets trees down, one's upper branches barely missing a house. After learning power was on south of famed Route 66 in our city I decided to attend a movie downtown in the late afternoon. The movie theater auditorium was much colder than I had hoped, but “Descendants” film setting in the sunny warm-appearing Hawaiian scenes allowed me to partly suspend reality. I was disappointed when I returned home to find the power still off. Just as I was readying to treat myself to a hot dinner out, the lights came on.

This whole experience has provided me an emergency dry run using some items from what I had always thought of as being for earthquake preparedness. I think I want a solar powered battery charger because we had sun, and little wind during the day.

Eddie Fisher’s “Mariah” is quite enjoyable I think, though he was never one of my favored male vocalists – or “boy singers.”

I don't hear any wind outside, but those gusts come suddenly and seemingly from nowhere. I’ll write here again – if I haven’t blown away!


  1. 'They Call The Wind Mariah'.....I love that song. We had some of that gusty weather (almost tornado-like) here in IL a couple of days ago. It started late in the evening, continued all night and into the next day. I hate when it gets really gusty because I anticipate power outages; and I haven't been very lucky with those is several storms this year. But to my surprise...I was spared. However, there were several areas in these northern suburbs of Chicago that weren't.

    As much as I dread the outcome of those winds...I still love to listen to it when I'm warm and cozy in my bed. I've always loved listening to the wind. Good luck JoAnn...and don't blow away sweetie... ~Joy

  2. I certainly hope you suffer no ill effects from the high winds!!

    I remember Vaughan Monroe and "Ghost Riders in the Sky"; one of my favorites when I was a child.

  3. Joy: All is well here. I expect in the "Windy City" you're more accustomed to the high velocity cold wind gusts than we are. Our Santa Ana winds are usually hot wind bursts off the desert, downing trees and tearing off my roof's shingles. Yes, the wind sounds and most fierce weather conditions are exciting to experience -- unless they disrupt our lives. Some residences, though not in my community, are still without power -- 6 days later. Initially, Pasadena -- home of the Rose Parade -- reaped much damage.

    Kenju: My experience was mostly just the inconvenience of about 18 hours power outage, then needing to clear some small tree branches blown from other yards. Knowing what cold weather really feels like I was merely uncomfortable with my indoor temperature between 50-60 degrees which would be considered a nice winter day in colder climes. Food survived well since I opened the refrigerator only twice briefly and didn't access the freezer section at all.

    The predicted continuation of high, but lower velocity wind gusts, didn't materialize in my city though they did in other areas. Red flag fire alerts persist due to dryness as is usually true in the Fall whether temperatures are hot or cold.

    "Ghost Riders..." is the song I most associate with Vaughn Monroe, too, -- that and his theme music, "Racing with the Moon."

  4. I also was not much of an Eddie Fischer fan. But had he done a few more numbers as well as this "Mariah," he would have moved up several notches on my favorites list.

  5. Trip down memory lane. We had the Vaughn Monroe version at our house. Thanks for the memories. Dianne