Today’s song is ‘Take Me Home Country Road’. This song, also known as ‘Take Me Home’ or ‘Country Roads’ was written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert and John Denver about the beauty of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It was released as a single performed by Denver on April 12, 1971, peaking at Number 2 on ‘Billboard Hot 100’ singles for the week ending August 28, 1971.
The song was a success on its initial release and was certified Gold by the RIAA on August 18, 1971, and Platinum on April 10, 2017. The song became one of John Denver's most popular and beloved songs. It has continued to sell, with over 1.5 million digital copies sold in the United States. It is considered to be Denver's signature song.
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" received an enthusiastic response from West Virginians. The song is the theme song of ‘West Virginia University’ and it has been performed during every home football pregame show since 1972.
Whoever we are, when we are away from home, wherever we are, 'home' will always remain at the heart of us. I was born in Southern Ireland in 1942, and like every other person who was born in Ireland and who no longer lives there, we are always planning and talking about ‘going home again’. I have heard this kind of talk all my life from men and women who left the Emerald Isle and migrated to another country for a better life, but each demonstrate through their many references to ‘their homeland’ that Ireland has never left them. However long it has been since any of us left Ireland to live elsewhere, Ireland still lives on in all of us.
And so, it is with all our motherlands. No flag will ever fly higher than the one under which we were born. I well recall back in 2005 when I received the M.B.E. from Queen Elizabeth for my services to the West Yorkshire Community, my initial response at the time (being more Republican in my view than Royalist) was to consider turning it down. On the advice of my good friend, the television gardener, Geoffrey Smith (now deceased), I reconsidered and accepted the award on behalf of the many hundreds of good people who had helped me in my efforts to help others. There was also a voice at the back of my head, that told me that I might have been betraying the ‘Irish Cause’ (the reunification of the north and south as one Ireland), by accepting any medal from an English Queen.
Then, I thought about all the good things that England had given me and my six siblings since my parents and their three children at the time migrated here in 1946 when I was aged 4 years. In terms of education, accommodation, employment, pension and health benefits, England had served all the Forde family well. England gave the Forde family safety and security, and I would not be alive today without all the skill of the invaluable medical help I’ve received since childhood. Throughout my 77 years of life, English hospitals, consultants, surgeons, doctors and medical workers have literally saved my life on seven or eight occasions.
And yet, there shall always remain in my heart the knowledge and feeling that I am Irish. Not that I would ever be offered a knighthood, but if I was, I would be instantly reminded of the country of my birth and refuse. That is why any Irish man who is not a naturalised English man can never be called ‘Sir’ even when he is bestowed as a Knight of the Realm. Seemingly, the Knighthood is purely ‘honorary’ if the recipient is not naturalised as being English.
When we eventually Brexit from Europe, even though I have lived in England for 73 years (with the exception of two years between 1964-66, when I lived in Canada), I will be classed as being no different than any current migrant in this country as I have never been naturalised here. If the Government of the day chooses to send back all migrants who are not naturalised (which I do not believe for one moment that they will), I shall be among the returned packages from these shores. I have had 73 years in which I could have been naturalised had my parents or myself chosen to take that course. The reason I have never been naturalised here is because I was born an Irish citizen and shall die an Irish citizen.
Come next spring, and if my health permits, Sheila and I will travel around Ireland for the better part of three weeks. I always have this inner desire within me to travel the country roads back home once more. A trip back to Ireland for me represents much more than a holiday break. It brings me ‘sanctuary’ of mind, body and soul, along with a renewed sense of ‘belonging’ in the breast of one’s motherland.
I jointly dedicate my song today to my Facebook friend, Donna Winstanley, who lives in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire: my Facebook friend, Elaine Pollard Clickner, from Moberly, Missouri: my sister-in-law, Linda Forde’s deceased mother, Mavis Gamble, who lived in Perth, Western Australia. All three ladies celebrate their birthday today. Had Mavis lived, she would have been 88 years of age. I hope they celebrate birthdays in heaven.
Donna and Elaine, thank you for being my Facebook friends. I hope that your birthdays are filled with much happiness and love, and that you both leave enough room for lots of cake and suitable refreshments. Have a smashing day. Love Bill xx
Love and peace Bill xxx