Sunday, January 4, 2015


A few mornings ago I awakened thinking about yodeling. My first thought was, "Why yodeling?" I don't know about you, but I associate yodeling with the Swiss. One of Mom's cousins was a good yodeler and Mom could yodel some. I deduced that it was their Swiss ancestry from the Mauderly's and Romang's showing up in their DNA.

Then I read the Wikipedia entry on yodeling which states that it is thought yodeling was introduced in the United States by German immigrants in Pennsylvania in the early 1800's. Aha, so not only the Mauderly's and Romang's are involved, but so are the Ridnour's.

Eventually yodeling made its way into popular music. By the 1930's and 40's yodeling was prevalent in both folk music and country western. Gene Autry and Roy Rogers both included yodeling in the songs they sang on their T.V. shows - which is probably what I remember best about yodeling. It was perhaps even the catalyst for my Mom demonstrating that she could yodel - after seeing me trying to yodel after watching an episode of Roy Rogers. Possibly the one where he sang The Cowboy Night Herd song.  My favorite, though, was Eddie Arnold singing/yodeling his signature song Cattle Call. 
The most surprising yodeler I learned about while reading the Wikipedia entry was my Rock and Roll hero, Bill Haley. Yes, that Bill Haley of Rock Around the Clock. 

In addition to yodeling, my Mom could also strum the guitar. She told me she could only chord, and while her guitar was up in the attic, I never saw her play it or even hold it. I don't know why she never brought it down nor what happened to it. In this photo of Mom (Ruth Ridnour on the right), her sister, Lois, is holding a guitar. Their cousins, Harris (mandolin) and Carroll (guitar) Robison are the boys pictured with them.

Cleo Inman McCuen was the yodeling cousin of Mom's I mentioned in the first paragraph. Cleo's mother, Lottie Ridnour Inman and Mom's father, Joe Ridnour, were brother and sister. When Cleo died four years ago, so many of the celebration wall messages remarked about her yodeling. For example: "We first met Cleo at the Woodburn Dance. Cleo was asked to sing and she got up and yodeled. What a hit she was there." And this one: "We had such a good time entertaining at the meal sites, nursing homes, Adams County Fair and jams. She was always joyful and laughing and yodeling away." I personally only saw Cleo perform once and that was at the county fair. Boy, could she yodel.

It makes me wonder if Mom might have been as good if she had practiced and continued to yodel.

Oh-di-lay-ay, di-lay-dee-oh, de-lay-ee.....

1 comment:

  1. I love that picture of Grandma, Lois & the boy cousins SO MUCH. Lois looks like a right hellraiser, and Grandma looks like another, prettier kind of trouble. She's so delicate, but that look in her eyes says, "Don't cross me!"