Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Why is there an ox on the roof?
Many people have asked about my alias, so here is the story.
Le Bouef sur le Toit (The Ox on the Roof) is a 1920's French ballet written by the composer Darius Milhaud. When I was working in the music library at the University of Memphis almost ten years ago, I wanted to register for a Geocities webpage but couldn't come up with a username that wasn't already taken. I looked over at a stack of books I was processing and there it was - a hardback entitled The Ox on the Roof by James Harding. I typed in the title and amazingly enough, it was available. :-)
After using this moniker for a while, I discovered the inspiration behind Milhaud's choice of title. It turned out to be pretty funny! The story goes that there was some guy living in Paris in the 1920's who had TONS of junky yard ornaments, all around (and even on top of) his house. His neighbors got a petition together to make him remove all the junk. It is said that by the time the French legislators got around to doing something about it, an iron calf up on the roof had grown to be an OX!
Strangely enough, I didn't remember until years later that I own a book containing a chapter by that same name - Laura Ingalls Wilder's On the Banks of Plum Creek. (Laura's Ma had to chase an ox off the roof of their sod house.)