The Musical Interpretations of Six-Year-Olds

As the kids age, I find myself getting sentimental remembering their younger years. As I dropped them off at middle school the other day, I remembered the following anecdote from their early elementary school days. It made me smile, so I thought I’d share it here.

When they were young, before they became tyrants over the music played in the car, I played a wide variety of music—generally, whatever I was last playing on my Ipad or Ipod for my personal enjoyment. One morning when the kids were in kindergarten, I played the song Man of La Mancha (also known as I, Don Quixote) from the Broadway musical, Man of La Mancha. To my delight, they absolutely loved the song and made me repeat it over and over again during the drive to school and on the drive home that afternoon.

The next morning, Keaton got in the car and immediately piped up, “Mommy, will you play that Honky Donky song?” Nate and Eva both agreed, screaming out, “Yeah, we wanna hear the Honky Donky song!” I had no idea what they were talking about. Honky Donky? Evidently not impressed with my speed of response, Keaton said, “You know, the one you played yesterday that goes like this: ‘I am I Honky Donky dah dah dah dee dah dah duh.’” Ah! Light bulb clicked on in my head! “Oh,” I said, “you mean the Man of La Mancha.”

I tried to explain it was not “Honky Donky,” but instead “Don Quixote,” but I failed to get through to the munchkins, as evidenced by Keaton’s perplexed, “That’s what we said, Mommy—‘Honky Donky.’” Meanwhile, the other two nodded vigorously from their backseats. “Yeah, Honky Donky, Mommy.” So, for the next 6 months in which they were enthralled with the song, they listened to it repeatedly and sang it as “I am I, Honky Donky, the Lord of La Mancha, my destiny calls and I go . . . .” And that’s how we rolled!

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