Cracker Jack Cure/The Dutchman

from A Limited Release Retrospective

Crackerjack Cure/ The Dutchman

By: Chandler, Rockstroh/Michael Smith click here

The Dutchman's not the kind of man

To keep his thumb jammed in the dam

That holds his dreams in

But that's a secret only Margaret knows

When Amsterdam is golden in the morning

Margaret brings him breakfast

She believes him

He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow

He's mad as he can be but Margaret only sees that sometimes

Sometimes she sees her unborn children in his eyes

What did we dream of when we dreamed of sea monkeys?

I remember thinking of the magic worlds that would unfold like the pages of Aqua-man and Nemour form Atlantis as I clipped the order form for the miraculous looking beasts from the pages of a comic book.

But is that the same thing I wanted as I emptied entire boxes of Sugar Smacks and Apple Jacks into a large salad bowl in search of a prize at the bottom.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean

Where the walls rise above the Zuiderzee

Long ago, I used to be a young man

And dear Margaret remembers that for me

I remember filling out the order form for the Cap'n Crunch Treasure Chest and camping out by the mailbox until it arrived. Only, it never did. I remember searching in the bushes and in the drainage pipe that ran beneath the drive way clinging to hope. After 6 weeks my father — not the kind of man to normally contact a corporation to complain - finally did so. They promptly replied that they had too many orders and that the Treasure Chest would arrive soon — restoring my hope — Hope for a Treasure Chest that never would arrive.

But I did finally get my prize

I remember being at the Circus with my very first box of Cracker Jacks while sequined beauties flew through the air— flipping somersaults with no nets and exotic animals leapt through rings of fire as I searched for MY prize. I missed it all. But I did get MY prize...

And while attaching the temporary tattoo of a butterfly to my arm I was oblivious of the magician that released an entire flock of live butterflies from his vest pocket.

The Dutchman still wears wooden shoes

His cap and coat are patched with love

That Margaret sewed in

Sometimes he thinks he's still in Rotterdam

He watches tugboats down canals

And calls out to them when he thinks he knows the Captain

'Til Margaret comes to take him home again

Through unforgiving streets

That trip him though she holds his arm

Sometimes he thinks that he's alone and calls her name

What was it I wanted  

What I wanted was a world where all was possible, I was dreaming of the visitation of angels

Like the Greeks who stared out across the horizon and dreamed of and believed in a land of Monitors and one eyed giants and islands of sirens existed just over there — just beyond where anyone could get to.

Why do our gargoyles come from outer-space now?

We as children thumbed through and beyond the pages of our own Cartoon Universes to a world of black and white ads — each containing there own mysteries: mysteries of decoder rings, air powered pellet guns, green glowing stalactites and the most mysterious of all sea monkeys.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean

Where the walls rise above the Zuiderzee

Long ago, I used to be a young man

I realize I haven't changed one bit

And dear Margaret remembers that for me

as I search for a prize contained in the Caramelized pages of a catalogue boasting of an adult prize adornments for our corporate Camelot steering us towards some Cracker Jack Cure but nothing leaves us as fulfilled as I as I ripped open the brightly colored package with images of sea monkeys waving to me as they swam by. I ripped open that package and dumped the contents into a gold fish bowl and watched breathlessly as two Brine Shrimp Larva made there most un-sea-monkey-like decent to the bottom sink lifelessly to the bottom.

But still I think I must be missing something for I am still searching through catalogues clinging to hope. I can't help but feel that somewhere out there there must be that elusive Catalogue — I search through Catalogues of Catalogues — now electronic catalogues broad band internet e bay catalogues.

I log on to where I can order Cracker Jack boxes from all over the world and I can dig threw mountains of stale Carmel popcorn reliving over and over again my first Cracker Jack Prize as I stare at the computer monitor — still missing the circus.

The windmills whirl the winter in

She winds his muffler tighter,

They sit in the kitchen

Some tea with whiskey keeps away the dew

He sees her for a moment, calls her name

She makes the bed up humming some old love song

She learned it when the tune was very new

He hums a line or two, they hum together in the night

The Dutchman falls asleep and Margaret blows the candle out.

But all of this is not to say that a prize cannot be found. For there was the time that I opened a catalogue and ordered a pair of warm wool socks - oatmeal khaki. Perhaps those socks contained my prize — for that is how I discovered the ability to sit by the fire and gaze out the window at winter's perfection eating a bowl of cereal — not looking for a prize.

I would love to end this tale by saying that as I gazed out that window an armada of golden spacecrafts arrived commanded by a race of Alien Seamonkys bearing the gift of my long lost Cap'n Crunch treasure chest.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean

Instead I find that the miracle is not in the miraculous.

Where the walls rise above the Zuiderzee

Through all of the searching for the stupendous

Long ago, I used to be a young man

— the Lotto tickets, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

And dear Margaret remembers that for me

All I can say is thank God we are not given what we want.

Long ago, I used to be a young man

No, instead all we are given is each day — and each day is a prize

And dear Margaret remembers that for me

— a gift hidden amongst junk.

updated: 4 years ago