"In a parka do bun do, in a parka do bun doooo...."
Well, at least that's how I first understood the lyrics to "Dominique," the wildly popular song in the early 1960s. You remember, Dominique-nique-nique? Sung by the Singing Nun, aka Soeur Sourire, it was already a hit when she made her debut on the Ed Sullivan show.
My family owned the LP back in those school-girl days before I knew any French. So I used to spend hours curled up on the sofa listening to "Dominique" over and over, trying to decipher "onto shemay altude you, in a parka do bun do."
Then I found the lyrics printed on the album cover.
Dominique -nique -nique s'en allait tout simplement,
Routier, pauvre et chantant.
En tous chemins, en tous lieux,'
Il ne parle que du Bon Dieu,
Il ne parle que du Bon Dieu.
I must have worn a groove in the vinyl as I repeated the torture until not only could I match each written word to the sung French but -- at long last -- was actually able to repeat it.
It's still incredible to me to think that a French song about a saint could have topped the charts on American pop radio. Soeur Sourire eventually disappeared from view, and I despised the saccharin Debbie Reynolds film version of her.
I'd forgotten about her over the years.
Then on last Sunday's episode of Mad Men, what comes filtering out of Miss Farrell's apartment when she opens the door? Yup. Domnique -nique -nique.
And now in a parka do bun do is stuck in my brain.
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