As I worked on today’s piece for the 2011 Project the image of the blueberry pie morphed into a Pie in the Sky. This made me curious. I wondered where this expression came from. It turns out it is a line in the chorus from the song The Preacher and the Slave written by Joe Hill in 1911.
And the Starvation Army, they play,
And they sing and they clap and they pray,
Till they get all your coin on the drum,
Then they tell you when you're on the bum
You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die
The song was written as a parody of the sort of hymns sung by the Salvation Army. The full lyrics are here. Joe Hill was a Swedish-born, American labor leader and songwriter. He was framed and then executed by the State of Utah in 1915. Not surprisingly, my America education never taught me about Joe Hill or his legacy. Rather, I learned about him when I was an exchange student in Sweden.