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Pando, Pando, Pando by Nigel Roth




In 1962, a few years before my mother accepted my father as her true love and so begot me as a reward for her bravery, a Milanese man called Elio Cesari, born in the great city in 1938, grabbed a pencil and sat in the Lombardi capital to compose a song.


At that time Milan had fewer than the three-point-three million inhabitants the Metropolitan City boasts today, and much less than the nine million people who call the south Indian city of Chennai, formerly Madras, home, and where, in 1936, Arnold George Dorsey was born.


Cesari, now 83, and known as Tony Renis, and Dorsey, now 86, and known as Engelbert Humperdinck, are both still crooning, though somewhat more shakily than in their youth, their own versions of the song Quando, Quando, Quando.


Around five months before Dorsey was born, along came Roger Dean Miller Sr., who arrived via his mother in Fort Worth, Texas, where about a million people cruise its wide streets in pick-up trucks daily.


Miller didn’t ever record a version of Quando, Quando, Quando, but he did make a record of a little-known tune called Reincarnation, which he wrote and performed for the first time in 1965, three years after When, When, When.


Now, let me introduce one more player in this complex and retrospectively ill-chosen narrative. But, now that I’ve started, I feel I should finish.


It’s name is Pando. Pando was born a little earlier than Cesari, Dorsey, or Miller, and also still croons and shakes every day.


Pando was born in Utah, not far from Fish Lake, near the Mytoge Mountains, and has lived there all of its life, enjoying the fresh breezes that sing their way through its dense cover, having never changed its name, or smoked cigarettes.


Pando hasn't written lyrics about sharing divine love, or asking when a betrothed will be true. It's not told the object of its desire (if it has one) that it needs them to complete itself, nor demands that they don’t make it wait for an answer. And Pando doesn’t have to tell anyone that everyday seems like a lifetime, as for Pando every day does.


That’s because Pando was born around 11,979 BCE.


Pando is the ‘Trembling Giant’, a forty-three hectare quaking aspen tree, and the largest and heaviest, and one of the oldest, known organisms on planet Earth, even older than Tony Renis and Englebert Humperdink.


Pando is also the poster plant for reincarnation, which would’ve made Miller swoon had he not spent most of his life smoking the bits of paper he wrote song ideas on, beca