I Just Want My Brother Back

We would go down to the creek and dip our feet in
Those were just little walks but are good memories
I remember he was the one who told me about
them busy hummingbirds and bumblebees

He’d let me go through all his records and tapes
I’d spend hours studying the liner notes and learn
from all the lyrics – those verses, bridges, and hooks
One favorite was by Kansas, “The Point of No Return”

Now I look at those Polaroid snapshots from our youth
like the one where I’m smiling but missing a front tooth
And I know I have to cope with a very brutal truth
I just want my brother back
When he got into that experimental biplane
I didn’t know that I’d never see him again
That energetic man he was before he went insane
I just want my brother back
I just want my brother back

He’s the one who kept it together and made it through school
Learned three languages and multiple intensive college degrees
Meanwhile, I’ve struggled with odd jobs earning minimum wage
Yet he’d probably say for me, life was a breeze

And I review his yearbooks, remember all his good friends
The ones who knew him more intimately and better than me
I talk with my kids who loved their old Uncle so much
I worry that he’s more accomplished then I’ll ever be

Now I look at those Polaroid snapshots from our youth
like the one where I’m smiling but missing a front tooth
And I know I have to cope with a very brutal truth
I just want my brother back
When he got into that experimental biplane
I didn’t know that I’d never see him again
That energetic man he was before he went insane
I just want my brother back
I just want my brother back

I’m not equipped to handle being the responsible one
I was never the son who knew just about everything
All I could ever do is write these crazy little songs
And muster up the courage to remember them and sing

If I could have traded places with him that night
I would have done it faster than a healthy heartbeat
Instead, I’m the one who takes him for ice cream
and that former genius thinks it’s a special treat

And I watch all those home movies with him in the dark
Sometimes I take him to go fishing at Pinto Lake Park
He thinks he might catch a huge Great White shark
I just want my brother back

I just want my brother back.

March 29, 2018

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Camping with Gramps

 

We were born in the city
Didn’t know a Rainbow Trout from a Bass
and we grew up going
to different schools and attending mass

But our parents agreed
to let us spend time in LaPorte
We weren’t at a sleepaway
or some high-class fancy resort

We were with my Dad’s Mom & Dad
They lived in an A-frame cabin alone
Far from the crowds and traffic
They had an old radio and rotary phone

But it wasn’t all that we looked forward to
It was all the adventures we loved to do

While camping with Gramps
We got to learn how to fish in the streams
He’d encourage us to dream big dreams
of catchin’ big ones to gut and cook
We were livin’ life not readin’ a book
While camping with Gramps
We got to know him and his worldview
He taught us everything he knew
He showed us nature and paintings
He told us to value people not just things
Gram taught us Cribbage
and I read her books & liked all her stamps
But what I loved most of all was camping with Gramps

And my older brothers
they outgrew going so I went with cousin Dave
Gramps would tell us
to go out by ourselves on walks and be brave

We’d drink straight from the cold creek
on those scorchin’ summer days
We’d chase butterflies
and appreciate the sneaky bears & bluejays

And we played tennis on a court we helped make
But we always ended up goin’ out towards the lake

While camping with Gramps
We got to learn how to fish in the streams
He’d encourage us to dream big dreams
of catchin’ big ones to gut and cook
We were livin’ life not readin’ a book
While camping with Gramps
We got to know him and his worldview
He taught us everything he knew
He showed us nature instead of paintings
He told us to value people not just things
Sure Gram made us dinner
and I read her books & liked all her stamps
But what I loved most of all was camping with Gramps

What I loved most of all was camping with Gramps.

January 2, 2018

Hillbillies Have All The Fun

They’re happier than dead pigs in sunshine
with their trucks and their ice cold beer
They love muddin’, huntin’ ‘n ‘fishin’
and sippin’ on some Kentucky clear

They love workin’ with heavy equipment
They’d do it if they never got paid
Farmers daughters fall fast for ’em
though they’re greasy like pomade

Hillbillies have all the fun
No matter what time of day
They’re outta bed before sunup
and at night they get to play
They love their Outlaw Music
and they know how to get-r-dun
Ah, them city boys may have the money
but them hillbillies have all the fun

Their jobs are more important
than most of y’all might think
They’re puttin’ food in the markets
They’re the plumbers fixin’ your sink

They’re haulin’ big loads all over
They’re in the back washin’ plates
They’re the southern hard workers
of these great United States

They’re hobos and the winos
and the General Store tramps
They aren’t on US Postal stamps
In the mountains, they set up camps

Hillbillies have all the fun
No matter where they breathe ‘n live
They could care less if they’re broke as hell
They still give, give, & give
They give to the church on Sundays
They’ll befriend just about everyone
Ah, the city folks may have fancy parties
but a Hillbilly’s shindig can’t be outdone

The city folks may have the money
but them Hillbillies have all the fun!

2017

Whistling Dixie in the Dark

Out by where we used to go trout fishing
Beyond the valley, we hiked to get there
As soon as the scent of pine hit our noses
we thought we had no reason to despair

We set up camp and get a small fire going
’cause it would be freezing out by sundown
And we looked up at all the stars in the sky
None of us said we wanted to go back to town

Until we heard something in those woods
that frightened us to death
We couldn’t tell if it was the trees
Making sounds because of the breeze
We laid in our sleeping bags holding our breath

We heard a mountain man whistling Dixie in the dark
It was a mountain man whistling Dixie in the dark

One of us campers mustered up the courage
to yell out to the person by that calm creek
“Stay away from us or we’ll call the Sheriff
you small miner town hillbilly freak”

There was no reply so we’d fall back asleep
Then we were awakened by a piercing shriek
Our fear turned into deep concern for her
So, foolish us, we got up to take a little peek

We ran to where we thought we heard the sound
Not a single person was to be quickly found

Then we heard something in the woods
That scared us right out of our wits
We knew it wasn’t the breeze
causing sounds in the trees
We thought we’d be sliced into little bits

We heard a mountain man whistling Dixie in the dark
An old mountain man was whistling Dixie in the dark

We never went to that campsite to go fishing again
After that none of us cared for camping outside
We heard later another group went there to those woods
and it was discovered they had been attacked & died

But it wasn’t some hillbilly who killed them
A pack of rabid wolves needed to eat
That man we heard whistling in the dark
was likely a ghost who was warning us to retreat

I still hear that mountain man whistling Dixie in the dark
In my dreams, I still hear him whistling Dixie in the dark.

2017

All I Need Now is the Fish (Here Fishy, Fishy, Fishy)

Out on this fishin’ boat this mornin’
Wearin’ this bright orange vest
Spent yesterday preparin’
Last night I got plenty of rest

Got my Ugly Stick rod and reel
My Folgers can is filled with bait
Just loaded my Eagle Claw hook
Cast my line, and now I wait

All I need now is the fish
You know the kind
The one who’s foolish enough
Cause it’s nearly blind
It can’t tell the difference
Between fake and real
A 3-pound bass would be ideal
Prayed to Jesus to grant my wish
All I need now is the fish
Here fishy, fishy, fishy…
All I need now is the fish

My wife’s back at the cabin
She hasn’t gotten up yet
I wanna cook her breakfast
One she’ll never forget

I look out to the sunrise
I’m hopin’ God will provide
Here fishy, fishy, fishy…
So delicious with biscuits & fried

All I need now is the fish
And I’ll be good to go
I’ll wait here patiently
With my thermos of hot Joe
I could bring home a Catfish
Or a big ol’ Rainbow Trout
Then I’ll pack it all up and I’ll be out
Please Jesus, won’t you grant me this wish –
So I can treat her with a special anniversary dish
Here fishy, fishy, fishy, fishy, fishy, fishy
All I need now is the fish.

2017