Never on the Mend

Never on the Mend

My family finally lost the farm in 1955,

Great Granddad moved to town after he buried his second wife,

The bank took everything for which they suffered and they built,

Tried the bottle, tried the cross, but neither one could ease the guilt.

When work dried up in the plains he headed north on that old railroad,

With his pride left far behind, he took jobs picking crops in Idaho,

And as the train rumbled down the track,

He declared, “Christ, I’m never coming back,

With these two hands I’ll build a new life a thousand miles away.”

Stands where he stands, ain’t never on the mend,

He’ll come back at you swinging though he’s broken and he’s bent,

He’ll retire to the Choir when his days are good and spent,

So say hello to the Devil when you get there.

Leonard was my grandpa, grew up motherless and mean,

Went west into the Sandhills driving cattle at sixteen,

A ninth grade education only gets a man so far,

In 1942 he was drafted into the war.

A pack of smokes and a shelled out beach was how he celebrated Christmas,

His brother Delbert by his side whispered, “I don’t want to die here in Japan.”

But when he spoke, his voice was calm,

“We’re going home, it won’t be long.

But if I’m meant to die on this rock, I’m taken someone with me.”

Stands where he stands, ain’t never on the mend,

He’ll come back at you swinging though he’s broken and he’s bent,

He’ll retire to the Choir when his days are good and spent,

So say hello to the Devil when you get there.