You’re Home Now

 1. Quoddy Point

2. A Father and a Daughter

3. Appointment in Samarra

4. Slow Night in My Cab

5. You’re Home Now

6. County Clare

7. My Mother Is Religious

8. Parting as Friends

9. Marianna

10. The Devil and Miss Hattie

11. The Gambler

12. Miss Hattie’s Story

13. The Token of Scotty’s Affection


1.                Quoddy Point

1. It’s dawn here at Quoddy Point from my lighthouse keeper’s chair

Through this window I can see the rocks, two figures sitting there

Young lovers, that would be my guess, perhaps they spent the night

Out here on Quoddy Point to be the first to see the light


          The first sliver cracks the morning open

          And there’s all the promise of the day

          Two long shadows form behind them

          While two young lovers look the other way

2. I bought my Sarah to this place when both of us were young

She turned and kissed me on those rocks in the first light rays of the sun

I had a picture of that morn, she’s wrapped up in my coat

I finally had to take it down, there comes a time you just let go


3. I don’t know why I kept this job when she left me here alone

But loneliness befriended me and this remains my home

It’s true the day begins right here, but just as true the night

So good luck to you young lovers, so says the keeper of the light



2.                A Father and a Daughter

1. The book is on my lap/ I am in my rocking chair

I am reading you a story/ as I’ve done so many years

You’re sketching as you listen/ at times I glance your way

My daughter now in college, come home for this brief stay


          Tonight I wish that time was like this rocker

          Moving back and forth, not moving on

          I know that every story has an ending

          I miss you even now, before you’ve gone

2. Your harp is in the next room/ I can glimpse it as I rock

So many times it’s filled the house/ with Pachelbel and Bach

That seldom happens now/ it mostly stands alone

The harp makes gorgeous music/ but only when you’re home


3. Tomorrow, early morning/ you will go out for your run

I’ll have the batter ready/ for our pancakes when you’re done

We may linger at the kitchen table/ for whatever time remains

Then I’ll drive you to the station/ and watch you board the train


          I may wish that time was like this rocker

          But I know that, like the train, it’s moving on

          And maybe moving on is how it should be

          Doesn’t mean that I won’t miss you when you’re gone


3.                       Appointment in Samarra

I am a Bagdad merchant with a strange tale to relate

Today I sent my trusted servant to buy supplies in the market place

He soon came back, trembling, his face as white as ash

He gripped my hand in his hands speaking as he held that grasp

          Master, just now in the market/ I was jostled from behind

          I turned, Death stood before me/ arms raised, eyes fixed on mine

Before Death’s arms could reach me I fled back in the crowd

I need your help, dear Master, lend me your horse right now

I’ll ride north from the city, reach Samarra by tonight

Death will not find me up there, no time to lose, I must take flight 

I helped my servant mount up, he dug his spurs and off he rode

I walked down to the market/ Spotted Death in his dark robe

         Tell me why you’ve done this, threatened my servant as you did

         Why’d you raise your arms up as though he’d no more time to live?

Death regarded me a moment, when he spoke his voice was calm

“It’s true I raised my arms up, but with no intent to harm

It’s surprise that caused that gesture, such an unexpected sight

For my appointment with your servant is In Samarra for tonight”



4.                          Slow Night in my Cab

1. Cold night in Ann Arbor, slow night in my cab

I’m idling here on Main Street, cup of coffee warms my hands

Nixon’s in the White House, dreams are hard to hold

I’m waiting for the dispatcher to tell me where to go


          Looking through my windshield

          There aren’t many folks out there on the street

          The bars are still open, some guy’s gonna need

          Me to drive, it’s just a matter of time

2. I’m thinking ‘bout a poster, white dove on a guitar neck

“Three Days of Peace and Music” that’s how the poster read

It’s been two years since Woodstock, I did not feel the pull

I wish the chance would come again, I think it never will


         Giving rides to strangers

          I like driving cab, but I loved hitching rides

         The stories I heard as the country rolled by

          Now folks don’t stop as much, there’s a lot more mistrust

3. Hannah’s a good woman who doesn’t know her worth

 We got to spend some time today before I came to work

We’re friends again, that’s where we should have stayed

I’m a bad risk as a lover, I’m the one who pulls away

4. The night they held the lottery for the draft a year ago

James and I sat listening beside a radio

I was spared hard choices, that wasn’t true for James

He’s now up in Canada, his life forever changed


         Cab 29, do you read me?

         That’s the dispatcher’s voice breaking into my thoughts

         So many times I find myself lost

         In the past, ‘til he’s called me back

         There aren’t many folks out there on the street

         The bars are now closing and some guy needs

         Me to drive, was just a matter of time

5.                          You’re Home Now

1. Together we climbed the steps to the home where I was raised

The old Wisconsin farmhouse I’d hardly seen the past decade

Five years I’d stayed away, ‘til Mama nearly died from flu

After that I came back at times, but only now did I bring Sue

2. My parents’ faith is strong, the Bible’s word is truth

There’s a path we all must follow, I’d learned that in my youth

I got married to a good man, sixteen years I strove to love

Then Sue entered my life, and I found what loving was

3. The phone calls from my folks were battles for my soul

Their sick and sinful daughter must come back to the fold

I held on to a dream, someday we’d reconcile

But I never was alone, Sue was with me all the while

4. Through the years our love was steady, I think my folks were moved

Perhaps the changing times influenced them too

Shifts were taking place, they spoke of Sue by name

She nursed me through pneumonia, Dad called and offered thanks

5. Now we’re standing at my folk’s door ten years after we’d first met

I hadn’t asked if Sue could come, I’d announced it as a fact

Hope may spring eternal, but hope misleads at times

I rang the bell and waited, Sue slipped her hand in mine

6. The farmhouse door was opened, Mama met me with a hug

Then turned and did the same to Sue as Dad smiled on us

It took three whispered words to lay the painful past to rest

Holding Sue in both her arms, “You’re home now” Mama said


6.                          County Clare


         Katie O’Connor you have my heart

         Know it will always be here

         A year may well pass but I will come back

         To you and County Clare

 1. This lock of raven hair will cross the Irish Sea

When I’m loading boats in Liverpool I’ll still have you with me

What I earn I’ll save, help hold the family’s land

I’ll speak with your father when I return, then ask you for your hand


2. I know there are others who have lain upon this hill

Above the Shannon river, this field all to themselves

I gaze into your eyes, your head rests on my arm

Can it be those othersHave felt a love this strong?


         Katie O’Connor when I’m alone

         I’ll have more than this lock of your hair

         I’ll just close my eyes, you’ll be by my side

         Back here in County Clare


7.                          My Mother Is Religious

1.  My mother is religious, she just doesn’t believe in God

Faith in the unproven proved to be too hard

What she believes in’s not hard to tell

Love thy neighbor as thyself

2. There are teachings in this world that see my mother damned

She hasn’t sought salvation, gripped the good Lord’s hand

What she’s embraced in countless deeds

Are friends and family and those in need


         Are our beliefs the words we say

         Are they the choices we make each day

         The care bestowed on those we know

         And those we don’t

         My mother may stumble, as do we all

         But there’s her kindness to break her fall

         She seeks no praise, to be engaged

         Is what‘s worthwhile

3.  There are folks who have the answers, sure they know the Truth

Who walk some straight and narrow they feel the world should choose

My mother’s slow to give advice

About how others should lead their lives

4. To her there is no heaven, to her there is no hell

To her what really matters is right here where we dwell

If there’s a life once we depart

It’s what lives on in others’ hearts


My mother is religious….


8.                          Parting As Friends

1.   I watched her tail lights disappear in the night

Like embers fading to ash

I climbed back up the steps to this house she had left

Wondering why so little lasts


          The moon’s shining in through my window

          But Annie’s not here in its light

          Parting as friends is a good way to end

          But ending is not what I’d like

2.  I have my guitar, I’m in my chair

I reach out and turn off the light

Familiar old tunes in this half-empty room

Help me make it through the night   


3. I loved our love, seemed easy and endless

For Annie, turns out it was not

Her love was the rose that gently unfolds

And unfolds ‘til each petal has dropped

4. A quiet dark street is the view from this seat

As I finger-pick “Deep River Blues”

Two headlights approach, I give in to hope

But it’s just one more car passing through


9.                          Marianna

1.  From the window of a plane

The world below may seem unchanged

Rows of houses, lawns and trees, streams of traffic

The worries and the woes

Of those who dwell below

Cannot be seen from the plane as it passes


          It’s hard times on the land

          Marianna, take my hand

          There are so few things it seems we can be sure of

          In a world that’s gone astray

          Who can safely say

          That what we have is sure to last

2.  From the two sides of our bed

So little’s being said

It’s tense to be this close and far apart

 he future has you scared

A feeling I don’t share         

Words of comfort are no comfort in the dark


          It’s hard times on the land

          Marianna, take my hand

          To have and to hold was our vow

          Vows are merely words

          What we have is of real worth

          Love we’ve shared for all these years

3. I’ve looked up at the sky

At planes as they’ve flown by

And wondered where the folks up there were heading

I’ve had my share of flights

And the ones that I most liked

Were the ones that flew me home where you were waiting


          It’s hard times on the land

          Marianna, take my hand

          Touch can say so much without a word

          It can say, “Don’t be afraid,

          Though we may have lost our way

          This too shall pass, love will last”

4. Far below a distant plane

The world may well have changed

I don’t want us to do the same, Marianna


10.                        The Devil and Miss Hattie

1.  I have met the Devil, didn’t know it at the time

By the railing on a steamboat with his dog and gracious smile

He produced a deck of cards, and when we’d finished play

He had my money in his suitcase, and that boat had sailed away


           Steamboat on the river

           You can see that black smoke rising in the sky

           Folks along the river side

           Wave “Hello/Good-bye”    

 2.  I trudged up from the river, “Miss Hattie’s Tavern” read this sign

Nothing to lose but my bad luck, I took a chance and stepped inside

Miss Hattie saw me enter, she came and took my hand

You look like you’ve seen the Devil, you can talk, I’ll understand


3.  I now work in Hattie’s tavern, at night we go upstairs

It’s new to me, this living with somebody who cares

Sometimes we’ll put on music in the parlor after work

And do a little dancing holding on to what has worth

4.  The Devil’s been down to Vicksburg and he’s been to Tennessee

I want to thank the Devil for coming to see me

It’s true he took my money, but what I got’s a steal

Sweet Hattie with her heart of gold, I got the better deal


           Steamboat whistle blows

           She rounds a bend to wend her way to New Orleans

           Carrying off some dreamer’s dreams   

           Paddle wheel turning round and round

           Whistle’s just a fading sound


11.                        The Gambler

1.  In my life the first person to desert me

Was my father I’ve never seen

Momma once told me he wore a vest

No tin star pinned to his chest

Momma took up with a gambling man

Left me and Luke on Grandma’s hands

I held out hope for about a year

She didn’t come back, I shed no tears

2. I was swimming in the quarry, Luke jumped from the top

It’d been done many times, but he hit a rock

I couldn’t keep from crying when they filled his grave

Spent the night in the barn, then slipped away

I’d heard ‘bout a river with towns along side

I walked to that river, it took three days’ time

Got a job running errands for child’s pay

Empty shed by the river, that’s where I stayed

3. I fell in with a man on a fine river boat

Wore a black vest, a well-cut waistcoat

He taught me cards and so much else

I learned that luck could be given some help

Then came the morning I woke up to find

He’d left the boat and me far behind

The coins and bills that I’d amassed

Where they had gone no need to ask


         The river is safer than here on dry land

         I wear my hat low but it’s hard to blend

         My dog by my side, I study the street

         There’s folks with long memories it’s best not to meet

4. I don’t think I’ve had a child I’ve never had a wife

My dog is named Jack, all I need in life

Befriend a dog he won’t bite your hand

That’s the difference, they say, ‘tween a dog and a man

I move through this life with my cards and my dog

Sometimes I wonder what I’m living for

But then there’s a question I come round to ask

If I was gone who’d be here for Jack?


12.                        Miss Hattie’s Story

 1. There is a picture in this tavern of a woman I don’t know

My mother had me, then she left me for that place we all must go

My father raised me, his sweet Hattie in this tavern, by his side

The world we shared was safe and loving, safe and loving, but not real wide


           Plate glass window, tall gold letters

           “Miss Hattie’s Tavern”

           The words announce

           I’ve stood countless hours by this window

           On the inside, looking out


2. I lost my father to influenza and found my thoughts begin to stray

I’d serve the meals, pour the drinks and be thinking of sailing away

There were suitors, I had no interes, they talked mostly ‘bout themselves

I’d go to bed above the tavern, with no dreams of someone else


3. I had a dim view of the future, then James showed me the light

I remember watching from this window, as he walked into my life

He asked me questions, he is a listener, unaware of his sweet charms

Now when we’re dancing above the tavern, the world I want is no wider than his arms


           Plate glass window, tall gold letters

           “Miss Hattie’s Tavern” 

           The words announce

           Now I don’t spend much time by this window

           On the inside, looking out


13.                  The Token of Scotty's Affection

1. I was seated safe in jail, on an old Monopoly board

Engaged in conversation with my dearest friend, the dog

“Scotty” I’d inquired, “is there something on your mind?

Since the change they made in tokens you seem preoccupied

Are you upset about the iron, the way they tossed her from the box

That for all her years of service she didn’t even get a watch?

Or that we had no say in who would take her place

That they went and took a vote somewhere out in cyberspace”

2. “But here’s my best guess, Scotty, as to what’s disturbing you

It’s the token that’s been chosen, she’s not the one you’d choose

Your peaceful former life has been shattered by this fact

Now you’re stuck with living in close quarters with a cat

Scotty’s smile was rueful “Top Hat, you’ve missed the mark

Logic has no place in matters of the heart

The fact is that Miss Kitty and I are much in love

The problem with our quarters is that they’re not close enough


3. I was drawn to Miss Kitty from her first Monopoly game

From our talk out on the Boardwalk, turns out she felt the same

This isn’t puppy love, my paws are on the ground

Kitty’s funny, kind and wise, and makes such fetching purring sounds

So here is our conundrum, where to find some private space

We’ve been to all the hotels, from Baltic to Park Place

The sorry truth is this, we’ve had to face the fact

No one has a room if it’s for a dog and cat


4. I was glad that Scotty’d spoken, I could offer him good news

“Scotty, the Short Line sleeping cars are greatly underused

The brakeman is a friend of mine, he once wore me to a wake

I’m sure he’d have no problem finding you and Kitty space”

Some days later on a stoop out on St. Charles Avenue

I was checking out the windows on a train as it passed through

I filled up to the brim with pleasure at this sight

Two familiar furry paws waving to me from inside