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Don Locke: Lookin Thru Bifocals

Help.  I’m in a state of mind.  I don’t know what to call this episode; maybe old songs and tales will do.  More songs perhaps, than tales: “ Woe mule woe, woe mule i say, I ain’t’ got time to kiss you now this mule will run away…”

“ Ida Red, the doggone fool; tried to put a saddle on a hump-back mule... Ida Red — Ida Red, I’m a plum’ fool about Ida Red.”

“Closing out Roy Acuff: “Ida Red sittin on a rail: sweet ‘tader in her hand, and a possum by the tail... Ida Red , Ida Red, I’m in love with Ida Red.”

There was an ole’ boy from way back yander from up in the Texas Panhandle—around Borger, Texas by the name of Al Dexter.  Al was a pretty good singer and entertainer— not very well known until a fluke happened.  The fluke resulted in a million dollar record for him.  

Back when there were only two sides on a record, Al had recorded on one side, a song called Rosalita (my little rose of the rancho.)  He and his producers were sure this was going to be a big hit.  They were looking for a song for the flip side.  As part of joke they cut a honky-tonk song Al had written, called—Pistol Packin’ Momma.  It became a million seller overnight; Rosalita, although a beautiful love song, never made it big.

Pistol Packin’ Momma did: “Drinkin’ beer in a cabaret and dancin’ with a blonde, ‘till one night she caught me right and now i’m on the run.  Lay that pistol down babe, lay that pistol down—pistol packin’ momma lay that pistol down.”

“Drinkin’ beer in a cabaret and dancin’ with a blonde. ‘Till one night she shot-out the light; bang that blonde was gone.  Lay that pistol down babe...”

“She kicked out my windshield and hit me over the head; she cussed and cried and said I lied and wished that i was dead.  Lay that pistol down babe, lay that pistol down.  Pistol packin’ momma, lay that pistol down.”

“Now there was ole’ Al Dexter, he always had his fun—’till with some lead she shot him dead; his hokin’ days are done.  Lay that pistol down babe, Lay that pistol down — pistol packin’ momma, lay that pistol down.”

— Here’s an old song: “She stood rite’ up in the preacher’s face and chawed her chewin’ gum,” a one line only.  (Writer unknown) That’s the only line i recall.

— Dolly Parton: “ He’s done kissed me on the mouth, and he’s gonna’ marry me.”  No question, this is my very favorite Dolly song. A side bar: former first lady, Barbara Bush, said that husband George was, “ the first and only man I ever kissed.”  


“Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition”... a Catholic priest called out while assisting an antiaircraft gunman at the battle of Pearl Harbor, this subsequently, became the words to a popular World War Two song, another World War II song: “Comin’ In On a Wing and A Prayer…” Though there’s one motor gone, we can still carry on— comin’ in on a wing and a prayer… “(Dr. Bill Clark of Beech Creek, KY. actually did. Lt. Clark had Two engines shot out on his B-17 — he still had two.)”  

Heck, i got caught at 19.  But the guy in this song wasn’t ready for the hook yet: “Oh Lilly Bell, Oh Lilly Bell, we did some moonlight spoonin’; this is why i never fell: i got spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle, as i go ridin’ merrily along.  And they sing, ‘oh ain’t you glad you’re single’. And that song ain’t so very far from wrong.”

World War II: “Shoo-shoo baby, shoo-shoo baby— your pappa’s gone to the Seven Seas.”  This song never made any sense to me at 10.  It still doesn’t, maybe it’s because I never knew all the words.

Then there was “My Darlin’ Clementine.”  Tragic: “She drove the ducklin’s to the water every morning just at nine. Hung her foot upon a splinter; fell into the foaming brine… Oh m-darlin’, oh m-darlin’ Clementine. You are lost and gone forever- dreadful sorry, Clementine.”

Tennessee Ernie(love song around 1951):  “Each time i hold somebody new, my arms grow cold, aching for you.  Each kiss I gave to you, made me a slave to you—I’ll never be free.”  

Then there are the old fiddle tunes like Old Joe Clark: “If I had a pretty girl, I’d put her on the shelf, and every time she smiled at me, I’d get up there myself. ‘Round and around old Joe Clark…”

“If I had a candy box to put my sweetheart in, I’d take her out and kiss her twice, and put her back again. ‘Round and around old Joe Clark…”

“Old Joe Clark he had a wife, she stood ‘bout nine feet tall. She slept with her head in the kitchen, and her big feet in the hall, ‘Round and a-round Ole Joe Clark…”

I once heard the story about the ole pubescent boy just coming of age— i liked it so well i wanna hear it again.  I  hope you do too.

His mother sent him to town one saturday afternoon to pick up a few things.  He got a line chicken at the poultry house, and a new washtub at the hardware store.  Boy-like he met some other boys and got to swapping pocket knives.  He wound up swapping his good pocket knife for a pig.  He did think to get a spool of thread at the last store out of town; he stuffed it down in his pocket.


He started home about dusky dark, carrying the pig in a gunny sack slung over his shoulder, with his free hand he carried the washtub.  He had tied the chicken to his belt.  

On out the road away he met this cute neighbor girl about his age.  He asked to walk along with her.  Well she wasn’t sure… “it’s gettin’ dark; i’m afraid you mite’ try to kiss me.”

“Oh no. I wouldn’t do anything like that.  I’m a good Baptist boy.  I go to Sunday school, Church and Training Union.  Beside, how could i kiss you— carrying this pig and the tub and this chicken?  


“Well,” she said, “we could put the chicken under the tub and i can hold the pig”  Kindest regards…


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