Sunday, June 15, 2014

Walk Like a Man

In an only slightly different world, this would have been one of the biggest country hits of the decade. It'd also be far, far better known than it is—sure, the album sold more then 3,000,000 copies, but that's a fifth of what his previous studio LP had sold, and this isn't one of the better known songs off it.

Which is a shame since it contains some of his very finest writing, as well as some of the greatest writing ever about fathers and sons.

I remember how rough your hand felt on mine
On my wedding day
And the tears cried on my shoulder
I couldn't turn away
Well, so much has happened to me
That I don't understand
All I can think of is being five years old, following behind you at the beach
Tracing your footprints in the sand
Trying to walk like a man

By Our Lady of the Roses
We lived in the shadow of the elms
I remember ma draggin' me and my sister up the street to the church
Whenever she heard those wedding bells
Well, would they ever look so happy again
The handsome groom and his bride
As they stepped into that long black limousine
For their mystery ride
Well, tonight you step away from me
And alone at the alter I stand
And as I watch my bride coming down the aisle I pray
For the strength to walk like a man

Well, now the years have gone and I've grown
From that seed you've sown
But I didn't think there'd be so many steps
I'd have to learn on my own
Well, I was young and I didn't know what to do
When I saw your best steps stolen away from you
Now I'll do what I can
I'll walk like a man
And I'll keep on walkin'

Also, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, we realize that last line meant far more than we could have known at the time. Which just illustrates how very hard those steps can be.

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