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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Sandy Paton Lyr Req: My Old Man (was a man like Lincoln) (14) RE: Lyr Req: 'My Old Man was a man like Lincoln'.... 18 May 07

No, I've not recorded it. I've thought about it, and would certainly include it on any future recording because it's a song that moves me very deeply. I'm not sure where I learned it, lo, those many decades ago, but my memory (which is often faulty) tells me that I heard Walt Robertson sing it back in my Seattle days. Perhaps Deckman can confirm that Walt sang it.
    A few years ago, Caroline and I were asked to participate in a Father's Day program up at the Cafe Lena in Saratoga Springs. We were rummaging through our memories for "father" songs and I brought this one up from the depths. Caroline and i had been married and singing together for over forty-five years and she had never heard me sing it. That's how long I had neglected it. Since then, I've sung it a number of times, and almost always find myself becoming over-emotional by the time i finish the last verse. I suspect that the reaction is stimulated by the pride the son has in his father's courageous refusal to name others who were involved in the organization of the union. My own father and I didn't see eye-to-eye on anything and, indeed, there were many years when we didn't communicate at all. But then I learned from one of my sisters that he, a retired military man, was strongly opposed to the war in Vietnam and was even taking part in marches (pushing my mother in a wheelchair ahead of him) against the war -- and in San Diego, of all places, a thoroughly military town. I wrote to him for the first time in a couple of decades and we were able to ignore past disagreements and difficulties and communicate once again. It was pretty hard at first, I must admit, as our relationship had generated a lot of pain.
    I asked him what had changed him from an advocate of bombing Russia off of the face of the earth into a peacenik marching in protest of the Vietnam war. He told me that during his thirty years in the service, he rarely had a chance to read, but that after he retired he began to read and that had truly changed his thinking about a lot of things.
    Gawdamighty! I'm getting emotional just writing about it. Dad lived to be a hundred years old, so we had a few years to make amends. Many dark corners to explore in the new light. I guess that explains my attachment to the song.
    More, by far, than you wanted to know, I'm sure.

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