Good at Something

Good At Something

Paula tends bar down at the Corral
If ever you go down there
She’s got a long, tall Miller, a sparkle in her eyes
A good ear, and a friendly smile
And if you’ve got a problem big or small
Paula will even give you a welcome conversation

She’d be surprised if she only knew
How far what she’s happened to say has gone
With the desperate and lonely, and the forsaken
Who’ve walked through her doors
On a thousand slow Wednesday nights
And not wanted to leave her till dawn

There’s a guy who comes in every day
Paula fell in love with him a long time ago
He’s a blue collar man, down to earth
With a good, honest way about him
But he’s already taken, and happy
She’s never said anything
Hopes only the best for him
It’s no matter, she tells herself
She gets to see him every day
And when she wants more company
There are many very willing
To give her all the time she wants with them

Two blocks south, and four blocks west lives Emily Blair
She’s got a husband and three kid’s
‘tween the ages of ten and nineteen
Been married going on twenty-one years now
She works hard for her family each day
All she asks in return
Is that you pick up your own socks from the floor
Give her a kiss on the cheek when it’s bedtime
And make sure you clean up all your food
Before you ever dare get up from the table

If Emily could jump forty years down the line
She’d be surprised to find
Three adult’s always telling their children
“You know, your grandma always used to say…”
And, “Your grandma taught me this, now I’ll teach you..”
She’d see her words and her love
Echoing the long years away
And though Emily doesn’t realize
While he’s at work or at play
Her man talks of nothing but her all day, every day

All the Earth is a single town
A small blue dot in a very big sky
Men are mostly good or bad or in between
We all are small town born
And each grow up to play a small town part
In a small town play

Sam is Emily’s husband
He’s been a welder since he was fifteen
Every day at five pm he stops by the Corral
Chats with Paula
Has a drink, says hi to a few friends
Then along about six-thirty
Emily stops whatever she is doing
And smiles when he walks in
He’s grins  back, and gives her a kiss
Says, “Hi babe, how was your day?”

If you live anywhere in the tri-state area
It’s likely you’ve driven across a bridge or two
Held together with beads carefully crafted
Born of the blue arc in Sam’s old welding rig
Sam doesn’t know it
But a thousand times a day, Emily thinks about him
Hopes his job is going okay, wonders what he’s up to just then

Find out what you ought to be doing
You have but to ask, life will give you a job
Everyone is good at something
Sudden and sweet or long and very slow
In ways you see and ways you don’t,
All you say, all you do
Touch the ones standing next to you
Take care that you do what you should

Sam talks a lot down at the Corral
To the biker we all call Slim
From where he came, no one knows
Slim’s fifty-five and never put down his colors
He’s always got a good word
His laugh is big, his smile soulful and warm
He knows what it is to ride alone on a long, straight road
Knows what it is to walk the sharpest edges
Slim’s got a story or two
Lord-God if you’ve got the time
If you look across the years, you’ll find them peppered
With crossed-up kids bent straight by him
A hundred times he’s been at parties
And talked cranked-out pairs of bikers
Out of knifing each other

Slim and Paula got a thing on the side
But he knows her eyes are forever on another
He says he doesn’t mind
He knows the man, and he’s a good guy
He tells himself it’s an ideal arrangement
Slim says that love is just another tie that binds
And one of these days, he’ll hop on his hog and ride

Paula and Slim, Sam and Emily
All good people without a single doubt
But every day down at the bar
Sam breaks Paula’s heart
While Paula is busy breaking Slim’s
Two blocks south, and four blocks west sits Emily
Never knowing her good love has caused so much mayhem
All the while, the four spread kind tidings
In ways that remain unknown and hidden to them

Paula and Slim, both so good
At handing out wise advice
Are flaming fools when it comes to their own love life
And Sam and Emily, who have a love that will never know death
Never tell how much each one means to the other
All of them make their own mess
All of them draw their own straight and crooked lines
I suppose it only goes to show
That even the luckiest and most astute
Can act like complete idiots some of the time

Do what you do best
And you’ll do well as you can
Everyone in life can find a groove
Everyone teaches, everyone learns
Remember the ways that you act
Always have more than one side
Wise to know, we all tell two stories
The fable, good or bad
Of what we seem to do
And the secret tale
Of what life has put us up to
Quietly, and unnoticed

Dewey Dirks Copyright 2009

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