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Ballad of Forty Dollars

Tom T. Hall


"One of my odd jobs when I was a kid was cleaning up a graveyard, and
I watched a lot of funerals."

The man who preached the funeral said it really was a simple way to die
He lay down to rest one afternoon and never opened up his eyes
They hired me and Fred and Joe to dig the grave and carry up some chairs
It took us seven hours and I guess we must've drunk a case of beer.

I guess I oughta go and watch them put him down but I don't own a suit
And anyway when they start talkin' about the fire in Hell well I get spooked
So I'll just sit here in my truck and act like I don't know him when they pass
Anyway when they're all through I've got to go to work and mow the grass.

Well, here they come and who's that ridin' in that big ole shiny limousine
Hmm, look at all that chrome I do believe that that's the sharpest thing I've seen
That must belong to his great Uncle someone said he owned a big ole farm
When they get parked I'll mosey down and look it over that won't do no harm.

Well, that must be the widow in the car and would you take a look at that
That sure is a pretty dress you know some women do look good in black
But he's not even in the ground and they say that his truck is up for sale
They say she took it pretty hard but you can't tell too much behind a veil.

Well, listen ain't that pretty when the bugler plays the military taps
I think that when you's in the war they always have to play a song like that
Well, here I am and there they go and I guess you'd just call it my bad luck
I hope he'll rest in peace but trouble is that fellow owes me forty bucks.

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