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The Umpteenth Signing of the Mayflower Compact — ''Prithee, Brother, signeth only thy name this time. Commence ye not the writing of song lyrics again, that thou mayest yet live to write anon. An' on, an' on, an' on,....'' Homespun Song (Summer of '77)

This song is homey, contented, and personal. But it is also almost epic, both in scope and in length (7 minutes! Jeez!). It moves through time, beginning with the birth of a nation, moving into the present, and occasionally flashing back to prehistoric epochs of significant geological events. It moves through space, traversing from the East Coast to The Heartland to the Old World to the West Coast and, finally, back to The Midwest. Whew!

I wrote the words for this song in about 45 minutes while proctoring a class of undergraduate students at Indiana State University. I was a Graduate Assistant in the Radio-TV-Film Department. My primary duty as a Grad Ass was to manage and program the university radio station, WISU-FM. But occasionally, a professor would ask me to proctor his or her class, usually administering a written exam in his or her absence. Well, as soon as I had passed out the test pages at this particular time, I felt a burst of inspiration. I began writing (and writing and writing and....). I was so absorbed that I would have been oblivious to even the most blatant forms of cheating, had any occurred ("Say it ain't so, Joe!").

The first few lines of the song were inspired by my Dad having shown me an encyclopedia entry in which a Lister was listed among the passengers of the Mayflower and the signers of the Mayflower Compact.

I wrote "Homespun Song" for my friends Brother Gene and Sister Deb, for my wife Ruth (during the 6th year of what turned out to be a 21-year marriage), and for myself. Now I'm pleased to share it with you, m'Dear Pilgrim.

Read the lyrics below, skip to the Lead Sheet for the words and music, or listen to the homemade MP3 song demo. — BD

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Homespun Song (Summer of '77)
Words and Music by David R. Lister

With eager dreams and meager possessions
A Lister rode the Mayflower
He traded his oppressions
For one last chance at being free
He had his trusty musket
For clearing off the Injuns
He used an axe and handsaw
For clearing off the trees

And years ago the buffalo
Grazed on Hoosier grassland
Injuns fought to keep the ground
That was given them by God
But with theology and technology—
Their black Bibles and homemade bullets
The pioneers took Tecumseh
Then they cleared and plowed the sod

North half of Indiana
Is glacier-flattened farmland
Southern half is slowly-rolling hills
Rolling hills
And I was born between 'em
Eight cold days before a new year
And three-quarters of a century
After my Grandpa Bill

I'm so glad that I ran into you

Four Nineteen-Fifties children
Who grew up in different places
We merged ourselves in marriage
In the middle of a war
And military madness
Helped us find each other
Too close to the heart of Europe
To say, "On some foreign shore"

Then Uncle gave us some air fare
To return us to our places
To curtail a two-way journey
Taking all of three long years
So now we've time zones between us
And those infinite finite spaces
And the blood and the sweat and the spirits
Of those countless pioneers

So there you are in Oregon
Where because of plate tectonics
You inherit mountains
With green forests to be milled
And we're here in the Corn Belt
And the buckle of the Bible Belt
Ten thousand years after glaciers melted
And the Great Lakes were all filled

And we never once loved anyone
Quite the way that we love you
There is magic in this moment
And all the times that we've come through
We know from your last letters
That your first names now are three
I'm so glad that you ran into me

The living in this city
Is becoming such a trial
But we're making our own naked truths
With a One Step Polaroid
We've both been taking classes
All the live-long while
But we're getting high, and Ruth and I
Are still gainfully employed

Our relationships are growing
With ourselves and with each other
The cat's come back to purr at Ruthie's side
At her side
Shiner just couldn't be finer
She is sleeping beside the sofa
And the trucks and the cars and the crickets
Are all we hear outside

And we never once loved anyone
Quite the way that we love you
There is magic in this moment
And all the times that we've come through
Tonight is right and it's mellow
Oh, tomorrow's known and new
I'm so glad that I ran into you

Yes, tonight is right and it's mellow
Oh, tomorrow's just so known and new
I'm so glad that I ran into you

We're so glad that we ran into you


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