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Holiday chords - James McMurtry

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The in-laws are waiting, the games have begun
The cell phone keeps ringing, just don't answer it hon
The whole thing's arranged, just to aggravate Dad
And it's amateur day, on the old super slab
The kids are strapped down, like a half load of pipe
All safe in their car seats, they fuss and they gripe
Well, you can't hardly blame ‘em, it must be a b***h
Counting the crosses, off down in the ditch
And this one's got flowers, this one's got a wreath
This one's got a name, painted down underneath
Was the road all iced up, were they going too fast
Here's five in a circle, left from the last holiday, Holiday

And there's a three-trailer rig, just a throwin' up spray
Not legal to run, on this kind of a day
But g__damn the smokies, and the four wheelers too
Stay offa my bumpers, or the same goes for you
‘Cause there'll be none for him, he that wants it the most
As he hauls it on out, to the Oregon coast
No turkey, no gravy, no Zinfandel wine
Stay off to the right, and we'll get along fine
And he's missing the football, missing the fun
He won't see his grandkids, cause he's off on a run
And some hat's on the radio, singing his song
But it don't make a damn, he's in for a long holiday, Holiday

Now, granny, she's yelling, she's ready to eat
And she's havin' conniptions, ‘cause they won't take their seats
But she's got ‘em all gathered now under one roof
With her camcorder loaded, she's gonna get proof
But, do you have to wear that, well I just don't see why
Please pass the potatoes, aw eat s**t and die
Did you hear about Ellen, she's leaving, you know
How ‘bout those Packers, think it'll snow?
And the minute it's over, they'll scatter like quail
Off down the freeway, in the teeth of a gale
Silent and shattered, and numb to the core
They count themselves lucky, they got through one more holiday, Holiday

The highway patrolman, he stands in the rain
He just lets it run down, to soften the stain
Of the blood on his pant leg, from working that wreck
And he won't forget it, in time for the next holiday

Departing Chicago at 9:52
In clean desert camo all baggy and loose
Sits an Iowa Guardsman, alone at the gate
And this place sure looked different, in 1968
When he traveled with mom, first time on a plane
To visit some kin, he's forgotten their names
But he remembers the soldiers, still in their teens
In their spit polished shoes, and those pressed army greens
With the creases so sharp, and their faces so smooth
But their eyes looked so heavy, he wondered how they could move
And now he's got that same look, like his insides are black
He's in his mid forties, and he has to go back
And he can't even smoke, while he waits for his plane
The uniform's different, but the mission remains
To do like they tell you, don't make a fuss
Why's not an issue, so don't think too much
You just do what you have to, shut up and drive
If you fall apart later, well at least you're alive
You can get you some help, you can deal with it then
And life will be better, ‘til it happens again

‘Cause there's something inside us, that won't let us be
It stalks through our days ‘til it's too dark to see
And it's damn near as deadly, as Texans on ice
Lord, don't they beat all, y'all have a nice holiday

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