I was wandering the country
In my cowboy hat and boots
When anybody asked me, said
“I’m searchin’ for my roots –
I been livin’ in Missouri and
I’m a stubborn SOB and I wanta
Know just who I am
Want to find my family.
My Grandpa was a preacher man
From Southern Illinois,
Got a married lady pregnant
And they had a baby boy.
The lady moved away
To hide from all the shame,
And the little boy grew up and
Only knew his Daddy’s name.
Well the little boy, (my Father,
From the story I was told)
Lived rough from the beginning -
He was only twelve years old
When he got in trouble fightin’
(Neighbor called his Mom a *****)
And five or six years later
He tried to rob a store.
They tried him as a juvenile, and
Put him in the ‘System’,
Stamped ‘Marine Corp’ on his folder
Dad did not resist ‘em.
He went to boot camp near Savannah
Where they send ‘em all at first
Did the basics and the training
(The first weeks were the worst)
He went to town one evening
Lookin’ for some place to fight
Bought a bottle of tequila,
Found a girlfriend for the night
Told her he was going overseas,
That she should treat him right,
They were sweaty with Savannah heat
Her apartment was nearby,
They made love until the morning light,
She didn't shed a tear, or cry.
In the morning neither one of them
Recalled the other’s name
They shared a joint for breakfast
No blood, no foul, no shame
They exchanged their names and numbers,
She knew he’d probably never call,
He put her’s in his pocket,
He grabbed a taxi back to base.
She spent the day in bed.
Remembering his hands, his face
She couldn’t push him from her head.
A few weeks later she felt sick, and
Went to see a nurse
She prayed that it was a cold or flu,
But expected something worse,
Her fears confirmed,
She begged her God
For sanity and strength.
Knowing that she couldn’t keep the child
So she knelt and prayed at length;
It became to her apparent,
Adoption was the better way,
But she didn’t call the father
For fear of what he’d say.
I finally found her in Savannah
She had never moved from there
Never married, worked a coffee shop
All we could do was stare.
No apologies were needed,
I hugged her,
We both cried,
And I knew that when she gave me up
Something inside her died.
I asked her how she met my dad,
She said, “He was in a bar, on leave.
He was drunk and he was handsome,
I was younger, and naïve.
He told me I was beautiful
I told him he was too.
And I’ll be ******, but son,
Your father looked alot like you."
She said, "I called and left a message,
But an officer called me back.
“I’m sorry Ma’am,” he said,
But your boyfriend won’t be back.
He was killed with seven others
In a terrorist attack.
But he left a lot of letters,
Rubber-banded in a stack.
To “Maria in Savannah”,
No last name and no address
Just a number on the envelope,
You can pick them up, I guess.”
I gave the officer my address, and
He sent them all to me.
There were a dozen letters
All printed carefully.
Your father, (his given name was Steve)
Told me about his early life
Told me what he knew about his parents,
And about the time he spent in jail.
He had stacked up all the letters
Because there wasn’t any mail.
The last one that he wrote me -
His last day as a Marine
He told me I was pretty,
Best lookin’ gal he’d ever seen.
And he told me he was comin’ home
To straighten out his life
And he asked me, in that letter, if I would be his wife.
Will you be goin’? Or can you stay awhile?
I’ve got a little extra room
And there’s work here (it don’t pay too much)
If you know how to push a broom.
I guess that I should ask you if I’ve got grandkids,
And other stuff like that,
And I’ll bet that you’re from Texas
With those cowboy boots and hat.
Your father grew up troubled
But he was a **** good man
I’m gonna look him up in Heaven,
At least now that’s my plan.
Thanks for findin’ me and callin’
I shoulda called you years ago,
But I was scared ‘bout what you’d think
And …. Oh I don’t know.
Sometimes I’m not proud of who I am
And all the things I’ve done
Wouldn’t want to push my troubles
On my one and only son.
It’s kinda hard to ask forgiveness from
The son I gave away,
But now you’re here, and I hope
You’ll take a couple weeks and stay.
That is if you want to,
And I know that you probably don’t
But I want to know the son I lost
And if you don’t stay, then I guess I won’t."
I said, “Mom, I’m from Missouri,
I’m a stubborn SOB
I been wanderin’ round the country
Lookin’ for my family.
And I’m thinkin’
You’re the only one
That really knew my Dad
And about you “givin’ me away?”
It’s the only choice you had.
I will stay here if you let me
I’d like to find a gal like you
We’ll make you a Grandma
And then she can love you too.”