Sunday, February 12, 2012

POETRY BREAK #6: "Old Doc Brown" by Red Foley

Albie's note: I like this old recitative poem written by the great Red Foley.  It's a pretty neat tribute to country doctors.  I have been reading a really good ol' western-- set in AZ-- called Doc Dillahay by Paul S. Powers [which I hope to review soon] so this was very timely to me.  Probably the best known recorded version was by Johnny Cash and included on his legendary 1961 concept album RIDE THIS TRAIN.  The Youtube clip here is a live version from Cash's TV show originally taped back in 1970!  Oh and i just had to include a classic Dell comics info page along the same lines... it is from Four Color #877 [a 1958 adaptation of the TV show Frontier Doctor starring Willcox, AZ's own Rex Allen!]
Hope someone else enjoys this stuff!


He was just an old country doctor in a little country town--
Fame and fortune had passed him by though we never saw him frown--
As day by day in his kindly way he'd serve us one and all;
Many a patient forgot to pay-- although Doc's fees were small.

Though he needed his dimes, and there were times that he'd receive a fee,
He'd pass it onto some poor soul that needed it worse than he.
He had to sell his furniture-- couldn't pay his office rent--
So to a dusty room over a livery stable Doc Brown and his satchel went.

And on the hitchin' post at the curb below, to advertise his wares,
He'd nailed a little sign that read "Doc Brown has moved upstairs."
There he kept on helping folks get well-- for his heart was jus' pure gold--
But anyone with eyes could see that Doc was gettin' old.

Then one day he didn't answer when they knocked upon his door.
Old Doc Brown was layin' down but his soul was no more.
They found him there in that old black suit-- on his face was a smile of content--
But all the money they could find on him was a quarter and a copper cent.

So they opened up his ledger and what they saw gave their hearts a pull--
Beside each debtor's name old Doc had written these words: "Paid In Full!"
Old Doc should have had a funeral fine enough for a king;
It's a ghastly joke-- our town was broke-- and no one could give a thing.

'Cept Jones, the undertaker, he did mighty well--
Donatin' an old iron casket he had never been able to sell.
And the funeral procession-- it wasn't much for grace and pomp and style--
But those wagon loads of mourners? They stretched out for more than a mile!

We wanted to give him a monument-- we kinda figured we owed him one--
'Cause he made our town a better place for all the good he'd done.
We pulled up that old hitchin' post where Doc had nailed a sign;
We'd painted it white and to all of us it certainly did look fine.

Now the rains and the snows have washed away our white trimmin's of paint
There ain't nothin' left but Doc's own sign and that's gettin' pretty faint.
But you can still see that old hitchin' post as if in answer to our prayers
Mutely tellin' the whole wide world: "Doc Brown... has moved upstairs."
Red Foley [1910-1968]

Now, here's the video clip:


"Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you..."
 Colossians 4:14

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