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This song was written for the occasion of my mother's seventieth birthday.


Small-town girl of seventeen,
you know she must have seemed a dream
to that eighteen-year-old from the city.
She could paint and she could sing;
he gave her his mother’s ring,
and the rest, they say, is history.

I gotta wonder if she knew
what she was getting herself into
when she caught my father’s eye.
But looking back, I don’t expect
that she’s got any regrets;
that just wouldn’t be her style.

‘Cause when the nightmares come calling
or there’s trouble at the door,
and you run to her just like you’ve run
a thousand times before,
and you ask her for advice, she will reply,
“All you gotta do is smile.”*

Now, Jim was born in ’54,
so she had almost a year before
her life was turned inside out.
It was forty years before I left
and they had the place to themselves,
and that’s really all I care to know.

Yet from the tiniest of scrapes
to the heaviest of heartbreaks
she’s been there to heal the pain
with the hands of a sculptor,
and the voice of an angel,
and the patience of a saint.

Now seven decades out the door,
and we all hope for seven more
(though we’d settle for three or four).
Things may be getting hard these days,
but you’ve lost none of your grace,
none of your beauty, and none of your strength.

I will remember until I die: you said,
“I can see the fire in your eyes.
I pray you warm the world,
not burn it down.”
Well, the best way that I know how
is to live my life the way you live yours now
and pass your simple message on.

So when my own kids come calling
’cause there’s trouble at the door,
and they run to me just like I ran to you
a hundred thousand times before,
and they ask me for advice, I will reply,
“All you gotta do is smile.”


from Tributes, released January 20, 2002
written and performed by Joe Rybicki


all rights reserved



Johnny High Ground Cleveland, Ohio

Mostly solo stuff from that one guy from whatever... (That was the name of the band. Really. I know.)

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