Time for a little Jimmie Rodgers, eh, Ed?
I've ranged, I've roamed and I've traveled.
I've been a no-good, they say.
Many years of my life I have wasted,
But I stopped leading that life today.
I had a dear old mother,
A dad and a sister, too.
But I was the youngest, and spoiled, some say,
By Mother, as mothers will do.
I left when a kid for the city;
I craved the Great White Way.
But it is a place without pity;
I went wrong the very first day.
I met there a lady,
She seemed so jolly and gay.
She took me up to her apartment
Where a dozen or more men stay.
For it was her gang, and she was their boss,
They talked of the fun they had.
We all played poker and soon I had lost
Every nickel that I had.
They said, "Come on, kid, and cheer up,
We'll let you join our gang."
They took me out on a job that night;
That's when my troubles began.
For one of the gang shot the watchman;
They laid the blame on me.
I spent 20 years in the prison,
I'm a man of forty-three.
It was then I thought of my mother,
At home, feeble and gray.
I want to see you, Mother,
As I did when I went away.
I sat down and wrote her a letter,
And this is how it ran:
I said, "Mother, I've been gone 20 long years,
Out West across the Rio Grande.
"No mail ever reaches me here,
There's nothing but sagebrush and sand.
Mother, I love you and want to come home,
And start life all over again."
(Add "yo-do-lay-lee" as needed).