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Lyr Req: 'Red Smith was an honest country lad...'

Joe Offer 27 Mar 00 - 07:20 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Feb 11 - 12:28 PM
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Subject: Red Smith was an honest country lad...
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Mar 00 - 07:20 PM

Copied from the help forum. E-mail sent to Liz, asking her to check this forum.
-Joe Offer-

Subject:Need Lyrics
Date: 27-Mar-00 - 01:42 PM

"Red Smith was an honest country lad who lived at home with his mother and dad." This was a humorus song about railroad and labor. Anyone with complete lyrics and author and title please contact me. Thanks for any help Liz Castor.

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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FAST RUN (R. B. Streeter)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Feb 11 - 12:28 PM

From The Railway Conductor, Volume 27, Number 5 (Cedar Rapids, IA: Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen, May, 1910), page 418:

R. B. Streeter

Red Smith was an honest farmer lad,
Who lived at home with mother and dad,
But he got the idea into his head
That he could earn his daily bread
An easier way than from early morn
Till after sundown, plowing corn.
The 'Frisco trains passed every day,
While Red plowed corn near the right o' way.
He watched the smoke cloud the summer skies,
While the "Hoghead" sat there looking wise;
He saw the "Taller" with bended back,
Try to keep her hot on a tank of slack.
The caboose would pass with the "con" inside,—
Red thought all he had to do was ride.
But the easiest job of all of them yet
Was the brakeman on top with a cigarette.
Then Red would turn to his corn once more,
But the sun was hot and his feet were sore;
So he made up his mind a job he'd get,
Like the brakeman on top with the cigarette.
He saw an "ad" in the "Farm Bazoo,"
How he could learn to be a "screw,"
And quickly rise from the ranks of fools.
Through a course, by mail, in the Scranton Schools.

So he took a course in the Scranton Schools,
Then taught the signals to his team of mules;
He screwed a bell to the end of the tongue,
Then over the plow a bell cord strung;
The bridles and lines he threw away,
Then worked by signals while he plowed all day.
Two rings from Red, then the mules would go,
Four rings and they would ease down slow;
Five rings and they would strike a trot,
Two rings while going would make them stop.
But the boy had got it into his head
That the mules would see no more of Red;
So he quietly stole one summer morn,
Down the road to town past the fields of corn;
The larks sang gaily in the clear blue sky,
While the corn seemed to wave a fond good-bye.
The old man said to his wife next day,
"Well, I guess that boy has ran away;
Of course, I hope he'll come to no harm,
But he never would have learned to farm,
Tho' I think, in time, he can run a train,—
You know he was always short on brain."
Now the old man, left to drive the mules,
Was a little shy on the book of rules.

He said, "I must finish the corn today
And begin tomorrow making hay;
Where Red hid the lines he never would tell,
So I'll have to use that rope and bell."
Then hitched them up, got in the seat,
Got hold of the rope, and braced his feet.
His wife said, "John, just like as not,
If you get them started you can never stop;
You know that Red understood the rules,—
He graduated from the Scranton Schools."
The old man said, "Oh, never you mind;
Years ago I broke on the 'Frisco line;
Them days when they wanted a man on freight
They didn't look long for a graduate;
They wanted a man that could use a club,
And a constitution for Harvey House grub.
I remember yet one whistle it takes
To get the brakeman to club the brakes;
And if these mules start to doing stunts,
I can stop the racket by ringing once."

He pulled the rope, they started to go,
But he thought their gait a little slow;
He pulled again and gave five rings,
The mules then started to scatter things.

The old man stuck and pulled the rope.
But the mules went faster at every lope;
To the number of rings he gave no heed.
And the mules took the signal to increase speed.
They circled around thro' corn and hay,
They stopped for nothing in their way;
Over the garden and through the wheat,
The old man clinging fast to the seat.

He called to his wife as they came around,
"Why don't you try to flag us down?"
She answered back as she climbed the gate,
"I thought you used to brake on freight."
And then she called back, "When it's time for bed.
If they're going yet, I'll send for Red."

They circled again, the old man yelled back,
"Go stop that train coming down the track;
Ask the conductor for his book of rules
Till we find how to stop these gosh darned mules."
She flagged the train; they came to a stop;
The conductor came hurrying up on a trot.
She says, "Oh, tell me, does the 'Frisco rules
Tell how to stop a team of mules?"
Says he: "You're crazy; next thing you'll be
Saying there are mules in the O. R. C."
She then explained the bell on the tongue,
How the old man started the mules to run.
"Tell me the number of rings it takes
To get the mules to put on brakes."

"Madam," says he, "if that team of mules
Is pulling that plow under standard rules,
You can tell the old man just what to do;
The signal to stop is to ring just two."
She told the old man: "Two rings is enough."
He says to himself: "'Tain't no such stuff.
For that's exactly the number of rings
I gave at first and started things.
There'd be as much sense in saying 'Whoa!'
When you wanted to stop or wanted to go.
Two rings to stop and the same to start.—
That conductor must be all-fired smart.
He'll not fool me, I just as soon
Ride this plow till the crack of doom."

So away they went around and around,
Till the corn and wheat were all trampled down;
The neighbors came in to see the fun.
While the mules they still continued to run.
For sixteen hours they did their best,
And then tied up for eight hours' rest.
When finally the law had got them stopped.
The old man said as his brow he mopped,
"I never want any more of my mules
To graduate from the Scranton Schools."

Red landed the job so highly prized,
And the dream of his life was realized.
Long years have come and rolled away
Since Red left home that summer day.
He had the same luck we all have had,—
Some of it good and some of it bad.
He first joined hands with the B. of R. T.
Then a few years later, the O. R. C.
And as Father Time turns over the leaves,
Red gets gold stripes on his uniform sleeves.
He smiles when he pulls the bell cord now,
With the memories it brings of the cord on the plow,
And the time when he thought the farm too slow.
Same as you and I thought, years ago;
And he often longs to be back with the plow,
Same as you and I are longing now.

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