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Mama Was a Hell of a Man

I was raised on a farm, just a carefree child,

My Mamma she was gentle, meek and mild;

But, my Daddy had a temper, and could sometimes be pretty mean.


When I think back on it, it becomes real plain,

That Daddy started causing me and Mama pain;

When the crops started failing, and the pickings 'round here were lean.


Our crops had failed three years in a row,

And Daddy grew restless, so to town he'd go;

He'd take a pig and sell it, and sometimes stay drunk for a week.


He started into fighting and wearing a gun,

Me and Mama was afraid he'd kill someone;

Cause Daddy never was the kind to turn the other cheek.


He'd come home hung over, all broke and sick,

His patience short, and his temper quick;

He'd start beating on Mama, and sometimes he'd slap me around.


I was just sixteen, when he broke the straw;

And I'll never forget what he done to Ma;

When I come in from the fields, she was bleeding there on the ground.


Well I knew right then, it was plain to see,

That me or Mama never would be free;

'Till I got me a pistol, and shot my Daddy dead.


I knew I had to practice, I had to be quick,

Cause at handling a pistol my Dad was slick

"I hit what I aim at", That's what my Daddy had said.


So, I bought me a pistol, and I strapped it on,

I practiced every day that Daddy was gone;

'Till I got so fast, that I really couldn't believe it was true.


I came in from work, with the setting sun,

I took me a bath, and I put on my gun;

Then I hugged my Mama, and told her what I was a‑fixin to do.


She begged and she pleaded, and she asked me to stay,

Said, "Son, I just know, there has to be a way;

To end this turmoil, without you having to take your Daddy's life."


She said, "I love you son, but I love him too,

And I can’t stand to think of what your planning to do;

I've stood by your Daddy, ever since I became his wife."


But I saddled my horse, and I road on to town,

I didn't take long for me to look around;

And I found my Daddy playing poker at the local salon.


I was really frightened, I could taste my fear,

But I walked right up, and said “Daddy I'm here”;

When I said I was gonna kill him, it got real quiet in the room.


He stood up a grinnin', and then he said:

"Better go home boy, 'fore I bust your head;

And give you a whippin', like you ain't never been whipped before!


I said, “No way Daddy, never again,

The way you treat Mama has got to be a sin;

And you ain't never gonna ever, beat me or my Mama no more.


I love you Daddy, but say good‑by,

For the time has come for you to die;"

And both our hands fairly streaked, as we reached for our guns.


We both cleared leather, but I was quicker,

Then off to the side I heard a snicker;

Then the loud explosion, of two shots almost as one.


I just stood there a shakin', and I couldn't stop,

I was just a waiting for my Daddy to drop;

Cause I knew I'd shot him, of that I had no doubt!


I looked at Daddy, and his hand was red,

He was still standing when he oughta be dead;

My hand was a hurtin', and everybody had started to shout!


Well, the room fell silent, not a sound could be heard,

And there stood Mama, not saying a word

She just stood there lookin', with a smoking gun in each hand.


She looked at Dad, then she looked at me,

She was madder than hell it was plain to see;

We knew she was serious, and she was finally making her stand.


"That's the end of the fightin", she quietly said,

It's a wonder that both you fools ain't dead;

Well, I've had enough, I ain't putting up with no more.


"So, don't say nothin', just shut your face,

Its time we all got out of this place;

Now drag your butts right on out through that door!


"There's some things about me that you never knew,

But it's time you did, cause it really is true;

I'm much faster with a gun than either of you could ever be!


“So I’m layin’ down some rules, that your gonna live by,

And don't ever break 'em, don't even try;

If you do, then your gonna have to answer to me."


Now everything's good, back on the farm,

Daddy don't ever do anybody no harm,

And I love him more and more, with each passing day.


Now Mama, she's happy, and smiling again,

Her and Daddy are back to lovers and friends;

And me, well I'm happy, so what more can I say?


Mama loved us both, deep down in her heart,

And there weren't no way she was gonna take part;

But she finally had to, so she dealt herself a hand.


When she fired them bullets that knocked away our guns,

She made quite an impression on both father and son;

And we finally found out that Mama was one hell of a man!


Robert C. Cline - April 1994

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