Rodeo Song: Down to the Negative Worlds We Go

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Family members often get “attitude” on each other. In my case, one manifestation of that phenomenon involved my maternal grandmother’s distaste for economically disadvantaged individuals and, as it turned out, rodeo. As I was her only daughter’s first child and only son, she was inclined to cut me a bit of slack…but only a bit.

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Down to the Negative Worlds We Go
Copyright 2015 by Fred Baker

Down to the negative worlds we go
Around and around in a medicine show
Here again quickly and there again slow
Down to the negative worlds we go

My grandma did not like it when I rode them bulls and broncs
She’d a almost been as happy if I’d a hung in the honky tonks
I did not know about it until long after the fact
But the day I quit she wrote my Mom, patting her on the back
She said that boy got no business in that silly rodeo
She was putting down everything I love and most of the friends I know
I’m not criticizing my grandma; she had a right to her own view
But it took me back to an earlier time when I saw her attitude

I was nine years old at Drummond and the train was coming in
I rode it on out to Oregon with a great big goofy grin
I had the okay to stay the summer and hang out with my grandma
I made it fourteen days before I shipped back to Montana

She looked down her nose at those who were relatively poor
At the far end of her block there stood a home with an open door
A single Mom, a rundown house, two boys about my size
We were instant buddies with everything that implies

Grandma forbade me to put a foot inside that place
I flipped her the bird inside my head but not right to her face
She did her best to steer me right according to her thought
But I saw this as the most important battle I’d ever fought

Don’t ever try to tell a cowboy what he’s not allowed to do
My Dad tried that when I was eighteen and out the coop I flew
To make it on the circuit, your head better be pretty hard
I got practice in Eugene, Oregon, in my grandma’s house and yard

Down to the negative worlds we go
Around and around in a medicine show
Here again quickly and there again slow
Down to the negative worlds we go

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