I believe I know a thing or two about country music because my dad taught me. He used to say, "Scotty! Come here and listen to this song." He would laugh out loud when it was funny and just be quiet when it wasn't. But then again, I don't remember a single Tom T. Hall record in his collection so I guess he didn't know everything. He was more your average George Jones fan. If he were alive today, I would call him and ask him why he didn't have any Tom T. Hall records. I would say, "Dad! Come here and listen to this. He's got to be the greatest storyteller of them all."
Tom T. Hall and my father were the same age. I was sad to learn that Hall apparently took his own life when he passed away on Aug. 20, 2021. Cancer took my dad in 2008. My dad was funny and I think they had that in common.
The man who preached the funeral
Said it really was a simple way to die
He laid down to rest one afternoon
And never opened up his eyes
They hired me and Fred and Joe
To dig the grave and carry up some chairs
It took us seven hours
And I guess we must have drunk a case of beer.
I guess I ought to go and watch them put him down
But I don't own a suit
And anyway when they start talkin' about
The fire in Hell, well, I get spooked
So, I'll just sit here in my truck
And act like I don't know 'I'm when they pass
Anyway, when they're all through
I've got to go to work and mow the grass.
Well, here they come and who's that
Ridin' in that big ol' shiny limousine
Mmh! look at all that chrome, I do believe
That's the sharpest thing I've seen
That must belong to his great uncle
Someone said he owned a big ol' farm
When they get parked I'll mosey down
and look it over, that won't do no harm.
Well, that must be the widow in the car
And would you take a look at that
That sure is a pretty dress
You know some women do look good in black
Well, he's not even in the ground
And they say that his truck is up for sale
They say she took it pretty hard
But you can't tell too much behind the veil.
Well, listen ain't that pretty
When the bugler plays the Military "Taps"
I think that when you's in the war
They always had to play a song like that
Well, here I am and there they go
And I guess you'd call it my bad luck
I hope he rests in peace, the trouble is
The fellow owes me forty bucks.
Tom T. Hall
Ballad of Forty Dollars lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc