HAT CHECK GIRL
GOODBYE BUTTERFIELD
goodbye butterfield cover

Hat Check Girl - Goodbye Butterfield
all songs © Annie Gallup. Peter Gallway, & Jerry Marotta except as noted. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

1 Writers
2 Jagged Scar
3 Girls At The River
4 Grandma's Best China
5 Arrow
6 Crossroads Correctional
7 Tennessee Plates
8 A Thousand Stars
9 The Old You
10 Harry
11 Goodbye Butterfield
12 Remember

 

Writers

The boys drinking whiskey in Madison Park
5th Street East man the talk was cheap
A river runs through a town just like any other town
And we all were born to change the world

Give me a quiet room some quiet time
Do whatever you need I’ll be alone for a while
We used to drink but no more and these years are like gravy
Give me a quiet room, some quiet time, we’ll be together when the day is done

My sweet wife left me for another drunk
My kids, I couldn’t think about them very much
My head was about to explode
My hands were shaky and the words wouldn’t hold

I wish we could move to Paris or Rome
Maybe someday soon we’ll pack a few things and go
As long as there’s me and you and a little bit of time
It doesn’t really matter until the end of the line

Give me a quiet room some quiet time
Do whatever you need I’ll be alone for a while
We used to drink but no more and these years are like gravy
Give me a quiet room, some quiet time, we’ll be together when the day is done

My sweet wife left me for another drunk
My kids, I couldn’t think about them very much
My head was about to explode
My hands were shaky and the words wouldn’t hold

            (you were a stubborn man
            on your way to the edge
            you were the anvil
            I was the sledge
            but we forged this thing
            and went to work
            there's a deep, deep stillness
            that neither of us had never heard)

Give me a quiet room some quiet time
Do whatever you need I’ll be alone for a while
We used to drink but no more and these years are like gravy
Give me a quiet room, some quiet time, we’ll be together when the day is done

 

Jagged Scar

When my Grandma Flora was 3 years old
She climbed from her crib in the afternoon and walked out the open door
While her mother was busy with the baby who had a fever and a cough
And no one saw Flora wander off

She was barefoot and wearing a little sleeping shift
It was fall and there was frost in the air
My grandmother remembered the farm dog, Annie
Stayed with her for awhile, then she charged off through the brush
Later they all said Annie must have chased a bear
And credited the dog with saving the child

Little Flora found her way down the trail that led to the Little Dove
We know this because when the Rowan brothers searched for her at dusk
They saw her footprints in the muck along the bank and feared her drowned
But by then she was safely home,
Carried in the arms of a man that nobody had ever seen around
My grandmother remembered the dark, smoky smell of him
And how he sang to her all the way back to the cabin
She remembered the odd cant to his teeth, the round cup of his ear
And along his jaw, a jagged scar

Of course there was a flurry when the child was found safe
She was fussed over and the search was called
And the stranger who had brought her home vanished like smoke
Before he could be asked a single question
And everyone praised the dog Annie for her bravery
And gave her the bone they had saved to make soup

A few years later, on a trip into Butterfield
My grandmother who must have been six by then
Saw a photo of a face of a man on a poster on a wall of the post office lobby
And recognized him by his jagged scar
Look, she said, that’s who brought me home
Of course she didn’t understand at the time
Why her mother went silent and pale
Or why his name was whispered for weeks afterwards,
at home, at church and on the street
Whenever two grownups would meet and clutch their hearts

My grandmother Flora told me this story, and with a sort of pride and incredulous awe
Said the man who carried her safely home was Kid Curry, the outlaw

The Girls at the River

The north fork of the Little Dove cut across my grandfather’s land
Where I ran wild as a boy
All the child’s games I played with sticks and string and stone
And anything that floated on the current

Once I wandered past the boundary into Thomas Rowan’s land
It was the summer I turned eleven to twelve
And at the river’s bend I saw Thomas Rowan’s lovely daughters
Walking naked into the water to bathe themselves

I still had a child’s sense of mystery and wonder
But breathless and watching, I felt my blood shift
When they lifted their arms to wash their long dark hair
Then bent to rinse in the stream

The arc of their motion an unspeakable gift
Thomas Rowan’s daughters
Standing in thigh high water
Move through the current of my dreams

The arc of that moment is a lifelong gift
Thomas Rowan’s daughters
Standing in thigh high water
Still move through the current of my dreams

Grandma's Best China                                                                           © Annie Gallup

If I was a little girl once, I don't remember
No, no, can't remember that
But I know there was a time when my Grandma was alive
And her house was soft as an old felt hat
Grandma herself corseted, powdered and stockinged
Into an impressive dignity
She was the cornerstone on which my family balanced like a circus act
She gave a sort of grace to our uncertainty
Under Grandma's roof was a world unto itself
With round corners, where everything was pretty
I'd breathe in its sweet scents; it was beyond my life's experience
This unchecked delight in femininity
What will I ever love better than the deep mysteries
Of her corner cupboard
Under lock and key, in alluring secrecy
Those treasures spoke to me like a lover
When the flowers would bloom in the spring
Grandma's magnolia tree burst into teacups
It was all her best china and the birds would sing:
Cup-of-tea cup-of-tea, sugar sugar, cheer-up
Oh, best of everything, best of everything
Grandma kept her house with the help of a hired girl she called Katy
And a man who worked the yard
He'd be out there on his knees among the roses and peonies
She lived there 'til it got too hard
They moved her away and they told her "Lie down, be still"
They meant for eternity
And she obeyed; she believed in the good book and heaven
And the holy trinity
When the flowers would bloom in the spring
Grandma's magnolia tree burst into teacups
It was all her best china and the birds would sing:
Cup-of-tea cup-of-tea, sugar sugar, cheer-up
Oh, best of everything, best of everything

Arrow

The way we walked together and the distance traveled
High on Condor Mountain kicking gravel
He found a broken arrowhead shining in the dirt
Broken arrowhead tucked into the heart pocket of my shirt
The way we walked together, wind against our face
We were weathervanes turning together and aimed
Like an arrow

The nights I lay my head below his collarbone
I thought the dangers were outside us, what did I know?
I knew teeth and claws and wind and fire, but no
The danger was inside him all along, secretly growing
Up on Condor Mountain where the footpath narrows
A red-tail tucked its wings and dove down on a singing sparrow
Like an arrow

The sky, the hills, the sunset all are silent
So my conversations are one-sided                   
One for love and mystery, for walking on alone
Over bits of broken arrowhead, dust and clay and bones
But late at night as half a moon was rising
A shooting star flew across horizon to horizon
Like an arrow

Crossroads Correctional

My name is William Sullivan, but here they call me sir
Three decades in corrections. I’ll rest when I retire 
Each man born a mother’s son, each took his first sweet breath
One day he’ll take his last; while he’s in here, I won’t lose faith   

Crossroads Correctional, inside these gothic walls
Six hundred men on seven tiers, by god I know them all
Here at the crossroads of decency and crime
Truth and lies are doing time

There’s a man named Robert Johnson, life without parole
He never heard of Robert Johnson and the legend of the crossroads
I let him use the music room. Jesse taught him how to play
Now he sings those songs with haunted grace and the Devil turns away    

Crossroads Correctional, inside these gothic walls
Six hundred men on seven tiers, by god I know them all
Here at the crossroads of decency and crime
Truth and lies are doing time

In the glare of these florescent lights that don’t cast any shadows
Far away from home, under orders they must follow
In the trouble and the tedium, in the chaos and the clatter
I say, don’t let these men disappear, make their time here matter

My name is William Sullivan, in here they call me sir
Three decades in corrections. I’d take three decades more
I was born this side of Butterfield, it’s the only place I’ve known
And all the men at Crossroads are so far away from home

Crossroads Correctional, inside these gothic walls
Six hundred men on seven tiers, by god I know them all
Here at the crossroads of decency and crime
Truth and lies are doing time
Yes truth and lies…

The Girl with the Tennessee Plates

Tennessee plates and a pickup truck
Cowboy boots, a bent penny for luck
I’ve been up all night, now it’s almost light
But it’s not too late… I’m still the girl with Tennessee plates

I don’t know how I backed into this town
It’s way too far north and I’ve been turned down and turned around
What I do know, Charlie, is you’re a damned good man
You came into a little money, kind of funny, oh yeah
How we got into the habit of spending it all
There was never enough and that’s the downfall
And I had to get away but ‘til the day I die
I’ll love you and miss you and time will go by

Tennessee plates and a pickup truck
Dan Post boots, a bent penny for luck
I’ve been up all night and it’s getting light
No it’s not too late yes I’m still the girl with Tennessee plates

Well the Butterfield Bridge crosses over the tracks
It’s a two-lane, it’s too slick, there’s no turning back
Over there where they call you Chuck, the boys in the DeVille
With their pills and their crystal and you with a empty pistol and a twenty dollar bill

I'll call my brother in Nashville, he could send me the cash              
To buy some gas and a roadmap, I’ll be home in a flash                  
To the Red River Valley, the green rolling hills
Far away from your damned white powder and your little black pills                       

Tennessee plates and a pickup truck
Abilene boots, a bent penny for luck
I’ve been up all night and the sun’s too bright
But it’s still not too late…
Tennessee plates

A Thousand Stars

From this rooftop, me and my girl
It’s been a long, long drop
We’ve come halfway around a darkening world
To work and see this country
No, money does not matter to us
We are young we can do anything
And our needs are few

A thousand stars
A thousand stars in every sky
The same as home
The same as here this winter night
This town will hold us
As long as winter holds the light
Here together under a thousand stars

My mother was a village girl
My father born in Rotterdam
Grandmother was fierce and strong
And fought the Occupation
I was born to love this world
As I love this girl beside me
We are travelers, wanderers
And our families are far across this earth

A thousand stars
A thousand stars in every sky
The same as home
The same as here this winter night
This town will hold us
As long as winter holds the light
Here together under a thousand stars

A thousand stars...

Come summer we will leave this place
Though the people here have been good to us
We will travel to the Western Slopes
And sleep under the evening sky
This girl is filled with wonder
She loves me so it makes me weep
And I am hers to hold
As we walk this good green earth

A thousand stars
A thousand stars in every sky…

The Old You                                                                                                  © Annie Gallup

I dreamed I met the old you
Back when your old band played at Kodiac’s
The room was dark, the stage lights were blue
I sat alone in the back

The old you was on fire
At the microphone, the crowd was screaming
The old you was high and wired
That’s how I know I was dreaming

When the band broke for beer I spoke to you
As shy as if we’d never met
I told the old you, ‘I love what you do”
The old you lit a cigarette

And there was nothing more to say
So I backed away, waiting for time to go by
The old you talked up a girl in a beret
With wildness in her eye

Oh imagine waking from that dream
As if I’d slept twenty odd years
Then turned to find you dreaming next to me
Just like you had always been here

Harry

I cursed you blue that night I was drunk
I guess I’ve done worse how I love that whiskey
Work hard play hard drink hard sing loud
Go home to my wife, such a beautiful life

And they all say Harry he passed the bar
And lost it all in the shut of an eye
They put me down and I never woke up
It was the heart they said, we’ve done this a thousand times
But they lay me down and I never woke up

I’d a barrister become, son of a working class mom
A dad we called Red, oh we’d sip and we’d sing
Round the old oak table, I still loved them so
I worked this town and the backrooms as well
And all us good lawyers can just go to hell

And they say that Harry he passed the bar
But lost it all in the shut of an eye
They put me down and I never woke up
It was the heart, they said, it’s a piece of cake
But they lay me down and I never did wake

What was I born to, from the time I was small
I could sing to the heavens, I could sing for your soul
I would sing for the devil when I sang for you all
Night after night, oh night after night
Night after night can’t you hear me still?

Yes I cursed you then and I loved you as well
There was a mean streak in me that the whiskey could spill
But oh my wife, my good wife, cried through the night
Now she moves through this life a Doctor and a Doctor’s wife

And they all say Harry he passed the bar
And lost it all in the shut of an eye
They put me down and I never woke up
It was the heart they said, we’ve done this a thousand times
But they lay me down and I never woke up
They lay me down and I never woke up
They lay me down and I never woke up

Goodbye Butterfield

On a night so hot I couldn’t sleep, I said to myself
Remember this night when the snow is six feet deep
Remember everything because nothing lasts for long
Then in the quiet after crickets and before the first sparrow’s song
I dreamed I took a lover in the back seat of a Valiant
And I woke up wanting to, but don’t have a Valiant, do I
Goodbye, Butterfield, goodbye
Goodbye, Butterfield, goodbye

How many crows can you fit in a sugar maple?
I ran out with my camera but the picture came out black
And the noise was like that too, it was a solid racket
And I stood there a long time shivering without a jacket,
The weather changed so fast and so soon, so soon
And I just had to watch until the crows took off to fly
Goodbye Butterfield, goodbye
Goodbye, Butterfield, goodbye

I almost missed my shift at the Butterfield Theater
When my Chevrolet got stuck in a drift and I had to walk
I was frozen stiff when I finally made it there
To the dusty reek of popcorn and the usher’s stinking hair
But on the way I cut across the river and heard the ice creek under my feet
I thought about the current underneath and how easy it would be to die
Goodbye Butterfield, goodbye
Goodbye, Butterfield, goodbye

I lost my wristwatch, my backpack and one of my hoop earrings
All on the same day. Shedding, I said
But I retraced my footsteps across the bridge, up Spring Street
And found the first crocus blooming underneath an apple tree
Then the first warm wind blew and I unbuttoned my coat
And then lost that too, and my keys and my driving wheel
Goodbye Butterfield, goodbye
Goodbye Butterfield, goodbye

Remember

I remember you
Waiting for the Butterfield train
And the gothic rooftop
With the weathervane
And the chaos and the clatter
As the train pulled in the station         
How you never looked away
From our silent conversation

I remember you
By the Little Dove
Crickets singing
Under a thousand stars, love
You unbutton your shirt,
Feel the first warm wind
Walk naked into the water,
I follow you in

I remember you                                              I remember you 
In a quiet room                                                When the crocus bloomed
At an old oak table                                          And the sugar maple
Writing prose                                                   Filled with crows
I brought you a whisky                                    I took your picture
And a piece of cake                                        Underneath the apple tree
And we laughed at contradictions                   Gave you an arrowhead and said
In the choices we make                                  “Remember me”