Riding Shotgun, a poem written by Roger Turner at Spillwords.com

Riding Shotgun

Riding Shotgun

written by: Roger Turner



I remember riding shotgun
between my ma and pa
mom had on the radio
dad chewed on his chaw

I always rode the middle
Every time in that old truck
I could feel each bounce and bump
Somtimes I had to duck

Ma would play the radio
Jesus music filled the air
Daddy, turned and looked away
Just like he didn’t care

Daddy was in Vietnam
He met Ma when he got back
He lost two fingers in the war
From a sneak enemy attack

Ma grew up in Jamestown
A small town in Tennessee
Nothing there but the old mine
Nothing much for one to see

She went to church on Sundays
Listened to WCLC
Jesus music all the time
For the folks in Tennessee

Each Sunday after service
Pa would pick us up at church
He never went inside though
He didn’t quite like Pastor Birch

Daddy only owned one suit
He’d had it since the war
He wore it to get married in
It didn’t fit no more

The sleeves had gotten shorter
The chest was far too tight
But, since he didn’t go to church
To pa….it fit just right

Ma would sit and listen
And I would watch my pa
He’d make faces out the window
Never ever to my ma

Pa had faith, but different
He believed in what he saw
And what struck his eyes in war time
He could never tell my Ma

So, we would go to market
After church, each Sunday morn
Ma would go in shopping
We rush her with the old truck horn

She’d cuss pa when she got back
He’d just smile, enough to say
Let’s get home, daylights wasting
There’s still chores to do today

When I was nine, well almost ten
Ma got sick, I mean, real bad
She was being called to heaven
And I remember that my Dad

Took me into town to shop
To get a suit and shoes
Before we went he sat me down
And told me the bad news

I cried, for near an hour
Funny thing, my pa did too
I’d never seen this happen
To me, well…this was new

He said, you’re ma’s a fine one
She’s the best person that I know
Now, she’s wanted up in heaven
That’s all…we need to go

Ma died three days later
Pa phoned up Old Pastor Birch
He told him what had happened
And made plans to use the church

In all my life, I’d never seen
My pa dressed up so good
He said, I don’t look perfect
But, I done the best I could

Pa’s been gone for thirty years
And you know, I’ve got his suit
Not the new one that he bought that day
But, the one…he gave the boot

It reminds of the better times
When Ma and Pa and me
would ride out on a Sunday
I’d be shotgun, just to see

I remember riding shotgun
With Ma and Pa, and it was good
Jesus Music on the radio
As I think back…it was good

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