To stop the jangling
I answer the phone
Somebody screams my name
'You better come quickly
She's shuckin' her dress
And puttin' the family to shame!'

'That must be Mary'
I think to myself
'Liquored-up down at the bar
Swingin' from rafters
And dancin' on tables
This time she's gone way too far.'

I get there so quickly
I catch her brassiere
Just as it brushes the floor
I grab my sister
And reclaim her dress
Then drag her proudly to the door.

The very next morning
We wake to a CRASH!
In the kitchen we find a truck
It looks like my brother
But it's so hard to tell
With his head in the oven door stuck.

With her head throbbin'
Sis falls to her knees
'No way I'll end up like Jim!'
Right then and there
She gives up the drinkin'
So she won't get stuck like him.

Swingin' and flashin'
They're all in the past
She sits demurely today
Heaven Above
Brought Sweet Mary back
When God took the bottle away.

'But where is our Mother?'
We wonder aloud
As they take our Jim away
It's Sunday mornin'
And we're headed to church
We need her there when we pray.

Just then the phone rings
'Not again!' says I
The gendarmes are callin' from France
'We have your Mother
She just robbed a bank
Come when you get the chance.'

'Mon dieu! Sacre bleu!'
I say in bad French
'We'll get there as soon as we can!'
What with my brother
Crashin' the kitchen
This really screws up the plan.

She'd flown to Cleveland
She'd walked out on checks
She'd done her fair share of things
But flyin' to France
And robbin' a bank
Maybe the monster has wings.

I recall the day
Our sweet papa died
He shivered to death in the rain
I remember the way
Our whole family cried
I thought we might die of the pain.

That's when I figgered
'That's how drunks go
I'll never touch the stuff again!'
That was the moment
I realized that I
Could break my link in the chain.

Sneakin' and wreakin'
They're all in the past
I'm dry as a camel today
Sweet baby Jesus
Gave my spirit back
When God took the bottle away.

Gathered in Paris
We speak to the judge
'It's the booze made her act so!'
'She must get sober
And never come back.'
We agree, so he lets her go.

Flyin' and stealin'
That's all in the past
We stay together today
Thanks to the angels
We got mamma back
When God took the bottle away.

At papa's graveside
The family gathers
Jim in a full-body cast
Amidst the sobs
He makes us the promise
'The carousin' is all in the past.'

Drinkin' and dyin'
That's all in the past
We're huggin' and kissin' today
Sweet baby Jesus
Brought my family back
When God took the bottle away.
© 2004 by Michael J. Farrand

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