‘The Bowdoinham Porch Song’ by Fred Cheney

soft cartel april 2018

This Bowdoinham porch is that low tide smell out on the Cathance River.
It grows us ducks and smelts, and then kayaks in the summer.
In time it makes its way down to Merrymeeting Bay
Under the watchful eye of the mighty bald eagle—
Our national bird. White feathered head … so it’s not bald at all.

This Bowdoinham porch is that chicken barbecue up at the school.
It happened on July the 4th, and started with a parade,
Where Miss Slick Chick waved to all of us and graced us with her smile.
Then fiddle contests, ox pulls, and folks that you ain’t seen in quite a while.
Nighttime comes, and fireworks with a chick.

This old porch is a town with just one grammar school now,
There used to be quite a few, one room and eighteen scholars.
The Jellerson’s been brought back, not the Lancaster nor the Bishop.
Us smart ones went to Bishop, and then straight off into college.
Sometimes, I went in early, and I lit the stove.

This Bowdoinham porch is a steaming bowl of Abe Lincoln stew.
It’s at the Town Landing, and who knows what night is right.
But if you’re lucky enough to get it and you ate there back in the week,
You can bet your boots that that stew will taste familiar.

This old porch is that Bowdoinham Country Store, it’s not that far.
Some still call it Marian’s, us old ones think of Delmar.
Sell you groceries, sell you hardware, sell you sandwiches and beer,
And don’t forget it is the place where David tags your deer.

This Bowdoinham porch is that long gone, springtime minstrel show.
Our fathers and their friends, they sang and danced as end men.
And they always said of the blackface, don’t pay it any mind.
But it did a lot of damage, and we’ve left that shit behind.

This old porch is a town that won’t forget its history.
I was a kid for the bicentennial, and an old man at two-fifty.
There’s “Growing Up Bowdoinham,” and the Veteran’s Wall.
Speaking Frankly here, one verse can’t say it all.

They’ve got them a society, it is his-tor-i-cal.
They save letters, photos, and tools for the stories that they tell
About the way things once was, times well worth remembering.
The past and the future intersect right where we’re standing.

This Bowdoinham porch is that low tide smell out on the Cathance River.
It grows us ducks and smelts, and lots of kayaks in the summer.
In time it makes its way down to the bay and then the ocean.
Time is like that river there, they’re both always in motion.
They carry us forward. They bring us back. We watch it all
Right from this Bowdoinham porch.

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