Fred's Brother 

©2002 Andrew Calhoun, recorded on Tiger Tattoo

Fred's family lived in a condo,
Across the tracks from high school 
Free period, we'd be up there drinkin' tea—
Happy memory

Fred's mother lived in a bathrobe,
And frowned more than she spoke 
When she'd emerge on rare occasions
For coffee and a smoke 

Fred's brother lived in his bedroom,
Without much to feed his soul 
But a couple thousand 45's,
And a love for rock and roll 

Fred said he'd been suicidal,
And he had a rare affliction 
With no moisture to his body,
He used lotion by the carton 

Fred's brother used so much lotion,
Of this one special brand 
That each year they sent a company pen,
To thank the nation's dryest man 

Fred's Dad bought a little farm,
A bet for better days 
Where we cleared out box elder trees
For a week of summer days 

And when we finished high school,
All their kids were grown 
Fred's Dad moved his troubled wife
Up to that quiet farm 

Fred's Mom was long recovered,
And his brother, twenty-seven 
Set to marry his first girlfriend,
A nineteen year old woman 

They offered thirty dollars,
I thought it quite a thing 
To mark the priceless honor
Of singing at their wedding 

And so they came to walk between
New and old family 
And stood in humble joy
Before the minister and me 

But I recoil to recall
The twisted things he said 
His words flowed on like oily snakes
That rent the air and fled 

And he could quote the words of Paul,
And Jesus' death and rise 
But he could not see the holy thing
That stood before his eyes 

He told them where the spirit lived,
He warned them how it moved 
As if true love, the miracle,
Could somehow be improved 

I saw the bride's glad shining eyes
Glaze over and go dull 
The groom stood grey and vacant now
Where late his heart was full 

But something more than anger
Caused my voice to ring 
And gave me strength to sing their song,
Better than I can sing 

And when my part was over,
All praises to the muse 
It wasn't just the old folks
That were crying in the pews 

Fred's brother lives in Wisconsin,
Four children to his wife 
He still has to put on lotion
Every morning of his life

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