One year I had a co-worker named RuthAnn Odell who lived just across the river. When she and I worked side by side, we'd chatter away, and I picked up on bits and pieces of her life, enough to write a song about her.
I ran across her name on Facebook recently and sent her a friend request. She didn't remember me at the time, but she added me as a friend anyway.
Clarissa, a Kansas City area lady who used to have a blog I read occasionally, is also a Facebook friend. We were not personally acquainted, just blog buddies... although we later met briefly when I let her mushroom-hunt on our property. She was one of the first people I friended on Facebook, as well as her mother (whom I found out I worked with in the 70's... small world indeed). Clarissa was raised in the same area where RuthAnn lives, and her mother still lives there.
Yesterday on Facebook I mentioned how RuthAnn Odell was the person who explained to me how to make hamburger stew, tagging her so she'd see the comment. Clarissa commented on that, saying, "How many more people do you know that I know?"
Stay with me here, I know this is getting confusing.
Now, it's not so peculiar running into RuthAnn after all these years; we've probably been in the Richmond Walmart at the same time and didn't know it. But I haven't written songs about that many people. I mentioned the song to Clarissa, and she expressed disbelief, so I hunted it up, and RuthAnn gave me permission to share it.
I remember the tune, but I am always reluctant to do a Youtube video of me singing and playing because my guitar skills are not that great. OK, a six-year-old could do better. My voice isn't so hot either, but I don't worry about that, because most great folk singers have crappy voices.
Anyhow, I'll share the lyrics and you can make up you own country tune.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ms. RuthAnn Odell; this is her story, but this is my song:
Donna Wood, copyright October 1, 1988
The first time she got married, RuthAnn was just a kid
And really not responsible for everything she did.
Her husband started cheating when her little girl was two,
And leaving was the only option RuthAnn ever knew.
Transplanted to Missouri at the tender age of ten,
She'd still go back to Memphis to see Grandma now and then.
She's a little bit a Yankee and a little southern belle,
And she'll never get so old that she can't raise a little hell.
Horses are her fancy now, and she rides all the time;
She's learned that everything works out somewhere along the line,
And she won't take any nonsense from anybody's man.
It's surely been a pleasure just working with RuthAnn.
She stood outside of Graceland with a group of girls she knew
And it happened one September that a teenage dream came true.
The King came out to greet them and he smiled and shook her hand!
That's still a treasured moment in the memory of RuthAnn.
The second time she married she was wiser, with the years,
But she kept her sense of humor through the laughter and the tears.
She says that she'll breathe easier when all her kids are grown
But they always will be welcome if they want to come back home.
first chorus, then...
Ordinary people doing ordinary things...
That's what I like to talk about and what I love to sing!
If I'd have known her longer then I'd have more to tell,
But it's here I'll end my story about Ms. RuthAnn Odell.