Ben Smith: Music
Miles of Texas
I grew up a lot like Huck Finn. My brothers and I lived in a 14,000 person town and were free to roam most places all over town by the time we were each about eight... just as long as we could find our way back home by the time the dinner bell rang. We literally had one of those metal triangle dinner bells on the back porch. Mom would ring it to round us up for dinner. We had chickens. Had paper routs and tree houses too. We would get itchy playing in massive piles of wheat at the feed mill down the block. It wasn't all classic American nostalgia though. We had plenty of thugs, bullies, and hoodlums around town too and got into scraps on a regular basis. Compared to most people I meet though, I feel like we grew up pretty free and pretty wild.
There were two places we were not allowed to go.
One, we we not allowed to walk or ride our bikes ON Interstate Hwy 35. Pretty basic really.
And two, we were not supposed to play on the railroad tracks. We broke that rule regularly though. There was a switching station two blocks from our house and it was an irresistible source of adventure for boys.
Our cousin Adam would come up from Dallas and spend the week sometimes and that always resulted in a ton of stories. We once got the police called on us for releasing several hundred rabbits from cages in a man's back yard who raised them for their hides and meat.
Adam was my oldest brother, Aaron's age, and they were thick as thieves. While in high school, they decided it would be a good idea to hop on a train and ho bo around for the weekend. They wound up in Oklahoma City before they hopped another train back home. They still laugh about it. I was not around for that one, but it just kind of inspired the song, "Miles of Texas," which is actually among the first songs I ever wrote.
Tommy grew up beside the ocean a few miles out from King Ranch
He learned young about devotion he didn’t do his chores his daddy’d whoop his pants
His life wasn’t easy but it was a good one
He had to work hard everyday but he had a lot of fun
When he’d ride his horse along the beaches
Or go swimming with his brothers in the surf
Or every summer time when he’d pick peaches
On his uncle’s farm up north of Fort Worth
He had his cousin Philip there and they were best friends
You get those two together you never know were the day would end
And I heard many Texas tales he told
About riding on that southern railroad
Country boys just hoppin’ trains
Riding ‘cross the Texas plains
‘Bout drifting ‘round form town to town
And the people they met and the things they found
From Amarillo to Port Aransas
They saw miles and miles of Texas
The sun came up on Sunday morning and shined through the window in his face
They had no clue where they’d be going over the next couple a days
They went to church and read the Good Book
Ate a real good breakfast Philip’s mamma cooked
It all started right there on that one time
On that Sunday afternoon
They were skippin’ rocks down by the creek side
Trying to think what they could do
Then they heard the whistle of that train horn
And they knew yeah they knew
Tommy grew up and moved to Mason
He ride out to Philips bar where the beer is cold
And though the years they may have aged them
But in their hearts man they aint never growing old