Why Do We Abandon the Old People


Key of F, Tempo 110


This is a song I wrote in January of 1979 when our family travelled from Frankfurt, Germany, to College Station, Texas. We stopped in Cleburne, where I met my stepfather’s mother, who to me at that impressionable age was ancient beyond belief (she probably was in her late 60s…not too much older than I am now). I was stunned by the blotches on her skin, the clouds in her eyes, and the weird scents that surrounded her. I felt so bad she spent so much time alone.

Along with “Come Sail Away” and “The Imperfect Country Song“, this is something I worked on for an inordinate amount of time, yet still am not completely happy with the results. I have at least 4 different keyboards going on, including the tinkling of a toy piano, and added lots of backing vocals…but I’m not sure it helps. It could be the message of the lyrics is a bit muddled. I’m trying to ask why we don’t pay more attention to our senior citizens, but it’s not clear whether I’m showing respect or snark. The complete lack of a melody probably hurts the song also, as is the repeated reference to the dubious “shores of yesterday”. Maybe in another life I’ll work on this again and get it right… In the meantime, I present it to you as a flawed but hopefully fascinating artifact that really wants to be so much more.

The opening and closing photo in the video is my daughter Veronica posing with her namesake and great grandmother, Veronica Sr., who before she passed was the matriarch of the Ray family, and someone who proudly kept her original teeth until her death in her late 90s. She was one of those powerful souls who did not allow herself to be abandoned.

The images of the faces included in the video is from Franzidraws 




Listen (instrumental)