1989 September 30

The Good Old Days

Topics

Two GIs with their tank in Italy during World War Two

There’s an old man in Nebraska
who never leaves his home
His friends may tour Alaska,
he just dreams of Rome

Y’see, he saw it many years ago,
though he was just passing through
The Fifth Brigade from Idaho
had better things to do

Refrain 1:
And he says
Those were the good old days,
they were simple and straightforward
I don’t understand the young ones’ ways—
I don’t want to hear one more word

They think today they fight for truth;
they don’t know what truth’s about
Back in the days when I was a youth,
the truth stood plainly out…

Yeah, back then we were all ablaze—
those were the good old days

But the things that he saw called to him
with a voice he’d never heard
He was glad to risk both life and limb—
not fighting was absurd

When he came back to the Midwest,
he no longer fit in
The neighbors felt that things were best
when they were plain “American”

And he didn’t have the riches
to go back on his own
So he just hitched up his britches
and built himself a home

His children were all hippies,
they talked of peace and love
He found solace getting tipsy—
he could never be a dove

Though they’d listen quite politely
to his stories of the War
His wife would ask him nightly
not to be a bore

So he put away his German flag,
his medals, and his gun
And now whenever his spirits sag,
he remembers the war he won

[Repeat refrain]

There’s an old man in Lebanon
who never leaves his home
His friends are all dead or gone
and he’s afraid to roam

He’d traveled all around the world
when he came back home to die
But now with every bomb that’s hurled,
he prays he will survive

And the things that he sees frighten him,
though his shouts are never heard
“Why do you risk both life and limb—
this fighting is absurd!

You claim this is a Holy War,
that makes no sense my friends…
How can God love blood and gore?
He’ll be sick till this war ends

His sons no longer draw their breath;
they both died back in June
He worries about another death:
Beirut will be dead soon

And every year there’s talk of peace,
and every year it’s failed
They try to bring in more police,
but no one’s ever jailed

‘Cause you can’t arrest an entire nation,
and you cannot reason with hate
The old man cries in his frustration
and curses his land’s fate

And in his mind he returns again
to a time when he would play
With other young and carefree children—
they’re hard to find today

[Repeat refrain]