Here in Topeka

Sorry for the silence, folks.  I’m suffering from 80% disease:  I have about six posts 80% written, and then I say, “Yeah, that’s pretty much it — I’ll just go back and finish it up tonight.”  And then I dye my hair, change my social security number, and move to Canada so I don’t have to deal with it.

In the mean time, I offer you this Loretta Lynn song that my mother sent me.  I’ve never heard it before, but I love it!  It’s actually named “One’s On the Way,” but I didn’t want to title the post that, because then you would think I’m pregnant, and I’m not.

It seems like a pretty good follow-up to the March for Life, doesn’t it?  You know, that day when hundreds of thousands of ninjas march to show their support of women and babies.  I say “ninjas” because they somehow slip by the attention of the media — amazing!  It’s like they were never there.  And yet they get the job done.

Not everyone marched, but many hundreds of thousands stayed at home and helped the cause in their own way:

Here are the lyrics:

They say to have her hair done Liz flies all the way to France,
And Jackie’s seen in a discotheque doin’ a brand new dance,
And the White House social season should be glittering and gay

But here in Topeka the rain is a fallin’
The faucet is a drippin’ and the kids are a bawlin’
One of them is toddlin’ and one is a crawlin’ and one’s on the way.

I’m glad that Raquel Welch just signed a million dollar pact
And Debbie’s out in Vegas workin’ up a brand new act
And the TV’s showin’ Newlyweds, a real fun game to play

But here in Topeka the screen door’s a bangin’
The coffee’s boilin’ over and the warsh needs a hangin’
One wants a cookie and one wants a changin’ and one’s on the way.

Now what was I doin’ – Jimmy get away from there  – darn there goes the phone
Hello honey. What’s that you say – you’re bringin’ a few ole Army buddies home
You’re callin’ from a bar? Get away from there
No, not you, honey, I was talkin’ to the baby- Wait a minute honey, the door bell
Honey could you stop at the market and –hello? hello? well I’ll be.

The girls in New York City they all march for women’s lib,
And Better Homes and Gardens shows the modern way to live,
And the pill may change the world tomorrow but meanwhile today

Here in Topeka the flies are a buzzin’
The dog is a barkin’ and the floor needs a scrubbin’
One needs a spankin’ and one needs a huggin’ – Lord, one’s on the way.

Oh gee I hope it ain’t twins again


  1. I must insist that you see the version she does on The Muppet Show. I should have found a link before commenting. I love it!

    • Here you go!

      I have to admit, I like the stage version better – those muppet babies are creepy! I like how affectionate she sounds on the phone in the straight version, too.

  2. Again, operating on the same fried wavelengths.

    And 80% of you is better than none – so post anything, we’ll read it.

    I’m back, by the way. And mostly because of you, Dear Simcha.

  3. That song always gives me the creeps, knowing that she also recorded “The Pill”:

    You wined me and dined me when I was your girl
    Promised if I`d be your wife you`d show me the world
    But all I`ve seen of this old world is a bed and a doctor bill
    I`m tearing down your brooder house `cause now I`ve got the pill

    All these years I`ve stayed at home while you had all your fun
    And every year that`s gone by another baby`s come
    There`s gonna be some changes made right here on Nursery Hill
    You`ve set this chicken your last time `cause now I`ve got the pill

    This old maternity dress I`ve got is going in the garbage
    The clothes I`m wearing from now on won`t take up so much yardage
    Miniskirts hotpants and a few little fancy frills
    Yeah I`m making up for all those years since I`ve got the pill

    I`m tired of all your crowing how you and your hens play
    While holding a couple in my arms another`s on the way
    This chicken`s done tore up her nest and I`m ready to make a deal
    And you can`t afford to turn it down `cause you know I`ve got the pill

    This incubator is overused because you`ve kept it filled
    The feeling good comes easy now since I`ve got the pill
    It`s getting dark it`s roosting time tonight`s too good to be real
    Aw but Daddy don`t you worry none `cause Mama`s got the pill
    Oh Daddy don`t you worry none `cause Mama`s got the pill

    • Ugh, that is depressing (and an inferior song musically, IMO). Apparently Lynn had 4 kids by the time she was 17 – so I can imagine her not being all happy with motherhood all the time. “One’s on the way” is obviously an earlier song — anyone know where her attitude ended up eventually? I love her voice, but don’t know many of her songs yet.

      From Wikipedia:

      “In an effort to break free of the coal mining industry, Lynn moved to the logging community Custer, Washington, with her husband, at the age of 14. The Lynns had six children – Betty Sue, Jack Benny, Cissy, Ernest Ray, and twins Peggy and Patsy (named after Patsy Cline).
      . . .

      Even though they were married for nearly 50 years and had six children together,[5] the Lynns’ marriage was reportedly rocky up to Doolittle’s death in 1996. In her 2002 autobiography, Still Woman Enough, and in an interview with CBS News the same year, Lynn recounts how her husband cheated on her regularly and once left her while she was giving birth.[6] Lynn and her husband also fought frequently, but, she said, “he never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice.”[6]”

      • In an interview with Express Milwaukee given in December of 2010, Lynn says of the song,

        “I wrote that song without realizing that people were going to be upset about it. All the women I knew took the pill except for me, and I had the kids to prove I didn’t. So since every woman I met told me they were on the pill, I wrote a song about it. I couldn’t believe the way people acted when it was released.”

      • I highly recommend reading both Loretta Lynn’s and Dolly Parton’s autobiographies. Even though they came from similar backgrounds, they each had totally different perspectives on sex…as evidenced by their personas.

        When Loretta got married she didn’t know ANYTHING about intercourse, and Doolittle left her for the first time on their wedding night. The twins were born after her career was kind of established and Doolittle took care of them a lot while she was on the road.

        We have to keep in perspective when these songs were written. “The Pill” captures a moment in time. It was written at a time when people trusted that companies wouldn’t market something they knew was faulty or dangerous…and a lot of people didn’t even realize how dangerous a lot of things (physically or socially) were. And Loretta came from a culture (like my mother) that regularly received tea spoons of turpentine for every ailment.

        • Very true. I can’t imagine what her life was like. I’m 35, have a Masters Degree, a faithful husband, and have 5 babies ages 8 and under, and I’m *still* overwhelmed sometimes.

  4. I like the song- except for the pill part- sorry….am I going to eat organic veggies, avoid/delay vaccines, cloth diaper, go meatless for health, etc, etc- and then take hormones constantly from age 16 (may as well have sex if I can’t get pregnant) to about 45? I would be just a wee bit upset with my husband if he expected me to take a pill every day to avoid pregnancy that can happen maybe 5 days out of the month….arrrrgh….

    • Well, sure, no argument here – but that line didn’t sound pro-pill to me – -it sounded like she was putting the pill in the realm of the unreal, phony, glitterati — but here she was, just living her actual life.

  5. I confess I sometimes will click onto or to see what the rich, famous, and washed up are doing. It makes me feel so normal in comparison, superior even.

  6. I recently (about 2 months ago?) heard Loretta Lynn interviewed on NPR, and she sounded very pro-pill to me. She resented the fact that she didn’t have it when she was young. She talked about how difficult her life was, and how poorly her husband treated her for much of her married life. She didn’t seem to have any moral qualms about the Pill, and frankly that’s consitent with about 99% of the US population, so why should Loretta Lynn be any different?

    • “so why should Loretta Lynn be any different?”

      Well, if she doesn’t have the Church to guide her — why SHOULD she? As others have pointed out, someone who endured what she did would naturally be looking for some relief – and, as others have pointed out, it’s not as if the moral problems with the pill are obvious. I think we Catholics forget how lucky we are to have a magesterium. It’s not always easy to obey, but it sure is simple.

      Anyway, I wasn’t writing about Loretta Lynn, I was writing about the song. I still like the song!

      • I hear the NPR interview on Fresh Air as well, and loved it- she is quite a character, and it is inspiring to me that she didn’t start playing guitar, singing, and writing songs till after having several children. In the interview she did say that she had never used the pill herself, and given her life conditions I can imagine she would have taken it if she had the chance. She didn’t know anything about the pill itself, let alone the positions of the Catholic Church, but she sure captured the Zeitgeist with her Pill song. Overall though I find her a completely inspiring story of a mother and performer.

  7. I think having kids so young and her relationship with her husband has definitely skewed LL’s views on the pill. She married just before 16 and I think she felt worn out by the time she was 19. I don’t share the views of the contraception culture, but I still enjoy her music, though.

    If you can find it, you have to listen to her duet with Conway Twitty called “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.” It fits our family’s weird sense of humor just right. Favorite line: “I guess that we won’t ever have everything we need, ’cause when we get ahead it’s got another mouth to feed.”

    That’s like our anthem around here ;).

  8. Favorite part:

    “You’re callin’ from a bar? Get away from there
    No, not you, honey, I was talkin’ to the baby- Wait a minute honey, the door bell”

    That pretty much describes the coherence of our phone calls, and we don’t even have kids yet. The day before our wedding I called my soon-to-be-husband to check on a detail. He gave monosyllabic answers and ended with “Ok, gotta go, talk to you later man.”

    It turns out he had a mentally disturbed guy standing over his table at the bookstore haranguing him while making predictions about grass and Jesus, so I guess I forgive him for distractedly calling me a man the day before our wedding. Thanks for posting the song.

  9. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and kind of lonely these last couple of weeks. Hearing this song today cheered me considerably and made me remember that my life, while crazy, is actually pretty dang great.

    Thanks so much for posting it, Simcha; it’s a gem. 🙂

  10. Simcha, I like what you said about what to expect without the Church to guide her. When my kids ask why someone does some heinous thing, I often reply, “Well honey, they’re pagans. What do you expect?”
    This may seem mean, but the truth is that without a whole lot of teaching and grace, what would any of us be?

  11. Great song! I esp. like “one needs a spankin’ and one needs a huggin'” The whole thing sounds a lot like my house, along with the sense of distance from all the glamorous lives out there. But the happy tone of acceptance is nice. I have one on the way, and the dirty floor, and the warsh is piling up, etc. This song really resonates with me tonight!

  12. I like this song too. Along the same lines, another one worth looking up is Hank Williams’s “We’re Still A-Livin’, So Everything’s OK.”

  13. I was one of the ninjas. Every year I am supremely frustrated that that many (this year it was est. at 350,000) people can peacefully protest and it’s not “news.” Not even on Fox. what?

  14. I love “hello? hello? Well, I’ll be…”. Yeah, in my house it’d be “hello? hello? -throws phone-“. She suuure is a gracious woman.

    And Simcha? “It isn’t easy but it sure is simple.” Love. That.

  15. Love the song. Love the comments. Love the movie Coal Miners Daughter. I always wondered why, in the movie, her parents were so against her getting married (the actress playing Loretta looked young but not THAT young). Now that I read that she was only 14 years old, I understand.

  16. Simcha, I feel honored to know I’m a ninja. And yes, there were 400K of us ninjas in Washington last week, and not a word on any news that wasn’t EWTN! Amazing!

    Thanks for the laugh.

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