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america songs VanLife

One Road In, One Road Out

I wrote this song while on a recent road trip in my van. While driving, I always have a lot of time to think and generally prefer to leave the radio silent. Noticing all the small towns along the way with their water towers announcing their names to drivers passing by, I started to think about all the people who must live in these towns and how little we really know about our neighbors.

The song uses vignettes of individuals since it’s really those individual lives that make up the soul of a place, yet remain anonymous to most of us. Harold and Gladys, mentioned in the 2nd verse, are the wonderful parents of a dear lifelong friend of mine who grew up in one of those small American towns. In the final verse, I imagine my maternal grandmother who ran a popular roadhouse restaurant called the Casa Loma for many years in a smaller town. Before she passed she confessed to me that she had never expected to be flipping burgers for so many years of her life.

One Road In, One Road Out

PeeWee at the fillin’ station
Still pumps the gas just to say “hello,”
He says “I been that way for 40 years,
Why the hell now should I let it go?”
Travelers stop for small talk,
But when they want to know the route,
He answers with a grin wherever you begin,
There’s only one road in and one road out.

One road in and one road out,
We ride right by our neighbor’s door
And never wonder what their lives’ about,
Main Streets with their small parades,
And all the homes where all the love is made,
And the churches where last hopes are prayed,
And echos fade,
For these towns and roads of life we drive about,
There’s only one road in and one road out.

Harold sells insurance
Always goes the extra mile,
He started with a milk route
Where he always shared a healthy smile,
His golden wife was Gladys,
She died a year ago just about,
Through a tear that flows, says that’s just how it goes,
There’s only one road in and one road out.

One Road in, one road out….

And the water towers round and white share each name on high,
We can see them from the freeway on the road to passing by,
And the farmers sometimes growing, sometimes sipping rye
Sayin’ “time sure flies,
And we sure do like it when you stop on by.”

Tillie runs the diner,
Where town folk come to eat,
She prefers to wait the tables,
With her friendly smile on her swollen feet,
She wish she could retire
From this life day-in-day-out,
But like this old small town they’re both a bit worn down,
With only one road in and one road out.

One Road in, one road out….

 © Ted Evan Seymour – 2021

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