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lyrics

Up and down the stairs we went
In the gray of a winter that wouldn’t end
An old black dog with bad hips and a cough
Some days we’d have to carry him the last flight up
Flashback to April of ’01
I got him from the pound when he was young
My ex-wife was there as I put him in the car
But he was always mine right from the start
Through the years he kept me in line
We things we tough he was there all the time
Now he’s gray and he can’t hear a thing
But I’ll carry him up those stairs again and again
How do we say goodbye
When we have the chance to write
The last words of a precious life
How do we know to say goodbye

My grandpa’s 92 or 93
He’s been in a home a couple years at least
My grandma’s there too but just since the fall
I visit once a week, my sister tries to call
Lately he’s been having trouble with his food
Can’t see the plate and can barely chew
So they blend it up and give him a straw
And he does his best, I guess, like he’s done for so long
He loved opera and books and pulled for the Sox
Now he can’t really think and can barely talk
And I sit with him every Thursday
In his little room and we listen to the radio play
How do we say goodbye
When we have the chance to write
The last words of a precious life
How do we know to say goodbye

My grandma’s down the hall in a different place
She got sick last year but she’s okay
She saves me cans of lemon-lime pop
I don’t really drink them but I won’t tell her to stop
We look out her window and she remembers the times
Growing up in the city when her mom died
She was only six and it was just the start
She talks about Chicago with so much love in her heart
Riding the streetcars and walking to school
Dancing at the Aragon and swimming in pools
We sort through her pictures, she tells me who’s who
I’ve seen them all before but each time I learn something new
How do we say goodbye
When we have the chance to write
The last words of a precious life
How do we know to say goodbye

I met my wife in a skyscraper
I looked like Jesus and I smiled at her
I was separated two months at the time
Still wearing a ring and writing Look Alive
I sat by her at drinks that night
And something wrapped my heart up tight
Skip to 2010, the 10th of July
In front of friends and family she became my wife
We live a good life and work real hard
Been through some shit and come really far
I love her like nothing I’ve known in my heart
And I’d do anything to keep her from the dark
I’m younger than her, it never mattered much
Maybe once in awhile with the usual stuff
We’re planning our future and think of a time
When one of us might leave the other behind
She’s pretty sure she’ll go before me
But my other grandpa didn’t even make 50
And nothing is promised not even today
So I pray for the grace to grow old and gray
How do we say goodbye
When we have the chance to write
The last words of a precious life
How do we know to say goodbye

credits

from Record of Life, released June 30, 2015

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Joe Goodkin Chicago, Illinois

Chicago-based singer/songwriter Joe Goodkin (of Paper Arrows and The Odyssey) is proud to release his first solo record, entitled Record of Life. Record of Life chronicles family, love, loss, and remembrance in six sprawling songs, each recorded using only Goodkin's haunted 1963 Gibson ES-125t. ... more

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