written by John Prine
From the 1971 album ‘John Prine’
I love John Prine’s versions of this warm-hearted song, but I first heard it in a live performance by the dream team of Natalie Merchant, Michael Stipe, Billy Bragg and Cara Tivey…
We had an apartment in the city,
And me and Loretta liked living there.
It’s been years since the kids have grown,
A life of their own,
And left us alone.
John and Linda live in Omaha,
And Joe is somewhere on the road.
We lost Davy in the Korean War.
I still don’t know what for,
Don’t matter any more.
You know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder every day.
Old people just grow lonesome.
Waiting for someone to say
Hello in there,
Me and Loretta, we don’t talk much more.
She sits and stares through the back door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself,
Like some forgotten dream,
That we’ve both seen.
Someday I’ll go and call up Rudy,
We worked together at the factory.
But what could I say when he asks “What’s new?”
Nothing, what’s with you?
Nothing much to do.
So if you’re walking down the street sometime,
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don’t just pass ‘em by and stare,
As if you didn’t care.
Say hello in there,