“Jenny or James”

Rosalie Broussard (1969- ) was a troubled girl from a very young age.  Her parents, Mike and Marie, worried about her spending long periods secluded in her room and not hearing a sound from behind her door.

They never knew about her intense love of books.  Yes, they knew she liked to read, and would take her to the library as often as she asked.  But they had no clear grasp of the kind of books she liked to read.  For example, she read and re-read Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”  In fact, she kept the book hidden under her bed, never returning it to the library.  She claimed that a boy threw the book out of the bus window while they were on the Red River bridge.  She saved her baby-sitting money and paid the library what they said she owed.

You could say Rosalie was precocious, sexually mature for her age.  She got pregnant before she was sixteen and decided to have the baby, a boy, whom she chose to name James (b. 1985).  Here she is trying to deal with her situation by dreaming of what names she might choose for the baby.

Jenny or James
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE

She just turned sixteen ’bout a week ago
Her mind is on the little life and how quick it’ll grow
She hangs out at the mall with a few of her friends
They talk about their problems like chipped nails and split ends

She hasn’t told her parents it’s still easy to hide
But not a day goes by she doesn’t think about what’s inside
She won’t take his money like Robert says she must
And sweep away the little life just like a little dust

Underneath her pillow she’s got a list of names
For a girl she thought of Jenny for boy she likes James
It’ll be all hers like nothin’s ever been
And she loves that now she’ll never be alone again
Alone again

She heads for the Pizza Hut to meet Robert for a talk
She hopes he doesn’t start and say it’s all her fault
He should be headin’ off to Tech and doesn’t want to hang around
Baggin’ groceries at Walmart while his buddies all leave town

He says, “it’s either me or it, you’re gonna have to choose”
She says, “it’s not an ‘it'” and knows then what she’s bound to do
Her mama holds her tight her daddy hangs his head
Two AM she feels a kick and sits bolt upright in her bed

Underneath her pillow she’s got a list of names …

© 1998 Frank David Leone, Jr./Electric Mule Music/Warner Music (BMI). The songs and stories on the Highway 80 Stories website are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

“What Tully’s Done”

What Tully’s Done
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE

Tully left the girls at his sister Ruth’s
Took off for Baton Rouge
Barked the tires in all four gears
Their mama’s gone and run off again
Third time Tully’s seen I-10
And each time it’s a little more weird

Oh no, don’t you know
When she leaves he’s bound to follow
Least that’s what Tully’s done
Oh no, don’t you know
One damn day when she goes
Tully’s just gonna let her run

But today’s that ain’t where he’s at
He’ll track her down and bring her back
Hope she ain’t a mess
She left eggs frying in the pan
Tully waitin’ for that call again
From a stranger with a question and an address

Oh no, don’t you know …

Tully says, “Doc, what makes her be like that?”
Doc just looks away and gives his head a scratch
Tully says,”if it was just me I wouldn’t care,
Those kids need their mama there”

Oh no, don’t you know …

© 2018 Frank David Leone, Jr./Electric Mule Music/Warner Music (BMI)

“Catch”

James Broussard was raised by his grandpa, Mike Broussard, and his second wife MaeAnn (see song “James“).  The reason being that James’ mother, Rosalie, had him when she was sixteen (see song “Jenny or James“) and after three years couldn’t meet the obligation and dropped him off at her father’s house.  Rosalie would spend the rest of her life running from attachments and responsibility (see songs “What Tully’s Done” and “Rosalie“).

For a while, James’ only real respite from the pain of being abandoned by his mother was playing catch with his grandpa in the backyard.

Catch
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE

The month of April breaks my heart
There’s a good reason why it does
It’s the gravel crunch of Grandpa’s car
And him telling me to get the gloves

While MaeAnn got the table set
We’d go outside till it got too dark
But the thing that I remember best
Is walking in his shadow to the backyard

And we would play catch
In the soft glow of the sunset
And hardly say a word
The only sound you heard
Was the plop and the slap that’s catch

That was that until one year
The summer I turned thirteen
He’d come home but I’d disappear
Prob’ly hurt him but he didn’t say a thing

I bet those gloves are still tied up
But the oil’s dry and the leather’s hard
Today I’d trade everything I’ve got
Just to see Grandpa standing in the yard

And we would play catch …

© 2018 Frank David Leone, Jr./Electric Mule/Warner Music (BMI)

“Sonny’s Boy”

Sonny Tate was a country singer who had moderate success. He was a staple of the Louisiana Hayride, but appeared every now and then on the Grand Ol’ Opry stage. His son, Tully, was often with Sonny when he performed.

Sonny’s Boy
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE

You probably don’t remember a hillbilly singer
Name of Sonny Tate
You know he never had a big record
But came close in ’68

Sang ’til he died still at the Hayride
In his sequined suit and the same ol’ toupee
Singin’ hits of other singers who get younger and younger
Drinking up payday

Sonny’s boy
Stands in the wings
While Sonny sings
Softly sings along
Sonny’s boy
In a ball cap and shorts
Rocking back and forth
Sang all of Sonny’s songs

Now Sonny may not seem someone to esteem
His life was disappointment and lies
But he was the boy’s dad, the only one he had
Ten feet tall in that boy’s eyes

Kept Sonny goin’ just knowin’
There was someone who looked up to him
When I’m back in town and the old crowd’s around
Talk always drifts back to them

Sonny’s boy stands in the wings …

You probably don’t remember a hillbilly singer
Name of Sonny Tate

© 2018 Frank David Leone, Jr./Electric Mule/Warner Music (BMI)

“Hosston to Bastrop”

Hosston to Bastrop (Still Louisian’)
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE

I used to make my livin’ drivin’ a log truck
Hauling timber for the pulp paper mill
Take Highway 2 Hosston to Bastrop
Double back and unload at Springhill

The paper mill shut down, jobs all dried up
That stink it made, naw we sure don’t miss
Hear they gonna bring in a cross tie plant
Now we can smell them creosote pits

A case of Jax on a Friday night
Fill a washtub with crawfish and ice
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Gets real hot ’round here in the summer
August heat will melt that asphalt
Didn’t even hurt Randy Boucher when he got run’d over
His head was hard, th’ road was soft

Like to take my truck out One-Fifty-Seven
Stop at the Shongaloo Dairy Cup
Three-Seventy-One to Coushatta, then One to Powhatan
Just drive around where my daddy grew up

A case of Jax on a Friday night
Fill a washtub with crawfish and ice
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Betty Broussard got her fiddle and bow
Someone gave a washboard to Nancy Thibodaux
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

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