1. Normal Town

From the recording Normal Town

After September 11th, I moved to Athens, Georgia to find work and see magnolia trees. Turns out most of the streets are named after the flower, which is pretty, but geographically pointless.  It was the same with peaches in Atlanta.  We moved with our two cats to Best Drive in the part of town called, Normal Town.  After the events, the lawns and supersized SUVs were sprouting flags, the local Walmart had a wall where you could leave flowers and pay your respects while you shopped.  People mowed the lawn and barbecued with an almost pathological regularity.  The neighbourhood where we lived was built during World War II and had its own white-picket-fence desperation.  We lost the cats the first day and found them up the chimney, as dark as night.  There is a tree in Athens that grows in the middle of a cobbled street.  In a bid to save the tree, the land on which it grew was deeded to the tree itself.  A small chain fence protects it from wayward bumpers.  Every night, a trumpet player from the navy base down the road ushered in the evening.  This was the canvas.  Creepy, but also hopeful in a odd sort of way.  We gathered pecans that fell on the back deck, learned to love grits and mint juleps.


Normal Town                                            
mailboxes all in a row
good news only
dogs have their own Morse code
across the county
all’s well
so many hospitals
we could all be in bed at the same time
the only fire is a barbecue
and the kids are always singing
yeah we’re gonna settle down
we’re gonna make a little life in Normal Town
yeah we’re gonna settle down
we’re gonna make a little life in Normal Town
they’re selling flags at Walmart
to keep our spirits high
Charley’s got a Christmas tree in the yard
so big it’s being watched by the FBI
we don’t need to go to church
they come pick of your junk on Fridays
and as they drive away
I wonder where the week has gone
and it’s time to mow the lawn
I like to sit under the tree that owns itself
if I could only prove it owned me too
would they build a fence around me
and protect me
(verse one again)