Everyone considered him the coward of the county He'd never stood one single time to prove the county wrong His mama named him Tommy, but folks just called him yellow Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong
He was only ten years old when his daddy died in prison I looked after Tommy, 'cause he was my brother's son I still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy "Son, my life is over, but yours has just begun"
"Promise me, son, not to do the things I've done Walk away from trouble if you can It won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek I hope you're old enough to understand Son, you don't have to fight to be a man"
There's someone for everyone, and Tommy's love was Becky In her arms, he didn't have to prove he was a man One day while he was working, the Gatlin boys came calling They took turns at Becky, n'there was three of them
Tommy opened up the door, and saw his Becky crying The torn dress, the shattered look was more than he could stand He reached above the fireplace, and took down his daddy's picture As the tears fell on his daddy's face, he heard these words again
"Promise me, son, not to do the things I've done Walk away from trouble if you can Now, it won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek I hope you're old enough to understand Son, you don't have to fight to be a man"
The Gatlin boys just laughed at him when he walked into the barroom One of them got up and met him halfway 'cross the floor When Tommy turned around they said, "hey look, old yeller's leaving" But you could've heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the door
Twenty years of crawling was bottled up inside him He wasn't holding nothin' back, he let 'em have it all When Tommy left the barroom, not a Gatlin boy was standing He said, "this one's for Becky, as he watched the last one fall
(And I heard him say) "I promised you, Dad, not to do the things you've done I walk away from trouble when I can Now please don't think I'm weak, I didn't turn the other cheek And papa, I sure hope you understand Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man"
Everyone considered him the coward of the county
Writer/s: Roger Dale Bowling, Billy Edd Wheeler
Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
Dios Moagi from Tzaneen, South AfricaBack in 2003 a friend of mine SK wrote a fiction based on this song. I loved the story and how well he put it for one to fully understand the emotions of the songwriter. When you are too kind, people often mistaken your kindness for weakness, and you end up saying enough is enough.
Jennifur Sun from RamonaPoor Gatlin Brothers. I kind of understand Tommy. Sometimes it is harder, as the bible says, to turn the other cheek.
The third verse of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies ("they shook and lurched all over the church floor...") was inspired by girl whose parents would speak in tongues at their Pentecostal service.