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A dime store folk fiction story inspired by the song:
Leonard Hogg's Sam Stone story inspired by the John Prine Song

Concert Reviews:
2001 2000 1999 1998/97



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am Stone came home. It had been 3 years away from Paradise county, 3 long years of navy life. Booze and drugs, oh yeah and a dozen or so good looking easy women, or as Sam liked to call them, old babies. The bus pulled off the highway and headed down the dusty main street of the town site of Paradise. 

As Sam looked down the drag he knew nothing had changed on the streets he used to wander. He got his duffle bag unstuck from the overhead rack and slung it over his shoulder and made his way off the hot and smelly Greyhound bus. Of course no one was there to meet Sam, no one knew he was coming home today, back to Paradise county.

As the bus pulled away mixing up soot and diesel fumes Sam checked his watch, 12:30, he headed down the street, past the five and dime to the bar. As he waited in the doorway for his pupils to adjust to the darkness from the noon day sun Sam thought to himself, nothing had changed in 3 years, a tour of duty. No one was in the bar. 

Sam remembered that today was the 28th and the relief checks didn't come in mail until the end of the month. It seemed like no one worked in Paradise since the Peabody coal mine closed. Like the locals say, "Paradise ain't
here anymore, Mr. Peabody's coal train has done hauled it away."

     "What do you want sailor?" a question that woke Sam from his daydream. 
    "Maureen, Maureen I was just standing here thinking how nothing had changed in 3 years but looking at you I was wrong. How's my old baby?"
    "Sam I'm fine but how are you? What happened to your leg? I noticed you limp a little as you passed that dime store Jew to walk over to the bar here." 
    "Oh nothing, just a piece of shrapnel in my knee from an exploding 500 pound bomb when I was fighting that big fire on the fantail of the Enterprise. You might of read in the papers, I'll tell you how I know, I was there. But the morphine eases the pain. That's how I got my purple heart. Give me a beer, 40 to 45 degrees will do." 

Sam sat down on the tall bar stool as Maureen changed the station on the radio, she said the song just drove her insane. Sam took a long sip from the long necked bottle and sighed, "Living in the land of sky blue waters, that sure hits the spot after that bus ride, all the way from Paducah." Sam walked back to door stoop and dragged his blue USN issue duffle bag over by his old bar stool and gave it a pat and a wink. He climbed back on his perch and his foot fell asleep as he swallowed his candy before he took a sip of many of the cold beer.

Stay tuned........same Prine time........same Prine channel.

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