Banjo Road

You see something. You think about what you’re seeing. You happen to have a guitar in hand. You start noodling around on the strings and mumbling some words. Before long, you have a bit of a song. Nothing too ponderous or thoughtful, just a snapshot of that thing seen. That’s how this little piece, “Banjo Road,” came to be.

A few months before Tyler, my beloved Australian Shepherd, passed away, Gary, my beloved brother and across-the-pasture neighbor, got an Australian Shepherd of his own. He named the puppy Banjo.

 Gary and DogOn the farm where I live, there are three houses. The one I live in sits at the edge of the south pasture. About a quarter mile away, to the northwest, is Gary’s house.

Banjo figured out as a puppy that, if Gary was away from home, there was a chance that I might not be. He would leave Gary’s house and, in obedience to the law which says that “the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line”, would run through the pasture until he was at my place. So many times did he make that trip that, before long, there was an easily visible path, like a tire track, through the field.

 Banjo Road seems like the right name for that little path.

I’ve only sung this song a time or two. On one of those occasions, my good friend Bill Goans was in attendance. Not long after that, I was a guest in the Goans’ house. At breakfast, Bill, Joanne, Daniel and Rachel presented me with two “Banjo Road” signs, one for each end of his self-made path.

 I don’t mean to be pretentious or overly analytical about a song that was written merely to freeze a moment in time. But maybe “Banjo Road” has something to say about people life. Dogs, like people, go where they are loved, where they feel welcomed, where somebody is home for them. Many of us spend our lives, or a good part of it, looking for the path that leads to something wonderful, something warm, something welcoming, something sure.

It’s Easter morning as I write this. The day reminds me of the true road home. It’s a road that starts in a garden, wanders through a wilderness, meanders by a manger, past a seashore, up a hill, into a tomb, to the skies … home. Where Love is always waiting.

Lyrics

My brother bought a puppy, brought him to the farm one day

He named the puppy Banjo, tried to teach him how to stay

But little Banjo likes to wander and he can’t make up his mind

He’s made a path across the field from Gary’s house to mine.

It’s the Banjo Road, the Banjo Road

He’s made a path we call the Banjo Road

At least a dozen times a day you watch him come and go

Cause love is always waiting at both ends of Banjo Road

It’s a little trail just wide enough for little puppy feet

It winds up through the pasture grass, his private ‘easy street’

It’s just a quarter-mile and he will smile his way along

Cause at either destination he knows love is always home

It’s the Banjo Road, the Banjo Road

He’s made a path we call the Banjo Road

At least a dozen times a day you watch him come and go

Cause love is always waiting at both ends of Banjo Road

When you are just a puppy with no work you have to do

With a hundred acre front-yard and a sky that’s big and blue

You just run, you just run, run, run all day

Down the Banjo Road, the Banjo Road

He’s made a path we call the Banjo Road

At least a dozen times a day, you watch him come and go

Cause love is always waiting at both ends of Banjo Road

He knows that love is waiting at both ends of Banjo Road

He’s certain love is waiting there at both ends of the Banjo Road

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