Like He Understood

So, this guy named Dave came up from the city

And it was clear that he was pretty

Enthusiastic, you might say,

He came up to work as much as to play

Wanted to mow and grow some stuff

But he soon learned enthusiasm wasn’t enough


So he relied on his neighbors and his very first chore

Was to pay a visit to the fella next door

Whose lawn was smooth as a putting green

And whose garden was the neatest he’d seen

So he waded into some knee-deep clover

Got the to lawn and skedaddled right over


“First things first: How often do I mow?

Every weekend? You’re kidding, whoa”

“Well, Dave, you let it go much past

You gotta cut it twice. Then there’s the cut grass:


You leave too much onto it there

It’s gonna leave some patches bare

Now to garden, you gotta turn up that bit of field

And keep it weeded it you want a yield


Keep it watered, if you don’t have rain

And I mean a good rain,” he’d explain

And, gravely following the best that he could

Dave, he nodded like he understood


So he bought the latest mower in the magazine

It was big, really big, all yellow and green

Stocked up on every tool in the book

Hung each one on a shiny hook

Along the newly whitewashed wall

Of the spruced-up stall


Well he mowed all right, thought he had a knack

Mowed his little domain from front to back

But he gummed up the mower’s works pretty good

After mowing some rocks and some bits of wood

And it wasn’t long before the tiller did stall

So he got on the horn and he made a little call


 “My mower needs maybe a tweak or two.”

The guy across the way said, “Gimme a week or two

We’ll have these babies sweetly hummin’

I promise you we’ll get ‘em thrummin’”


And seven days later Dave’s trying to follow

All the guy’s advice but it’s hard to swallow

“See, you gotta have plenty of grease up there

Yeah, spread the stuff around everywhere


And keep this clear so the mice won’t stay

See that’s what’s left of one that didn’t get away

And clean out those belts there, really good”

And Dave, he nodded like he understood


Well, Dave got mowin’ and plantin’ and all

Went a few weeks without makin’ a call

Then there came some heavy rains

With thunder, lightening and broken drains

And a washed out drive going down the slope

But Dave is an optimist, he has hope!


He called another neighbor who does this kinda work

And who drove up the hill to with a rattle and a jerk

And who started right in to explain

“You see Dave, when you have this kinda rain…


You gotta make sure you’ve got somewhere

For the water to go. Look right there

That’s a drain pipe that’s got itself clogged

So now there’s here part’s all waterlogged


What you have to do, is once it’s clear

Weed-whack and shovel right around here

Then the water it’ll flow down pretty good”

And Dave, he nodded like he understood


See, when it comes to practical Dave’s a little slow

He’s a little bit more read than show

So he bought enough books to fill a shelf

And he read all of ‘em, really applied himself

He studied, highlighted and underlined

And some of it started to stick in his mind


But, by summer’s end Dave was a little less eager

And his garden’s output was pretty meager

But he wasn’t mowing rocks or sticks anymore

And the tiller was behaving a bit more sure

The driveway held in a ragged way

But sometimes he’d have to call a neighbor who’d say:


Something like: “Dave, you gotta put down some manure

That  pile of horse dung there, that’ll work sure

And keep the critters out, or they’ll eat all your stuff

A low fence like that, well it just ain’t enough”


“You gotta put some pressure onto it where…

Then just jiggle it here, and wiggle this there

Then you just lift ‘er up like that, see?

Any other trouble, you just bring ‘er to me”


“You’re not really gonna learn it from a book

You learn by experience, by hook or by crook”

“Like I told you, Dave, sooner or later

You’re gonna have to clean out that carburator”


“Ya gotta keep clearin’ that there swale

Or the drive’ll be lost in the very next gale”

And Dave, whose mind was turning into wood

And whose stomach now wasn’t feeling very good


And though he was trying the best that he could

He knew he wasn’t following as he should

Well, Dave, Dave Dave, Dave?

He kept on nodding like he understood

All words and music by Dave Hall ©

Publisher: Row House Music   PRO: ASCAP