Apologies to Paul Simon for ripping my title from Me And Julio down by the school yard. At least, I think that’s the name of the song and it is possibly sung by Paul Simon. Even though I keep wanting to write Phil Collins.

Anyway, for your reading pleasure today, I bring you this (makes Vanna-like gesture towards blog):

A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash

My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn’t leave much to Ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don’t blame him cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me ‘Sue.’

Well, he must o’ thought that is was quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a’ lots of folk,
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I’d get red
And some guy’d laugh and I’d bust his head,
I tell ya, life ain’t easy for a boy named ‘Sue.’

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I’d roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made me a vow to the moon and stars
That I’d search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man that give me that awful name.

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry,
I thought I’d stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
There at a table, dealing stud,
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me ‘Sue.’

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
>From a worn-out picture that my mother’d had,
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: “My name is ‘Sue!’ how do you do! Now you gonna die!”

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down but, to my surprise,
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a’ gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell ya, I’ve fought tougher men
But I really can’t remember when,
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,
He stood there lookin’ at me and I saw him smile.

And he said: “Son, this world is rough
And if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough
And I know I wouldn’t be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said good-bye
I knew you’d have to get tough or die
And it’s that name that helped to make you strong.”

He said: ‘Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn’t blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I’m the son-of-a-bitch that named you ‘Sue’.’

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I come away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but sue! I still hate that name!

Today’s story is brought to you because of posts done by the following people. Flea did a post about finding your stripper name – if you’ve never done this before; you take the name of your first pet and the name of the street you grew up on. DeAnn did a post about her puppy Cash, who is named after Johnny Cash. And Beth did a post about her mom’s pets, including my former cat Mac. Her mom has custody of him and believe me, he’s quite a lucky cat to be living with her.

So why the lyrics for A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash? When figuring out my stripper name, I started remembering that, when I was 5, we lived on a street called Dartmoor in Willernie, a suburb of Mahtomedi which is a suburb of White Bear Lake which is a suburb of Saint Paul. We only lived on Dartmoor for a short while but there are certain things that stick in my mind. I think my earliest memories are from when I was 5. Which isn’t quite normal, I guess, but hey, when have I ever been normal?

Here’s what I remember:

The really evil little girl who lived up the hill from us. I don’t know why she hated us so much but she was awful. We had this swing set in our yard and she kept telling us that it was hers and she was going to take it from us. She even went so far as to have her mother come outside while we were playing and say something about “As soon as your father comes home, I’ll have him take that swing set apart and bring it to our yard.” I remember telling my mom about it and boy was she ticked. She let the neighbor lady have it.

Having the chicken pox and walking through the back yard with my mom and being extremely itchy. Having mom tell me not to scratch or I’d scar. And she was right. I do have a chicken pox scar on my stomach.

Playing under the tree in the front yard and finding a “For Rent” sign. Mom was furious because the landlord hadn’t bothered to tell her that he was looking for a new tenant. Remembering the problem we had with the evil little girl, I’m wondering if her dad was our landlord. Maybe I should have Mom read this and shed some light.

Sassy and Susie Boy, mother and son. They were poodles that we had. I remember standing by the side of the road while Mom and this man worked frantically to wrap Sassy in towels. Apparently this man had hit Sassy when she ran into the street. They took Sassy to the vet but she didn’t make it.

That’s all that really sticks in my mind. This isn’t bad, considering that it was 33 years ago and I’m not known for my memory.

When choosing my stripper name, I went with Susie Boy Dartmoor. I like the way that it sounds. My dad loved Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. This is where Susie Boy got his name from, after “A Boy Named Sue.”

Susie Boy was a good dog. I’m not particularly what you would call a dog person. You could refer to me as a cat person which merely means that I tend to prefer cats over dogs. However, I like dogs. I think they are great and we always had dogs while I was growing up. My mother is definitely a dog person. The only reason we ever had cats was because both Kari and I did a lot of begging. Unlike some people, however, I have never said that cats are better than dogs or that all dogs should be disposed of by, oh, I don’t know, launching them into space (hmm, I wonder who could have said that about cats).

Most of the memories I have of Susie Boy is after we got another dog named Muffin. Muffin was a cocker spaniel/poodle mix (referred to as a cockapoo, which is quite possibly the dumbest name for a dog breed) and no, we did not name her. I think she used to belong to my dad’s boss but I’m not positive. I remember once, coming home from school, and seeing both of the dogs running to greet me. Mom had just taken them to get clipped and they were beautiful. Susie Boy was gray; actually more of a silver color, and Muffin was black.

The groomer even went as far as to tie ribbons around their ears – Susie Boy had blue and Muffin had pink. I remember lying on the ground while they licked my face, chasing them around the yard, enjoying the sunlight and the smell of the fresh cut grass. I don’t have a lot of memories of him, other than he was good and fun and cuddly. But because of him (well, my dad), I was first introduced to Johnny Cash’s music and I got a decent stripper name out of the deal as well.

I believe that there is a Heaven and that your pets go there. And I believe that, somewhere in Heaven, Susie Boy and Muffin are running, free and beautiful, making some young child as happy as they did me.

Previous Comments:

At 2:27 AM, brooksba said…
DM,First of all, you are correct. It was a Paul Simon song. And a very good Paul Simon song.Not all cats are bad, but I’m not a huge fan of them. The way you described your dogs are the exact reason why I love dogs more. And I know what will get a rise out of you.I enjoyed this post Dana. It was very tender and sweet. Oh, my mom left a message about Mac. She still is thankful every day that she has him. She asks me to thank you every time I talk to her. So, um, no, I don’t think she’ll give him back.Love you,Beth

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