Kenny Rogers’ COWARD OF THE COUNTY

Coward of the County

(Billy Ed Wheeler and Roger Dale Rowling)

Everyone considered him
The coward of the county,
He’d never stood one single time
To prove the county wrong.
His mama called 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 took care of Tommy
Because 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.
Now it don’t mean you’re weak
If you turn the other cheek.
And 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
And 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
Took down his daddy’s picture,
As his tears fell on his daddy’s face
I heard these words again.”Promise me, son,
Not to do the things I’ve done,
Walk away from trouble if you can.
Now it don’t mean you’re weak
If you turn the other cheek.
And 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 bar room,
One of them got up
And met him half way across the floor.
Tommy turned around, they said,
“Hey, look, old yellow’s leavin’.”
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 nothing back
He let them have it all.
Tommy left the bar room
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,
Papa, I should hope you understand –
Sometimes you’ve gotta fight when you’re a man!”

Everyone considered him
The coward of the county . . .

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