San Francisco Mabel Joy - John Denver


San Francisco Mabel Joy

His daddy was an honest man, just a red dirt Georgia farmer.
His mother lived her short life having kids and baling hay.
He had fifteen years and he ached inside to wander,
so he jumped a freight in Waycross and wound up in L.A.
The cold nights had no pity on that Waycross, Georgia farm boy.
Most days he went hungry, then the summer came.
He met a girl known on the Strip as San Francisco’s Mabel Joy.
Destitution’s child born of an L.A. street called shame.

Growing up came easy in the arms of Mabel Joy
Laughter found their mornings, brought a meaning to his life
Yes, the night before she left, sleep came and gave that Waycross country boy
a dream of Georgia cotton and a California wife.
Sunday morning found him standing ‘neath the red light at her door,
when a right cross sent him reeling, put him face down on the floor
In place of Mabel Joy he found a merchant mad marine
who growled “Your Georgia neck is red, aw, but sonny, you’re still green.”

He turned twenty-one in a gray rock federal prison.
The old judge had no mercy for a Waycross country boy.
Staring at those four gray walls in silence,
Lord, he’d just listen for the midnight freight he knew could take him back to Mabel Joy.
Sunday morning found him lying ‘neath the red light at her door,
with a bullet in his side he cried, “Have you seen Mabel Joy?”
Stunned and shaken, someone said, “Why she don’t live here no more.
She left this house four years today, they say she’s looking for some Georgia farm boy.”

(written by Newbury/Costerman)