99 - Wayward Wife

Words by Janie Meneely
Tune by Janie Meneely

As my mother’s only daughter
I was doused with holy water
And told to pawn my rosary if the future was in doubt.
When Ma she died, god save her,
And in the grave they laid her,
It was time to seek my fortune, so to the pawn shop I set out.

Now seeing such a comely lass
The broker there did make a pass,
And thinking matrimony might provide an easy life,
I thought about what could evolve
And worked to harden his resolve.
He rose to the occasion and Himself took me to wife.

With a ring upon me finger,
I was inclined to linger-
At least until a better opportunity should knock.
One day in walked a sailor
Fresh off a Yankee whaler.
With a wink he pawned his pocketwatch and headed for the dock.

With feelings quite immodest
And some gold inside my bodice,
I nabbed that sailor’s pocketwatch, lookin’ forward to some fun.
No sooner had I left the store,
The sailor spied me at the door.
Gallantly he took my arm, and we set off at a run.

He led me to a tavern where
The better sort would never dare
To enter in for anything that smacked of honest trade.
And there we both made merry
A’tipplin’ on the sherry,
Until the lookout hollered that it looked to be a raid.

Everyone was in a panic-
We really were quite frantic,
When no other but Himself it was came bursting through the door.
We all went helter skelter
Seeking any kind of shelter,
For by his looks Himself was keen on settling the score.

Now my sailor with a nimble twist
Did clutch some iron in his fist
And faced Himself undaunted as he yelled out, “Better run!”
Though all was topsy turvy,
Himself was rather nervy.
'Twas clear he meant to stand his ground, and besides-he had a gun.

My sailor with a jaundiced eye
Decided things had gone awry,
And diving out the window, he took off for points unknown.
But Himself was on a bender,
And he shot the poor bartender.
When they hauled him off to jail, I was left quite on my own.

Now sure worse things could happen
To a girl who might be grapplin’
With the question of her future and what next she ought to do.
With gold inside me pocket
and a ship there at the dock, it
Seemed that sailing to America would be the prudent move.

On landing here in Baltimore
I opened up a chandlery store
And took to handling business like the butter takes the knife.
And now I do my sporting
When the sailors come a’courting,
And at every chance, I lift my glass and drink to the single life.