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In September, Brandon and I met in Ashland for the “Second Annual Ed Haley Memorial Fiddle Festival.” Before the contest, we talked with Mona, who’d written down the words to three of Ed’s old songs on yellow notebook paper. It was the first time I’d seen any lyrics for “Good Old Country Town Where I Was Born”:

Oh, the days are sad and the nights are long

And the whole wide world is going wrong

And it’s all because I’m far away from home.

When I bow my head and close my eyes

It’s then I stop and realize:

Oh, what a fool I was to ever roam.

There’s a long, long trail a winding

To a land that’s fair and bright.

It’s a trail I’m always finding

When I go to sleep at night.

I dream of climbing up the hills

Where I used to hear those whippoorwills

In the good old country town where I was born.

I tried to figure out just what it’s all about,

Why I ever left home.

I got a notion in my head

The old hometown was most too dead.

I learned a thing or two

As you’re a bound to do

When you’re a roaming around.

I made up my mind right now

I’d soon be homeward bound.

Oh the sun shines brighter every day

And the breezes blow your blues away

In the good old country town I’m longing for.

It’s a place where clothes don’t make the man

And they mean it when they shake your hand

And a stranger won’t be turned from any door.

It’s a land of milk and honey

Where the folks are on the square.

Though they don’t have lots of money

You’re always welcome there.

I know I’m just a small town guy

But I’m going back to live and die

In the good old country town where I was born.

When I get off at the station

And I see those happy smiles,

I can tell the whole creation

I would walk a thousand miles

Just to be back there where the skies are blue

And to know my friends are always true

In that good old country town where I was born.

That afternoon, everyone headed to the contest, which was held in a downtown auditorium. There were a lot of familiar faces. J.P. Fraley and Bobby Taylor were judges. Contest organizers seated the Haley family at the front of the crowd. Mixed among the family were Brandon, Ugee Postalwait, Harold Postalwait, and Jimmy McCoy, a great-grandson of Green McCoy.

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