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Desert Pete

July 21, 2016

I remember this song from back in the early 60s or so as a pre-teen when the Kingston Trio sang it on Hootenanny or some similar TV program of that era.  I came across it in a book of inspirational something or the other a few years ago and like much I recollect from that earlier era, today the lyrics take on a whole new meaning.

Desert Pete

 

I was travelin’ west a buckskin on my way to a cattle run
‘Cross a little cactus desert under a hot blisterin’ sun
I was thirsty down to my toenails, stopped to rest me on a stump
But I tell ya I just couldn’t believe it when I saw that water pump
I took it to be a mirage at first, it’ll fool a thirsty man
Then I saw a note stuck in a bakin’ powder can
This pump is old, the note began, but she works so give’er a try
I put a new sucker washer in ‘er, you may find the leather dry

You’ve got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe
You’ve got to give of yourself ‘fore you’re worthy to receive
Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet
Leave the bottle full for others, thank you kindly, desert Pete

Yeah, you’ll have to prime the pump, work that handle like there’s a fire
Under that rock you’ll find some water I left in a bitters jar
Now there’s just enough to prime it with so dont’cha go drinkin’ first
You just pour it in and pump like mad, buddy, you’ll quench your thirst

You’ve got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe
You’ve got to give of yourself ‘fore you’re worthy to receive
Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet
Leave the bottle full for others, thank you kindly, desert Pete

Well I found that jar and I tell ya nothin’ was ever prettier to my eye
And I was tempted strong to drink it, ’cause that pump looked mighty dry
But the note went on have faith my friend, there’s water down below
You’ve got to give until you get—I’m the one who ought to know
So I poured in the jar and I started pumpin’ and I heard a beautiful sound
Of water bubblin’ and splashin’ up outta that hole in the ground
I took off my shoes and I drunk my fill of that cool refreshing treat
I thank the Lord and thank the pump and I thank old desert Pete

You’ve got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe
You’ve got to give of yourself ‘fore you’re worthy to receive
Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet
Leave the bottle full for others, thank you kindly, desert Pete

Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet
Leave the bottle full for others, thank you kindly, desert Pete

lyrics by Billy Edd Wheeler

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 21, 2016 1:46 pm

    certainly speaks to conservation and honoring those who come after us

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