Sam Small Returns to the Somerville

Richard B Gillion
2006

I'm hundred and two today, by gum!
Eh, today I'm a hundred and two,
And at ten years of age I was learning to play,
The piano, guitar and kazoo.

And when I joined up in the army
And couldn't take t' piano along
I took my kazoo and my six-string to camp
And accompanied many a song.

'Twere at t' Somerville club I developed my style
And had t' audience in rapt attention
Which is more than I'll say for one Martin John
And one or two more I could mention.
But tha's heard that story afore no doubt
Of winning the regiment's cup,
But t' best o' performing at t' Somerville
Were t' cheapness o' t' beer tha could sup.
Now nostalgia's not what it used to be
And you can't wind the clock back, that's true
But I had a great yearning for t' owld days
And I knew what I then had to do.

So I thought I'd go back for one last look at t' club
Now all of them folk had passed on
But when I got in t' place, me jaw dropped a mile
At the mixing desk was still Martin John.

And all the performers lined up as before
All looking as young as spring chickens
That were drawing their pension, and all I could say
Was by gum, by heck, what the Dickens!

There were those who once limped with arthritis
And some who had backbones so bent
And some whose cose veins had turned varicose
And those whose old ticker was spent

There'd been those who were deaf as a door post
And those with eyes cloudy and dim
And some were tone deaf, with no talent
And no, I'm not talking of him.

But here they were fit as young fiddles
And singing t' same songs, Iíll be bound,
The secret of Somerville longevity
Was something that had to be found.

Was it sound of the music,
Or the company that was so sublime?
Or the wondrous supply of pork scratchings
Served until past closing time?

In the end I just couldn't stand it
And cried out, "O please tell to me
The secret of eternal middle-age-dom.
I must know this great mystery."

I know you are dying to know it
As I was that night long ago,
And now I must pass on this secret
And complete the narrative.  So ...

They all went to the mic stand together
And in unison sang out to me
The secret I longed to be knowing
They all sang, "Spare-part surgery."

Somerville Club ~ Stanley Holloway ~ Marriott Edgar ~ Martin John

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