The Last Thing on My Mind

The following is my cover of an old favorite by Tom Paxton. This was recorded in collaboration with Lewin Barringer of That’s Lewin on mandolin and bass and some of the backup vocals among other things. Hope you like it.

The Last Thing on My Mind

It’s a lesson too late for the learnin’
Made of sand, made of sand
In the wink of eye my soul is turnin’
In your hand, in your hand


Are you goin’ away with no word of farewell
Will there be not a trace left behind
Well, I could have loved you better
Didn’t mean to be unkind
You know that was the last thing on my mind

You got reasons a-plenty for goin’
This I know, this I know
For the weeds have been steadily growin’
Please don’t go, please don’t go


As I lie in my bed in the mornin’
Without you, without you
Each song in my breast dies a-bornin’
Without you, without you



Here’s a little lost-love-in-the-springtime tune I came up with a long time ago. I wonder who I was thinking of? Oh well, I hope you enjoy it. I call it Wings.


By Skip Birong

I wish I had wings so I could fly
High up in the sky
And see all the love down below
That I used to know
A long time ago

I wish I had wings so I could see
The hill where she would always be
Standing waiting impatiently
For me just for me.

I wish I had wings so I could fly
And se once again

The time we walked through springtime in May
And stopped to see a robin along the way
And she blushed when I kissed her
In front of the summer day
A long time ago
A long time ago in May


I wish I had wings so I
Could see once again

I wish I had wings
So I could fly
High up in the sky
And see all the love down below
That I used to know
A long time ago


© 1974 by Skip Birong. All rights reserved.

Red Bud City

Here’s a little musical ode to my idyllic hometown of Buchanan, Michigan, also known as Red Bud City. Hope you like it.


By Skip Birong

There’re hills above the valley
Where the big, green oaks grow
There’s a shiny silver sun
That shines when it don’t snow

I hear there’s fish in McCoy’s Creek
When the summer comes around
And you can see a robin
On the first day he’s in town

Red Bud City on the St. Joe River
Brings memories to my mind
Home town, home town
Home town on my mind

The Bucks beat Niles on Friday night
There’s a snowflake in your hair
The kids are in the Sweet Shop
Let’s all go to the fair.

Frozen lakes and knee-deep snow
Bring Christmas to the hills
There’s an amber glow out on the snow
From candle on windowsills


You can see the early signs of spring
With the blooms on Red Bud Trail
White lilies in the forest
And a new fawn’s tall white tail

It’s a short walk down to the St. Joe River
Where my grandfather used to swim
But it doesn’t look as clear to me
As it probably did to him


© 2020 by Skip Birong. All rights reserved.

Clyde’s dale

Sister Carol on someone else’s horse.

I’ve always loved horses. Probably because, as I’ve noted in earlier essays, I was raised on a seemingly unending series of TV westerns during my childhood back in the 50’s (remember this? Cowboys and Cowgirls)

As a youngster, I begged my father for a horse. I mean, we lived out in the country and we had a healthy 20 acres or so of land for grazing and such. But, to no avail—until my little sister wanted a horse. And then, suddenly, we had a horse. Hmpf.

His name was Clyde.

Continue “Clyde’s dale”


If you have ever enjoyed a box of Cracker Jacks you may recall that each box includes some kind of semi-excellent prize. I quickly learned that those trinkets, along with the peanuts, usually settled to the bottom of the box during shipping. Thus, by opening it from the bottom rather than the top, I was saved from having to eat my way down to the prize and, of course, the peanuts.

As you might expect, the anticipation of discovering the nature of the surprise in there, which might include anything from a pretty neat decoder ring to not-all-that-neat stickers or something, soon became our overriding interest in getting a box of CJs.

Continue “Surpriiise!”