Hard Times (Shining: Part 2)

Ivar’s tour in the Pacific left him scarred on the inside.  He drank heavily and eventually left the Ghost Creek Ranch.  Lars actively worked to sell the ranch, but as he was showing the property to a prospective buyer, he experienced a heart attack and died.  Christian’s mother was left without an income, so he and Dorothy agreed to buy the Ghost Creek Ranch from her.  Dorothy’s hopes of escaping the remote life in Idaho faded.  When she wasn’t working to care for her family and the ranch, she found solace in the music she created for herself and her children.  Their lives revolved around their faith, the ranch and their children.  There was no time left for each other.

The two kids they used to be
Wouldn’t be here
They had dreams before
That awful war
And how did it come to this:
Three hundred miles
From where they first kissed
Just seventeen years ago?
Christian’s brother
Crawled into a bottle
And his father up and died
Before the ranch was sold
Land rich and penny poor
She’s got to know
What the struggle’s been for
If they go broke just the same?
Christian reached for the summit:
It wasn’t Dorothy’s dream
And what would come from
All these years of toil
In earth and stone?

Well he just keeps on trying
Ain’t no room for whining
Out on the frontier
He’s working twice as hard
As he did in ’47
And he’ll work harder next year
He ‘s not wondering if they’re
Still shining,
Got the riddle of the earth and steel
On his mind. He just hopes
She will stay with him
Through the hard times.

Outside the house
Christian worked the land
For his family
And he prayed that the deep
Mountain snows would fall
Each year.
Somewhere between
As a sailor in a battle
and a farmer and rancher
On a tractor, in the saddle
The world around him changed.
The kids were growing up
And the years passed into memory.
Dorothy saved the little moments
Writing songs and taking photographs.
In the dark of the night,
Dorothy sang her secret ballads
And the stories she told
About a family facing challenges
Would rock her children to sleep.
Tractor, trailer, hoss or truck –
Old Christian was gone
Before the sun came up.
Dorothy loved her husband
With all her might:
They were two ships passing
In the night

She just keeps on trying
There’s no time for whining
Out on the frontier
She’s working twice as hard
As she did in ’57
And she’ll work harder next year.
You know that she ain’t wondering
If they’re still shining
‘Cause raising her family
Is what’s on her mind,
But she’s never more
Than a dream away
From the hard times.

Well they just keep on trying
No one hears you crying
Out on the frontier
They need twice as much
Money as they did in ’67
And they’ll need
Even more next year.
You know that they aren’t wondering
If they’re still shining
‘Cause meager survival
Means toe-to-line
They got the banker
And the butcher and the taxman
To pay on time and they pray
That their kids will be fine
Taking sacraments from
The body and blood of the Earth –
Bread and wine and they pray
For each other to hold the line
And be strong
Through the hard times.

Still Shining…

Chapter VII: “Needle’s Eye (Christian Jr.)”

© 2016 Jack Nielsen
℗ 2016 Jack Nielsen
Words and Music by Jack Nielsen
Performed by Pawn’s Logic ™
from the Meta-Ballad
Under the Mountain

Nylon string & steel string acoustic and electric guitars: Jack Nielsen
Vocal: Jack Nielsen