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THE DYING DOCTOR aka THE COMPANY TOWN DOCTOR Woody Guthrie - 1945 Doctor Leo Hayes was our company doctor From the big coal companies he got his pay For thirty-nine years he tried to cure us And now today on his deathbed lay. He called his five boys and his three daughters And at his bed we stood around We heard him tell the history of the coal miners And he said, "Don't let these people down." You are all connected with the practice of medicine You promise you'll keep true I know You will do your best to help these people I close my eyes for I must go. His youngest girl was Doctor Betty With her face so pretty and her smile so sweet She walked the coal towns of Force and Byrndale She saw the sewage waters flowing down the street. She saw the children drink the cankered water She saw the chickens fly up on the roof She saw the waters overflow the sewers And flood their gardens of victory. She went to the big shots of the Shawmut Company She did not beg and she did not plead She stood flatfooted and pounded the table Sewer pipes and bathrooms are what we need. My dady told me to fight to cure sickness But I can't cure sickness with sewage all around These germs kill people quicker than I can cure them We need a foundation under every house. We need a bathroom for every family Yes, you can set there and blink your eyes Three hundred miners are out behind me We will clean this town or know the reason why. I quit my job as the family doctor I nailed up my shingle and went on my own I carried my pillbag and waded those waters I set by a deathbed in many a home. I saw you catch rainwater in rusty washtubs I saw you come home dirty up out of your pits Watched you ride with your coffin up to your graveyard With not a nickel to pay your burying debt. On July the fifteenth from the hills around Three hundred miners walked down through town The state inspector was testing the water While he was working you stood around. One miner asked him to have a drink free The inspector looked out toward our pits He set his hat back on his head and says, "I wouldn't drink a drop of that on a bet." I think of my daddy and brothers and sisters When we stood around his dying bed When I walk the streets of the company towns I can hear every word my daddy said. The Shawmut Company is caught in its own paws The people not worth the money they cost A hundred have died, three hundred not working Thirty thousand tons of coal is lost.

    


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