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BACK TO SCHOOL (Tom T. Hall) Jeannie C. Riley Wintertime comes early to the north part of this state I walk along the river where we used to come and skate The trees're now all gone and by the river there's a sign Trespassin' is a twenty dollar fine Lookin' up the road toward the schoolhouse on the hill That thing about an empty building causes me to chill My memory goes back to when the teacher rang the bell The day she sent you home for saying hell Walkin' past the building so important in my past The road is full of ol' discarded bottles and some trash I step behind the building as I shelter from the cold I see our names in letters big and bold My fingers trace the letters of a work of art alone And I recall the day that you carved it in a stone Somehow I can see you now with books and coat in hand You always waved as down the hill you ran Cokes were just a nickel then and many were the times The two of us would sip them as if they were village wine And then on Graduation Day we bought the little ring And said that carats didn't mean a thing Now I retrace my footsteps to the cab that waits for me Looking back to see our names you carved upon a tree The driver says I look familiar asks me what's my name I say hurry I have to catch a plane


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