Boarding the A Train: a hospice recollection by John Copley Alter

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It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing)

Do nothing till you hear from me

Cry me a river

Take the A train

Sophisticated lady

Something to live for

are a few of the songs Ella and Ellington lived for

back in the age of swing

when our (great/grand)mothers thought of

themselves

            as sophisticated ladies

who could say do nothing till you hear from me

although only a few actually took the A train

many of whom have now crossed the great river

and there he is your (great/grand)father on the

            shores of a small river

fishing is what he lived for

and no he also never actually took the A train

and well to be honest his baseball swing

made his sons laugh till you hear from me

he did not marry a sophisticated lady

so now you’re starting to understand how the lady

sitting there with her knitting on the bank of the

                                    river

in her limited Hindustani tried to say till you hear

            from me

tried to say Ella and Ellington are what I live for

tried to say it ain’t got no swing

tried to pretend the frontier express was the A train

and sometimes in her dreams it was the A train

she took and she was almost a sophisticated lady

and could sing in urdu it ain’t got no swing

somedays she almost cried a river

somedays she wondered what do I live for

and a small voice answered till you hear from me

and now her son hears her singing till you hear from

                        me

and knows she’s boarding the A train

knows she knows what to live for

there on that shore she’s a sophisticated lady

there she stands with her fishing rod beside the

                                                river

it don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got to swing)

her line swings out over the river

this lady knows what she lives for

you’ll hear from me she sings boarding the A train

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