Mom and Dad,
I'm living in Michigan with Uncle Ray
He and Aunt Terry said I should write

Said I should write
Or I should phone you
I just don't have that much to say
See I've been bartending 'bout three nights a week
It's a stand-up joint and they're good to me

And I stay bored most all the time
Except for the cards that Ray and I play
Yeah he's the only friend I've got in this place
Still it's better than Wichita

Terry, she's fine
She wants you to know she's wrote a song
She's picking up where she left off
She's bringing it back
Cause it's been years since she's tried
God has it really been that long?
And Mom I'm sorry I was wrong
And Dad I'm sorry cause I just couldn't stay in that town
Where everyone knows everything about me

Michigan's alright
Still I haven't found a love
Just want to be happy
Love, your son
Just try to be happy
Love, your son


Lyrics submitted by Scaremongering

Michigan song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI love this song. Reminds me of home (I live in Michigan).
    It's fairly straight-forward, a letter home from a son to his parents, saying I love you and I'm sorry I had to leave.
    IWantWindToBlowon April 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLike whats been said, i think its a letter back home explaining why he's left home and how he is.
    Dan184on February 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of my all-time favorites, and one that proves the old adage about still waters running deep. As the previous commenters noted, the song works as a straightforward narrative - a son writes a letter to his parents. Like them, though, what drew me to this song is how it only *seems* straightforward.

    For instance, the narrator contradicts himself several times. The people at the bar treat him well - yet Ray is his only friend. Michigan's alright - yet he still hasn't found a love. He doesn't have much to say - yet he clearly does.

    This last point is what makes the song work. Because like all great writers, Rouse recognizes that what's not said is just as important as what is. For example:

    a) Why did Aunt Terry pick up writing songs again after years of not trying?
    b) Why does she ask the narrator to tell his parents about this? Did she and Ray have a falling-out with them at some point? If so, over what?
    c) Why does he refer to them as his aunt and uncle, yet later call them by their first names only?
    d) Why did he leave Wichita, and what does "everyone" know about him there?
    e) When he apologizes to his mother, what was he wrong about?
    f) When he says "try to be happy," who is he talking to? His parents? Or himself?
    g) When he says "Love, your son," is he simply signing off on his letter? Or is he asking them to "Love your son"? (Amazing what adding or removing a comma can do! :c))

    And I'm sure there are even more questions. Like all great art, it reveals its layers over time. Simple song, few words, lasting thoughts...

    mrmurrahon March 13, 2009   Link

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