"Ankle Deep" as written by and Tom Petty....
Yeah they raised that horse to be a jumper
He was owned by a Midwest bible thumper
His preacher was a Louisiana drummer
Took all winter to get through the summer

The field hand hit the switch and stumbled
Outside the big engine roared and rumbled
The stolen horse spooked and tumbled
She didn't speak for a week, just kinda mumbled

Ankle deep
In love
Ankle deep
In love

He was caught up
In a lie he half believed
Found her hiding
High in the family tree

Washed his hands
And put her 'cross his knee
She said "Daddy, you've been a mother to me"

Ankle deep
In love
Ankle deep
In love


Lyrics submitted by jassss

"Ankle Deep" as written by Tom Petty

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Ankle Deep song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis is probably my favourite track on the 'Highway Companion' album.

    Though I'm quite sure it's open to numerous interpretations, here's my take:

    This is a narrative about a single father's love for his child and his struggle to make the right decisions on balancing discipline with being a loving father.

    The first verse sets the scene of where the action takes place: in the rural mid-west where a 'God-fearing' faith and strict discipline are prevalent and highly valued aspects of the society.

    In the second verse we learn of the circumstances which lead up to an accident where the father's daughter suffers a heavy fall from a horse she'd evidently stolen to take on a little 'joy ride'. She has taken a bad knock to the head and is concussed and unable to speak for several days.

    In the final verse we see the father's struggle to balance the punishment with the 'ankle deep' love he has for his child. Ultimately, he feels, probably due to the constraints of his culture, that he must give the girl a spanking.

    In the final line we hear the girl express to her father, 'Daddy, you've been a mother to me.' This suggests that the single parent has had to perform both parental roles himself.

    I would be very interested in reading other interpretations.
    ScrumThison June 09, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, I would tend to go along those lines to sum up Ankle Deep too. A single father with a daughter he's trying to raise somewhere in the Midwest. One of my favorites from Highway Companion.
    earl j1068on September 16, 2014   Link

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