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David Potts-Dupre: Music

Sam and Mona (the preacher and the teacher)

(David Potts-Dupre)
Sam and Mona (The Preacher and the Teacher) David Potts-Dupre 7/25/05

An itinerant preacher by the name of Sam, lived in the mountains of West Maryland
Sam was concerned bout the state of the nation, all the Godless people who forgot creation
Sam needed something to rally his flock, a powerful symbol, a religious rock
It came to him one day while preaching in the park, he'd build a refuge, a new Noah's Ark

He'd say, "When the flood of evil washes over the earth, you will be the people who will lead the rebirth
The sinners, the gays, and the democrats too, well they'll drown in the flood, but the Ark will float true"
Sam built a following with those mountain people, the park his church and the fountain his steeple
"So lend me a hand and throw in some dollars. The more you pay, the more you're saved," he hollered

The going was slow, but the Ark was begun, Sam figured in two or three year's it'd be done
It sat on a hill, above Route 68, with a billboard that called it Sam's Heaven's Gate
An old man on the sign pointed up in the air, with a long flowing beard and a huge head of hair
He was meant to be Noah, but with the robes he was dressed in, he looked suspiciously like Charlton Heston

Meanwhile, in the mountains of northeast Arizona, there lived an old, old woman named Mona
Mona hated to be told what to do, how to live, what to eat, to be told what is true
While Mona was a recluse who lived all alone, as to others, she was not one to throw the first stone
She believed in the adage to live and let be, and had no patience for the fundamentalist creed

Then one Sunday down at the 7/11, Mona saw an article titled, "The Boat to Heaven"
The more she read, the angrier she got, how dare they value only what they thought
Someone's got to offer an alternative, new ways of thinking, new ways to live
Later that night while lying in the dark, she decided to create Mona's Ark

She took her old blue VW bus, and wrote words on the side, like "It's OK to cuss"
And "Gays are happy" and "Sex is a blast" and "Vote Democrat and get rid of Bush fast"
She painted the roof with the red, white and blue, and the words, "this is not the land of the few"
She packed enough clothes and cashed our her pension, she climbed in the bus and started the engine

Refrain Sam and Mona, Maryland Arizona, Mona and Sam, one with God, one with Man
Sam was a preacher, Mona used to be a teacher and that set the stage for the last page
Of this fateful tale, like Jonah in the whale, when all seems black and out of whack
Something will spark, and light the dark, hit the mark, perhaps an Ark
And it all began with Mona and Sam

Two weeks later, while Sam was preaching, he heard some sputtering, some wheezing, some screeching
He saw a bus roll slowly by and an old woman poke her head out the driver's side
She shouted, "I'm going to see which Ark has the better fate, my Ark of love or yours of hate"
With that she flipped old Sam the bird, and shouted "you're wrong you know, there's not just one true Word"

She drove up the hill towards the setting sun, with Sam behind as fast as he could run
There framed in the sun was Sam's Heaven's Gate, Mona hoped against hope that she wasn't too late
Mona revved up the van to build up its speed, and shouted, "One last hurrah, one last good deed"
She aimed Mona's Ark toward the bow of the boat and when she hit, well boys, that's all she wrote

And as the dust settled, one look at that boat, and it was obvious to all that it never would float
It lay in a heap with Mona's Ark sticking out, and as to Mona's fate, there was also no doubt
Sam never recovered, he soon lost his flock, and he moved to Virginia to think and take stock
Mona in death became a folk hero crowned and the two Arks remain inextricably bound

Refrain

So if you're driving west on Route 68, keep your eyes open for Sam's Heaven's Gate
You can't miss the giant billboard, though it's now an ad for Frostburg Ford
But just underneath lies a rather strange sight, the wreck of two arks, and just to the right
There's a small little plaque next to two new elm trees that reads, "To Mona, may you rest in peace"



Song notes
Sam and Mona

This song sat in my head as an idea for many months, but when I finally sat down with pen in hand, it was on the paper in about an hour or so. When I finish the song the first question I get is "is that a real story?" The answer is "no", but the ark is being built (I know nothing about who's building it and Sam is entirely fictional, but all too real). For the past 20 years or so, we've been driving up to Western Maryland to visit my parents at their place called Woodhill in Garrett County. On Route 68, near Frostburg, there is a big unfinished structure that is billed as "Noah's Ark". Nothing has been done on it in all the years I've been going up there, but it is an impressive site and it has always fascinated me. In the past few years, as my frustration level and anger toward the religious right has grown, I began toying with the notion of writing a song about the Ark. After a period of time, Sam and Mona came to life in my mind and a song and story were born. When doing this cd, the notion of continuing the Sam and Mona theme came to me and my neighbors, Rich and Berdina Henry made the perfect Sam and Mona. Rich is a close friend who has a crazy appearance and the most gentle soul I know. He fit the bill physically and was agreeable to play someone who stands for everything he's not. Berdina was our children's day care provider and a more loving person could not be found. I actually picture Mona as a lot more crochety, but I loved the idea of both of them playing their roles. It's funny that as much as I enjoy singing, my favorite song I've written is mostly a spoken song.