Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

The Cottonpatch Version

Most people are familiar with Harry Chapin’s haunting Cat’s in the Cradle  but you may be less familiar with his humanitarian side.

“In the mid-1970s, Chapin focused on his social activism, including raising money to combat hunger in the United States. His daughter Jen said: “‘He saw hunger and poverty as an insult to America.'”

You also may not know that his last music and lyrics was for a musical called, Cotton Patch Gospel, which was based on The Cottonpatch Version of Matthew and John by Clarence Jordan.  Do you know Habit for Humanity?  Jordan was instrumental in its founding.

It has taken a long way to get to where I was planning to go, but I hope no one has felt you’ve taken one of those dreadful detours.

Here’s an excerpt from the Gospel of Matthew.

“One day John the Baptizer showed up and started preaching in the rural areas of Georgia. “Reshape your lives,” he said “because God’s new order of the Spirit is confronting you. This is what the prophet Isaiah meant when he said,

‘A voice is shouting in the rurals:
Lay out the Lord’s highway
Straighten his roads.’ “

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4 thoughts on “The Cottonpatch Version

  1. I knew nothing of Harry Chapin except for “Cat’s in the Cradle.” After reading the entire Wikipedia article on the man, I can now safely say I know next-to-nothing. He does sound like an admirable man, and I’ll likely track down a few of his other songs.

    “Haunting” is about the right word for that song. What a poignant, heartbreaking truth. I try to keep it with me as a reminder.


  2. You have to admire people who try to make a difference in whatever way they can.

    It really is a heartbreaking song. It seems so often that we get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose sight of what’s really important.


  3. I am more familiar with Chapin because of his humanitarian work than his music. The Harry Chapin Food Bank here in SWFlorida does a tremendous job collecting surplus food and distributing it to the various food pantries in the area. Hundreds of tons of it each year.


  4. That’s great to hear. What a legacy to leave.


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