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PREACHER BILL - Copyright 2000 by Dave Saunders
Published by Sgt Joe Music (BMI)
From the Dave Saunders CD “Fishin'"
Available for purchase from

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The sign outside the Baptist church, down at the foot of the hill
Showed his name as the Reverend William Smith, but we just called him Preacher Bill
And the river that ran beside that church was his own special washin’ machine
He’d duck them sinners underneath that water, and when they come up, they was clean

Bill spent a lot of time in that river, but he wasn’t always savin’ sinners
When he wasn’t fishin’ for the souls of men, he was fishin’ for his dinner
And one place you could always find him, in water up past his knees
Was down by the dam, by the Main Street bridge, where the old mill used to be

Somewhere down in that part of town lived a man whose dreams were gone
Nobody’d ever seen him sober, we just called him Old Drunk John
And none of us ever understood just what was goin’ on
But Preacher Bill just lived for the day that he could baptize Old Drunk John

One day John came down the street in his usual state of mind
One hand on the steerin’ wheel, the other on a bottle of wine
Drivin’ that old pickup truck that he’d had since time began
And he missed the bridge, and went into the river, and was headed for the dam

Well, we all figured that Old Drunk John had just run out of luck
‘Cause nobody had a boat, or a rope that could reach that truck
And we was all just millin’ around, wonderin’ what to do
When all of a sudden we heard the sound of a voice that we all knew

Nobody knew that river quite like Preacher Bill
He knew every single stone that used to hold up that old mill
And step by step he put each foot right where he knew he oughta
And if you didn’t know them stones was there, you’d swear he was walkin’ on water

He made it just in the nick of time, and was holdin’ John by the hand
And together they watched as John’s old truck washed over the top of the dam
And standin’ there in that river, starin’ death in the face
Bill knew that he was gonna baptize John, and this was the time and place

I guess everybody in town was standin’ there on that shore
And every person heard every word when Bill called out to the Lord
He put Old John down under that water, and when Bill and the Lord was done
The drunk that had fallen into that river was dry, in more ways than one

Well, that was a long, long time ago, and last year we lost Bill
And just this mornin’ we buried John, by the church at the foot of the hill
And there’s someting that we’ve all wondered about, and the answer finally came
We discovered that Preacher Bill and Old Drunk John had the same last name

Copyright © 2002 Dave Saunders
Portions Copyright © 2002 Bobby Addison
Contact Dave Saunders with questions regarding this site.
Last updated: 2/5/2006