“I Wanna Go Simply When I Go……..”

Oh, lay me down in Forest Lawns, they understand there
They have a heavenly choir in the military band there,
Just put me in their care, I’ll find my comfort there,
With sixteen planes in a last salute, they’ll drop a cross in a
parachute.
I wanna go simply when I go,
they’ll give me a simple funeral there I know
With a hundred strolling strings and topless dancers with golden wings,
Oh, take me when I’m gone to Forest Lawn.

The Ballad of Forest Lawns, penned by that master of irony Tom Paxton, and made famous by John Denver, is supposed to mimic the absurdity of overly-lavish funerals and exotic final resting places for the fabulously wealthy. If lifelong religious orator and God-businessman, Billy Graham, gets his way, however, his last resting place will make Forest Lawns look like some old patch of scrub way out in the desert.

It could be argued that God hasn’t been kind to Mister Graham. At eighty-eight, he’s nearly blind and suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Hardly a golden handshake from the Divinity Graham has served for so long, though perhaps all that will change when Billy finally makes it “upstairs”.

Mind, if Billy Graham gets his way, he may prefer to spend eternity “downstairs”. Apparently, he’s approved plans for his burial place to be a theme park. Visitors are to enter through a forty foot high glass cross and be met by a mechanical, talking cow.

Sadly, the Graham family is somewhat split over the proposal. Eldest son, Franklyn, heir to the family business ministry, is said to be enthusiastic, no doubt considering it a great money spinner. Graham’s wife, Ruth, wants nothing to do with the idea and insists she’ll be buried elsewhere.

For the Graham’s, it’s looking like it really will be a case of “till death us do part”.

I wanna go simply when I go.
They’ll give me a simple funeral there I know.
I’ll lie beneath the sand with piped-in tapes of Billy Graham,
oh, take me when I’m gone to Forest Lawn.

Rock of ages cleft for me – for a slightly higher fee.
Oh, take me when I’m gone to Forest Lawn.

Filed under:

3 Replies to ““I Wanna Go Simply When I Go……..””

  1. Billy Graham agreed with whatever the powerful said – never objected to unChristian acts. I’m sure he will get as big a sendoff as Reagan. Anyway, about big funerals there also was the Chad Mitchell Trio song “A Dying Business” Here are the lyrics:
    Funeral Directors of America, I am very deeply honored standing here;
    Receiving this token of your esteem, “The Funeral Director of the
    Year.”
    Now I’ve been asked by all the delegates–and members of the board,
    To tell you of the funeral that won me this award.
    It was handled with taste and dignity, that much I can say for it;
    And I’m sure it will take the family twenty years to pay for it!

    Chorus:
    It was a helluva fun’ral, It was a helluva fun’ral
    The finest fun’ral ever booked:
    I had some high school juniors who passed around petunial
    And lilies everywhere you looked.
    It was a helluva fun’ral, I say one helluva fun’ral
    Oh, how I wish that you were there;
    I had ten drum majorettes doubling on the castanets
    It really was a lively affair
    It really was a lively affair.
    It was a helluva fun’ral, It was a helluva fun’ral
    The national guard showed up for me;
    And during the oration, they went into formation
    And formed the letters R. I. P.
    It was a helluva fun’ral, I say one helluva fun’ral
    I gave it all my loving care;
    The band was on its toes playing “Mexicali Rose”,
    It really was a lively affair.
    It really was a lively affair.

    A tisket a tasket, Tell us about the casket

    Spoken:
    Well, I’ll tell you ’bout the casket, my good friends
    It would-a made your poor eyes pop
    It was sterling silver all around and a real formica top.
    (Formica top, it had a formica top).

    Well, I’ll tell you ’bout the widow, my good friends,
    The widow was in navy blue
    With a gown designed by Balenciaga, I supplied that too.
    (He sold the widow widow’s weeds too).

    I held the first funereal raffle, though I don’t much like to boast
    And I gave away a Chevrolet to the person who cried the most.
    (He gave away a brand new Chevrolet). I won it myself!

    There were eighteen jugglers by the grave to demonstrate their art
    And when they were done, I fired a gun to let the hoot-e-nanny start.
    (He fired a gun and the hoot-e-nanny begun).

    I was serving beer and prtzels, ’til the hot pastrami came;
    And I sold some souvenier hankies with the dear departed’s name.
    (He was sellin’ hankies with the dear departed’s name).

    As a fitting finale we had the Rockettes from New Your’s Music Hall;
    As you can see, my very good friends
    All in all, all in all:

    Sung:
    It was a helluva fun’ral, I say one helluva fun’ral
    No other burial could compare;
    It was all done up deluxe ‘n’ I made forty thousand bucks,
    It really was a lively affair. It really was a swingin’ affair

  2. PM – a shooting gallery, or maybe – a coconut shy with plastic heads of Graham replacing the coconuts.

    Flimsy – my education is sadly lacking. I’d never heard of the Chad Mitchell Trio or their wonderful ballad, “The Dying Business”. Really great lyrics. Thank you so much for reproducing them for me.

Comments are closed.