His Hometown

This song was inspired by Rich Baker, a man who runs heavy equipment around her home town. Rich taught himself how to run all the equipment, and has great skill in working with the earth. He reminds Cheryl of a book from when she was a kid: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Rich usually dresses in blue outfits, and works on his heavy machinery.

Cheryl and he were talking and he mentioned that all his life he knew what he wanted to do, and was lucky enough to be able to do it for a living. Cheryl was touched with what he said, especially since she had often thought the same thing about her self. After talking to him, she went inside and wrote this song.

You wouldn't expect a song about someone who drives heavy machinery to be especially touching, but this one is.

Some interesting things about Rich:

When he was in high school, they pulled him out of class so that he could dig the foundation for the new high school they were building.

Once when talking to Cheryl, he mentioned that a hill next to her house didn't belong there. He pointed out the contour of the surrounding land, and explained that the hill they were looking at wasn't supposed to be there; it was where they put the dirt when they built Cheryl's house. So, with her permission, he removed the hill. And when it was over, Cheryl had to admit that it looked much better without the hill.

When Cheryl and Patsy were fencing in an area for the horses, they were sad to find out that they had to cut down a number of trees which were bad for horses. Cheryl was very sad, because they were big and beautiful trees, and she hated to see them cut down. When Rich found out, he said he could move the trees. He asked them where they wanted the trees moved. He dug 26 new holes for the trees, went over and dug out each tree, root ball and all, and dropped them into the new holes. He then patted the dirt around them with the back hoe.

Once when Rich was digging a trench, he came across a rock that was too big for his backhoe to lift. He simply dug a larger hole next to the rock, pushed the rock into the new hole, and then continued digging the trench.

Cheryl would often say that Rich didn't know what to make of the fact that she had written a song about him. After the album Sylvia Hotel came out, Rich showed up at Cheryl's place all excited. He said that somebody had come out of the bank and said to him "Hey! I know you! I got that new Cheryl Wheeler CD. That song's about you, isn't it?" He was quite impressed, and said he wanted to give the CD to a couple of his friends. That was a joke :^)

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Recordings

The song His Hometown appears on the following 5 albums:

Closer
by Collins, Lui
Rounder At Newport
by Various
Sylvia Hotel
by Wheeler, Cheryl
Fish Out of Water
by Various
What Do I Care I Don't Have Any Kids Construction Company
by Wheeler, Cheryl

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