I crawled off the bus in soft but steady rain,
Years had past, but somehow Topeka hadn't really changed,
Somehow Topeka still seemed the same,
I walked the shadow of the state house, and my heart breathed again.
Comin’ home is like sittin’ on a park bench, talkin’ with and old friend,
[Key of D]
I saw Mary at Falley’s Market, with John, my ol’ fishin’ friend,
She said “Lord it’s good to see you, good to have you home again,
Wish you’d come by for Sunday dinner,
We’ll talk about days back then,
and I’m sorry I couldn’t wait for you,
We’ll always be the best of friends.
And I’ve been missin’ North Topeka, while dying in the fast lane,
I was to blind to see, my whole life is just so much pain,
But now I’m home again, and no one will ever pull me away again.
I’ve been missin’ North Topeka, while dying in the fast lane.
[Key of E flat]
Now they call it 39th Street, but to me it’ll always be Nickel Road,
I can still see farmer Chamberlain,
The old man had a heart as good as gold,
At night I sense his spirit,
Makes me wonder if he should know,
That what I loved and left and came home to
He knew years before.
Missin’ North Topeka, she turned out to be my best friend.
Above: NW 39th Street and Button Road intersection. We prefer to remember it as Nickel Road. The house on the left is the childhood home of John Davis and where Jim Williams would spend part of the summers, fishing and playing "real time" radio broadcasting from the chicken house on KCAP. We'd spin records, talk of a glass water, or play live music for the neighbors. We did have fun in this rustic setting. We remembered going to Falley's Market and Russ's Market for groceries. We liked the little stores and would meet neighbors there. We grew up to work on real radio stations and were musicians together. Jim eventually would up in Bakersfield, California working in a front band for Buck Owens regular show at his own nightclub and worked for a while for the Haggard family, as musical arranger and lead guitar player. He traveled with Marty and Dana Haggard on many road tours, and on such tours, spent much time in Alaska.
After twenty some years of alcoholism, Jim overcame that habit and turned vegetarian totally. But his efforts left him jittery, and burned out. Shaking and on verge of a nervous breakdown, his wife delivered him to the bus station for an much needed escape to Topeka, Kansas, where Jim would try to reinvent himself and bring his wife and boy back here. They did not want to leave California. That is when John and Jim reunited, went into the music-recording business, promoted other artists, started a record label. That was the inspiration of writing the song "Missin' North Topeka".