Many of the younger crowd may not remember the song written and sang by Stuart Hamblen called This Ole House. Many might not even know who Stuart was.
Stuart Hamblen was one of the “singing cowboys”, often typified by Roy Rogers. He was also a radio personality and a song writer. The man was born in 1908 and lived until 1989.
He wrote This Ole House because of a real event that happened to he and a friend when they were on a horseback hunting trip. The men came upon a old, broken down house that looked like it was being held together with a hope and a prayer. Wanting to be neighborly, Stuart and his friend entered the house to find the owner, an old man, laying on the bed, dead.
Beside the bed, on the floor, was a dog that obviously hadn’t eaten in days. It was the man’s dog, laying faithfully beside his master’s bed. It naturally didn’t know that the master was dead and wouldn’t be getting up to put down food and water in the bowls that sat empty, on the floor.
Well, Stuart took in that old dog as his own. The dog would have otherwise just laid there until he died of starvation and loneliness. When Stuart got back to town, he alerted the authorities about the death of the old man and then went on home, where his wife, Suzy, and he took care of the dog and treasured the friendship of the faithful creature.
The event inspired the song and it was written by what Stuart felt would have been the viewpoint of the old man. Part of the chorus goes like this:
“I ain’t a going to need this house no longer, ain’t going to need this house no more.
ain’t got time to fix the shingles, ain’t got time to fix the floor,
ain’t got time to oil the hinges or to mend the window pane,
ain’t going to need this house no longer, I’m getting ready to meet the Saints.”
It is a song with a story behind it. I’ve always been partial to songs that have an actual history, and a story behind the story, aren’t you?