George Martin

“Laid Back and Relaxed”
Words and music by Marianne Fridell
with Mrs. Gillespie’s 5th Grade Class
©2012 Marianne Fridell



      George Martin

Blue sky above and the creek below that Tarzan tree is where we’d go
Raid’n gardens for rhubarb and carrots, we’d take our loot and then we’d share it.
Eating our finds we’d lay ‘cross the vines. Those vines would hold us, most of the time.
I’d jump off or slip through without even trying. If I fell in the creek, I didn’t mind.
We lived in that creek. We lived in that creek. We lived in that creek.

The places I like best, no one’s in a hurry.
Laid back and relaxed, and very few worries.
When you run into trouble, just keep on moving.
Turn the corner, don’t say woe is me.

Baseball games in the middle of the street. Gloves left out til the next time we’d meet.
Kick the can and hide ‘n seek, I grew up on these Spearfish streets.
Now playing in the dirt is what I know with my hands or a shovel or a big backhoe.
I might show up smelling of diesel if that old backhoe refuses to go.
I live on these streets. I live on these streets. I live on these streets.


Shot a bird and watched it fall. Bothered me so I don’t hunt at all.
I was a kid then but still not a hunter. But I’ll smack mosquitoes and use a fly swatter.
Catch up on my science reading while the cats are dozing and the birds are feeding.
Shop vac birdseed so it won’t sprout. The cats wake up and prowl about.
But they don’t catch a thing. They don’t catch a thing. They don’t catch a thing.


A wake-up call when I turned 35. A heart attack, I almost died.
I had to change. There was no debate. I changed before it was too late.
Looking forward to the 4th of July when colorful fireworks light up the sky.
All together on this date. It’s being alive that we celebrate.
We celebrate. We celebrate. We celebrate.

The places I like best, no one’s in a hurry.
Laid back and relaxed, and very few worries.
When you run into trouble, just keep on moving.
Turn the corner, don’t say woe is me. (woe is me, woe is me, woe is me)
Turn the corner, don’t say woe is me. (woe is me, woe is me, woe is me)
Turn the corner, don’t say woe is me.

George Maurice Martin was born in Spearfish on April 12, 1945, the day FDR died. He was the oldest child of Tracy and Ethel and had three brothers, Larry, Donny, and Rodney. They also lived in Arizona, New Mexico, and Rapid City.

Growing up in Spearfish George had many fun times as a kid. Living near Spearfish Creek, he spent much time at the creek, especially at the “Tarzan Tree”, snacking on rhubarb, dipping it in a can of sugar. He and his friends played kick the can and baseball in the street. Back then, they could leave the bases and gloves right in the street and they’d be there the next day to continue the game. He did not have computers, play stations, or WII’s. He said they had to make their own fun. Hiking Lookout Mt. was always an adventure with his PBJ and a Boy Scout canteen full of Kool-Aid.

He had a dog named Pal, but it really wasn’t his dog, it was a stray that just hung out at their house. George once saved an injured blackbird and that bird hung around for 3-4 months. One of George’s earliest memories was the Blizzard of ’49 when they lived in an old house on Ames Street. Tromping through the snow, his dad asked him where the car was so he kicked away the snow and discovered they were actually standing on top of their car!

As a youngster, George earned money by doing chores like mowing and taking out garbage. He was paid 25 cents a week and that was plenty enough to go to the nine cent movie and buy a treat! He also had a paper route and enjoyed buying penny candy at the old Lown Mercantile.

He lived in Rapid City during high school and worked at Gill’s Sun Inn, taking care of the pool. George loved to study science; biology was his favorite subject.

He attended Black Hills State College in 1963-1969, then taught Chemistry and Biology in Platte. After one year of teaching, he changed careers and worked construction.

George continued to enjoy adventures just like when he was a kid! Some of his adventures included hiking to the top of Mt. Rushmore…twice!!! Security on the mountain was not as it is today and it’s a long hike back to Keystone. He once rode the train to eastern South Dakota. He and his friends drove all the way to California and the West Coast in a ’51 Chevy. On one of his trips, he saw a Teton 3 missile fired off. While in New York City, he watched a big black and white screen on the street when they showed Armstrong walking on the moon. George even flew high in a hot air balloon over the Black Hills! His favorite adventure was a trip to Florida where he cheered on Georgia Tech…go Tarheels! He also enjoys hiking our own Crow Peak, to Hell’s Half Acre.

George met his wife, Sue, at a softball game, they dated for a year until she twisted his arm. They were married in 1980. They have two children, Molly and Jordan. Molly is working on her masters in administration and social justice and Jordan is attending UNCA. George became the street superintendent for Spearfish and held that position for 25 years until retiring last year. Do you think he ever imagined he’d have that job all those years ago while playing ball in the streets? You can bet he was wishing for those old baseball games while pushing snow for years of long winter days. George also gave many hours to volunteering as an ambulance driver….26 years! George coached soccer since both his kids loved playing.

George had a life-changing scare at the age of 35 when he suffered a heart attack! He turned his life around, making healthy choices, and taking better care of himself.

At 67, George still loves to travel. Some of George’s hobbies are gardening, he loves playing in the dirt! He doesn’t like TV much, but he likes the news and First Forty Eight. George still has a love for science and reads science journals.

You’ve just heard a bit of George Martin. He’s a friendly man who loves to visit. He’ll tell you about rocketry, airplanes, science, gardening, travel, and of course, his amazing children. He has many friends because he’s a good man. George gave us some good advice: don’t smoke and abuse alcohol, don’t give up, go around the corner, go to college when you are ready, and stay positive. George, enjoy our song to you from us!

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