1st Place | “Notches”

1st Place
“Notches”
Written by Lance Carpenter & Scott Tonkinson
Ozark, Arkansas
Chandler, Arizona
www.americansongspace.com/lancecarpenter
www.americansongspace.com/tonkinsongs

He said steady now, keep your chin up; I can’t do this on my own
But I’d just turned eight and I couldn’t wait to see how much I’d grown
Grandpa got out his pocketknife and I watched the notch go in
I said a few more n’ I’ll be all grown up, then he said with a grin

They’re just notches, a couple lines nothing more
But what you’re standing for
The measure of a man
Promise me you’ll make the most of the space
Between the notches

By eighteen I was a rebel child just looking for a fight
Till my raising hell landed me in jail one cold November night
When they lined me up for a picture I saw the writing on that wall
I remembered the words my grandpa’d said as tears began to fall

They’re just notches, a couple lines nothing more
It’s not how tall you stand, son
It’s what you’re standing for
The measure of a man
Is the mark he makes when nobody watches
They said turn sideways and I stood there with my face
Against the notches

That night I had a choice to make
And I chose to learn from my mistakes
Now I’m proud to say I’ve turned my life around
The day before my son was born I stopped by grandpa’s house
We stood in that doorway where my years had been carved out
He gave me his knife and said keep track of your little man
I said yes sir and I’ll make sure he understands

They’re just notches, couple lines nothing more
It’s not how tall you stand
But what you’re standing for
The measure of a man
Is the mark he makes when nobody watches
I’ll teach him to make the most of that space
Between the notches

I’ve learned life is all about that space
Between the notches