The Good Doctor

Good-Doctor-LacingPaola’s father, Gofredo Martini, lived with her, Pietro and their son, Matteo. In Italy, it’s common for multi-generations to share a home. Through the years, we came to know him quite well. At 94, he was always dapper and still wore his sport coat and tie daily. But following Paola’s death, he longed to die. He often joked that God had forgotten him since he was left to live with his son-in-law and grandson.

Over the course of a few years, he’d lost his son, his wife, and finally Paola. We sometimes saw him walking the sidewalks of Fiesole talking with the townspeople. He had lived his entire lifetime there, and of course, knew everyone. Despite the fact that his life was routine and comfortable, we observed it winding down. His dreams were withering away just as Pietro’s had done when Paola died. They were extraordinarily sad endings to such good lives, and it made us wonder why.

This song/story captures the essence of that sobering, yet hopeful paradox of sometimes making things happen, and sometimes not being able to make things happen.


Not so long ago, in a small town there were
Children dreaming of what they might be someday
One longed to be known ‘round the whole world while
Another wanted to write prose and poetry
And as they shared their dreams aloud
A third boy softly spoke:

At the birth of every child, see them smile
Then to look into their eyes, open wide
I want to know each baby born, watch them grow
To be the best doctor in our town
I will be the best doctor in our town

After years of hard work finally he
Became the doctor he always thought he’d be
Yet his life was not full
In the springtime he found a young wife
Soon a son was born, completing his life
A sweet daughter, the next year

When we try, anything can happen
Confident and working hard
Sometimes what we imagine
Can become the way things are

With each baby the town slowly grew
Every single child the cherished doctor knew
So his kindness was returned
His own children loved their father even more
And his life was so much better than before
As he dreamed it would be

When we try, we can make things happen
Steadfast and working hard
Sometimes what we imagine
Is exactly just the way things are

Then he lost them one by one, first the son
His poor wife with grief-consumed followed soon
Then last summer his girl drew her last breath
Taken from the best doctor in our town
No he couldn’t save them
Even the best doctor in our town

In the mornings now, on the narrow streets he walks
Meeting people he’s known since they were children
Reflected in their eyes, he sees days gone by
Hopes passed on, woven within memories
Just not what he hoped to see
Or the way it should be

When we try to make things happen
Steadfast and working hard
Sometimes what we imagine
Is different from the way things are
The way things are


From Reason to Stay, track released 01 January 2005
Cheryl Martlage – Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage – Music, guitar and vocals
Tom Tomasello – Producer/Arranger
Jim Bruno – Vocal producer
Mr Toad’s San Francisco – Mastering
Inspiration – Dr. Gofredo Martini