My family and friends know I am a fan of Neil Diamond’s music.

Whether I am a fan of Neil Diamond the man, I can’t say. I don’t know him.

But I know his music well. All his music. The lyrics to every  one of his  popular songs.

I can name that tune in three notes.

This morning I put five Neil Diamond CDs into my player so I could listen as I cleaned.

After listening to Play Me, I picked up the remote to press the back arrow and hear that favorite again.

What I heard was the beginning of Brooklyn Roads. A good song, but not the one I wanted.

I tried again.

I pressed the back arrow twice. This time I got Crunchy Granola Suite.

 What is wrong with this crazy thing? I thought.

After pressing the button more times and hearing the beginnings of several songs, I studied the remote in my hand.

I was holding it upside down.

Backward was forward; forward was backward.

When I was a little girl, I once watched my Uncle Jake drive home backwards.

He shifted his vehicle into reverse, used his mirrors, and backed all the way home, about a mile. We lived in the country where the dirt roads were crooked, rutted and hilly.

We could drive miles on that road and not meet another vehicle. That made his backward driving less risky, but still.

They say if you play a country song backward, the singer gets his house back, his wife back, his truck back and his dog back.

If you’re familiar with the writings of Shel Silverstein, you know he’d be bound to write a poem about backwards. Here it is, courtesy of



Backward Bill, Backward Bill,

He lives way up on Backward Hill,

Which is really a hole in the sandy ground

(But that’s a hill turned upside down.)


Backward Bill’s got a backward shack

With a big front porch that’s built out back.

You walk through the window and look out the door

And the cellar is up on the very top floor.


Backward Bill he rides like the wind

Don’t know where he’s going but sees where he’s been.

His spurs they go ‘neigh’ and his horse it goes ‘clang,’

And his six-gun goes ‘gnab,’ it never goes ‘bang.’


Backward Bill’s got a backward pup.

They eat their supper when the sun comes up,

And he’s got a wife named Backward Lil,

‘She’s my own true hate,’ says Backward Bill.


Backward Bill wears his hat on his toes

And puts on his underwear over his clothes.

And come every payday he pays his boss,

And rides off a-smilin’ a-carryin’ his hoss.


Living backward may work well for Bill, but it is a misery when practiced in one’s spiritual life.

A backward-living Christian tries hard to be good before she receives the Holy Spirit’s power to do good.

She demands to see a thing before she believes it, rather than believing by faith that she will see it.

She seeks to be first when Jesus assures her such groveling will cause her to be last.

She craves what her friends have instead of being thankful for her own blessings.

She determines to work her way to salvation when Jesus says, “The work is finished.”

12 thoughts on “BACKWARDS”

  1. Great points here in this post! Loved the crazy poem. I have tried living spiritually backwards, like you mentioned, which didn’t work out so well. Thank you for the reminder!
    (Uncle Jake always was a little bit crazy!) 😜

  2. I know I’ve done a lot of things backward in my life…and it’s either gotten me into a predicament or in trouble, sometimes, just laughable. But I will take this opportunity to share about a little girl I had at church in class recently. Her name was Nevaeh. I had the hardest time with her name, spelling it properly on her papers and even just pronouncing it. One day, her grandma said, “Oh, didn’t you know? Her name is “Heaven” backwards!

    1. One of my friends has a granddaughter with the same name.  Names are funny. My sister once read a book by a woman whose first name was Penelope. When she told me about it, she pronounced her name as Pen-a-lope, to rhyme with cantaloupe. 

  3. Great post! Thanks I loved it! I think Uncle Jake has driven home from the store backwards more than once 😂

    1. I’ll bet you’re right about that! I remember two expressions Uncle Jake used to use: “Straighten up or I’m going to jerk your leg off and beat you to death with it.” “I don’t give a rat’s ankle what you think!” At that time, I didn’t know he was substituting “ankle” for another body part that rhymes with rats. HA! Thanks, Jennifer! 

  4. “A backward-living Christian tries hard to be good before she receives the Holy Spirit’s power to do good.” THIS! So good, Debbie! Guilty as charged. May He fill us with His Holy Spirit and help us do what we can’t. Thank God for grace!

  5. So true and so descriptive of the first half of my life, but praise God, I now am a “forward” thinker. Eternity beacons brighter because of that!

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