This song was written by Mark Bishop and was recorded by the Bishops… included on their album, Kentucky Bluegrass.
Kenneth Bishop Sr., and his 2 sons, Mark and Kenny Jr. traveled as the Bishops, a Southern Gospel trio, from 1984 to 2001. The group earned several industry and fan awards including a Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award. They had several number one and top ten songs on the genre’s music charts. The group traveled mostly within the United States and made several appearances on both Christian and mainstream television. They recorded more than two dozen audio and video recordings. Many of their songs were written by Mark, who often wrote story-songs or ballads intended to make a spiritual or inspirational point. The Bishops were also noted for their a capella recordings and performances known as “front porch singing.”
This song is a great song that will remind listeners of some point – or some child – in their history. Bullying has always been a problem, and – in some form – most of us have been on the giving and receiving end of bullying.
This song reminds us we could all do something to stop bullying. And we should. God give us the courage to speak up… and God forgive us for the times we joined in.
Bible Reference… Leviticus 19:18; Proverbs 6:16-19; Zechariah 7:9,10; Matthew 7:12; Ephesians 4:29
Most everyone I knew put the whole Gray family down;
they were the poorest family in that little country town.
Howard always looked too big in his funny, ragged clothes;
the kids all laughed at him and some turned up their nose.
Howard sat across from me in the seventh grade at school;
I didn’t like it much but Mama taught the Golden Rule.
So, when the spitballs flew at him, I never would join in;
I guess that was the reason Howard thought I was his friend.
After things had quietened down, sometimes I’d turn and see
the grateful eyes of Howard Gray looking back at me.
Howard Gray. Oh, Howard Gray,
somehow they got their kicks from treating you that way.
Deep down I kind of liked you, but I was too afraid
to be a friend to you, Howard Gray.
One day, after lunch, I went to comb my hair and saw
they had Howard pinned against a locker in the hall.
They were poking fun at him about the big hole in his shirt;
they had his left arm twisted back until I was sure it hurt.
Now, to this day I can’t explain… and I won’t try to guess
just how it was that I wound up laughing harder than all the rest.
I laughed until I cried, but through my tears still I could see
the tear-stained eyes of Howard Gray looking back at me.
Howard Gray. Oh, Howard Gray,
I can’t believe I joined them all in treating you that way.
I wanted to apologize, but I was too afraid
of what they’d think of me, Howard Gray.
Now, from that day on, after I’d made fun of him,
he’d never look my way. He never smiled at me again.
Not much longer after that his family moved away
and that’s the last I ever saw or heard of Howard Gray.
Now that’s been forty years ago, and still I haven’t found
just why we’ll kick a brother or a sister when they’re down.
I know it may sound crazy, but now and then I’ll dream
about the eyes of Howard Gray looking back at me.
Howard Gray, Oh, Howard Gray,
I’ve never quite forgiven us for treating you that way.
I hope that maybe, somehow, you’ll hear this song someday
and know that I am sorry, Howard Gray.
We’ll probably never meet again; all I can do is pray
“May you and God forgive us, Howard Gray.”