Celebrating 6 Years Since Writing “Mrs. Chicken Pot Pie”


6 years ago on this day, December 19, 2011, I had to get a stent in one of the arteries around my heart.

I had experienced a slight burning sensation in my chest when I’d jog or run up the stairs, so at my doctor’s recommendation, I had a stress test, EKG, etc., and wound up in the cardiac unit in a Pittsburgh hospital and got a stent. One month after my surgery, I wrote this version of the 1971 Don McLean classic, American Pie, knowing I’d need to make some changes to my diet. I repost it today to give thanks to God for his mercy to me in sparing my life and giving me six more years of life. That’s a lot of heartbeats. And every single one is a gift from God. I also dedicate this repost to my friend Darren L, a pastor in Ohio, whose kids, for some reason, memorized this song – I’m sure it changed their lives.

So pull out your guitar and sing it to the tune of American Pie…

Mrs. Chicken Pot Pie

A long long time ago
I can still remember
How that bacon used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those taste buds dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while
But last December left me quaking
When I jogged my chest was aching
A stress test at the doc showed
An artery was blocked oh
I can’t remember if I laughed
When the doctor said to get a cath
But something turned from joy to wrath
The day the bacon died
So…

Bye, bye Mrs. Chicken Pot Pie
No more patties, nothing fatty, no more double French fries
It’s fat free yogurt on a half piece of rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Well, did you see that needle shine
That went into that vein of mine
When they wheeled the gurney in?
Now I do believe, though I was shocked
To see my artery was blocked
And now I’m gonna need a shiny stent
Well I’m gonna have to change my food
And take Plavix now to thin my blood
My list of meds grows tall
Man I hate that cholesterol!
I love my ribs and brisket, ham and chuck
Give me greasy chicken, ham or duck
But I know I ran out of luck
The day the bacon died
I started singin’

Bye, bye…

Now for 4 weeks I’ve been on my own
I’ve had no fat, not a good T-bone
But that’s not how it used to be
There were omlettes, steak, there were nachos, pork
And saturated fat galore
There were donuts, cakes and balls of cheese
Oh I used to munch on kettle chips
Drink chocolate shakes with creamy sips
I never was concerned
Even when those hot wings burned!
And while I was wolfing down dessert
My stomach didn’t even hurt
The crumbs cascaded down my shirt
The day the bacon died
And I was singin’

Bye, bye…

Mutter, mutter, I can’t have no butter
This fat free yogurt simply makes me shudder
And now my gut is shrinking fast
My diet feels so bland and pale
I’m tired of celery and roasted kale
And all the beans I’ve had could fill a town with gas
And sometimes I smell the sweet perfume
Of bacon fat that fills the room
And I jump up to dance
Oh but I never get the chance
When I make a move to grab a plate
My wife she makes me hesitate:
“Your stent will clog and seal your fate”
So each day the bacon dies
I just start singin’

Bye, bye…

Oh, I used to hang around around the grill
And smell the burgers that would fill
My stomach to the very brim
So come on, keep it simple, keep it quick
Give me some jerky or a sausage stick
Cause reflux is the devil’s only friend
But when I turn the menu’s page
My hands are clenched in fists of rage
I know brown rice and beans
Are some mad vegan’s scheme
And as the flames climb high into the night
I smell the pork but cannot bite
I hear Dr. Oz laugh with delight
And say “The bacon’s died.”
He keeps singin’


Bye, bye…

I never used to sing the blues
But if you ask me now for happy news
I’ll probably smile and turn away
Cause I went down to the butcher store
Where I smelled the bacon years before
But the man there said granola’s now the way
And in the streets the children scream
The lovers cry, and the poets dream
But not a word is spoken
The church bells all are broken
And the three chefs I once most esteemed
Chefs Ray and Flay and Paula Deen
They switched to all low fat cuisine
The day the bacon died
And they were singin’

(slowly and with tears in your eyes)
Bye, bye Mrs. Chicken Pot Pie
No more patties, nothing fatty, no more double French fries
It’s fat free yogurt on a half piece of rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die…

…….

Well, there it is. I think for lunch I’ll grab a chicken pot pie at the local supermarket, and sing this song as I eat it. Feel free to sing it in your church, or have your kids memorize it. And thank the Lord today for every heartbeat and every breath he gives you.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.