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‘Ain’t Got No Time For Dying’ - Resthome resident's words put to music

Ontario Finnish Resthome resident inspires local father and son singer-songwriters to write, record new soul-searching song

A conversation with a Sault senior inspired a fellow senior to enjoy the gift of life and continue with his longtime passion for music.  

Marcel Provenzano -- a former Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services chief who served as a firefighter for over 30 years before retiring in 2015 -- writes and records his own music with son Luke and is a frequent performer for residents at Sault retirement and long term care homes on a solo basis and at other times with Luke and daughter Erika.

“Back in November of last year I did an afternoon performance at the Finnish Resthome and as I was taking down my gear one of the residents by the name of Betty Pretty came up to me. We struck up a conversation and I asked Betty how she liked living at the Finnish Resthome,” Provenzano told SooToday.

“She said it’s a great place, the staff is excellent and she really enjoys it but she said there’s only one down side.”

“She said you build relationships here but people pass away, but that’s not me though.”

“She said ‘I ain’t got time for dying.’”

“She repeated that and said I’m a very busy woman and there are lots of things that I do.”

“I said that’s a really interesting comment and there’s a possibility that could be a cool and unique title for a song,” Provenzano said.

Reflecting on how precious life is, Provenzano and son Luke got their musically creative juices flowing and wrote the lyrics and music to a song entitled I Ain’t Got No Time For Dying, using Pretty’s quote as the song’s basis.

The two performed the song for a live audience for the first time at the Finnish Resthome Thursday evening.

The song came as a surprise for Pretty.

“We presented her with a framed copy of the lyrics and she was ecstatic about it,” Provenzano said.

“We’re always looking for the basis for a good song, we look for an idea and this inspired me. If you have a lifestyle where you are passionate about different hobbies and interests, dying, I guess, should be the last thing on your mind. You should just live in the moment and enjoy your life to its fullest because none of us know how long we’re going to be on this planet.” 

“I guess, to me, that would be the inspiration for this song.”

“You may reflect back on your own life and think that maybe you haven’t spent all this time that you’ve had to the best of your ability,” Provenzano said, adding he has been inspired to carry on with his passion for music.

“Betty made that quote and it resonated with my dad,” said son Luke Provenzano.

“We’ve been writing songs together for a long time. He said this would be a really awesome song. I have a full studio set up in my basement and I ran with the idea and started playing some chords and writing some of the lines, one verse and a chorus. I sent my dad a voice note and he said ‘you have to keep going with this.’ Then he wrote some more verses and helped write the music.”

The two recorded the song and have released it on several music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music as well as YouTube.

“There are so many songs out there with the same kind of lyrics and sometimes when somebody says a certain quote, as a songwriter, it resonates with you. We figured this would be a good idea to write a song about, a song about an elderly woman who still has some things on her bucket list that she wants to do,” Luke said.

The lyrics for I Ain’t Got No Time for Dying - written by Marcel and Luke Provenzano in Dec. 2022, inspired by and dedicated to Betty Pretty at the Ontario Finnish Resthome - are written below.

She said I wanna walk my granddaughter down the aisle

She said I wanna see my great grandson’s first smile

She said I wanna take a flight to see Paris and Rome

She said I wanna see my deployed grandson come home


Time’s running out

And she’s been trying

To slow down these hands

That are quickly ticking by

She said I ain’t got no time for dying


She said I wanna feel the butterflies from a first date

She said I haven’t felt that feeling since he rests in his grave

It’s been many long years life’s been passing her by

And she’s not afraid of death because she feels so alive


She said I wanna take a walk down a western coast

She said I wanna feel the sand in between my toes

And she’ll watch the hours pass, but she won’t stand still

Cuz when she looks into her past she finds the strength and will


She lives out her life like it’ll never end

It’s not how long she lives

It’s about time she has to spend


She said there are a lot of things I’ve got left to try

So I’m gonna hold on and decide when it’s my time

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Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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