Wikipedia entry for the song corrects what had been for me a mondegreen. The second verse begins, "I went down Virginia, seeking shelter from the storm." This made me hear subsequent lines as "Bobby plans a New Deal, wrapped in golden chains." "Bobby" seemed logical, as Robert Kennedy went to the University of Virginia Law School. Now I know it's "Five Year Plans and New Deals," implying what seems to me, though perhaps not to my more radical friends on both the left and right, an unfortunate parallel between FDR's liberalism and Stalin's totalitarianism.
At least my mondegreen wasn't as bad as someone's who heard "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes" in the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as "The girl with colitis goes by." I suppose a helpful thing to say to her would be another mondegreen, this one from Creedence's "Bad Moon Rising": "There's a bathroom on the right."
Photo: Skip O'Rourke, Tampa Bay Times.