Friday, April 26, 2013

Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

Rest in Peace!

I was raised on Country Music, when it definitely wasn't cool!  It was as much a part of my childhood as anything else, possibly the biggest part of my childhood.  My earliest memory isn't of people or things, it is me sitting on the floor between the two speakers of our stereo.  Conway Twitty was singing, "Play, Guitar Play".  Each time I hear that song I feel the stereo behind me and the floor below me.

In Junior High, other kids were listening to the 80s hits, and I was listening to Jockey Joe on the radio (56 KLZ radio out of Denver).   I tuned into a station out of Oklahoma late at night when I couldn't sleep.  Me and my transistor radio went everywhere together.  If I could have had it during class, I think I would have.  I love Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzel, Loretta Lynn.  It was all magical to me.

There was one very special song when I was small that I literally believed was sung specially for me.  And even though later I knew better, my heart always felt better when I heard it.  Tom T. Hall, where ever he may be, literally saved my life on so many occasions because he wrote, recorded and released, "I Care."  I have dreamt for years of saying, "Thank you."  But I just don't see that happening.  All of my friends who were there when the rest of the world shut me out, they are going.  Waylon Jennings, Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, and today, George Jones have all left this world.   I never got to say thank you to any of them.  I cried so hard when Marty Robbins died.  I remember that day so clearly.  The tears though were 100 percent selfish.  I knew I would never be able to thank him personally for being there.  Today those same selfish tears are falling.

So, I decided to say "Thank you" the only way I knew I could.  I am a mother of two, a grandmother of almost 3, and married to the most amazing man on the planet.  However, 30 years ago, I began a preoccupation with suicide that would last for nearly 10 years.  Standing on a bridge that went over the Red River and a road, I could not decide which place would ensure death.  I was trying to calculate my best odds for success when the song, "I Care" began playing in my head.  Soon, I had Merle singing, "Sing me back home."  I had a chorus of songs that brought me down off the bridge and all the way to a phone booth.  Yes, they did have phone booths back then.

The miracle that is my life exists because this amazing group of artists from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s Country Music sang to me.  They were the friends that never left.  They were my miracle, and still today, they remain my source of peace, joy, and serenity.  God reaches me through their words and their music.  And I can't hug their neck, but I can publicly say, Thank you!

And for the record, no one can fill their shoes for me.  I wish I could list them all.  I wish I could explain how my heart feels.  So much love, and so much sadness.  George, I hope you are there with them all pickin and grinnin.   And I hope my daddy is dancing away!

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