Life’s Playlist…… We Are Family by Sister Sledge

On this date back in 1972 “The Waltons” premiered on CBS.

I loved the Waltons, a family drama that neatly wrapped everything up within an hour.

Set in rural Virginia in the 30’s and 40’s, the large family faced the issues of their generation with the love of family and their faith.

We watched The Waltons every week….. that is until the fire.

In one of the later seasons the Waltons’ house caught on fire, it was a very dramatic episode and evidently it effected me, because after that episode daddy never let us watch it again.

The Waltons ran for 9 seasons and through it all, the trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows, a simple “Good night John-Boy” would set all well with the world.

 

Life’s Playlist….. American Trilogy performed by Elvis Presley

This patriotic anthem has nothing to do with Labor Day, I just love it and when I hear Elvis sing it makes me feel close to Gracie Hudson, one of the most important women in my life.

I have been thinking a lot about Gracie lately, I miss her, but I know she and my mama are sitting on the banks of a pond in heaven, cane pole in hand, catfish biting and laughs galore.

Gracie was a powerhouse and I loved her deeply, in my childhood she was my Rochelle mama and she loved Elvis like no one else!

I remember watching this very concert in the Hudson’s little house in Rochelle, far too many of us crowded into the living room over Thanksgiving weekend with Gracie squealing to each note out of Elvis mouth.

It’s not Labor Day, but special memories, something I hope you will create on this Labor Day 2017.

Thanks to all the men and women who keep America running…. the workforce of our great country!  Happy Labor Day!

Travel Buddy

My mother had one sister, Beck.

My Aunt Beck was always a part of my life, we would visit her and her family in Florida for vacations, they would visit us in the mountains for holidays and when she and my mother were together, the love they  shared for one another was infectious.

When I was pondering a move to South Florida, my Aunt Beck was the one who made me realize it would all be OK.

Since she was the one who moved away from the nest at a young age I valued her opinion as much as anyone else.  She told me to follow my dreams, the words of encouragement were the ones who finally made me realize I could still move away and be a vital part of my family from hundreds of miles away.

After I moved, Aunt Beck and Uncle Larry visited a couple of times to make sure I was adjusting to my new surroundings.  I was so proud to show them my life in Florida and when I bought my condo they were my first guests.

My relationship with my Aunt Beck grew even closer once I left God’s Country.  We talked on the phone a lot and after Uncle Larry passed away we became travel buddies.

Whenever I was making a trip home to God’s Country, I would pick her up in north Florida and she would come with me.

The trip to pick Aunt Beck up added an hour to my trip each way, but the memories created as we drove up the highway far outweigh any perceived inconvenience the added miles would create.

Her house was about 20 miles off the interstate, so she would have her neighbor bring her to the interchange, we would meet at McDonald’s and she would jump in the car and we were off.

From the time she got in my car we talked.

We talked about everything.

We laughed and sometimes we cried, but I learned about my family history, we talked about how life happens, we talked about dreams and we talked about what we wanted for those we loved most…….  we just talked.

And the conversation never stopped going up or down the highway towards the mountains that beckoned us both homeward.

We evacuated hurricanes together, we came for birthdays together and one year we came for Christmas together, driving those roads were all more special because Aunt Beck was with me.

When mama’s last days were imminent, I called Aunt Beck before I left West Palm Beach and she was waiting for me at the interstate when I got there.  That was our toughest trip.

She was with us when mama went home to be with the Lord and on the night mama passed, Aunt Beck sat beside her as she made her final journey home.

On the trip back to Florida, we cried more than we talked, but our time together and the wisdom she imparted also gave me peace.

When Sam, Chelsea, Zack and I decided we were going skydiving, in the Spring after mama died, she made that trip too.  She cheered us all the way to the ground.

The only thing Aunt Beck and I ever disagreed about was the route we would take home.

When Uncle Larry was alive, they always drove the back-roads and highways enjoying the sights and sounds of the small towns through Georgia.

I was having nothing to do with those back-roads.  I wanted to get on the Interstate and hit the gas getting home as quickly as possible just stopping for gas, drive-thru burgers and a quick bathroom break.

On our last trip together we took those back-roads through Georgia.  We drove through the small towns that she loved so much and saw she told me new stories about the vistas we saw, the ride was painfully long, but the conversation was magic.

When Aunt Beck passed away, a piece of my heart went with her.  My travel buddy had now gone on her final trek and I was honored to help carry her home.

I think about those conversations on the road often.  I miss her voice, I miss her laugh and I miss her wisdom, but most of all, I simply miss her.

Aunt Beck was my travel buddy, but more than that she was one of my greatest life influences, I look forward to our next journey together.

Life’s Playlist…. Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell

Sometimes when you hear that a person has passed away it takes you back to moments in time.

Yesterday, when I heard that Glen Campbell had passed, I had one of those flashback memories.

Glen Campbell performed the songbook of my youth.  His songs were there during every Pickin’ and Singin’ night my family would enjoy with our friends.

I remember his “Rhinestone Cowboy” days, his CBS Variety Show, and his tumultuous days with Tanya Tucker.

In his later years, Glen Campbell’s role as an elder statesman of country music was carried out with dignity.

A few years back, the world was heartbroken to hear he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and yesterday we were heartbroken again when his death was announced.

Glen Campbell seemed like he was part of the family and he will be missed.

In choosing a song to honor his memory, I could have chosen many…..

Rhinestone Cowboy

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

Galveston

Gentle on My Mind

Southern Nights

and many others, however I chose my favorite….. Wichita Lineman.

Glen Campbell’s musical legacy will live forever and his body is now restored as he serenades with the choir of angels.

Life’s Playlist….. The Candy Man by Sammy Davis Jr.

One of my father’s favorite TV shows was “All in the Family.”

This comedy that featured a family living in the suburbs of NYC aired in the 70’s.  Aired weekly on CBS, there is no way the show could be made today as it was filled with political incorrectness….. and it was AWESOME!

“All in the Family” was an equal opportunity offender, no one was off-limits with Archie Bunker and his family.  In our house, “All in the Family” was must see TV, my daddy would laugh so hard that his cackle could be heard all over the house.

The great Carroll O’Connor, who played Archie Bunker, was born on this date in 1924, he passed in 2001, but his comedic genius lives on.

In the 70’s race relations were tense, one of my dad’s favorite episodes featured a visit to the Bunker house by Sammy Davis Jr., if you have never seen the episode or any of the other landmark episodes of “All in the Family,” I encourage you to find it and watch!

In honor of the show, Carroll O’Connor’s birthday and the great Sammy Davis Jr., today’s Life’s Playlist is “Candy Man,” with a special bonus….. Archie Bunker Meets Sammy Davis Jr.