Life’s Playlist….. Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson

On this date, SIXTY years ago my older brother Sam was born.

In my monthly column for the September edition of, Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine I wrote about my brother and his influence on me.

You can check it out here.

Happy Birthday Sam, I hope you have 160 more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Life’s Playlist….. What A Wonderful World performed by Louis Armstrong

Yesterday I witnessed the most amazing act of God’s creation that I have ever seen.

The eclipse that ribboned across America passed directly over Rabun County leaving us in the direct line of totality.

A year ago when I first heard about the eclipse passing over I thought no big deal.

Over the last few weeks I have been more concerned with what traffic would be like in our little town to imagine the celestial magic that would pass directly in front of my eyes.

Yesterday as my brother, sister-in-law and I prepared to go out and sit in the sun for two hours, the heat and gnats almost didn’t make the trek worthwhile.

We took their golf-cart out onto the fairway and waited.

As the moon started to pass over the sun, inch by inch covering the light it was interesting.

When the clouds came I was resigned to the thought that we would miss the eclipse, the one chance in my lifetime I would have to see this spectacle.

As storm clouds loomed, and clouds covered the sun we jumped in the golf-cart to try and find a better place to see the sun.

Just in time, we caught a glimpse of the sun and stopped the cart, there were cars pulled onto the side of the road and I could hear cheers in the distance.

And then, magic happened……

We were in totality, the sun was blocked by the moon, it was nighttime, a 360 degree sunset surrounded us, street lights came on and a glorious light ray encircled the sun!

It was the most amazing sight I have ever seen.  Cheers erupted and a sense of excitement filled my entire body, it was God’s amazing handiwork on display and we were all there to see it.

There is no way I can express how amazing it was in these words, all I can say is if you ever have the chance to witness a Total Solar Eclipse, DO IT….. go wherever it will be, you will be glad you did!

It’s nice to think, in a world where we seem to fall short in the basics of life, we can all pause for a moment and just stand in amazement of God’s power and what a wonderful world we live.

 

 

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.

Thank You and I am Sorry……

This week two beautiful souls from my childhood were promoted to Glory.

Debra Ramey Marchman and Lynn Jiles Ward, both passed away, both beautiful women inside and out.

Debra was one of my brother Tom’s best friends.  She and her ex-husband were both big parts of my childhood.

After Tom passed away, they helped keep me moving forward.  At five years old, I didn’t understand death, but what I did know was there were people who stepped up and took me under their wing helping me and my family during this difficult time.

In my mind Debra will forevermore be that beautiful 16-year-old girl on the sidelines and football field tossing her baton into the air and catching it with perfect precision on the beat of the drum.  Her smile was infectious and she always made time for a hug when a little boy ran up to her amazed at how she sparkled both from the sequins on her costume and the radiant light from her face.

Debra’s final years were difficult, her family protected her and cared for her, it is comforting to know that when she drew her last breath and was united with the Lord, her smile returned and that radiant spirit will now shine forever.

I can still picture Lynn Jiles gliding across the stage as she won the Miss RCHS pageant many years ago.

At the time, she epitomized beauty and grace in my mind.  Her beautiful smile, perfectly coiffed blonde hair and blue evening gown was as close to a movie star as I had ever gotten as a pre-school kid.

As a Senior in High School, and Editor of the yearbook, it was my job to help produce the yearly Miss RCHS pageant.  During my year,  we invited all of the past queens to be recognized at the pageant.  I had ulterior motives, I wanted to see Lynn Jiles.

When she arrived for the evening’s festivities she was still as beautiful and kind as she was so many years ago.  Her smile needed no spotlight to reflect her inner beauty and her kindness was the same as it had been many years earlier.  She still remained that perfect image of a movie star that I had so admired when I was a boy.

I am sorry to say I lost contact with Debra and Lynn through the years.  They were icons in my life when I was a child who needed comfort, I am sorry I never got to the tell them thank you.

There were many others who came to my side during that time.  They “adopted” me when our family was going through a grief that no family should have to endure.  Many of these same people were going through the same loss as I was, as Tom was their friend.

During those terrible days there were many people who came to the side of our family and for a young boy they became my surrogate big brothers and big sisters.

As I sat at Debra’s funeral yesterday I thought about them, I thought about Doug Stockton and Ronnie Hunter and Pat Coleman and Glendis Bearden, I remembered the kindness of Tim Marchman and Grady Nichols and Shirley Nichols.  So many faces and names passed through my thoughts and I felt a debt of gratitude to them all, many of whom I have lost contact with, Jan Rogers, George and Jim Gillespie, but all people I will forever hold in my heart.

There were more people than I can name here, more people than I can even remember who helped a little boy when he needed it most.  When I think of them, I still see those youthful faces filled with love, kindness and futures that would change the world.

Those faces did change the world, they graduated, moved on, had families, children, grand-children and spread love and kindness along the way.

They changed the world in their lives, but what many of them probably never knew was they changed the world of a little boy who had lost his brother many years sooner.  I am sorry I never got to tell them thank you, I am sorry I didn’t have the adequate words to say it sooner, I am sorry.

I am sorry I never let many of them know, but for the ones who took me aside and just gave a little love or big brother care, I say thank you, I appreciate you and will never forget you.