I have a memory of my father sitting in his workshop after work, in his denim, sipping from a longneck bottle, listening to “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”
Another: Christmas, as a boy, I received a pair of slacks, a fishing pole, and an album, “Always On My Mind.” I listened to that thing until the needle wore it out.
When I was a young man, I began to play guitar and sing for a living, mostly in filthy places that I’m ashamed to even remember. I should’ve been in a classroom, but instead, I played songs for peanuts.
I wasn’t very good, but I could play them with my eyes closed: “On the Road Again,” “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” and one of my favorites, “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before.”
When I got older, I quit playing in places I didn’t want my mother to see me in. Today, I’m embarrassed to even remember that younger version of myself, who didn’t get around to college until his late twenties.
Yesterday, I listened to his album “Pancho And Lefty” while working. It made me smile. It reminded me of plastic pitchers of warm beer. So I listened to it again.
That was just yesterday.
This morning, when I read that they found him dead on his bathroom floor, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t cry.
Jamie found me sobbing.
“Willie Nelson’s not dead you dumbass,” she howled with laughter. “It’s an internet hoax.”
Well, thank God.