[dropcap]H[/dropcap]is name was Roy.
He was hard at work trimming an overgrown bush at the end of our road. Courtesy of Walton county. He’s been doing this-n’-that work for the county since Lyndon Johnson was in office. Old Roy’s retired twice during his career, but it never took. He keeps ending up on government payroll again, installing speed bumps, replacing road signs.
He looked like he’d seen his share of Decembers.
“County work ain’t what I really do.” Roy showed me his fingertips. “I’m a guitar picker. It’s how God made me.”
His callouses were thick as boot leather.
Roy told me he wanted to be a famous singing cowboy once. He did what many young musicians did, he trucked up to Nashville. He didn’t have enough silver in his pocket to operate a pay phone. “I wasn’t above sleeping outside on a church lawn,” he said. “God took care of me.”
When he got to Music City, things looked good for Roy. He played in a few legendary joints, even shared the stage with a few Nashville heavyweights. Though he wouldn’t tell me who.
He said boasting was a sin.
But Roy’s time in Opryland was short lived.
“I left,” he explained. “I high-tailed it the moment I realized I weren’t nothing special. Hell, I’m just a guitar picker from Freeport, Florida. I wanted to go hunting with my boys, kiss my wife. I’m an old redneck. Shoot, look at me. I ain’t nothing remarkable.”
I looked at him.
He seemed pretty damn remarkable to me.