Hearing about the passing of George Jones this week caused my mind to rewind back to the 1950's and early 1960's when we lived just north of Antlers, Oklahoma. At Kellond, in a small, white-framed house called a 'teacherage' (think parsonage, but school) was where I first heard George Jones sing "White Lighting", "Tender Years," "She Thinks I Still Care."
My parents were in their early 30's . . . she was one of the two school teachers at Kellond (a two-room country school) and he worked as an accountant for the highway department.
During the summer when it was blistering hot and the humidity was about 120, mom would open up the two windows in the bedroom. One was on the north side and one was on the west side and no matter what the temperature was outside, a cool breeze always blew through that room.
Mom was an expert seamtress, so she spent most of her 'summer vacation' making clothes at the sewing machine in this room. Between the foot of my bed and her sewing machine was a wobbly table that held a small plastic record player that played 45's. The kind where you stacked all the records on a cylinder, placed an arm over the top record, and watched a dusty, scratched, sometimes warped vinyl disc drop down to a spinning turntable.
And just like magic, voices would come from a tiny speaker. Those were the voices of Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Gene Autry, Ernest Tubb, Red Foley, Eddy Arnold, Lefty Frizzel, Hank Williams, Skeeter Davis, Ferlin Husky, Marty Robbins, Ray Price. . . and yes, George Jones.
Yes, I know every word to "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." For a five-or-six-year-old who went to church every Sunday, the lyrics to this song were quite confusing. Nevertheless, my mom and I sang that song, along with all the others, with wild abandon and to the tops of our lungs in the boondocks of southeastern Oklahoma.
There's no tellin' how many times those vinyl 45's turned round and round to the delight of a little girl who spent hours and hours watching her mother create gorgeous 'outfits' on her Singer and singing these wonderful old songs . . . every verse . . . every word.
No, I never did learn to sew no matter how much she tried to teach me.
And no, I still can't carry a tune-in-a-bucket.
But, I have these wonderful memories etched in my mind as if they happened yesterday.
Fast-foward to this week.
Hearing the news about the death of George Jones re-wound me back to those childhood days at Kellond.
The Cliff's notes version, in case you don't have time to visit those links is this: I met my husband's 'old flame' at the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. She, dressed to the nines and me, in my pajamas. Oh, what an impression I made.
But I digress . . .
You know how a song can get stuck in your head and stay there for what seems like hours. . . days?
This song has been playing, non-stop, between my ears since I heard the news.
Just in case you want to know more about Becky, whose probably most famous song is Alabama's hit, "Angels Among Us," and who is working on what will probably be one of the greatest Broadway plays ever, "Nanyehi." HERE is her OFFICIAL SITE.
And now, please excuse me while I drift back to that tiny little bedroom in southeastern Oklahoma and lose myself in the classic country songs of the 50's and 60's.
Thanks, Beckaroo !