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Mother, Ray, and I were sitting at lunch the other day. Out of the blue, she said, “I think it was 1952 when Hank Williams died” (Mother was off by one year; it was 1953). Ray and I certainly knew who Hank Williams was. You don’t grow up in the 1950s in the shadow of Music City, USA (that’s Nashville, Tennessee) without knowing about Hank Williams. One of the first movies I remember seeing was “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” based on his life (and no, I shouldn’t have been allowed to see it, but I didn’t know anyone who questioned things like that when I was a girl; we just walked several blocks to the theater on Saturday nights and saw what was on the screen).

Mother went on to say that Williams had died on New Year’s Day and that Daddy was on his way back to his Army base in Maryland when it happened. She said that he mourned in Maryland. I asked if he wrote to her about it. She said that she thought he talked about it when he came back for another leave. She also mentioned that she didn’t remember when Patsy Cline died (I just looked it up; it was 1963). She was another country music legend who was popular a few years later.

Ray and I were surprised to be talking about Hank Williams and Patsy Cline at the lunch table that day more than fifty years after these superstars died, but we both were thrilled to be present when this little window into Mother’s heart opened for us, and, with Daddy gone, I love any tidbit into his heart that anyone still remembers.

Two high school friends have shared stories about my daddy recently. Penny read my blog about Daddy on his birthday, August 9, and it brought a tear to her eye. She remembered the times when she and her grandmother stopped by my grandfather’s grocery store after school and Daddy smiled as he took their groceries to the car. My grandfather’s store was sold when I was in my late twenties, and Daddy spent the rest of his working years working at other grocery stores.

My friend Kathy remembers seeing Daddy at work one day. He and more recent country music legend Mel Tillis (who has a farm near my hometown) were having a fun moment discussing the availability of collard greens. Neither story was monumental, but both brought me a smile.

Sitting side by side and just talking–that’s one of the joys of being family–and friends, too. Don’t get so bogged down in your lessons that you forget to take advantage of those side-by-side times.

Since you have in obedience to the truth
purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren,
fervently love one another from the heart.
1 Peter 1:22, NASB

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