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This Man Will Stir Your Soul!
An Epic life
Running along the road, at home in my thoughts, I was aware that grass and trees and crops and animals are among the essence of life, and I am a part of them and need continual support from them. The Indians-which means me and my brothers and sisters of like mind-say only the spirits and earth, endure. When I see the destruction wrought upon our small planet by human beings who forget the supreme good of caring for our natural world that mothers us, I wonder if our species will last long enough to wake up to the truth that we must obey the old laws of cause and effect and treat the earth as our mother instead of a gravel pit and garbage dump. The trash that washes ashore on Texas beaches-bleach bottles, syringes, plastic bags, ice chests-comes from Venezuela, France, Brazil, and Greece, among other places. West Germans and Saudi Arabians own half the buildings in downtown Houston. It’s a small world, indeed.
The constant struggle between good and evil is approaching another great climax in our lifetime. By good I mean your inner voice that comes from God-maybe you call it conscience-and by evil I mean negative thinking, materialistic, greedy attitudes that you know are wrong but can be reduced into acting as if you believe they are right. This is the Devil-to be overwhelmed by desire for things of the material world, to be swept under by negative thinking, to be selfish and petty, to use power and wealth to dominate others: this is hell and we make it for ourselves.
Running alone in the dawn, this is the sort of thing I think about. It’s nothing mysterious. People may think I’m mysterious, but I don’t plan it that way. It all seems clear enough to me.
The only time in my life I ever got stage fright, I was four years old.
I couldn’t play an instrument then, but I suppose our grandparents knew stage fright was something we would have to conquer, the sooner the better. They gave us elocution lessons and taught me a poem to recite in front of a crowd. I’ll never forget the scene or the poem. Nothing that bad has happened to me since.
It was an all-day gospel-singing picnic where I made my public debut. I had on a little white sailor suit trimmed in red, with short pants. I loved that sailor suit. But while I was waiting for my performance to begin, I was very nervous and started picking my nose. I got a forefinger up my nostril, and stuck a thumb up there, got to picking my nose real thoroughly, concentrating on it-and the first thing I knew my nose was pouring blood.
I heard a voice saying, “And now here’s little Willie Nelson.” Blood ran down my chin and dripped down the front of my white suit. It wouldn’t stop. I was scared and embarrassed.
I stepped up in front of the crowd and recited:
What are you looking at me for?
I ain’t got nothing to say.
If you don’t like the looks of me,
You can look the other way.
Anyhow, I have never been scared performing on the stage since that day. What could possibly be worse than a four-year-old reciting a poem with blood gushing out of his nose onto his sailor suit?
Bobbie Lee Nelson:
Willie would hock his guitar every Monday for about $20. He said he hocked it so often the pawnbroker could play it better than Willie could.
I’m not sure why we didn’t have a radio while Daddy Nelson was alive. Maybe he didn’t believe in it.
After he was gone, our grandmother couldn’t afford to keep us in the two-story house where Bobbie and I were born in, so we moved to a smaller place that today I guess people would call a shack. But I didn’t know it as a shack. Like most other families in Abbott, we had an outhouse and a well. We never had a telephone all the years I was growing up there. You could see the bare earth through the floor planks. We pasted Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspapers on the walls to keep the wind from blowing through. In some places we had a layer of Star-Telegrams, covered by a layer of wallpaper, covered by another layer of Star-Telegrams. If there was nothing else to do, I could read the walls.
I would lie in bed and look through the cracks in the roof and watch the stars. When it rained we put buckets down to catch rainwater and used it for washing our hair. Everybody knew rainwater was best for washing hair.
Bobbie and I developed perfect pitch. All that means is our grandparents trained us to reproduce the memory of how many vibrations were passing through the tunnels between our ears. Music is vibrations. A housefly for example, hums in the F key in the middle octave of your piano. Hit that key and hear it for yourself. The sense of pitch changes with the number of vibrations. A B-flat is 400 cycles of vibrating molecules, G is something else. You might hit a Bach note at 415 or hear the Austin Symphony playing at 440. Perfect pitch is when you can remember these vibrations and go back to them at any time.
There is too much to be said about one of the greatest Americans that have ever lived. I read “Willie Nelson An Epic life”. This so far is taken from “Willie”, an auto-biography by Willie Nelson. I’ve read about his strong family ties. I’ve read about his ties to friends and other recording artists. He stood against the large controlling record companies and few knew.
He’s recorded with a wide spectrum of performers such as Waylon Jennings, Julio Iglesias, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb, Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Ray Price, Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt…..
In 1976 he kissed the black “country and western” star Charlie Pride onstage at the Soap Creek Saloon.
He starred in movies with Robert Redford, Morgan Fairchild, Amy Irving, Gary Busey, Katherine Ross….
Willie played at the White House in 1978. Willie and Jimmy Carter sang a few bars at a Democratic fundraiser in 1980.
Prince Charles and Walter Cronkite stopped backstage at a concert in Austin.
The best way to describe Willie Nelson is that Willie Nelson is a giant!
Some of Willie's Songs
“Hello Walls”, “The Party’s Over”. I’m “Half A Man”, a “Man With The Blues”.
There’s “No Place For Me” when “Good Times” and “Little Things” are “One In A Row”.
“Mr. Record Man” is “Crazy” with “Nite Life”
“I Gotta Get Drunk” cause “Any Old Arms Won’t Do”
It’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” but if “The Words Don’t Fit The Picture” “What Can You Do To Me Now”?
“Good Hearted Woman” “You Left A Long, Long Time Ago”.
“I Can’t Get Off On You”, “Valentine”.
“You Ought To Hear Me Cry”.
“It Should Be Easier Now” with “Sad Songs And Waltzes”
“I just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye”
“Shotgun Willie” “I Still Can’t believe You’re Gone”.
You were an “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground”
“Why Do I Have To Choose” “My Own Peculiar Way”
“Touch Me” “I’m A Memory” in a “Summer Of Roses”
With “Three Days” of “Yesterday’s Wine” on a “Bloody Mary Morning”
“Write Your Own Songs” “Country Willie” because
“Everywhere I Go” I’m “On The Road Again” but “Still Is Still Moving To Me”.
I’m “Too Sick To Pray” “When I’ve Sung My Last Hillbilly Song”
If all else fails I’m “Laying My Burdens Down” as I “Kneel At The Feet Of Jesus” on an “Uncloudy Day” with “Me And Paul”.
The Golden Rule
I harp on the Golden Rule. It’s the easiest way for me to tell if a Christian is Christ-like. I drive it into the ground. I use it on hub-pages. I emphasize this all the time. I was given the book The Tao of Willie a year or more ago. I had just read Willie Nelson, An Epic Life. I had bought other books that I was ignoring so since I had just read “An Epic Life” I thought I’d put it on the back burners for a while.
As I was finishing up with the hubpage on Willie Nelson I thought I’d add some Willie McNuggets to the bottom of the hubpage. Little did I know:
From the Tao of Willie (also the Tao of Micky Dee):
As far as religions are concerned, to me they’re just different paths leading to the same place. A thousand paths to a single destination.
The Golden Rule is the main thing I live by, and every religion I’ve read about or studied-both East and West-has the Golden Rule as a common thread running through it.
Every person is free to believe whatever the heck they want to believe, but if every person, every business, and every government simply followed the Golden Rule in all their decisions, everything else would fall into place.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I have stated as much, such as: there are at least 21 religions that have a form of the Golden Rule. I’m not rejoicing over validation from Willie even though this does endear me more to him. It does reinforce my conviction of disagreeing with a hubber over his “health care if you can afford it plan”. He “couldn’t help it if he had stepped on my outdated beliefs”.
Willie continues in the Tao of Willie:
Unfortunately, we don’t like things to be so simple. We like to talk about infinite shades of gray when the simple truth is right before us in black and white.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The Golden Rule is the law of Jesus. It is not that you do anything else over this. Jesus said this law is above all other laws. This is THE LAW!
It’s true. My heroes have always been cowboys. The cowboy way springs from common sense and from a strong sense of right and wrong, without regard for consequences.
In the long run, the cowboy way believes that if you do things according to that sense of right, it’ll work out to everyone’s advantage.
The respect of others must be earned through the positive qualities of our actions.
People and nations moving ahead when they’re wrong is the root of many of the world’s problems.
If you throw trash along the highways or foul our rivers, I’m not your friend.
If you think that people whose skin is a different color than yours are beneath you, then you are particularly not my friend.
Nearly forty years ago, I introduced country singer Charley Pride to a redneck audience that looked like they wanted to lynch him for being black. Before they knew what was what, I’d walked up to Charley and kissed him full on the lips. They actually quieted down and listened to his music and discovered that he was pretty dang great.
In other words, they got over their wasteful and ignorant prejudice. If you haven’t gotten over yours, you are somewhere between forty and four hundred years behind the times.
If you mistreat those who are smaller or weaker than you, you are not my friend.
I managed to see Willie and the Wheel in 2009 in Durham. It was the combination of one of my favorite bands with one of my favorite humans.
I remember being at the counter of the "Simple Simons" diner in Spartanburg, SC in the early eighties. I was beaten down pretty good. I had been screwed over by our injustice system in that fairly recent history. I had to sit and listen to all kinds of crap about the prisoners in the jail there in Spartanburg. A guy who was a trusty or jailer came in most every day. They started in on Willie. They said he didn't amount to anything until he quit shaving and taking baths. Of course, I had long hair like Willie's too. I knew that if I did much that this land, like others ruled by the "wink and the nod", would be making fun of me pretty soon. I'd be one of the prisoners. If you don't think it could not have happened then I do appreciate the naivety that you've lived in. It wasn't much but I got change for a couple of bucks and put it all in the juke box and played all Willie Nelson songs.
I had to draw a line somewhere.
Willie's New Album
Willie has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Willie has studied judo. Willie has studied religions. Willie has studied life.
Willie has studied all his life from a young boy in the cotton fields of Texas to where he is today.
His songs reflect wisdom beyond just hard knocking. Willie Nelson is a mystic. Willie is truly a sage.
Which of you can make yourself inert,
to become in the end, completely full of life?-The Tao Te Ching
Still is still moving to me
It’s hard to explain ‘cause it won’t go into words.
I can be moving or I can be still
But still is still moving to me. –Willie Nelson, “Still Is Still Moving”
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