We Didn’t “Stop Loving Him Today”

Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 09:19 AM.

Miss Polly was cracking the whip on us to memorize “Canterbury Tales” and “Macbeth”, but I was having a lot easier time with, “Well, in North Carolina way back in the hills lived my old pappy and he had him a still; He brewed white lightening till the sun went down; Then he’d fill up a jug and he’d pass it around…..”

If Chaucer and ole Bill Shakespeare had’a written as well as George Jones could sing, I might have been an English major!

We didn’t drink white lightening mind you. And none of us came from North Carolina. But that was beside the point. The song was so upbeat and happy, you’d forget about failing the math test or getting run over at football practice or how Ruth Ann Wiley would sort’a giggle and go the other way when she saw you coming. George Jones was good for what ailed you!

When Yogi and Ricky and one other guy that I can’t remember his name got down alive after climbing the water tower….and washed most of the red and green paint off their hands…..and stumbled into Frank’s as innocent as we could look to see if anyone had noticed the colorful message we’d left for Charlotte…..the jukebox was playing George’s gut wrenching rendition of “We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds”.

It was like he knew the exact stage your life was in and he was trying to pass along a little advice before you got in over your head. Of course, George might have been singing to himself all this time. He had more ups and downs than Humpy Dumpty on a pogo stick. But, boy howdy, how he could bounce back!

He was the greatest country music singer I ever heard. And his rendition of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” just possibly could be the greatest country song ever! He recorded a number one hit in four different decades. You talk about staying power! 

And his passing will not be the end. Not by a country mile! When the XM radio oldies play “Why, Baby, Why”, I can smell those hamburgers. When “White Lightening” comes on my foot goes to tapping. I remember every word to “The Race Is On”, “The Grand Tour”, “Window Up Above”…….and “A Girl I Used To Know” still makes me cry.

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