June 3, 2011 1:19:00 PM
Many years ago a friend of mine invited me to a pickin'' party at his chicken farm out at Steens. His sister, who he said "sang a little," was coming home for a visit. I got there late, after all the pickers had warmed up. They were into the chorus of "Drifting Too Far From The Shore" as I was walking up. When I heard that heavenly sound, I remember wishing that I had brought along a bus load of the lost. Had they heard what I was hearing, they''d have been found. It touched me.
Over the years I developed a close friendship with my friend''s sister, his mother and father, the whole clan. I liked their style -- rock solid down-home folks who are with you no matter what, not to mention they were extraordinarily gifted musicians.
My pal''s mom wasn''t dealt the best hand. For some reason, her joints never developed properly, making walking and lifting difficult, and, in later life, a wheelchair. Pictures of her in her younger years showed a young woman with movie star good looks. In later life she still had it, thanks to her personality and joyful outlook on life ... true beauty.
The sister is the real deal when it comes to music -- singer and songwriter. When I first met her, she could have held her own with anyone in Nashville. In fact, she spent some time there -- a television appearance or two and promises. However, sometimes the powers that be don''t get it. She came home.
A couple of years ago, a few of us were swapping tunes around the living room at my pal''s trailer when the sister told me that she had just finished writing a new song. The inspiration came during a shopping outing at the mall with her mom. They made a stop in a shoe store, where the daughter remarked she couldn''t wear high heels any more. Her mom replied, "Don''t feel bad, I''ve never worn high heels before." To which my friend replied, "Mama, we''ll wear high heels in heaven someday."
My friend sang her song, "High Heels in Heaven." She reached back deep ... what tone. Her mom was there. It''s a shame the cameras weren''t rolling. Her performance in that little living room would have won the Academy of Country Music''s Video of the Year award going away.
A couple of weeks ago, my pal called to tell me that his mom had suffered a stroke and was in intensive care at the hospital. All of our optimism soon turned to the sad reality that this was not going to end like we were all praying it would.
I went over to the hospital and sat with her and her daughter for a few minutes to say my good-byes.
She passed over later that evening. I wasn''t sad. I was happy, knowing that she had just arrived at the dance wearing a pair of candy apple red spiked heels, where she was greeted by her husband who was already up there waiting. I could see him holding out his hand for their first dance, just as the band struck up the "Tennessee Waltz."
I hope she''s saving a dance for me someday.
Roger owns Bayou Management, Inc. and is also a semi-pro guitar player.
waldenma commented at 6/6/2011 2:41:00 PM:
just read your article High Heels in Heaven, I did ot know this lady but her daughter Joy and my daughter are good friends and worked together for several years. What a joy it was to read this and have someone talk about the good times and heaven like you did. Keep up the good work...
1. W to host provocative exhibition of contemporary art ENTERTAINMENT
3. MSU to hold Freedom Summer Conference COMMUNITY