i knew about Waylon a good while before i went to Texas A&M NROTC (1975) in part so my wife could get her college degree from where her father and uncle attended. We were separated within a year, divorced in three. Going through that for nearly four years was a good time to get into Western Swing and the Outlaws. And being essentially single in College Station, Texas fit well with all things country and line dancing. So i knew about Waylon, and of course Willie before, but there, i almost felt like Waylon and i knew each other.
Good music. Good times for a single lieutenant commander…well, it was ole Charlie Dickens again: “The best of times and the worst of times.”
But i listened to Waylon’s lyrics and connected.
* * *
It sometimes amazes me what i can think about. In fact, it sometimes amazes me i can think at all with all of the wild stuff going around me (since i created most of it). But in between the book (yeh, i’m going to hit it again with a vengeance tomorrow, took almost a month off, but it’s time to get it done), the trellis, the other home projects, the garage organization, the paper cleaning out, the computer files, and remembering or forgetting passwords, i think a lot. i think a lot of it is not what normal people think about.
i mean like thinking about what happens when i’m gone. This thought can take many different directions, but i keep coming back to how to handle my passing. You know, like gone, dead.
Now when i’ve told people my parents lived to just shy of 99 and just shy of 97, folks have pointed out i have good genes and am likely to live a long time. My response is i’ve lived thus far a lot harder and wilder than they did so i don’t expect to live that long. i’ll take what i can get, but hey, i could be gone tomorrow.
At my age, that would be fine. i often think about what two men i admired and respected told me. My father-in-law, as he was dealing with the cancer that would eventually take him down told me he wanted to live as long as he could think straight. My father told me something i tried to capture in a poem when he said he had lived a good life, had a great wife, good kids, and great grandkids and the only thing he hoped for was to “go quick.” He did.
i agree with both of them.
* * *
One of my goals is to leave little for those who have to deal with my passing as little as possible in decision making. i’ve already worked out what will happen to what will be left of me. i’ll be going home. My ashes will be buried next to my parents. That’s where i belong. Home is the sailor from the sea.
Maureen and i have a living trust to take care of the finances. i am working on a list of my things and who should get them if they want. i’m identifying stuff that should be tossed. i have a draft of my obituary.
i don’t hanker for a service or a memorial. i’ll be gone and whatever impact i’ve had on other people good or bad is with them. i won’t be around for any plaudits so whatever happens happens.
But if someone decides they need to have some kind of memorial or whatever, i am making a playlist of songs i would like to be included. Some of them are just my favorites. Others are not only my favorites but also resound with me in describing me, my relationships with some people for whom i care, or reflect the way i think. Mose Allison has several songs in this latter bunch.
And there is one i think is a perfect description of me and my life. i first heard it when i bought one of Waylon Jennings’ albums because i liked the name of the title song.
i decided i would like to give you a preview of the first song on my playlist for an event that may or may not ever happen: