Updated: Jun 3
I remember going to the Strawberry Festival in Plant City when I was knee-high. My dad was a Fleet Mechanic, and worked long hours. Going anywhere besides church, and a place called The Ponderosa now, and then was hard. Though we did take off in the summer. Usually, to see my godmother in North Carolina or overseas to different places that looked postcard ready.
My dad didn't really care about playing the carnival games that wrapped all around the festival site or getting any grub from the vendors, though I did.. The strawberry shortcake was my favorite. He went to see the performers, and this year one of his favorites was going to perform. I remember my dad rushing to pick a seat for himself, and me. It hadn't gotten crowded yet, and the band was finishing up a sound check.
My momma was checking out all the vendors, and cool stuff to buy, and take home. She never really liked the music because it reminded her of where she didn't want to be, back home shucking corn, filling buckets with water, and feeding the animals. She hated that, and moved as far away as she could when she married her high school sweetheart.
I glanced at the stage, and I remember seeing a man with some silver around his temples. He had a colorful shirt on and a smirky type smile. He seemed so happy to be there as he looked out towards the seated crowd that was patiently waiting. He said something, but I can't recall. What I do remember is when he opened his mouth this beautiful sound came out, just like in my daddy's records. I tugged at my dad, and said hey, he sounds just like the man on your records.
He just smiled, and hugged my shoulders.
I looked again at the man on the stage, who sounded a lot like the man in my daddy's records except he didn't have golden brown hair, was not as thin, and looked older than the person on the album cover. So, I closed my eyes, and just listened. I wanted to make sure I wasn't mistaking the voice with someone else's. "And I get stoned on your love all the time.."
It was him! It was George Jones! I couldn't believe it. I always thought the people in my daddy's record collection were mythical beings that only existed on the record player or on TV.
I was wrong.. George Jones was there in the flesh, and sounding even better than his records.
No auto tune, or snap tracks just George. His voice was more than enough.
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