“True” Tall Tales from Celebrities
I grew up in a small small town in Minnesota that was basically run by nuns and farmers. Life in my hometown was a place where doors were left unlocked, games were played in backyards not on computers or tvs, people waved when they passed by, the American Flag was honored and a crucifix was not a political statement but one of faith. But, like all things life and times changed.
The world became a different place and the commonly held values and beliefs that I was raised with seemed to become more uncommon as time progressed. This is not a negative statement on progress. I think amazing things have happened over the past 20 years that are magical.
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RC: Lee and Elaine, what are some of the earliest memories you have of wanting to play music as kids?
LR (Lee Roy): For me, I was probably about five.
I remember my grandmother playing fiddle, and my grandfather doing the old time Acadian dances. Uncles and aunts would all play guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and sing.
I remember going to church, then going over to my grandmother’s for dinner afterward. It was a “gimme.” As sure as there was going to be food on the table there was going to be music that afternoon. I couldn’t wait to get there to hear them start playin’ the fiddle and start singin’.
RC) We’re looking forward to getting your reflections on your career in country music and any experiences you can share of growing up in the country.
Well, I’m sorta livin’ in the country now. I’m out here on 48 acres. We love it in the country. I live 75 miles from Nashville.
I tell people constantly, don’t tell me “You live so far out.” We live out here by choice. I wouldn’t want to live in town where I couldn’t stand on the front porch to pee, if I wanted to.
RC) Can you tell me one of your earliest memories.
Ira was born in April, 1924, and I was born in July of 1927.
Musically, I started singing when I was 8 and Ira was 11.
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Growing up in Florida we usually had warm weather for the Christmas holidays. We still sang ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘White Christmas,’ but we didn’t relate to the lyrics of those songs as much as our friends up North did.
Being raised in an extremely rural area on a cattle ranch, our family made up some of our own Christmas traditions that we dutifully repeated every year. Our mom and a couple of our aunts congregated in the kitchen each Christmas Eve to fry up cornbread to make stuffing for the Christmas turkey, along with delicious pies, cakes and cookies for the big day.
“As a child, I lived with my grandparents and we were very poor. Every year I would hear the other kids talking about Christmas trees and presents – and I really didn’t understand why we didn’t have those things.
We talked about Jesus, but His birthday wasn’t a gift-giving occasion at our small home in Mississippi. One year when I was six or seven, I finally got up the nerve to ask my grandmother why we didn’t celebrate Christmas like everyone else. Her answer was, “You just have to believe.”
Well, that was pretty heady thinking for a kid, but I wanted presents like all of the other kids – so I began to concentrate – and believe.
That Christmas Eve, Grandmother reminded me of my promise to believe, and I went to bed that night praying for “Christmas” with all my might.
By Tippy Canoe
Growing up in suburban Maryland our house was constantly filled with music: Pop, R&B, Stadium Rock and a great heaping spoonful of Country and Bluegrass. I soaked it all in and although I wouldn’t admit it at the time, because it was something my parents were into; I really liked a lot of the hillbilly music.
As I headed into my teenage years the standard scheduled rebellious phase set in and my nails, lips, and hair miraculously turned black; the switch for melodrama was flicked on and I fell in love with the sounds blasted by my local college radio station.
I was 12 years old and living in Lagos, Nigeria. Our house was outside of the city near the ocean. There was not much else around. The bush (jungle) started across the street. It was so dense that it looked like a solid green wall. In the other direction about 2 miles, down a deserted road, was the ocean. Nigeria sits right on the equator and has a serious monsoon season that lasts for several months. The rains come everyday during this period at 3pm and lasts about a half hour. It’s a hard rain. Gray and impenetrable.
Nearly every day when school let out at noon I would grab my fishing gear, hop on my bike and ride out to the deserted pier at the end of the road.
Most of the time I would have a little luck, get on my bike and be back home before the rains came. But not on this day. I lost track of time enjoying the tranquility. And then I looked up and saw the rain. It was about a mile out and to my 12 year old eyes it looked like a giant steamroller.
I quickly grabbed my gear, ran to my bike and started pedaling for everything I was worth.
By Barry Scott
Editor’s Note: Barry Scott & Second Wind enter the holiday season as nominees for the prestigious, “Country, Southern, and Bluegrass Gospel Album of the Year” Grammy Award. Yet, Barry pauses to share with us some reflections on his upbringing, and what matters to him most … his family and his faith in Jesus, Christ.
When I was young my grandparents owned a farm outside of town. We would visit them regularly and spend time helping them take care of their animals.
“Christmas at the Hickman’s was always a memorable time of year for us. The importance of traditions is something my mother tried to instill in me and my sister Sadie.