We went out to eat at Logan’s tonight and I saw a man who made me think of Eddie. Rarely have I ever run into people that looked like Eddie. People always remind me of somebody, but, Eddie’s always been one of those in my mind, that nobody looked like. When I think back to being a kid and people who I ran across that made a huge impact on me, I’m talking as a younger kid, say, before 10, Eddie is way up there on the list of people I dug.
Eddie was a good friend of my mother’s first and then after she married my dad, a good friend of theirs. He was married to a beautiful lady named Barbara and Mom was very, very close to them. They knew each other in California and then when we moved to Nashville, we stayed at their house until ours was ready to move in. I was 8 months old and am told that the first steps I took were at Eddie and Barbara’s house.
We spent a lot of time at Barbara & Eddie’s house, which was over off Highway 100, sorta back off the road in the woods. I could take you right to that house to this day, I think. They had snakes up there and I can remember gorgeous Barbara, in her long, perfectly coiffed blonde hair, perfectly manicured nails and gold lame’ shoes, out in the yard, killing snakes with a big stick, not flinching, nor putting one hair out of place.
They had this wonderful bathroom….probably still the biggest bathroom I had ever seen (it probably wasn’t as big as it seemed to me then) with these big mirrors and the toilet was off in it’s own separate place, with swinging doors. They had blue, shag carpeting in their den (70’s remember…it was unbelievably stylish then) a bedroom with mirrors on the wall, their kitchen was like something out of a retro movie…I loved going to their house.
My favorite part of their house, though, was their huge den. In that huge den, Eddie had an office and a studio. He was pretty cool about letting us mess around out there. We’d go in the studio and mess with the microphones and stuff. (Again…one of those things that to us was normal play).
I also remember Eddie’s desk. He had this trophy sitting on it that looked like this. I was always fascinated with that trophy, but, was pretty accustomed to seeing stuff like that at the homes of my parents’ friends.
Eddie was a very laid back guy, who had a really good sense of humor. He was not bothered by a couple of little girls roaming around his house at all. Very patient…very kind….not the type of guy that had to be in your face or the center of attention all the time. I was not scared or intimidated by him like I was so many people when I was a kid. I was so ridiculously shy and timid, but, I remember always digging the times we were around Eddie, which was a lot in those days. He always wore those one piece, jumpsuit type of things that people’s Paw Paw’s wore a lot. In fact, to this day, my sister and I call those things “Pop Suits” or “Eddie Suits’ cause our grandfather and Eddie wore them all the time. Eddie also wore black, sheer, dress socks and my sister and I always giggled and told him he was wearing pantyhose. Tee hee.
Eddie was just swell. I dug him a lot.
I remember the morning after Easter in 1977, we were out of school for Spring Break and when I got up that morning, I can remember like yesterday, standing in our Little Den and my mom telling me that Eddie had a heart attack the night before and was gone. I was 8 years old and not totally able to comprehend that cool Eddie was no more and I wouldn’t see him again.
I remember going to their house a little after that and my mother totally losing it (my mother is not one to break down and cry often, as I’m not) I remember the other Barbara comforting Mom saying “He’s in Heaven…he’s in Heaven” and Mom’s sobs.
Looking back, this was the first time somebody had died that I was around a lot. He was there one day and gone the next. I don’t know why we weren’t taken to his funeral or to the funeral home. I guess that was that whole “protect and shield the kids from the realities of life thing”. I’m sure the parents were afraid it would be too much for us or upset us. Mom came and got us from school after the funeral and we went to the cemetery and back to their house and it was one of those afternoons that was sorta cloudy but the sun was streaming through the clouds. The rays of the sun were very distinct, as if they were pointing down directly over the gravesite. I remember Mom saying “Look Girls…there’s Eddie’s rays.” To this day, when I see the suns rays coming through the clouds, I think of Eddie.
I knew Eddie was in the music business. Most of the people my parents were close to were. It was not odd or unusual. I knew there was this lifesize poster-like thing in Eddie’s office of him and Englebert Humperdinck but, that didn’t really mean anything to me.
I don’t know how old I was before I realized just what Eddie had contributed to the music world. Eddie was a songwriter. My mom loves to tell the story of how she was there when Eddie and Don Sessions wrote a little ditty called “Thanks A Lot“. In fact, she wrote the words down for them as they threw the lines back and forth. Eddie always said Mom was the “mid-wife” for that song.
Eddie wrote this other song that I just love. He didn’t live to see it in Coal Miner’s Daughter nor the large, residual checks that no-doubt came from it.
I love the song Playboy that Eddie wrote that was a hit for Wynn Stewart and was later covered by Dwight Yoakam. Eddie had a pekingnese dog named Playboy. Seems to me that he used to give Playboy beer to get him intoxicated.
I’m glad that this song of Eddie’s pops up a lot still. Release Me is pretty much an American classic….and I’m pretty proud that I knew the guy responsible for it, although, I dug Eddie Miller just cause he was a good guy and I’ve really missed him all these years. When I was older and got interested in songwriting stuff, I sure wished Eddie was around for me to pick his brain….and tease him about wearing pantyhose.