Posts from the ‘Remembering Dad’ Category

An Anniversary

It dawned on me a little bit ago that it has been 17 years today since I last saw my father. 

I had turned 23 the week before he died.  At that point, he was at home with Hospice care and he was sorta in another place.  He was totally conscious but I guess when you get to that point in a terminal illness, you just go somewhere else, ya know?   He didn’t talk much.  He was pretty much existing.   I didn’t think about it a lot at the time because I was so occupied with a brand new baby and all that goes with that, but, we were there a lot those last weeks. 

On the day of my birthday, I randomly asked Dad from where I was standing in the kitchen (he was in the den) what he was doing 23 years ago that day.  I was kinda testing him to see how “with us” he was.   He paused a minute and said “I was sitting in the waiting room at Pacific Hospital waiting for you to be born.”   Heh. 

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I miss him more every year.  I’m grateful I had him as long as I did because medically, he was not supposed to live as long as he did.  He was not supposed to walk me down the aisle or see me with a kid, but, he did.  I wish he could’ve seen all 5 of his grandkids.  I wish he could see his kids in their 40’s (???).  

I’ve had numerous occasions just in the last few months alone, of people that knew Dad finding this blog, emailing me and sharing memories of him.  I love it when somebody remembers him.  Don’t ever be afraid to mention someones deceased loved one out of fear of making them sad.  Remembering keeps them alive…

Losing him so early in my adulthood was one of THE most pivotal, life-changing events of my life.  The loss was more than I can put into words and I still feel it on a daily basis.  My faith would not be what it is today had I not had that loss.  No question.  I had to look towards the Mack Daddy of Them All, my heavenly Father.  Because of my faith, I have no doubt where my Dad is today and that one of these days I’m gonna bump into him again. 

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I envy all of you who still have your fathers.  I know lots of father/child relationships can be quite complex and not everybody had quite as open and affectionate of a father as I did, but, even if you don’t see eye to eye with your old man or are uncomfortable talking to him or whatever….call him today.  Do it for me.

Glory Days

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It’s pretty geeky if you take a picture of a tv screen, but, when its one of those screens that’s like a movie theater and you just happen to catch the opening of the Halftime show of the Super Bowl and it’s Bruce and Clarence and you get it looking like this, I don’t think it’s THAT geeky.  Maybe just a little.

I was like Ellie Mae about that dang home theater. 

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A life-size Little Steven though….yikes!  Bruce needs to share some of his Stay Young secrets with his buddy there.

I’m not one who worships at the Church of Bruce but I most definitely appreciate his icon-ness and was diggin’ the moment quite a bit.

Funny thing about this gathering I was at…it was at the home of my friend Martha that I went to junior high and high school with. (Yet another Facebook reunion although I did see her at our 20th reunion in 07) I went to Brentwood High School my Freshman and Sophomore years.   It was kinda surreal when Bruce was singing “Glory Days” cause that song always reminds me of BHS .  Another girl I went to those schools with, Tracy, was there and I looked over and she was all up in the whole Bruce thing…

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It was just kinda cool to be there and hearing Bruce do that song that was so popular back when I was at BHS and they played the radio in the cafeteria…and here some of us were all these years later..all growed up.  Not just grown up but 40 years old!  Just one of those moments that makes you go “hmmmm”.

Then, in the midst of my trot down Memory Lane, Jene’ who was one of best pals in 7th grade comes into the theater room, singing “Go To Yates” on the chorus….I had TOTALLY forgot about that…(Yates was the vocational school and of course, for students of Brentwood High School back in those days, the mere thought of going to Yates….HA)

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Jene’ was killing me…then again, she always did.  Gosh, in 7th grade, just picture me and her…we were so silly. 

I had totally lost track of Jene’ after 10th grade until our Reunion.  A few weeks ago, she sent me the sweetest note on Facebook, talking about my Dad.  I had forgotten she was on our softball team the year he coached us.  There I pat myself on the back for my “amazing” memory, but, theres lots of things I forget about…like that.

Good times…good memories.

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Good Advice

How do…

What’s new?  I’m still job hunting but did discover my resume needed major tweakin’ so that’s how I’m spending my Thursday evening.

You know, I faincy myself as a writer of sorts, but, this resume writing thang…it’s a whole nutha bird.  It makes me want to yank each hair out of my head one-by-one and stick needles in both eyes.

I’m not doing either of the above-mentioned things, but, this is how bad I hate resume-ing. 

Thing #4,582 that my Father told me more than once that I didn’t pay attention to, but wish I had and have learned the hard way and am now passing onto you…

Always keep your resume updated.  Even if you aren’t looking for a job.  Keep your resume current at all times.”

So that is my little “I Do This So You Don’t Have To” lesson for today.

C-O Double Ollie

Messing around with the Blog name.  You’ll get used to it. It’s a bit of a hat tip to my padre.  His radio show in Los Angeles was called “Collie’s Corner.”

I got an email the other day from a gentleman in Colorado.  Read:

I’m sure you have hundreds of stories like mine. My name is Don  and I’m 75 years old. In the early 1960’s I had a country music radio station in Pueblo, Colorado. Your father was pioneering the idea of syndicated radio shows while he was at KFOX. He was taping his shows and interested in making them available.

I was an early believer in radio station automation so we got together. He flew out to Denver one weekend and we became instant friends. I really knew nothing about country music but it was the right position for my station so that’s what I did. Biff took me under his arm. We went off to Nashville in 1965 for the Grand Old Opry birthday celebration and he introduced me to EVERYBODY in country music because he knew them all.

This was the early days of the Country Music Association and he was on the Board. Gene Autry was the first president. Biff and I shared a motel room and he took me to all the “in” events. At the BMI Dinner we sat next to this well dressed woman named Sarah Cannon who I learned, to my surprise, was Minnie Pearl. He took me to Audrey William’s house full of Hank Williams memorabilia including the Cadillac that Hank Sr. had died in. There was also a 14 year old boy named Randal Hank who was more interested in finding civil war gun shot in nearby battlefields than anything else. His mother later turned him into Hank Williams Jr.

I’ve often told the story of going to a party there with your father where he introduced me to this song writer named Willie Nelson and how cordial that entire event was. Biff came to Pueblo many times. He turned me into a country music promoter and mc’d shows he helped me put together. When I sold the station and moved into other activities we drifted apart.  I last saw him in Nashville after he had moved there and it was shortly after he had put his radio station on the air. I recorded a couple of commercials for him for old time’s sake. I met your mother briefly. I had known about her after they became involved in Los Angeles with the record store. He told me about his illness which was under control at the time. I was very sad when I learned of his death.
 
A quick Walter Brennan story. Biff once told me that the stupidest question he had ever asked in an interview was of Walter Brennan. As you may know Brennan was born in Massachusetts and his normal speaking accent was very New Englandish. Biff asked him how he was able to play a role like Grandpa McCoy in the Real McCoys with an accent like that. Brennan paused, gave him a condescending look and said, “I’m an actor.” Biff said he never felt so stupid in his life.
 
Your father was a rare and beautiful person whose friendship I treasure if not at the top of my list certainly in the top five over my life. He was great to me, my radio station staff and my family. My daughter made no bones about the fact that she planned to marry Biff. The fact that she was five or six at the time and he was in his thirties made no difference. She was not pleased when he married your mother.

Buried in my attic are some great pictures from his visits to Pueblo and the country acts that came through there at the time. At some point I’ll try and dig them out and get copies to you . . . but don’t hold your breath. As I began, there are hundreds of stories about “This is your big, bad, bellowing boy Biff – BI double F – Biff, CO double l, – Collie like a dog.” I’m grateful mine is one of them.    
 
Don
….

Don’s email was a real gift.  I LOVE stuff like that.  This here blog has allowed me a number of “Wow” moments like that.  Thank you, Don.

I’ve been throwing around the idea of a podcast with a pal o’ mine. Stay tuned…(It may happen, it may not)

Another Year…

Every November 25, I have to pay a little homage to my paterfamilias cause it’s his birthday. 

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He woulda been 82 today. 

the_real_mccoy(Dad and Walter Brennan…most cool)

Still missed everyday…

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Told Ya

I saw this book on Amazon.com and it made me laugh. 

I can remember my Dad joking that he wanted this on his epitaph.  I wish he had a grave so we coulda put it on there.  Heh.

It also reminds me of my mother in law talking about her sister in law’s mother.  She called one time and said “Well….Glenda’s mother ACTUALLY died this time.  She’s been dying for years.”

Charlie Walker

Back in the early 70’s. the Collie’s went to visit the Charlie Walker’s at their home in Hendersonville.  My sister and I were little girls and we were standing at the top of the stairs, fighting over a doll when suddenly, Sandra sailed down the big ol’ staircase, rendering her unconscious momentarily.  (I think.)

Every SINGLE time I saw Charlie Walker for the rest of his life, be it at the Opry or the last time I saw him a year ago Easter at the Springhouse at the Brunch (Charlie was a big golfer) he would ask me “Now, were you the one that fell down my stairs?”  Heh. Nope. Still wasn’t me, Cholly.

Charlie’s passing today in Hendersonville is quite a bittersweet one.  (Here she goes…her Dad and Charlie) Yep…Dad and Charlie went all the way back to their very beginnings in radio in San Antonio, Texas.  In fact, most of my family in San Antonio knew Charlie and some of his older children (the man was fruitful and multiplied, folks.  To the tune of 10 kids, ranging in age now from upper 50’s to young adult. One of his girls was a professional basketball player and I believe, was, and may still be, a commentator for the WNBA).  Charlie and Biff were born the same week, actually, and now that Charlie’s gone, there’s only one or two of his contemporaries left, meaning the guys that started in radio around about the same time and were good, good buddies til Dad died in 1992.   T. Tommy’s gone…Joe Allison, Tom Perryman is still alive and kicking and on the air in Tyler, Texas. 

Charlie was a radio man, but, he was the voice behind one of my favorite hardcore, country records ever…this one right here. I wonder how many times in my life I saw Charlie Walker go on the Opry stage and sing this Harlan Howard gem? More times than I can count.

From Pasadena To Pascagoula

I was just reading Jag’s post about her weekend in LA.

Everytime I see the word “Pasadena” and especially “South” and “Pasadena” together, it makes me think of how my Dad used to call me “Sharon Rosena From South Pasadena” (Sharon Rose being my given name.) 

I saw the name “Pascagoula” on a weather map today and that’s another one of the phrases Dad would use in reference to me.  Sometimes, he’d say “Sharon Rose-oola From South Pascagoula.”

When I had my own kids, of course, I had to attempt the same sorta thing.  It was “Tyler Thomas-o From Southwest El Paso” and “Tara Rosita From South Escondido.”  Unfortunately for #2 (or maybe he was fortunate) I never came up with a twist on his first and middle names.  I wonder if he’ll end up on Oprah cause of that someday?

Lame, yes, but, it was always fun to say and even funner to hear Tyler and Tara as little people try to say it.  Tyler, with his lisp and Tara always said it perfect.

Happy Father’s Day

I’ve shared this here before, but, I love it so much, I have to share it again, since it’s Father’s Day.  Y’all indulge me…

This is from a telegram sent from my Dad to his Dad on Father’s Day, 1975-

 

What do you think has happened now, I’m the happiest boy alive

For  sometimes when we go out alone, my Dad, he lets me drive

He taught me about the gears and things a long, long time ago

And he is always explaining out to me the things a boy should know

Of course, when Mother is along, Dad sticks to the wheel

She is nervous and gets scared, you know how women feel

My mother, she is a brick alright, she is the best, by far

She mends and cooks and cleans for me, but, Dad….

He lets me drive the car.

June 10, 1935-By Biff Collie

Happy Father’s Day, Dad…I still think you’re the best.  I love you.

I miss ’em both.

 

 

 

Houston

I just happened to stumble across this blog yesterday.  I made a mental note to look at it later so I did just that a few minutes ago whilst sipping my coffee, which happens to be Folgers. 

Funny, I came across this here picture of my dad dad-coffee-club.jpg on this way cool blog about Houston’s very colorful radio history.  I have never seen it.  Not surprising since it was from 1950 and I wasn’t born until 19 years later.  I love finding all these cool things on my dad that I’ve never known or seen.  He was quite the shiz in Houston radio. 

I had a guy email me in the last year or so how someone had told him of walking down a Houston street in the middle of the summer and because Houston in the summer is hotter than hades and these were the days before air conditioning, all the windows on the houses were open and this individual could hear Biff coming out of every single house as he walked down the street.  Now, whether or not that is true is another story, but, I sure like to think it is.

I never heard my dad on the air on his regular radio shows.  He stopped doing daily, on the air stuff when we moved here from Los Angeles when I was a baby.  I still don’t know why he didn’t do regular radio here.  I think it’s because when we came here, he did the very first syndicated radio show out of Nashville and maybe that was a step up or something? I don’t know.

Yet another question I wish I could ask my old man.  Dadgum, there’s sooo many things I wish I’d have asked him about.  I wish I’d have grilled him more about Elvis.  Notice how big Dad’s name is here?  He was a big deal in Houston.  This show right here was where elvis.jpgthe first, live recording of the Kang was done.  It says Dad was the “Master of Ceremonies”, which he was, but, he also booked the shows. 

Dad never really elaborated on his Elvis experience. Come to think of it, he really didn’t talk a lot about his friendship with Hank, Sr. either.  If you asked him, he would talk about it.  

   In fact, one of the things I remember him saying most about Hank was that it always got on his nerves when people always talked about how sad and miserable Hank was.  He may have been, but, Dad said people really didn’t mention the flip side and how much fun Hank was and how funny he was.  I think that bothered him that the sad part was so pounded into the legend.

Dad bought Hank the shirt he has on here. hankw-biffcollie.jpg

Pretty neat stuff.

And Holding

I’m not disturbed that I’m 39 today. I do find it hard to believe that I’ll be 40 this time next year, but, I don’t have any problems with it. I am finding I like things as I get older. I certainly like myself a whole lot better now than I did, say, on my 19th birthday.

I tend to post this photo on my birthday cause I like it.

junie__sandra___barbara.jpg This is my Mom on the way to Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, CA  on February 10, 1969. That’s my Aunt Junie and my sister.

I kinda like this picture of myself too.

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Now, if we saw a pregnant woman with Marlboros on her belly today, we’d call the Pregnant Police on her and she would be called a terrible mother.

This is another favorite picture made the day I was born, actually pretty quick after I was born.

Because this was soooo long ago, they didn’t let Dad’s in the delivery room.  My Aunt Junie took this of Dad calling my Grandma and Pop Collie in San Antonio to let them know that I had arrived.  I can almost hear his half laugh/half cry.  Hee.

Something else that kinda makes me go “whoa” about being 39 is that I’m almost the same age as my Dad was there.  He was 42.  Mom was a babe of 34.

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Slim Lives!

I missed the initial, exaggerated reports earlier in the week of Slim Whitman’s demise. I’m trying to think of where I was and how in the world I missed such news (or un-news).

I have a connection to Slim and I do think it’s cool.The Dad produced Slim back in the early 70’s when he was with United Artists Records.

I can remember the time Slim came to our house for supper. I don’t know exactly how old I was, but, I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old.

I remember the mustache and I think my sister and I were more impressed with the stuffed Woody Woodpecker he brought us than anything. I do remember, as little as I was, that Slim had very distinct eyes that stood out.
It sorta pains me now that people didn’t always have cameras at the ready back in those days like we do now. There are some good pictures of my parents with all sorts of famous people, but, sadly, there are a ton of missed opportunities that I would kill to have photos of. The Supper with Slim is one of those things.

At any rate, I’m glad Slim is still amongst us.

1926

Queen Elizabeth was born in 1926. So was Alan Greenspan and Hugh Hefner.

Don Rickles celebrated his 81st birthday this year, as did Chuck Berry.

Leslie Nielsen, Jerry Lewis, Harper Lee, Peter Graves, Shecky Greene (I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to blog anything about Shecky.  Just saying his name is fun.  There should be more Shecky’s in this world), James Lipton, Fidel Castro, Cloris Leachman, Sir George Martin, Mel Brooks, Ray Price, Joe Paterno, Jane Withers, Grant Tinker, Ann B. Davis (aka “Alice” of the Brady Bunch) Harry Dean Stanton, Joe Garagiola, and Soupy Sales (another name we need more of) ….all of these people were born in 1926.  That makes them all 81 years old this year.  Some of them still look great while others of them, not so much. 

Ray Price is still out there playing music, James Lipton has become one of the most parodied characters on tv in recent years, Fidel Castro is still in charge of Cuba and Mel Brooks is still a comic genius…Marilyn Monroe, Paul Lynde, John Coltrane, Tommy Bond (played Butch on The Little Rascals), John Derek and Miles Davis would have been 81 this year had they not been struck down by various illnesses, accidents, etc.

I think of a lot of the above names as old folks.  It’s hard for me to imagine or visualize biff_collie.jpgthat my father would have been 81 years old today.  Well, in a way, it is but then in a way it isn’t. 

I haven’t seen him in almost 16 years (something else hard to believe) and I sometimes fantasize what it would be like if I ran into him somewhere and could have a few minutes to chat with him.  Last time I saw him, I had just turned 23 and I am  now peeking over the edge into 39. I think we would have an interesting and lively conversation. 

In a weird way, I’m sometimes sorta glad I didn’t ever have to see him be put in a nursing home or have his mind fail him.  I know that’s kinda strange because I did see him suffer greatly because of prostate cancer. 

I am thankful that when I remember him now, the picture of him in the hospital bed in our den, with oxygen plugs in his nose, semi-comatose, weak and struggling for every breath is something I have to really, really think about to remember.  I think about him everyday, and more often than not, hear myself say things that are like channeling him and a lot of photos of him are eerily like looking at myself.  I am so grateful that the image I have in my head of my father, who like all those people listed above, was born in 1926…is this one here.>mail0001.jpg

This picture is so him.

Fly To Jesus…And Live


I’m so glad I got up early so I could get to the 8:00 Memorial Service for dear Bro. Glenn Weekley. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Bro. Glenn’s sons in law, both Reverends Richard Ryan and Brady Cooper of New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro who, incidentally, since Bro. Glenn is gone is now probably my favorite preacher guy around…both guys paid a loving tribute to their father in law and mentor. The congregation sang his favorite hymns, we saw wonderful video clips, and that sanctuary, packed at 8:00 in the morning, was full of people deep in their own reflection of what Bro. Glenn meant to them. It was a powerful, emotional,yet, uplifting time for everybody in that room and I’m sure for the no telling how many that came to the later services.

Rev. Courtney Wilson, who was Bro. Glenn’s predecessor at FBC shared of their unique friendship through the years and read from John 14. My dad always called that “The Holiday Inn” verse. He used that term to explain to us as little kids how when we traveled and stayed at Holiday Inns (we did that a lot) they had a room ready for us so we could stay there, same thing with Jesus…he’s got a room waiting for us. That verse always gets to me.

The service ended with the congregation singing “How Great Thou Art”. After we sang the second to last verse, the lights went down, nothing even on the screens, but, Bro. Glenn’s voice. Because I was so caught up in hearing his voice over the sound system as if he were standing there, I can’t remember what he was saying. (Jamey Tucker…help me here)

I was glad to run into my former co-worker, sweet little Bonnie, who I haven’t seen since my last day of work at Lifeway a year ago last week. We were a little too tearful to chat, but, I was glad to see her. There were so many people there, you almost couldn’t tell who was who. I was glad I saw Jamey Tucker and his beautiful family in the parking lot and got to say hey to him. He has the most lovely wife!

Then, I had to go home and redo the eye makeup before I went to my church cause I cried it all off. It didn’t take long from when the service started for me to get all boo-hooey and this song here, “Come To Jesus” sung beautifully by the choir and Lewis Lea is what started it. I’ve sung that with that choir many times.

I think that’s one of the things that stands out the most to me about Bro. Glenn in worship services. When the choir was singing, and if he was moved, he’d always stand and the congregation would follow. Those were my favorite and most meaningful times at that church. 

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4

The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

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The framed photograph hung in my childhood home as far as I can remember.  I’m not even sure when it was taken, but, it appeared to be in a recording studio.  It now hangs in my sister’s home. The first thing I always noticed when I’d look at it was the piano keys at the bottom whereas my sister noticed something on the buttons on his jacket that looked like a face.  I never noticed that before.

I have the little trumpet he’s playing in the picture.  The Manchild drew on Sandra’s brand new walls with the mouthpiece on the big trumpet when she had lived in her house about 5 minutes.  He was about 3.  “Look!  Circles!”  Heh.

 Dad’s trumpet is also in my sister’s home.  I was trying to create an artsy fartsy moment with Dad’s picture and his trumpet.

Dad was a decent trumpet player.  He was in the San Antonio Junior Orchestra when he was a teenager.  His original aspiration was to be a Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller.  He often played his trumpet at church.  The town_hall_party.jpgneighbors in Hallbrook remember many New Years Eves when he would play Auld Lang Syne at midnight on the front porch.  The 4th of July he would play something patriotic.  He often woke us in the morning playing Revelry.  I didn’t like that too much.