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.

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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. 

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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.