bum, Bum, BUM, twang!
Deep in the Garraarrrrrden
Under the tereeeeee
That’s where your lloOOove
It Ka-eem to me!
Uncle Billy was Country star when the music was still in the country and stars didn’t fly too high to see and touch. He played an old 6-string guitar, gladly sharing his melody line with a bass player, a whining fiddler, and pie-ano player. Electricity was only for lights then, but his stage was small enough, usually a couple of stools in the corner, that his fans had no problem hearing his music.
Next to the daeeezzzEEs
By the squash vine
You took my heart in your hand
And made it deeeeeviiiiieeeeenn
Billy was no Billy Cyrus, not even a Willie Nelson, as he was short and squat and kept his old Stetson pulled down tight on his head when he sang. You wouldn’t see his eyes a lot but you couldn’t miss his smile, ‘specially when he was singing about his Jesus. Always when singing about Jesus he would whip his head back and sing all he had to the ceiling he was playing under. It was like a divine bolt of lightning struck him, bringing his voice up to almost to a yodel, and breaking the dam behind his eyes.
Weeeeeds for love,
That all that I had
Stickers and wooorthless clods of dRRryed up crab graiiss
PooOOoockets of cow manoOOoore
And dried up pot ash.
Before Uncle Billy met Jesus, or until Jesus laid him out under the tree in the garden, he was just like other folk. His life had been working at the mill on the weekdays, singing and drinking himself into trouble on Saturdays, and sneaking into the back pew church on Sunday. In the dark of the evenings, he would walk out to the garden with his guitar, sit under the big oak, and pour out his grief in song. Best we can figure it was the weepin’ and wailing, combined with Aunt Bessie’s prayers that finally moved God’s heart to mercy, and made Billy a new man.
And now here I stand
in a garden of love
Plenty of herbs and flowers
to tickle my toes
You took my weeds for loOVe!
And made them a rooOOOOSE!
Soon as Billy got new he pulled a couple of musician friends together, got them saved, and headed out to his favorite bars, restaurants, and honkey-tonks, to witness. He’d begin by singing a few crowd favorites about drinking and carousing and crying in his beer, and then stop and begin his new song about his trip to the garden
Weeeeeds for love,
That's all you may have
Empty bottles of Jimmy’s Beam and quarts of Red Rum
He’ll fill you better than these, my friend, lay down your shot glass
Come to the garden son
And give peace a chance.
BUM, Bum, bum, twang!
Not that every bar became a church, or every honky-tonk a temple, but some lonely people, who were much like Billy, got saved in those places.
Uncle Billy knew that he wasn’t a great singer, and that his songs had silly rhymes and sentences. He never made a record or sang on the radio. He was under no false illusions about his talent, but he knew one thing for sure. He could sing for his Jesus, and he did, everywhere he could, and to every lonely soul he could until the day he died, in the garden, under the tree, amongst the daisies and squash vines.
Yep, that’s where Aunt Bessie found him one morning, laying on this back, smiling, with his guitar in one hand and a fist full of weeds in the other.
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