It really feels odd knowing that he's not here anymore, kind of like a family member has gone away. It was a good feeling just to know that he was kicking around the same town that I was in. Unfortunately I never ran into him but probably could have if I'd really tried. The loss of George definitely feels like the end of an era as I've heard his songs my entire life. My great uncle Glen has pretty much worshiped George for decades and I'll never forget the glee in my Grandfather's voice when I told him that I passed by George's house on a regular basis when I lived in a more rural part of Tennessee. Since George had infamously been arrested for driving his riding lawnmower down a county road with a bit of a buzz on, every time that I talked to my Grandfather after that, he'd ask me if I'd seen George riding his lawnmower down my street. He'd never really understood why I moved far away to Nashville before that...but after I told him about George, he actually seemed tickled that I was here.
George was also known as quite the rebel. He was notoriously late to appearances and he missed some altogether. He battled alcohol and drug addiction off and on throughout his life. He definitely lived the lyrics from some of the most hard-scrabble classic country songs but through it all, he was known as a good guy. I read a note online today from a soldier who said that George picked him up while he was hitchhiking back in 1966 just North of Knoxville, Tennessee. He said that George had sung country songs with him along their route. That soldier was on his way to Vietnam and said that it meant the world to him. I'm sure that it did.
Oh George...he will definitely be missed. You can read more about his life here.
In true George Jones form, he might be a bit late getting to Heaven but when he gets there and gets settled in, I hope that he'll ride past my Grandfather's eternal mansion and give him a big ole wave from the seat of his heavenly lawnmower.
Until next time,
x's and o's,