Silver Wings Can’t Be Curdled

November 19th, 2016

I took a little time out of my weekend to go to a family event. My in-laws, that family. When my mom married my stepdad, she married into a very large family. The Farmers could fit into a passenger van with room with for more. The stepdad’s family needs a giant hall to accommodate everyone. They don’t get together all the time but when they do, they try to make it count.


My stepdad sang with the family band tonight. They put on a show and set up baskets for donations for an 8th grade class’s trip and a thing where you can give a canned good for the less fortunate. For the donation, you got some music something to eat, a nice feeling.


He walked up there and sang “Silver Wings” by Merle Haggard followed by “Ruby” by Kenny Rogers. It was a heart-warming feeling for me to watch somebody I love perform for a change. I felt like the proud papa for once because I knew what it was like to be up there. All the pre-show anxiety, that feeling when you stand up there in front of everybody and your mind just goes away. That moment when you have to deal with the microphone feedback and figure out how to hold it and where to stand and how close to stand to it when you sing. Been there a million times, fella.



I felt like a freak at first. Still have this long hair. This crazy long hair. I also can turn small talk into the McLaughlin Group if I’m not careful. You talking about Kentucky football? I’ll turn it into an indictment of the entire NCAA college-athlete system. I’ll point out how UK spends more money on Midnight Madness for men’s basketball then their annual football budget. Then I’ll segway into a rant about what it means to be a “student-athlete” when the labors of such are profited off by major networks, cable TV, advertisers and video game outlets. . . and by this time┬áthe person I’m talking to just wants to move along to another subject, another table, another planet.


You wanna talk about “Ruby” by Kenny Rogers? Great song, huh? You know that song is about a veteran who’s bed-ridden pleading with his wife not to go out on the town gallavanting with her face all painted up like some kind of tart. Think about how badly our veterans have been treated after they come back from their tours. Some of them are so shell-shocked they never completely get over it. Our V.A. hospitals are so understaffed it’s a crying shame. . . and by this time you just want to disappear because I got too real too fast I’m sorry.


I was beaming with pride and joy after my stepdad sang. Nothing could curdle this moment. At least not for another three songs because that’s when they started playing an Eagles song. And that, folks, was my cue to leave.


Apparently you can’t have an event with more than fifty white people in the same place without hearing an Eagles song. It must be a law somewhere. Everybody has a peaceful easy feeling except me, because I’m out the door.

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