Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Circle the Wagons: Porter gone at 80

Loved me some Porter Wagoner, the Country Music Hall of Famer who died Sunday at 80. Loved him because I grew up watching him on television, a Country Music Star with his own TV show. I think of Porter Wagoner and think of 'back then,' and that's the main reason why I like him. He looked like a country star. Loved the suits, loved Dolly, loved the way the show was. The same show would seem comical today, very non-tech. But it was a happening deal at the time. "Come on out here and sing one, Dolly..."

And I love the name: Porter Wagoner. It fits.

Some comments from friends since hearing of Porter's passing...

* Now that Porter Wagoner has hit the eternal bar chord, do you think St. Peter will make him adhere to a better dress code?

* First thing Porter hears at the pearly gates: "Mr. Wagoner, sir, you want to turn down the volume on that suit a little?''

* I wonder which suit he was buried in and who picked it out and how they decided...

* Daddy Beene figured in boyhood that all Porter's suits were gray; that's what they looked like on our TVs. In adulthood, we've come to understand the suits were mighty flashy -- he had 50, and some costs $12,000 -- and he had "HI!" stitched in rhinestones on the inside liner so when someone waved he could open his jacket and flash them a big rhinestone "HI!"

Below are the words to mine and Daddy Beene's favorite, more or less, Porter Wagoner song. We sing it sometimes in the newsroom, or what we can remember of it...Enjoy!

Carroll County Accident

Carroll County's pointed out as kind of square
The biggest thing that happens is the county fair,
I guess that's why we thought it such a big event,
What we call the Carroll County accident.

The wreck was on the highway just outside the line,
Walter Browning lost his life and for a time
It seemed that Mary Ellen Jones would surely die,
But she lived long enough for her to testify.

Mary Ellen testified that he flagged her down,
Said he was sick and could she drive him into town,
No one ever doubted what she said was true,
'Cause she was well respected in the county too.

I went down to see the wreck like all the rest,
The broken glass the bloody seats the tangled mess,
But I found something no one else had ever seen,
Behind the dash in Mary's crumpled up machine.

A little match box circled by a rubber band,
And inside the ring from Walter Browning's hand,
It took awhile to figure out just what it meant,
The truth about the Carroll County accident.

By dark of night I dropped the ring into a well,
And took a sacred oath that I would never tell,
The truth about the Carroll County accident,
For the County ordered dad a marble monument,

Yes, I lost him in the Carroll County accident.