Happy 80th Birthday Willie !!!

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Do you ever wonder what makes Willie Nelson keep working the road? First of all, I don’t think there is any reason anyone should quit what they do just because of age. If you can still pull it off and people want you to do it, then keep on going! I like Willie’s quote “All I do is play music and play golf, which one do you want me to quit?”.
I’ve heard the media say “what does he have left to prove?” “why would he want to stay out there on the road?”. I’d say — you know nothing about Willie Nelson.

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After penning 60’s country classics like “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Hello Walls”, “Nightlife”, and the most played jukebox song of all time “Crazy”, the world finally, in the mid 1970’s, began to hear what Nashville people had heard for years; the genius of Willie Nelson as an artist. 1975 brought us “Red Headed Stranger”, which in the early 1990’s, Paul Simon said he still listens to once a week, and the smash “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”. Someone in Willie’s road crew once said “We went out for a 6 week run and never came back”. 38 years later Willie is still on the road. Small clubs in no name towns to the most exclusive concert halls of the world, it doesn’t matter to him. His 1978 release “Stardust” stayed on Billboards top 100 albums for over 10 years!! While the numbers are amazing its the spirit that rings true.

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So back to the earlier questions. After millions of records sold, every major award in the world on his mantle, money in the bank, even after his little tangle with the IRS, why does he keep doing it? I’d venture to say it has always been about the connection to people. He may use the word “Fan”, but I don’t think he sees his listeners that way. I think he needs us as much as we need him. It’s an exchange of energy, of life’s blood, if you will.

The Willie Nelson concert isn’t only about “Whiskey River” and “On The Road Again”, it is also about a spiritual exchange. An exchange of love and karma. It’s a ministry, you might say,one of truth, openness and love for everyone, no one is excluded, no one! It’s just what Willie does and we are the healthier for it.

Maybe in the end it’s closer to the line from the movie “Songwriter”, “I did it for the love but I wasn’t above the money !!! Happy Birthday to a world treasure !

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From Minnesota to Martin Luther King

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I hear it all the time. I have even been known to say it. For generations it has been echoed. It is mostly said by older folks. Maybe they feel left behind. The world moves faster and at some point we all can feel a little out of the loop. It seems that when our frustrations rise we default to those dang kids ! The youth have lost their mind ! All they do is XCVT#$%, spend all their time #DT%^*(!!!!
Is the world going to hell in a handbasket? Have morals declined, reverence declined, manners gone by the wayside? I have a friend that is frustrated my our hometown of Pensacola. This could be any town USA. He always says “Pensacola isn’t like it used to be”. Of course it isn’t and it never has been. When was its golden age? When was it ideal? We tend to hold that belief of when we were in our prime and we thought we had this ole world by its tail and we had nothing else to do but swing it around !! For us it was in the 80’s ! I’m sure my Father would say it was in the 60’s and my Grandfather would have found Pensacola to be the best in the 50’s ! I’m just saying every generation sees the world from its own perspective.
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I recently hosted a group of high school students and chaperones at my house for supper and a campfire. These 9 students from Minnesota Chose to spend their Spring Break, not at the beach or wherever folks from Minnestoa go, but of all things to embark on a Civil rights tour of the South ! I know, crazy right?! These kids sat around our fire sharing rich, life changing experiences from this once n a lifetime journey.
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They shared stories from Memphis, Jackson TN, Montgomery and Birmingham. They shared their refelcetions with such passion and richness. Teenagers in 2013 from Minnesota trying their best to wrap their minds around what will never be fully understood by any one person. Complexities so overwhelming and so countless. For any and everyone living through those days, there is a story. There is an angle and perspective.

Man has always done terrible things to man. We can look at all stages of history from Biblical times, to treatment of Native Americans to Civil Rights as well as human rights concerning the Gay community. It is sad that we can't find a connection in our differences. That some have chose to respond to the differences with hate and violence.

If we are all children of the same Creator, I fail to understand it totally. But that is coming from a 53 year old person. I don’t think I was always seeing it the way I do now. I am thankful to have remaied open to letting myself evolve and to listen to the voices of the gentle, bridge building world. I believe those are the voices of the Creator, the Master of Breath. It was especially in those voices of each and every one of those wonderful students who have chosen a different path. I was honored to have you.

Thanks not only to the students and chaperones, but to Paul Jeager the trip organizer for leading the charge and bringing these young lives on the journey from Minnesota to Martin Luther King. From interest to engagement. From heart to healing.