Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 109/365 One and Only

Or....why Southerners wallow in their sorrow.

It's because we're good at it. And it accomplishes a great deal, as far as making sadness a little more tolerable. Plus, we're surrounded by country music, which encourages wallowing.

The house above stands in Lexington, Virginia, and it is the childhood home of Patsy Cline, or as my Uncle Tom use to say Miss Patsy Cline, as if it was a holy mantra. Uncle Tom owned a succession of landboats, also known as Cadillacs, or moving couches, with every convenience known to man included. Not the least of which was the technological height of sound innovation: the eight track tape player.

The only tapes he allowed in his prize Cadillac were recordings by Miss Patsy Cline, and he announced each tape with a smile: "This is Miss Patsy Cline." As a teenager of the late Sixties/early Seventies, I could think of any number of additional artists he could add to his collection, but somehow, the moment Patsy's voice came out of those speakers, I completely agreed - she was the one and only.

No matter how many times Crazy or Walkin' After Midnight is played, Patsy still pulls the listener up and into the song, making them so depressed they just want to die, but then tempering it with commiseration, finally bottoming out and pulling on through it.

Like every good country song, the sadness is what makes the songs slightly sweeter. And sometimes you just need that sadness, because, well, because misery loves company, and if you're in that much pain, and Patsy is too - maybe you'll both be okay after a bit.

Patsy was destined to die in a plane crash in March, 1963, making her my uncle's "John Lennon" memory. Up through the 1980's, I was still out scouring flea markets for any obscure 8-tracks of Patsy that he might not have.

Yes, 23 years after she died, Patsy was still the one and only allowed in the Caddy.


  1. Love your blog...came here from PeeDubs...

    Found the post on Ed Gein...I did a report on him in high MN of course...

  2. I just absolutely love reading your blog and hearing your stories. I look forward to every new post. :)