Hank: Just for Mama and me

Published 7:28 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Mama loved hillbilly music.

Every morning she would turn on the radio and the first sounds that I would hear would be Mama’s singing, right along with the static and those hillbilly singers.

Her voice would kind of drown out the country music singers and it was her voice that I loved more than theirs.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Daddy didn’t like hillbilly music. Said it sounded like screeching tires and howling cats but Mama would keep singing right along with the “howling.”

“Mama, you ought to be on the radio,” I’d say.

“Oh, I can’t sing. I just love to try,” Mama would laugh and say.

Every Saturday night, we, Mama and me, would get around the radio to listen to the Grand Ole Opry. Daddy would go to bed early on Saturday night. He said all that squawking hurt his ears.

There would be a parade of hillbilly singers — Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, The Carters, Eddy Arnold, and Hank Williams. Mama said Hank Williams was the best of the bunch of them. She said he could say in music what people were feeling in their hearts.

Those were very special times that we shared listing to hillbilly music, Mama and me.

But, it time, Mama stopped turning on the radio in the morning. Life had picked up the pace. Television and soap operas overtook the radio. The first sounds that I heard in the morning were no longer Mama’s singing along with the hillbilly singers.

Recently, Hank Williams’ voice was piped into a country cookin’ restaurant where I was waiting for a table, “I’m so lonesome I could cry,” Hank sang.

Like Mama said, Hank Williams could say in a song what others were feeling in their hearts. I don’t think I’ve heard any sadder words than, “The moon just went behind the clouds to hide its face and cry.” You can’t be any sadder or more lonesome than that.

That’s the way I feel when my heart longs to hear Mama singing with the early morning radio just one more time. 

Hank Williams 100th birthday is being celebrated all across the country this weekend.

I’ll play Hank Williams on my old scratchy phonograph… just for Mama and me.