Monday, December 21, 2009


Django's 8 Days of Christmas, part four

My best friend in elementary school was a kid whose grandfather and father were both members of the Grand Ole Opry (Google "Texas Troubadour" and you'll fig're out what family I'm talkin' about). There were many, many Friday and Saturday nights when my buddy and I ran wild backstage at the Opry - exploring nooks and crannies that not many people get to see - while we waited for his dad to finish his set.

I got to meet many of the great ones during those runnin'-wild adventures, including Roy Acuff, Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, the Wilburn Brothers, and Bill Monroe. My favorite of the bunch, however, was Grandpa Jones. Every time he saw my friend and me passing his dressing room, he'd call us the Katzenjammer Kids and invite us in. (Neither of us, of course, had the slightest clue as to what a Katzenjammer Kid was.)

We were backstage one night when Grandpa Jones recited his famous "Christmas Guest" poem onstage. Neither my friend nor I witnessed the performance, but we watched a dozen or so different folks come up to Grandpa Jones and tell him how they enjoyed his poem. One lady in particular, with tears in her eyes, told ol' Grandpa that she wished her recently deceased husband could've been there to hear it. That stuck with me.

It would be another five or six years before I actually heard "The Christmas Guest," but I immediately understood why that lady had tears in her eyes. Ever since, this has been one of my favorite things 'bout Christmas:

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