"I'm an American by birth and a TEXAN by the GRACE OF GOD."
Was a time I used that little "icebreaker" every time someone would ask me from where I was from. (I can't end a sentence with a preposition...thank you Miss JONES, senior English teacher at ODESSA HIGH SCHOOL).
On that awful day when "religious whackos" flew airplanes into buildings, on 9/11, the TEXAN BY THE GRACE OF GOD, business was put in mothballs...PERMANENTLY!! (still glad I'm a TEXAN).
The world had forever changed. It was now much too flip, and to my way of thinking, IN ONE FELL, AIRPLANES CRASHING INTO BUILDINGS SWOOP, UN-AMERICAN to be a TEXAN by the GRACE OF GOD. "FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA", a great "SEA-CHANGE" swept over this great land and we AMERICANS remembered, for we had all once known, that there were more important things than THE DALLAS COWBOYS or THE L. A. LAKERS, or THE NEW YORK YANKEES or my beloved TEXAS LONGHORNS and HOUSTON COUGARS, or a myriad of other "fillers" that were not as important as they once seemed. (No disrespect intended to the players on those teams, but, well, you know what I mean.)
As a direct result of that awful day in New York, Americans started taking stock of their lives, their priorities... their core beliefs.
I decided to take time for some quiet (hard to imagine me being quiet...HUH?) reflection...I decided to take a closer look at the way I looked at the world. I think it was THOREAU (it was either THOREAU or WILLIE NELSON) who said "The unexamined life is not worth the living"...so I decided to take Mr. THOREU'S or WILLIE'S, advise and examine LARRY WAYNE GATLIN'S life, to see if it was "WORTH THE LIVING."
(A couple of old dead brain cells just came alive temporarily and I remember, probably not for long, that it was SOCRATES who came up with the "NOT WORTH THE LIVING" business, at his heresy trial...just before those "WISER HEADS" in positions of power, prevailed and gave old "SOC" the HEMLOCK NIGHTCAP..., sounds sorta like some "wiser heads in positions of power in D. C....that subject is for another time...
Back to my "quiet reflection situation". SOME NOT SO PRETTY STUFF came to light during that little trip "down memory lane."
I know in my heart that I am a caring, compassionate person, but I had become too busy with my own STUFF...career, $$$, golf, even some family "things", to be "in touch" with some other STUFF, like the real reason that I was, ENDOWED BY MY CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, THAT AMONG THEM ARE LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, IN THE FIRST PLACE...I HAD FORGOTTEN MY "CALLING," MY MISSION, MY REASON FOR BEING.. AND THAT IS, TO ENTERTAIN and UPLIFT MY FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS.
You see, I was having some problems myself, PROBLEMS MOSTLY OF MY OWN MAKING.
My problems were a little bit different than most people's, but they were real problems nonetheless....records that did not sell, agents who booked us in Florida one night and Oregon the next, bad press, bad reviews, and , worst of all, a lot of people showing up at our shows, dressed as empty seats...
In other words, SOME FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS figured out that they could live without us...not all at once and not all together, but, it was not pretty.
So, I decided to dive into PERUVIAN MARCHING POWDER and TWICE MASHED POTATOES...flake cocaine and vodka.
I thought it was cute and clever to say idiotic things like, "WELL, EVEN COLUMBIAN DRUG LORD'S CHILDREN HAVE TO EAT". WHAT A "BOZO". Yes, I admit it. I WAS A "BOZO."
Where is all of this going you may ask. Well, I'll tell you. After spending 28 days in "jammies" at the CARE UNIT of ORANGE COUNTY, and after taking to heart what DR. JOE PURSCH, and other good folks told me, I stopped being a "BOZO" (most of the time at least) and resumed my rightful place in society...a good ole' boy from TEXAS, just trying to ENTERTAIN AND UPLIFT MY FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS, and trying TO MAKE UP FOR SOME OF THE "BOZO- LIKE" THINGS I HAD DONE....UNDER THE INFLUENCE.
I decided to be a better husband to my wife, JANIS, a better dad to my kids, KRISTIN and JOSH, a better brother to STEVE, RUDY, and LA DONNA, a better son to MOM and DAD, and I think, ALMOST as important, A BETTER FRIEND TO THE WORLD...beginning with this GREAT LAND OF OURS, AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL..."FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA"...I made a conscious decision to, once again, FALL IN LOVE WITH MY COUNTRY, UNCONDITIONALLY, WARTS AND ALL, AND BEGIN A PRACTICE OF THANKING GOD FOR MY BLESSINGS,EVERYDAY...
Yes, I am one of the other kind of "religious whackos" who believe that we are ENDOWED BY OUR CREATOR etc (see paragraph just above the BOZO STUFF).
I can hear GOD ( not literally, but in my minds ear) saying, "ENOUGH ALREADY!! GET TO THE PART ABOUT ME...THE PART ABOUT THANKING ME FOR YOUR BLESSINGS...STOP WITH THE RAMBLIN (yes in this case, I think GOD would leave the G off of rambling'...I don't think MISS JONES WOULD HAVE ANY PROBLEM WITH THAT).
SO, WHAT ABOUT THE "BLESSINGS STUFF"? DEAR "BIG GUY IN THE SKY" and DEAR NEW FRIENDS WHO READ FOXNEWS.COM, I HAVE SO MANY BLESSING, and I so many more RAMBLINS THAT I WANT TO LAY ON YA, THAT WE WILL NEED TO GET TOGETHER AGAIN NEXT WEEK FOR RAMBLINS 2.
I hope you are saying to yourself, SHUCKS LARRY. DONT KEEP US IN SUSPENSE.. How does all of this turn out? (DEAR "BIG GUY IN THE SKY", I KNOW THAT YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW IT TURNS OUT...I WISH I DID).
COME BACK NEXT WEEK AND WE WILL FIND OUT TOGETHER. BY THE WAY, WHOEVER AND WHEREVER YOU ARE, "FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA", THE FACT THAT YOU TAKE TIME TO LOVE OR HATE THESE "RAMBLINS"?...
THANKS. I WILL TRY TO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME...
SO UNTIL NEXT WEEK, BLESSINGS TO YOU!!
BYE-BYE FOR NOW,
LARRY WAYNE GATLIN
Larry Gatlin is a musician. His commentary appears weekly in the Fox Forum.
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Larry Gatlin is a country music singer and songwriter.