I often offer my services to my students in class to sing in their weddings which are some years down the line. Although I have preached a number of these nuptials, no one has accepted the singing part. Being silly, I sometimes break out the chorus of I Will Always Love You. It's a terrific song....and there is connection with my dad who died eleven years ago. The following is from October 31, 2007.
They're laying Porter Wagoner to rest this week in Nashville, Tennessee. The country music legend who died three days ago of lung cancer at the age of eighty was a staple on the Grand Ole Opry, as well as his own Porter Wagoner Show. The first time I remember hearing about him had nothing to do with country music. Grandpa Chesshir, my mother's father, used to tease my dad of being a dead ringer for Porter Wagoner. Dad, as good natured a soul as you could find, hated it...which is probably why Grandpa kept bringing it up. I never saw much of a resemblance myself but it was funny to see Dad irritated just a little bit.
As I read the story of Porter Wagoner's life on The Tennessean website, I found he had released an album recently, produced by current star, Marty Stuart. There is talk he might even receive a Grammy nomination for his latest- and last- effort. I also was reminded of his four decade association with his former duet partner, Dolly Parton. Wagoner had hired the unknown Parton in the 1960's to perform on his television show and the alliance boosted the careers of both. But I also discovered another side of their relationship. Porter and Dolly had a very bitter split in the 1970's as they went their separate ways professionally. In tribute to her friend and mentor, Dolly penned and recorded I Will Always Love You, a song which made it to the #1 spot on the country charts. Almost two decades later, Whitney Houston remade the country ballad into a pop classic, selling twelve million copies, the most ever for a female vocalist. It's the most beautiful song, and most beautifully done song, that I think I have ever heard. All those years of listening to it had convinced me that it was simply another romantic love song, although an almost flawless one. The fact that the pain in the lyrics came from the dissolution of a close friendship makes it even more poignant to me. Proverbs 27:10 gives a terrific description of friendship that can survive a lifetime of anger and arguments:
"Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother's house when disaster strikes you- better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away."
When Porter Wagoner passed away on Sunday, Dolly Parton was, with his biological family, at his side. I don't know if the funeral has been finalized to the last detail but I can guess one song that might be heard during the service. If so, I will venture to say there will be few dry eyes as Dolly dedicates one last number to her old friend, Porter Wagoner. I think Grandpa Chesshir would have approved.
Applicable quote of the day:
"I'm not offended by dumb blonde jokes because I know that I'm not dumb. I also know I'm not blonde."
To watch and listen to Dolly sing I Will ALways Love You, copy and paste the link below!
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