I am delighted to report that contrary to what I said in my previous blog, Leon Russell IS NOT DEAD! I know I must have read somewhere that he was, but he only LOOKS dead. Yes, he is alive and well because I listened to him play and sing tonight (See pix in right hand column under “Abilene”). The top acts today were Leon Russell, Tommy Alverson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, with Robert Earl Keene closing the show. I didn’t stay for Robert Earl because I saw him at a show a few months ago in Crocket, TX, plus I had been sitting out there from 2:00 PM until almost 10:00 PM. It was a long day but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Today was Vietnam Veterans Day, but I think the only people that knew that were Vietnam Vets. However, I did have four young men come up to me today at the music fest and thank me for my service (I was wearing a Vietnam Veteran ball cap). I have never had more than one, possibly two, people do that in one day before. One of the four was a disabled veteran. As I walked by him he shouted, “HEY!” at me. When I turned around he got up from his chair, took my hand in both of his, shook it and thanked me for my service. He, a disabled veteran, was thanking ME! I was at a loss for words and we just stood there hand in hand for a few seconds that seemed like minutes. There was an unspoken understanding between us and I felt a surge of emotions and thought I was going to start crying. I was finally able to say, “Welcome home, brother.” If you weren’t there, you probably wouldn’t understand. It was an unpopular war and we weren’t welcomed home like the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. When I got home I went back to work at the same job I had when I was drafted. Nobody really acknowledged where I had been. I may as well have been on vacation. I didn’t talk about it and tried to put it all behind me but for the past few years I have been trying to remember as much of it as I can. Didn’t mean to get maudlin but I got a little side-tracked.
We will head back home tomorrow.