Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.
Dave Was a Good Friend of Mine
as well as thousands. I will only use Dave's real name due to my personal respect for him will I refer to his real last name. And as for "Hiram" Hank Williams, Sr., everyone world-wide should know this last Country Music super-star's background and those who were touched by his natural talents of singing and writing music and song.
Hank Williams birth: Sept. 1923 in a rural l Alabama farming area circa 70 miles out of Montgomery. Williams' father worked as a railroad engineer who was also suffered shell shock fighting a short year in France in 1918 during World War I and he spent many years in veterans hospitals. If there is an early sign that Hank Sr., was destined for glory and fame, it escapes me.
Williams, for those who knew him, never turned down a handshake or request for an autograph. He was sincerely warm and his fans picked up on that trait. This could explain why his fame was so meteoric. All in all, it is believed that Hank never claimed to "just" long for fame and money, but his main dream was singing at The Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, TN., The Opry as all know was more of a Country Music singer's cathedral on 2804 Opryland Drive. If a singer hungered for fame and notoriety, they had to shake a few famous people's hands just to be given a "shot" on the Friday or Saturday shows at the Opry and if the hungry singer was enduring enough and suffered enough, he would go on to have a successful career in Country Music.
Where Does This Have to Do With Dave
and just who the devil is this Dave and what does Dave have to do with, in my opinion, to the greatest Country Music icon EVER, the heralded Hank Williams, Sr,? Well, I could write about Williams and his victories and defeats and his life and wives on and off the stage, but I won't. Williams was, after all, a man. A human with flaws and quirks that we all have, so with all due respect to his fans and son, Hank "Bocephus" Williams, Jr., I am going to talk about my friend, Dave and his chance-"meeting" with Hank Williams, Sr., Dave's hero.
Dave was my buddy as he called me when I was eleven. Even at this young age, I knew little about life or anything else. Gullible would best-describe me. But I loved life and I grew to love Dave, in how he can be described as a big oak tree that lived without any roots. I mean it. Dave, certainly not a pauper, did at one time, have (a) job somewhere near our hometown, but his occupation was not talked about all that much. Dave did talk briefly about working in the coal mines in Walker County, Alabama at a time when coal mining was considered "mule work," done by brute hands and backs and little or no machinery to speak of as the coal was dug out of the prosperous mines of that day.
This was cool with me. I had developed some sort of hero worship with Dave. One exploit he shared was during a time of days off at (a) Christmas time he and a few cronnies snatched a few blocks (or sticks) of dynamite to shoot in the woods near his home in Jasper, Ala., as a way to celebrate Chris mas because there were no fireworks stands for him to purchase these items to celebrate this grand day. Now do not ask me why explosions and Christmas are thought of in a singular sense because frankly I do not know. One thing I can speak of in a certain clarity is I really doubt that there were skyrockets and Roman candles going off at the time when Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary and Joseph in a manager in Bethlehem.
Stories like this are what impressed me. After his stories and then the flimsy jokes which were mildly-profane, he would activate his famous wink that he had in his right eye, smile and slap his leg laughing as my face tuned a blood-red. Now. At this age I could have been scarred for life because of Dave's behavior toward me, but I never let on. I just loved that someone liked me. Dave fit that bill.
Things That Dave Loved
were few. Ripe tomatoes, fresh cornbread, cold water, instant coffee and Hank Williams, Sr., like his preferences or not, these are what helped to make Dave, Dave. Oh, and his frequent love for smoking which he quit in is older years, but not on his own, but the sharp-nagging from his wife, my aunt, Etta, one my dad's older sister who helped Dave to make their marriage work. Do not ask me why or how.
I remember the day when my parents went to where Etta and Dave lived and this was great. More funny stories and watching Dave use is famous wink. Great things to occupy my time at my age. Sure, I was easy to please. Sure, I was easily-entertained, but with Dave, like I said earlier, it was more of a hero-worship than anything else. I never told my dad or mom how much I loved Dave because not all of my dad's family thought that much about Dave. I hate to say this again, but do not ask why.
On this certain visit, I heard a soft noise in a bedroom where Dave and Etta slept. But as I walked slower to inspect, I found him glued to an early phonograph, one of those table-top models, Philco I believe, with an album on the turntable with Hank Williams, Sr., spinning as Dave was using his cracked voice to belt out, "Lovesick Blues," to the top of his lungs. Just Dave, Hank, and his phonograph. All pieces working in unison. Certainly my first-glance of utopia.
Oh, and this is not a promoting for use of tobacco-use, but while Dave was crooning with Hank, he had a lit cigarette in his left hand and hardly putting it to his lips, but he knew that Etta, an early neat freak, would yell at him because he allowed the ashes from his cigarette fall to the linoleum floor of their bedroom. As I grew, I have always thought that he did this on purpose to show Etta that (he) did have a few things that he could control.
People And Things Always Bothered
Dave. Seemingly when he would be sitting down and listening to his one and only singer, Hank Williams, Sr., why? I do not know. Sure, there were many Country Music singers besides Williams in the day, but Dave obviously did not care for them. Just Williams, Sr., and Dave's love for Hank alone because Dave was short on scratch, no. He always had a wallet-packed with greenback. Dave could have been a true blue copy of The Father of Country Music, Jimmie Rodgers, the first crooner who released blues and songs about life on the railroad. It was always a great mystery whether or not that Hank "Hirum" Williams worked a few days on the railroad because at one hiatus from his early career, he used the name, Hank, The Drifter to record on thus not getting into trouble with the record label's name.
Truth be told, I did not know it at the time, but "I" was one of the things who bothered Dave during his love for singing Hank, Sr., the first time and a few more visits that my parents and I made for visits on holidays and just to see how they were doing. I recall vividly the times when Dave would be reacihing the creshenda of one of Williams's gold record songs, Etta or my dad (not me all of the time) would barge into the bedroom and blurt, Dave! I've told you about that Devil stuff, so get out and get the beans picked! Dave's face instantly-went from white to an angry red. But never allowed any profanity to leave his lips. I was sorry for Dave, my buddy at the time for people and things always interrupting his singing with Williams.
I began to notice as I grew that if my buddy, Dave was anything, he was faithful. Not only to Etta, but to Hank, Sr., I cannot could the times when Dave would be sitting near his phonograph playing the same songs by Hank Williams, Sr., singing at the top of his lungs, but never getting to achieve the finish of any of his songs. Dave was a very patient man, if you ask me. And it did not matter that much if he had all but worn-out the groove in his Williams LP with the jacket that had became torn and ragged on the edge. At another visit when I was older and I sat down to listen to Dave once again sitting near his phonograph holding his LP of Hank, singing his heart-out in that sandpaper-edge voice, I then looked and saw a few tears fall from his eyes. Even this moved me and I was in my rebellious, cold-hearted teenage years. Yeah.
Years, Dave and Williams
went by, but not easily. Dave knew and I now knew with Etta, my parents, and whomever was nearby, that if he were to sing his Hank Williams, Sr.'s, songs all the way through, there would be a harsh-scolding laid-up for him. Truth is, it did not bother Dave all that much. It was more of a bit of sacrificial strength that helped Dave be faithful to Hank Williams, Sr.
At the time of Dave's death, he left a nice home, his wife, Etta, a southern gentlewoman, some money, grandchildren, a daughter and son-in-law and his one LP by Hank Williams, Sr., which upon inspection saw the groove in the record used almost through and through and no needle was ever found on the phonograph's tone arm.
Today, Dave is resting in a small rural cemetery near where my wife and I live now. And when stores about Dave surface from his grandkids or friends, the tally of Dave's belongings are always brought to light: his home, car, land, money, clothes, insurance, but there has never been anyone find Dave's one and only LP by his hero, Hank, Sr.
That, my friends, says it all?
November 14, 2020_________________________________________
My Sad And Truthful Summary
Okay. I have always tried to be honest on and off of HubPages. It's only right. But with these few lines, I have to come clean with you. Dave, was his real name, but out of respect for his name, I did not think it was necessary.
I am proud to know that Dave was my uncle. And why I did not use this piece of truth in my hub, that can be easily-explained.
You see? To me, Dave was more of a "buddy" to me than my uncle. And I might be wrong, but I think he would approve.
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© 2020 Kenneth Avery
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 15, 2020:
I enjoyed learning about your uncle Dave and his love of Hank Williams, Sr. Yes, I think that he would approve of you sharing your admiration of him with others.
Ann Carr from SW England on November 15, 2020:
An interesting memory and tribute to your uncle. It's great to share our fond memories, therapeutic for the teller and entertaining for the reader.