Happy birthday, daddy!
I'm so lucky and thankful that both my parents are alive. They're really the coolest people on the planet, even though they are rock-ribbed Republican Baptists, the type that get ridiculed mercilessly in some places as being either stupid or out of touch or ignorant.
But my folks are anything but that. They are kind, smart and generous to a fault, and if they're ignorant about anything, we have a saying in the South. Ignorance can be fixed. Stupid can't.
Generally, since they know I'm a progressive Democrat, we avoid discussing politics, especially in this heated climate where everyone seems to desperate to be putting Hate on whoever they're running against, especially if they're behind (hint, hint).
What I know about my folks is that if anyone needs them, they'll be there instantly. Recently, when the hurricane blew through, my daddy, who is in late 70s, was driving back and forth every night from this damaged senior center to a town many miles away in order to transport people needing help. He's that kind of guy. He'll do anything for anybody.
I wrote, in my song "Preacher and the Nurse," that he's my hero and that I could never in a million years be the kind of man he is. I'm just glad he and my mom are still around.
Right now, with yet another stock market plunge, I think a lot of "Depression era" folks are going to be teaching us about how neighborhoods, communities of faith and others will have to relearn how to band together and support each other -- cuz help ain't gonna come from politics.
Our little church in Buna, Texas was filled with poor folks, most of whom worked rotating shifts at the noxious paper mill down the road. I learned first hand, back there, that we only have each other if we're going to survive hard times. Buna was living hard times already even without stock market crashes or full-out depressions.
And it was my daddy, Brother Neil, who was right there for anyone who needed him, including the four boys stomping around his house.
Happy birthday, old man. And thank you for being the man you are.