Cotton. Pumpkins. Football. Tornadoes. Chainsaw massacres? Music. No, this isn’t the list of Majors at Texas Tech University, but it’s certainly close.
My career as a cotton farmer ended at the age of 12 when I almost killed my spray rig passenger by driving him into a telephone pole. In my defense, he was not a nice boy. Floydada, Texas : the Pumpkin Capitol of the USA! My pumpkin harvesting career lasted about 30 minutes. Which is long enough to realize that pumpkins are heavy, and cutting vines is hard. I was also 8 years old. At the age of 14, in spite of my best efforts to be the next Jim Kelly, I knew I was way too scrawny, accident prone, and female to star in the NFL. Ok, I know what you’re thinking … a Bills fan? In TEXAS?! Blasphemy!! Yes, I know. You have no idea of the tortures and torments I have faced throughout my life as a displaced fan. But, that’s another story for another time.
So, in west Texas the wind blows. And blows. And blows. All. The. Time. And then, there are tornadoes. My high school mascot was the “Whirlwind” for goodness sakes! It wasn’t unreal to go to bed and wake up the next morning with a tractor in front of your house … correction, a tractor in the tree in front of your house. When I was 18 I watched a cluster of 7 tornadoes surround our area and touch town over a 2 hour time span. Crazy? … Unbelievable. The first one was coming down as my father and I were speeding down the dirt road to my grandparent’s storm cellar. Talk about adrenaline!! Holy Cow! I actually had a whimsical thought of being a storm chaser. Then I had a flash of reality when I remembered that, (1) I suck at chemistry … and biology … and physics … (2) What good does it do me if I can out run a tornado if I can’t out run my mother … because she would kill me. And, just like that my storm chaser career was over before it began.
Chainsaw massacre-ing just seemed like a lot of manual labor, and I’m just not into that. BUT, just for clarification … No matter what you’ve read on the internet. No matter what you’ve seen on TV or in the movies. No matter what your friend who’s “totally into this kind of thing” and knows allll about it has told you … Leatherface does NOT exist. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre NEVER happened. Complete fiction derived from the mind of Toby Hooper and parts of the life of Ed Gein. That is all.
Alright, let’s re-cap. Cotton farmer? Too risky. Pumpkin farmer? Too dirty. Football star? Too manly. Tornado Chaser? Fat chance. Chainsaw Massacre-er? Too massacre-ery. What we have left is the route that so many people from my little farming area have chosen and succeeded in with an astounding fury. Get yer umbrellas out folks, ‘cuz it’s about to start raining names. This is the incontrovertible impact having nothing else to do when you’re growing up can have on the music business : Don Williams, Jimmy Dean, Bob Wills, Waylon Jennings, Buddy Holly, Bobby Keys (whom I will share a story about later), Natalie Maines, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Mac Davis, Delbert McClinton, Roy Orbison, Jesse “Guitar” Taylor, Larry Gatlin, Susan Gibson, Pat Green, and … uh … George W. Bush? … Ok, maybe not that last one, but the others? Ohhhhh yeahhh! (That’s a top of the noggin list, btw. If I’ve forgotten anyone, I’m so sorry! Please, feel free to add names …) It make one ponder the question, “What is in the WATER out there?” Well, other than an extremely high amount of fluoride, it’s just your standard Ogallala Aquifer water supply. It’s a good thing we had guitars instead of meth labs, eh? All that fluoride would have gone to waste!