The Gift

Howdy My Western Hearts! I hope you are having a wonderful spring day and celebrating Earth Day. Let’s saddle up and I will share with you a story of a gift I received long, long ago.

Aside from my family, there has not been too many things in my life that I have followed and loved through out my life…except horses and Willie Nelson. I can truly say I have been a fan of his since I was 11 years old, I remember the time in my life when I was introduced to Willie, and the person that introduced him to me.

So here’s a little history a lot of people don’t know about me. At age 11, I lost my mom very suddenly and without warning. She was literally gone in less than a day. As a result, I was tossed to my dad, who at that time, had been busy with work and other things in his life. My mom was my world, as for most 11 year old girls. I loved my daddy, but he was not mom. To say it  was an adjustment for us both would be an understatement. He didn’t have the first idea how to raise a child, let alone a little girl. We didn’t have the same language as a mother and daughter, we didn’t share a lot in common.

One day my dad and I were driving home, I was in the back of his 1975 bright orange Chevy Blazer. I remember him saying, “hey Lis, check this out, I just got this 8 track today, the guy is called Willie Nelson” The album was The Red Headed Stranger, I still have it today, just not in 8 track form. I was immediately hooked on the lyrics, sounds and stories that generated from that album. Who was this guy? I immediately loved him. My dad went on to explain he was an “Out Law” in the country music world, he was breaking rules in Nashville and doing things his way,  I can see why my dad liked him. For me,  I couldn’t stop listening to the music but something more important happened that day, my father and I finally had something together, something to share,  a bond.  A bond that would last forever for he and I. We would talk about Willie Share albums, what ever, it got us talking. My father was not a huge gift giver, but one thing he did give to me was a trilogy of Willie Nelson song’s. On the inside cover it says “Fortunately we are not in control” -Willie Nelson. I still try and remember those words when things aren’t going my way…

After my dad passed in 2002, I continued to listen to Willie and see him in concert, his music has brought me so much comfort during difficult times in my life as well as good times. When my father passed away I was in charge of the music, naturally Willie Nelson was first and foremost, a fitting tribute to an awesome man, my father.

Back in 2004 I got a hold of some Willie tickets at the fabulous Santa Barbara Bowl, my girl friend and I took and drive and I had a night I will never forget. My friend was a mom that never got out, so for her this was a big night! We planted ourselves way up in the land of the lost, had a few beers, smelled some good stuff and listened to Willie beneath the stars. What a night! How could it get better? Right…well…

My will little cowgirl friend says, “come on, were’re going to the front”. What? What was she talking about, she takes off towards the front of the stage, I had to follow right? Before we knew it we were right there in the front and then…the concert ended. Big sign. I stood there looking at the back of Willie as he carried Trigger off the stage. Then it happened, it got better! Willie turned around and headed back on stage, he walked right up to me and shook my hand. Was I dreaming, did I smoke some weed? LOL No, it was him.  I could see the time warn lines on his face, the kind gentle smile that only Willie has, that glint of mischief in his eye and the long red braids. His hand shake was firm and strong, his hands were calloused from playing guitar but at the same time gentle.

I shook his hand and just stood there. My friend screamed, “Willie just shook your hand!!!” I was in shock to say the least.

Living in California, from time to time you see “Stars” but I could care less, it doesn’t mean a thing to me but Willie, that was a different deal. I was truly amazed that he walked up to me. If I didn’t know better…I would say my dad had something to do with it, but who knows, but I wouldn’t put it past him where ever he is.

Today happens to be Willie’s birthday, and I had wrote this post over a year ago but felt strongly that I needed to get it done today on Willie’s birthday, I needed to share the “gift” that he gave my dad and I. Now I know he will never read this and I am sure there a many, many other people that have special stories and memories of Willie but today I needed to write this down.

I snapped this shot a few years ago, I don’t make any money on this blog so I am gonna add it…IMG_20140405_210817_016

So where ever you are Willie, I hope you birthday is filled with special gifts and love

One of your biggest fans! Thanks for the gift!

Until next time my friends,  happy healthy trails! Leave a comment if you like, would love to hear your thoughts




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  1. Mary Ann

    Lisa, this is so beautiful it made me cry. What an amazing story you have told us. Thank you so much for sharing. I loved it.

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Aw Mary Ann, I am so glad you were able to read this, thank you for taking the time to do so. Love your denim skirts and cute dolls!

  2. Annie James

    Howdy Girlfriend! What a touching tribute to Willie and your dad, two awesome men! Can hardly wait to see you in Montana this summer, until next time happy trails

  3. Music is known to bring people together, Lisa, and I have tears writing this but its such a lovely post reading how Willie created the common platform for you and your Dad to start talking a common language and bridging the void that losing your Mom had created. Thank you for sharing your story. A Big God Bless.

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thank you Vatsala, sorry for the tears but I had to share this story. I am so pleased that you were able to read it. God Bless you too!

  4. What a special story, and how fantastic that you met him! Bruce Springsteen has been my fave since about 8 or 9, and that would be a dream come true. I’ll bet your dad had something to do with that. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thank you Kim, I hope you get to meet Bruce one day

  5. An amazing beautiful tribute to Willie, your Dad, Mom and yourself. You are quite a gal, that is all I got to say.

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thank you Roz for the kind words and for stopping by

  6. What a wonderful tribute to a man who gave you so much. Aside from loving his music, the special bond his talent gave you and your Dad, during such a hard time, was truly heartwarming. I’m so happy you got to meet him and shake his hand. 🙂

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thank you Tamuria, yes it was quite a thrill to meet someone so dear, thanks for stopping by

  7. Beautiful story, Lisa! And a wonderful tribute to father-daughter relationships, which can be strained as yours was before you had “Willie” as your bond, or they can be, “I want to marry my dad”, kind of relationships. It’s so wonderful when we share something with someone we love and how music is often at the heart of what brings us together! I can really relate to your experiences and music has always been such a key part of my life too. I write a lot about it in my book and my “chance” encounters with Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates. Thanks for sharing your love of Willie with us all, and somehow that energy that you experience and put out into the world, has to be felt out there in Willie’s world too. Cherish your memories and your love for your father and for Willie Nelson. It was a great gift for you, indeed!

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thank you Beverley for your beautiful words and enjoying the post. I am glad I was able to write this and share these memories.

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