“If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.”
Billy Joel, musician
Guess who I car pooled with this week?
Yes, I know he passed away in 2002.
By way of “Books on Tape” Waylon told me his life story.
I heard about his friendship with the legendary rock and roller, Buddy Holly. I heard about his problems with drugs and the dark days in Nashville when he was searching for acceptance. I heard about the poverty of his early years and of love lost and love found. He also told me about the cotton fields of Littlefield, Texas.
His whole family had to pull cotton. The work started at four in the morning. It was hot. It was dirty.
It was three-quarters of a mile down the row to get a drink of water. Hunched over, gnats in his eyes, dodging snakes, back aching – he hated it. But it was in that cotton field that Waylon Jennings’s star began to rise.
“You know there is nothing I’ve ever heard in my life as mournful as the whistle of an old freight train in the distance when you’re kneeling down in a field. It sounds like death.
Now I’d be in the cotton patch, dragging a 12 foot sack about half full, kicking dirt clods in there to make it weigh more and I’d hear that lonesome old howl. It goes right through you. I was sure that train was on its way to somewhere and I wasn’t on it. I knew there was a better way somewhere. I didn’t know where, but all I had to do was go looking for it. The last time I was pulling cotton, I was 16. I said, ‘I didn’t plant this shit and I ain’t gonna pull it up no more.’ And I quit. I left that sack right in that field. It may be there to this day as far as I know.” – Waylon Jennings (Time-Warner Audio 1998)
Did success come to Waylon Jennings the same day he left the cotton field?
No, and not the next day either. Leaving that bag lying in the field and walking away was only the beginning. He worked a lot of jobs. He made mistakes. He moved on. He followed his dream. It was not an easy road but he knew it was the right road. In time, his records found their way to the top of the charts. He was a success. He was a star. He was a country music legend.
If you’re happy pulling cotton, shining shoes, or making doughnuts – by all means keep at it.
If you feel there is something else, the world is waiting. Better throw down that cotton sack and get at it.
Listen to your heart.
Find that gift.
Visit me at www.buddybloomwildflower.com