Culture, History, Music

The Wabash Cannonball–On Relatives and Crazy Hillbillies, if not Much Else

On what would have been Roy Acuff’s 120th birthday (September 15, 2023) here’s his greatest hit, from 1936.  A much-loved family favorite, one which I’ve lost count of the live performances of which (by so many others) I’ve viewed over the years:

When it comes to “Crazy Tennesseans” I can’t help noticing that many in the United States who share my maiden name (fairly rare, the way it is spelled), come from the Ozark regions of Tennessee and Missouri.

Decades ago (when the “internet” was text-based, and before much of the world-wide-web had come into existence), I looked up as many possible relatives on this side of the pond as I could find, and sent them all snail-mail postcards, asking if they thought we might share a common ancestor.  Many of them responded with what they knew of their family history.  A few of them became years’-long correspondents until–most likely–they passed away.

I’ve still got the records, and the lists, all of which I keep in a spreadsheet that began in a long-forgotten program called Intuit (not the tax-accounting software) from a company called Noumenon, which I then moved to Lotus 1-2-3, and which is now in Excel.  (That’s how bloody old I am.)  Generation X-Y-Z-ers take note: You could save a lot of time with your fiddling around with the mouse if only you knew the Lotus keyboard shortcuts, almost all of which Excel still recognizes.  I don’t forget.)

As I approach my dotage, and before my own “earthly race is over,” I wonder if a pilgrimage to those parts of the country might be in order.  Who knows what I might find out, for better or for worse?  At the very least, I foresee an interesting, experience.  And not all that frightening a one.

Because even as a (legally registered) foreigner, I seem to have a robust set of Constitutional rights.  What an adventure it might be!


And Happy 120th Birthday to the (once and future) King of Country Music

Acuff in 1950

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