The following day of the concert had each moment packed with
events. I was exhausted after only having four hours of sleep in the past two days (which
gave me a whole new perspective on the life of a performer) but my excitement kept me
going. I wasn't about to miss out on one minute of our time with Narvel, Roy and Donna.
Vince and I had planned to return home that day, but since
Narvel would be there until later in the afternoon, and the hotel wasn't gracious enough
to allow him a few extra hours in his room, we decided to stay another day, at the
prompting of Roy and Donna. We would all spend that morning and afternoon with Narvel then
the four of us would have the rest of the day to spend time together.
We all met for breakfast at 10:00 AM, knowing we had a lot of
ground to cover before Narvel's departure later that afternoon. He had to catch a flight
to be in Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Country Music hall Of Fame Awards.
All they had told him was that it was a black tie affair and his presence was requested. I
was to conduct an interview with Narvel for Eddie Bear's ETC Radio show and I was
petrified about it. Narvel, bless his heart, did all he could to keep me at ease as we ate
our breakfast and discussed how we would conduct the interview. Eddie had basically told
me, "Get the ball rollin' and let him do the talkin'." That was the best advice
he could have given me. I'm not much of a "stage ham" and although I was quite
at ease talking with Narvel, doing so with a microphone put a whole new twist on things.
Roy, being the devoted friend that he is, was all too eager to tease and heckle me, the
stinker, but Narvel was too supportive to allow that to interfere.
Once we were back at the hotel, we went to Narvel's room to help
him inventory his sales of CDs and tapes (which he still does on a notepad with a pencil)
and pack his "Willie Case" which he had used for 40 years to transport his
wares. Roy has threatened many times to buy him a new suitcase, but Narvel retorts,
"Don't waste your money. I won't use it. This bag has been all over the world with
me." It has the duct tape and labels of all the countries it's traveled through to
prove it, too. He said that case means as much to him as Willie's guitar does to ol'
Willie. I have to agree with Narvel, it's a keeper.
We all gathered in my room to get on with our agenda. Vince had
brought his laptop computer so we would be able to show Narvel his sites on the web, the
one by Roy, and the Official site, here, (which Roy had so graciously decided I should
maintain). Narvel has never used any form of communication more modern than a telephone so
he'd never been exposed to a computer, let alone the net. Being a stickler for details, he
didn't allow his enthusiasm to let him overlook even the most minute of details. Donna
kept notes as Vince scrolled through the pages, explaining the concept, and Narvel read
each word, making corrections that were necessary, yet elaborating how wonderful it was.
He had just recently been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame and
Vince followed the link to show him the page done for him on the RHOF site. Donna, Roy and
I were exchanging glances of trepidation, knowing that they had, at Narvel's wishes,
dedicated the page to Bub. He read each word on the page and as he'd finish a section,
he'd let Vince know it was time to scroll to the next section (he wouldn't even touch the
PC). As Vince neared the picture of Bub, he tried to scroll past it, but Narvel wouldn't
allow it. "Back up," he said, "I want to see Bub." Vince scrolled back
and Narvel sat staring at Bub's picture, tears flowing silently down his face. "Bub
always loved Rockabilly and now here he is, in the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame," he said
quietly. "I'm so touched that they put him on there for me." We were all trying
to hold our own as I grabbed some tissues for Narvel. He took a moment to compose himself
then he was ready to continue his journey through the net while every so often mentioning
his pride in Bub's appearance there.
Pleased with everything he'd seen, he was ready to begin our
interview. Ha! I wasn't, but didn't have much choice. I was determined that this could
help regain the recognition that Narvel so richly deserved. As Narvel and I sat at the
small table and I thrashed through my notes, which in my haste had lost the most important
ones, Vince prepared the tape recorder. Then it was on, and so were we. I've never been so
tongue-tied in my life but Narvel took the helm and led me through. The poor man had to do
his own opening, for cryin' out loud, but never faltered. I sat mesmerized, listening to
the story of his life, which I had already come to know pretty well but like any great
story, I was still captivated by it. Pro and gentleman that he is, Narvel even had the
foresight to end the interview for me by thanking me for taking the time to be with him.
Geesh! I felt like such a shmuck, but Narvel was great! How many folks can sit down and
conduct their own interview?!
We all had a good laugh over that and all the other shenanigans
that went on and Narvel commenced to autograph all the special pictures he had brought for
Click on the pic icons to see the full size.
With all the necessities completed, we had some time to take
pictures of each other and before we knew it, the call came in that Narvel's ride to the
airport had arrived. We all walked out with him to see him off and wish him well. I had to
make him wait another moment so I could get a picture of "The Case" then he was
on his way, waving as the car drove off and leaving me with memories I will always
Update June 2009: Donna passed away June 18th, '09.
She will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her.