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Old 12-31-2008, 06:39 PM
Location: Nebraska
4,527 posts, read 7,748,617 times
Reputation: 7463


A few weeks ago I heard from the Son of an old friend. His Father had passed away during the summer and since I had moved several times in the past twenty years it had taken him a few months to track me down to let me know. Bill (the Father) and I had made several trips together when I was in the trucking business hauling heavy equipment. On one trip from Arizona to Pennsylvania we were hauling a big Cat scraper. Bill had the power unit and I had the pan and push motor. These loads were High, wide and heavy so we had to abide by permit curfews. We were trying to make it to Nashville, Tennessee for the weekend so we could go Honky Tonking over the weekend. We made it just in time for the Friday evening curfew. The ladies we had hired as escorts lived in Paducah, KY and they let us use one of their cars while they drove home for the weekend in the other. So we were set for a good weekend.

Friday night we called a couple ladies Bill knew and we hit the downtown Honky Tonks and had a great time. In a Honky Tonk owned by Earnest Tubbs a young guy had sang a few sets and he was passing the hat around. Bill asked him to sit down and have a beer with us, which he did. Bill told him he was going to give him a hundred dollars BUT he was going to give it to him in the form of 20 checks for five dollars each. This picqued the young singers curiosity, and mine too! Bill explained it to the young singer. He told him that he had one of the best voices he had ever heard, on that I agreed, and Bill was certain he would have a fantastic career in country music. He then told the guy that someday when he was a huge success he would have 20 canceled checks, with his signature, for $5 each that would probably be worth hundreds of dollars. The young singer laughed and said he hoped that Bill could get thousands for them some day. I was pissed that I didn't have my checkbook so I just forked over a twenty dollar bill to the hat.

Fast forward 30 some years. I told Bill's Son the story about the checks and asked him if he knew about them. He told me yes as a matter of fact he did. His Dad had them plastered all over one of the walls in his office. He said there were hundreds of them. Evidently Bill was a huge fan of new talent in the Country Music business. His Son said that any time his Dad had friends over for a meal or a drink he would show them his collection of canceled checks. Pat, Bill's son said that his Mother thought he was crazy for throwing all that money away. However by the 1980's , when a few of the signers of these canceled checks were famous she changed her tune.

Pat said his father had made arrangements with a friend in Nashville, that was involved in CW music memorabilia, to handle his collection for his estate. Pat said when the friend came over to go through the collection he was amazed at just how many of the names on those checks were of those that went on to be a force in the music business. He agreed to handle the collection for a small percentage. When Pat asked the friend how much he thought the collection would be worth he told him it would probably buy a new Peterbilt with enough change left to fill the tanks.

I had to laugh when I heard this story because in a couple phone conversations I overheard of Bill talking to his then girlfriend he would tell her he was just going to the Honky Tonks to check out the talent, not to chase skirts. I guess he was telling the truth.
R.I.P. Bill.

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