One Saturday I went downtown to the Hall of Fame to see a series called Poets and Prophets. They bring in famous song-writers and feature them in a lecture, and then offer a question and answer type format. The writer they were featuring on this day had written over twelve hundred songs; eighty of them have made the charts. He wrote what many feel is the greatest country song ever written. This particular song has been played more times on the radio than any country song in history. Even people with a limited knowledge of country music often recognize this song, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” It is a George Jones classic.
During the session he was asked, “What is your favorite song that you have written?” Most folks would think he would have picked his most popular song; and remember he has written over twelve hundred songs and the “greatest’ song in country music. His answer was most interesting. “My favorite song that I have written was never a hit and never made the charts: most people haven’t heard it and don’t even know about it.” He played and sang his song; the title of the song, “The Nerve.”
The audience understood his fondness for the song after hearing him sing and play it. It is a tribute to the people he had known, many family members, who, at various times in their lives, had acted in heroic ways, had “the nerve” to do things most or many would not. He noted in his lyrics that if they had not “had the nerve” his life may not have happened, or would have certainly been much different. Have you ever thought about your own life and what might have been if the people you’ve known had not “had the nerve”?
As I sat and listened to him, a number of people from my life crossed my mind. I thought about an unwed, pregnant teenage mother in 1942 (mine) and the choices she made. Or another couple who chose to adopt that child (me) and make a life for him. Had they not had “the nerve,” I have no idea what might have happened to me. You?
Crying in the Wilderness--Robert E. Hooper
September 21, 2009