It’s Never Too Late To Become A Fan(atic)

I literally had my whole entire life to stalk him.  He grew up in Abbott, Texas spitting distance from my dad’s home town (Forreston, Texas) and was cresting the height of fame when I was in utero. 

But I didn’t pay one iota of attention to Willie Nelson because I fucking hated his music. I hated almost all country music, making exceptions only for Dolly Parton, and later in college, I made discreet one-off exceptions (like if country song was playing when I made out with a cute Sigma Chi– see Moon Over Georgia).  My dad always had his tapes around– I remember him singing “Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over,” when he was trying to get us kids to bed.  It worked, because the song was so lame it made my ears burn so I crawled into bed to SHUT MY DAD UP. 

When I got older, I appreciated Willie’s Farm Aid efforts to raise money for the disappearing American family farm, but I was busy with INXS’s Calling All Nations Tour and memorizing the cast of We Are The World.

Picture #43 of 189 that Outlaw Mama's Mama took during a Willie concert in Texas

Picture #43 of 189 that Outlaw Mama’s Mama took during a Willie concert in Texas

My family members were always on the bandwagon.  One of them has seen Willie in concert more than I have seen the inside of my local Costco.  I get Shutterfly photo albums from my parents that are nothing but pictures of Willie on stage in his signature red bandana.  Sure, it was amusing to see my mother’s 400 pictures of the Red-headed Stranger, but it was nothing to get all ablaze about.

But, then something happened.

Maybe I was ripe for an obsession or it was some nostalgic reflex occasioned by my recent milestone birthday.  No doubt there are Oedipal-Freudian connections that aren’t appropriate for this family friendly blog.  But I’ve caught Willie fever.  And it’s bad. 

I first saw him last October and since then I’ve practically bankrupted my discretionary budget downloading his music. (He’s recorded over 250 albums so I was screwed from the start.)  I’ve read 2.5 biographies about him, 3 chapters of his autobiography, and have conceptualized a novel based on a portion of his life that I find fascinating.  I can’t get through a conversation without bringing him up.   Last night I dreamed he was playing at a casino in Joliet but I missed it.  I woke up tear-stained and clinically depressed.

As a joke Jeff will say, “Name a few facts about Willie Nelson,” and I’ll rattle them off like some savant tot on the Ellen Degeneres show.   But I’m not a tot. I’m a grown ass woman.

And Mr. Nelson started recording back in 1958 (when he was 25 years old), but genius fan over here didn’t bother to become a fan(atic) until he turned 79. My timing is impeccable like that.

To sum up: Now I am stalking an 80-year-old pothead.  It feels really good to be someone my kids can look up to.  I check his website everyday to see where he is and wonder if his daughter Paula has made him eggs yet or if he’s gone on his run.  Is he playing golf?  How many tokes today? Will he ever do an acoustic tour– just him, his guitar, Trigger, and a stool? I joined the fan club so I can get “breaking” news.  I’ve spent therapy time talking about my deep regret that I came to this so late– “He’s 80 years old! How many more concerts could I possibly see? Why didn’t I start sooner? Why did I ignore his genius until now?”

God bless my family who has to live through this with me.  Ever patient with my little enthusiasms, Jeff made me this birthday cake:

Happy Birthday, Outlaw Mama!

Happy Birthday, Outlaw Mama!

That’s love, people.  My love for Willie, Jeff’s love for me and an obsession I can’t shake, that should have started decades ago.

I find refuge in Uncle Willie’s lyrics:

“Time will take care of itself so leave time alone / And pick up the tempo just a little and take it on home.”


34 thoughts on “It’s Never Too Late To Become A Fan(atic)

  1. That cake may be love, but it is also kind of creepy, in a “I can’t un-see that!” kind of way. But that was so sweet of Jeff.
    Instead of worrying about coming to Willie so late, think of what would have happened if you only discovered him once he was dead. Appreciate the opportunities you have had to see him in concert.

    • You’re right. And he may live another 10 years so there’s that. Or more. And there is a creep factor to the cake– I can’t put my finger on it, but I sure did put my mouth on it. Hmmm. Cake.

      On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 10:49 AM, Outlaw Mama

  2. I think passions are important, and it’s fine as long as you’re not creepy-stalking him, and I haven’t heard you mention anything that remotely resembles that. Look at the passions you’ve developed for your life in general – writing, your family, lots of stuff. As a wise woman I know says, how I do anything is how I do everything. I say embrace it!

    • Well that’s true. It’s not like I am leaving my family to follow his tour bus, but if the kids were a little older, I’d consider it. Passions that don’t hurt other people are fair game. I like that! And it got me a very excellent birthday cake!

      On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 10:56 AM, Outlaw Mama

  3. hahahaha oh man. not the same, but I have a similar obsession with Bryan Adams. like I said, not the same cuz Bryan is a wee younger. 😉 but I bring him up cuz Bryan’s tours the past several years include him and a guitar and maybe a piano/pianist. it’s AMAZING to see them perform so raw.

    • Exactly. I love that you just copped to a Bryan Adams obsession. “Finding it hard to believe, we’re in heaven.” He’s got an awesome voice. Very recognizable like a certain outlaw country artist I know…

      On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 11:03 AM, Outlaw Mama

  4. Hahaha! This cracked me up. I saw Willie at the original Farm Aid concert where I was a lot more interested in John Cougar Mellencamp. Music is a powerful thing. If it’s wrong to love an 80-yr old pothead who likes running & eggs, then I don’t want to be right. Also I hope you posted that cake on his fan page.

  5. Embrace it while you can! I will forever regret that I passed up a chance to see Harry Chapin in concert because I didn’t have anyone to go with, and then it was too late.

    • I am working on that now. Trying to see the legends and going for it before it’s too late. Harry Chapin…that would have been so excellent.

      On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 12:33 PM, Outlaw Mama

  6. I love country music…It’s the only legacy that I took from those years I spent in Jacksonville in high school. Willie Nelson has never been a favorite of mine, but maybe it’s time to jump on the bandwagon.

    • I can’t explain it and his sound is completely unique and singular so I get how regular country fans have missed him. Some day I’ll have to learn more about your country music collection.

  7. That cake is priceless! I hope this one gets FP’d cause it’s a perfect ode to fandom! Pot-head or not, I can think of worse people to be obsessed with – he’s a genius! Like you!

  8. Well, this was hilarious. At least the 80 year old pothead that you love is Willie Nelson and not Mr Lowenstein across the road from my house. Ive never been a WN fan, but im a Waylon Jennings fan, and that Luchenbach, Texas is one of my faves. Hubs just sang Pancho and Lefty at karaoke last weekend, too. as for that cake……hells yes. I thought it was some random dude from the sex offender list……but cut that bitch up. yum.

  9. “I’m now stalking an 80 year old pot head.” I am laughing so hard that coffee is coming out of my nostrils. Blame it on the 40 thing. I think that’s when Barry Manilow started sounding “really good” to me!

  10. Willie always makes me think of singing “On the Road Again,” along with Willie, on road trips when I was a kid. We were so creative. Better late than never on your crush!

  11. For some reason, I think Willie is best appreciated from a more mature point-of-view. I never liked him when I was younger, and now I am a fan. But, decidedly, not as big a fan as you, my dear! That cake…oh, that cake!!! Hilarious. You should tweet a pic of it to him & see if he responds. Wait, are 80 year olds allowed to use twitter??

    • I think his daughter handles his social media. I will be sending her a pic of that cake. And maybe you’re right…I needed some maturity and life experience to appreciate Willie.

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