Hugh Waddell

On December 6, 2011, in , by Jody Ewing

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Friends & Family Remember Johnny Cash

By Jody Ewing
April 28, 2005

Photo by Marty Stuart — Courtesy Clementvision
This photo of Jack Clement and Johnny Cash appears in “I Still Miss Someone” next to the poem “My Friend, The Famous Person,” that Clement wrote and read at Johnny’s funeral.

Most people knew him as “The Man in Black.” Many called him an icon, a true American treasure. Some called him by his given birth name – J.R. – but to those who loved with and laughed with and knew Johnny Cash best, he simply was known as “John.”

In a career that spanned six decades, the legendary singer touched millions of lives worldwide with his powerful, larger-than-life presence and unforgettable songs that mirrored the human condition. He could joke and sing about a boy named Sue and then go straight to a performance with the Boston Pops Orchestra.

One and one-half years following his death on Sept. 12, 2003 at age 71, he remains the only entertainer besides Elvis Presley to be enshrined in both the Country Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

In “I Still Miss Someone: Friends and Family Remember Johnny Cash,” compiled by Johnny’s former publicist and personal aide, Hugh Waddell, more than 40 people from a broad spectrum of Cash’s life share their favorite stories and remembrances of the man who walked the line. With hundreds of illuminating photographs – many never published before – and a bevy of Johnny’s handwritten notes, backstage passes, and other personal paraphernalia, the book contains chapters written by his children John Carter Cash, Cindy Cash and Tara Cash Schwoebel, grandson Dustin Tittle and siblings Tommy Cash and Joanne Cash Yates.

The roster also includes recollections by Cash’s early bandmates W.S. Holland and Bob Wootten, his longtime booking agent Lou Robin, country music icons Johnny Western and “Cowboy” Jack Clement, and the late Merle Kilgore, who passed away in Mexico Feb. 6 while undergoing lung cancer treatment. Kilgore co-wrote Cash’s 1963 hit song “Ring of Fire” with Cash’s then-future wife June Carter and also served as best man at the couple’s wedding.

Weekender writer Jody Ewing caught up with TV veteran and author Hugh Waddell — for what he said is his first ever interview given to a newspaper — as well as three of the Man in Black’s closest friends and his No. 1 local fan.

Johnny Cash and Hugh WaddellPhoto by Mark Seliger, Rolling Stone Magazine
“He incited people, and inspired people, to rise to their occasion,” author Hugh Waddell says of Cash. Read Hugh’s story behind the photo.
“An Amazing Time”

“We receive many gifts during the course of our lives, not just on birthdays or at Christmas, and not all are wrapped,” Hugh Waddell states in the book’s introduction, setting the tone for the recurring theme consistent throughout the chapters – all of which begin with the contributor’s name, their hometown, state and shoe size.

“The publisher said we needed some italicized thing to say who these people are, and I said no, all I want is their hometown and their shoe size,” Waddell said in a telephone interview from Joelton, Tenn. “’Their shoe size?’ he said, and I said ‘yeah, because John Cash always said that everybody has itchy feet and some scratch more than others.’ That was his way of saying he wanted to travel.”

Waddell – whose family has been connected with the Cash family for more than 30 years – spent eight years with Johnny as publicist, logistics manager, personal aide and part-time drummer, and said he decided to compile the book after reading only celebrity testimonials after John’s death.

“They were marvelous, but I knew there were a lot of people like myself that loved John, that knew John, that had angles and stories to tell that no reporter would know they even existed,” he said.

Billy and Ruth Bell Graham – who wrote the tribute’s foreword – are the only well-known celebrities in the book and Waddell wanted them included for several reasons.

“One, because Billy Graham was probably John Cash’s closest friend,” he says. “John wrote that, and there’s a letter about that I put in the front just to reinforce how much John loved Dr. Graham. When they did the CMT televised tribute, Dr. Graham was left out. To me, there is no tribute to Johnny Cash without a Billy Graham.”

W.S. Holland first met Johnny Cash in 1955 at Sun Records studio in Memphis while drumming with Carl Perkins during a recording session. The future Man in Black stopped by that day, and he and his bandmates, bass player Marshall Grant and guitarist Luther Perkins, later bonded with Holland. In 1960, W.S. joined Johnny Cash and “The Tennessee Two” became “The Tennessee Three.” Holland, whom Cash dubbed “Father of the Drums,” remained Cash’s drummer until 1997 when Johnny retired due to illness.

“To have met him in 1955 and worked with him until ’97, you know, it was just unreal,” Holland said in a phone interview from his home in Jackson, Tenn. “I look back at it and it seems like it lasted about 30 days. It was just an amazing time.”

That amazing time translated into scores of national hits: In 1956, “I Walk the Line” was a top country hit for 44 weeks and sold over a million copies; the 1960 single “Ride This Train” won a gold record, as did the 1963 album “Ring of Fire” and the 1968 LP “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.” Cash received 11 Grammy awards over the course of his career.

Johnny Cash at Folsom PrisonPhoto by Jim Marshall
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, 1968
“He was a visionary.”

“He incited people, and inspired people, to rise to their occasion,” says Waddell, who currently drives a special ed school bus for metro Nashville schools, works for the Tennessee Titans during the football season and still plays drums. “He was a visionary.”

In his chapter, Waddell writes about the late “Mama Cash,” whom he calls a dear friend to his own late grandmother, Marie Comer. When Waddell’s mother passed away in 1987, Johnny and June insisted he join them on the road to soften his grief at home. Shortly after they completed their tour, John asked the outspoken Waddell to work for the couple advancing their concerts. John quickly became a mentor and close friend, leaving Waddell and other employees unencumbered to do what they did best.

When Waddell’s father passed away in 1996, John sang at the funeral and once again was there for him.

“I don’t think that, deep down, John really knew how much it meant to me – I mean, just gut, heart, deep as a soul can go – his respect for my mother, and also for my father when my father passed away,” he said. “There are very few people in our lives that care about us enough to get in our face and make it obvious how much they want to share your sorrow and lighten your burden. If we can count five people like that we’re lucky, and John Cash is one of those people for me.”

Holland remembers when Waddell first approached him about the idea for the tribute book. “I said, ‘That will be the best book anybody’s ever put together,’ and I think it is,” he said. “It’s not a thing about Johnny Cash; it’s about what friends and family thought of Johnny Cash, and to me, it’s just the best thing that’s happened.”

Holland will join up with the legendary stage band’s lead guitarist Bob Wootten for a Johnny Cash band reunion concert in July during “CashBash 2005” – a fan-based, grassroots celebration of the 50th anniversary of Cash’s first Sun Studios recordings in Memphis, Tenn.

“Cowboy” Jack Clement, who first met Johnny Cash in 1956 while working for Sun Records, stayed close friends with Cash throughout his life, playing guitar with him on some sessions just two weeks before Cash died.

“He was a real gentleman,” said Clement in an interview from his native Nashville. “He never got jaded like a lot of people do, and he never slighted his fans. He always had respect for his fans and treated them with respect.”

In 1991, Clement wrote a poem for Cash entitled “My Friend, The Famous Person,” which he read at Johnny’s funeral and included in his chapter. He writes in the poem, “It takes a good man to take success and not misplace his soul.”

This Giant of a Man

Before she became his personal hairdresser, Penni Lane says she didn’t really know or understand the magnitude of the man Johnny Cash. She knew two things however: he was a stallion on stage and had a bit of mystery about his presence.

During the time she traveled with him from 1969 – 1973 and then worked for him for special events through the early 80s, she began to understand.

“I think the mystery was that his presence could create such an awesome feeling that you would feel from other people and from the audience that they had about him when he walked on stage,” Penni said from her home in Nashville.

As his hairdresser, Lane also discovered how important Johnny’s appearance was to him, though it had nothing to do with egotistical vanity.

“It was a caring about himself and his presence that he had always had,” she said. “It was a thing where he was in the superstardom years, and the press was there all the time. I mean, they were waiting all the time.”

The press were not the only ones waiting. Council Bluffs, Iowa native Dennis Devine, Sr. heard Johnny Cash’s “Cry, Cry, Cry” in 1955 and knew he had to meet the singer in person someday. He got his chance in 1960 when Cash performed in Omaha, Neb., at the old Paramount Theatre. When Devine – along with his brother and a friend – discovered the show had been sold out, the ticket office allowed them to stand to the side of the stage for the same $5 price.

Between 1960 and 1996, Devine attended more than 125 shows – including three in Council Bluffs where he gave the introduction – and has taken more than 4,000 pictures of Cash and his entourage, many of which appear in Waddell’s book and author Peggy Knight’s books on the Cash and Carter families. Devine proudly wears his title “The World’s #1 Johnny Cash Fan,” and has one of only two fan-written chapters in Waddell’s book.

“I can still remember John’s last words to me and mine to him,” says Devine. “It was at June’s funeral, and when I left the podium, John said to me, ‘Thank you, Dennis,’ and I said to him, ‘I love you.’”

Lane says she owes to Johnny Cash many joys she otherwise never may have known, and misses the fact that his presence is not alive in our world now. “He is a piece of American musical history, and I was making history with this giant of a man,” she says.

Cowboy Jack Clement, echoing the thoughts of friends, family and fans alike, says he misses Johnny’s fantastic sense of humor.

“I still miss him,” he says. “I still miss someone. Him.”

“I Still Miss Someone” is available at
as well as other online sites and in area bookstores.
Cover of I Still Miss Someone



On November 20, 2011, in , by Jody Ewing

Feature Stories and Other Articles

Here you’ll find links to some of my feature stories and other articles. Many of these were first published in the Sioux City Journal or the Weekender. As time allows, I hope to eventually scan other favorites from newsprint copy and include them here as well.
Defining a Good Man

Hope Thelander and Gov. Bill Richardson

In short excerpts from her book-in-progress “Kids, Dogs and Democrats Running Wild: Campaigning for Sanity in Iowa,” Jody talks about what led up to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s visit to her mother’s home in September 2007. Yes, Gov. Richardson was a presidential candidate at the time, but this private no-press-allowed visit had more to do with one woman’s story and two men who never had the chance to meet than it did with shoring up voter support.


Homecoming: Jim Brickman’s Annual Holiday Concert 2007

Jody and her family are once again off to see composer and bestselling recording artist Jim Brickman perform with guests during this year’s Homecoming holiday concert.

A Conversation with Jim Brickman

Jody talks with composer and platinum-selling recording artist Jim Brickman about his music and Holiday Concert Tour.

Bridging Cultural Gaps Through Music: A Talk with Brulé’s Paul LaRoche

Adopted at birth off the Lower Brule Sioux Indian Reservation, Paul LaRoche discovered his Lakota heritage in 1993 after the death of both adoptive parents. The discovery of his true heritage greatly affected LaRoche, who turned his powerful feelings to humanitarian causes through music and later was selected as a musical ambassador and speaker for the the UN Peace Conference.


West Monona studentsMemorial Courtyard, Amphitheater Celebrates Late Student’s Life

Students and faculty at West Monona High School in Onawa, Iowa will never forget Andrew “Big A” Merritt. When the 17-year-old died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident, his parents orchestrated a befitting tribute.


Restoration Captures Grandeur of Orpheum Theatre

Sparkling crystal chandeliers hang elegantly in the lobby, cherub and swan sconces populate the walls, and the newly restored auditorium boasts a gold-leafed, hand-glazed ceiling and brilliant chandelier; it’s a bit like stepping back in time.

Akron Opera House Sets Stage for 100th Anniversary

As the Akron, Iowa, Opera house gears up for its 100th anniversary, community theatre board members are busy with preparations for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

Blencoe Builds New Home for Fire Department

On Christmas Eve in 1998, the Blencoe Volunteer Fire Department faced a disaster. A train with the Union Pacific Railroad derailed at 6 a.m., overturning an anhydrous tank and spewing out 40,000 gallons of anhydrous. Nearly five years later, they faced another type of crisis.

After 26-Year Hiatus, Morningside Wrestlers Head to NAIA Championships

Morningside College’s first-year head wrestling coach Tim Jager takes six first-year wrestlers to 48th Annual NAIA championships.


Baby robin hatching from eggUnexpected Art: Finding Beauty Every Day

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” wrote the 19th-century author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford in her novel “Molly Bawn.” More than 100 years after her death, the obscure romance writer’s words still ring true.




Restoring a treasure: Onawa craftsman helps rebuild organ for return to Orpheum Theatre

Once home to symphony performances and hosted by entertainers such as Fred Astaire and Katherine Hepburn, the Orpheum had become a one-story movie house with a projection booth carved into the former mezzanine balcony. There’d been no place – and no use – for the $60,000 Wurlitzer organ that for years had provided silent movie sound effects.

A Call to Serve: Today’s Fire Fighters

A day in the life with Sioux City, Iowa’s, Fire Station No. 3.

I Found it on eBay

Lee Holmes, a Vietnam veteran who spent 20 years with the Marine Corps, currently is using eBay to build a World War II collection of wartime memorabilia. He helps chart your course from search to sale.

Jim Brickman’s 2008 Holiday Homecoming Concert Live in Omaha

The warmth and intimacy of Jim Brickman’s holiday concerts have been compared to a gathering of friends and family – a special homecoming – that resonates with the true spirit of Christmas.

Navy Lt. Shane Osborn to honor ‘Heroes of Siouxland’ nominees and winners at American Red Cross Fundraiser

When relief funds for the Siouxland-based American Red Cross began to dwindle, public relations and financial development director Richard “Doc” Zortman knew he needed to call on a hero. The former Navy journalist and photographer had the perfect candidate in mind to help coordinate the planned two-day event.

Inside Iraq: Filmmaker chronicles Iraqis’, U.S. soldiers’ lives

Mike Shiley – photographer, filmmaker and free-lance journalist – spent two months in Iraq chronicling the lives of the Iraqi people and U.S. soldiers at the height of the conflict while on assignment for ABC News. His 80-minute film highlights the challenges, opportunities and inside lives in a visual – and visceral – behind-the-scenes journey.

Salinger’s Holden Caulfield Turns 50

As a rebellious teenager in “The Catcher in the Rye,” Holden Caulfield professes: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”

First Lady promotes literacy, community with reading project

When the University of Iowa Center for the Book formed a committee of people to choose a book that all of Iowa would read, they had a few conditions. They were looking for a book by a midwestern author — not necessarily an Iowan — and they wanted an author that people hadn’t heard about or hadn’t read before. It had to be a book that could be read by a range of people, from all walks of life, and from ages of middle school on up.

They found their perfect read in Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River, a novel that celebrates family, faith and America’s spirit.

Returning to ‘NAM

With conflict and war comes change, and Western Iowa Tech’s former Job Training Partners director Dennis Wolf has seen firsthand the horrors of war as well as thevalue of change. The Le Mars, Iowa, native Wolf – who served as a combat infantry soldier with the Army’s 4th Infantry Division from 1969-70 – journeyed to the country of a conflict that took more than 100,000 lives. It was the first time Wolf had set foot in Vietnam in more than 33 years.

Siouxland Sports Legend Al Buckingham

Coach Al Buckingham’s career spanned more than 60 years, and included stints at Morningside College, with the NAIA and with the Olympics.

Read-in Chain Pays Tribute to Black Writers

The Harlem Renaissance led to a flourishing of literature in the 1920s, with James Weldon Johnson editing “The Book of American Negro Poetry” in 1922. The book included works by Langston Hughes, one of the era’s most recognized writers who went on to publish “The Weary Blues” in 1926 and “Not Without Laughter” in 1930.

BookCrossing Combines Serendipity, Adventure

Some call it fate. Some call it karma. Whatever you want to call it, it’s that remarkable chain of events that occurs between two or more lives and one piece of literature. It also is the premise behind, an online site where members register books and release them “into the wild,” then follow the books’ journeys and the lives they happen to touch.


Forty Days and Forty Nights: Navy Corpsman scribes details of Iraqi War

” … I saw a faint outline of a person standing next to one of the smaller buildings, and, my hands on the trigger, yelled something like “Freeze!” but he disappeared with only a sidestep. I heard him call for the dog, and when a pickup passed by, the headlights showed a young boy — who couldn’t have been more than 10 — holding that dog …

.. I’d almost blasted a young boy the very first night of the war.”


9-11 Books Serve as Reminders, Help Heal

Nowhere more than in a bookstore is the message clearer: Americans will not forget 9-11. As the first anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, we look back through the pages of a year marked with sadness and hope, heroism and loss.

Monona County Leads Iowa in Graying Population Trend

Monona County is the only Iowa county to have more people over age 65 than under 17. Population experts report that many rural Iowa counties could possess the same demographic characteristics in a few years. Monona County leaders address the issue in a two-part series.

Education, Economic Development Key in Battle for Young People

In less than a quarter-century, the West Monona Community School District has seen its enrollment drop from 1,100 students to 714. Though West Monona’s enrollment over the years has decreased 36 percent, no programs or co-curricular activities have been cut. In fact, the school has been adding.

Banned Books Week Celebrates 20th Year

People and groups of all persuasions, for all sorts of reasons, have attempted throughout history to suppress anything that conflicts with or anyone who disagrees with their own beliefs.


Johnny Cash and Hugh Waddell

Friends and Family Remember Johnny Cash

Most people knew him as “The Man in Black.” Many called him an icon, a true American treasure. Some called him by his given birth name – J.R. – but to those who loved and laughed with and knew Johnny Cash best, he was simply known as “John.”

“We receive many gifts during the course of our lives, not just on birthdays or at Christmas, and not all are wrapped,” Hugh Waddell states in his tribute book to his longtime family friend, John Cash.

In addition to Hugh, Weekender writer Jody Ewing also talks to “Cowboy” Jack Clement, W.S. Holland, and others who worked with and were closest to the late Cash.

Home were triple homicide occurredHorror of Triple Murder Lingers 30 Years Later
— the case that kindled a commitment

The first in my Sioux City, IA, cold case series — the 1974 triple slaying of two young men and a pregnant woman shot execution style in the home they shared — was published by the Weekender in May 2004 and set the stage for the Iowa Cold Cases website I launched the following year.

The site now includes information on hundreds of unsolved homicides and missing persons cases all across Iowa. In an unexpected twist of fate, my stepfather, Earl Thelander, was killed in 2007; his case also remains unsolved.


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Hugh’s story behind the photos

On December 1, 2005, in Authors, Entertainment, by Jody Ewing
Johnny Cash and Hugh WaddellPhoto by Mark Seliger, Rolling Stone Magazine
Johnny Cash and Hugh Waddell

As some of you may or may not have noticed, I changed a couple of photo credits on my Johnny Cash/Hugh Waddell story. Though the photos had been provided to me by Cumberland Publishing for use with the article, they formerly did not state who’d taken the photos. That’s now included, and Hugh even provided some background info on the stories behind the photos. (Again, with permission to reprint!)

Here’s what author Hugh Waddell had to say about them:

I love your website. Change it to JODYROCKS.COM. It is so cool. AND how nice to see the article we did. Oh, at the article page, how about those photo credits? Can you change ’em? The one of John and myself was made by Mark Seliger for Rolling Stone Magazine at Red Rocks just outside of Vegas in 1993 (actually during a shoot for Stone and he was burning off a few left over frames on a roll of film).

Rolling Stone Mark sent me a portrait-sized copy of that picture, as I not only set up the photo shoot, I also found the Winchester lever-action rifle our cowboy Johnny is holding, by calling the non-emergency phone of the Las Vegas PD at 2 AM, and asking them to dispatch out over the radio, did any cops on duty have a rifle in their collection for use at 6AM for a Rolling Stone/Johnny Cash photo shoot. (By 9 AM it gets over 100 degrees in the desert, so you have to shoot early – the photos, not the gun.) I got 4 calls from cops within thirty minutes and they all met at the Hilton by giving our bus (Johnny’s bus he called JC Unit One – yup, it said so on the side rear) a police escort to the photo shoot location.

We were originally going to shoot at the theatre stage at the Hilton where John was appearing, but that would have been too – how shall we put it – too Wayne Newton.

The other shot is by Jim Marshall, who also did the famous “Johnny Cash giving the finger” photo. This was a promotional photo that Columbia Records put on a post card and used to promote the Folsom “live” album. That photo, of course, was shot at Folsom Prison in ’69. He (Jim Marshall) signed a print of this to me back in ’88 and I used it in the book.

Hugh also went on to tell me about some great bargains he was finding on QVC at 2 a.m. and some especially good deals last night on The Home Shopping Channel, but, alas, I don’t want to embarrass Johnny Cash’s former road manager by telling the whole world what he really finds entertaining at 2 a.m.

(See there, Hugh? I don’t print everything on my blog. :-)

Jody (who hasn’t yet checked to see if is available)

Update: Did I say Johnny Cash Rocks?

On November 30, 2005, in Authors, Entertainment, by Jody Ewing

Okay, since I received such a nice e-mail from Hugh Waddell today, and because it’s the last day of November, I thought I’d take another peek at my website stats so I could give him an update on how many people visited my site to read the article on his book, “I Still Miss Someone: Friends & Family Remember Johnny Cash.”

As I mentioned in my previous post, nearly a thousand visited that particular page last month, but I honestly didn’t except that number to quadruple in just one month. Yes, more than 4,200 people visited that individual URL to read about Hugh’s book on Johnny Cash, with 900+ viewing the image of the Man in Black at Folsom Prison.

Did I mention Hugh has compiled one terrific book? And what a superb job Cumberland Publishing does with creating some very beautiful books? And now, after having interviewed Earl Hamner and James (Jim) Person, who wrote Earl’s bio “From Walton’s Mountain to Tomorrow,” I’m really looking forward to working with the folks at Cumberland Publishing again. Stay tuned for more updates on the terrific interview with Earl and Jim.

Goodnight, John-Boy.


Johnny Cash Rocks (My!) Website

On November 19, 2005, in Authors, Entertainment, by Jody Ewing

Okay, so I’ll admit that in the year and one month since I’ve had my official website up, I’m still learning when it comes to deciphering all those webpage stats such as Total Unique Sites, Total Unique Referrers, Total Unique User Agents and the like, but the one statistic I have gotten to know well is Total Hits per specific web page — and that’s not counting my own visits (which, with all due respect to the articles I’ve written, is something I don’t need to do. Hey, I wrote it. I don’t need to re-read my own articles or see if they’re still there).

So, in light of the fact I’m doing another Johnny Cash story (there’s the film, you know, the documentaries and the books and all that juicy chatter about The Oscars), I decided to check my website stats. (I differentiate here between my personal website and the Weekender website, where most of my articles have their first online run after print, thus stats to which I don’t have access.) I didn’t question interest in the Man in Black or how sexy Joaquin Phoenix would be saying “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” — of course there’s interest in that, what with “Walk the Line” and all — but to see if there’d been any interest showing up on my website for one of my recent articles on Cash. (Heck, isn’t every journalist writing about J.C. right now?) But did they visit my site? Did they read my article on Hugh’s book?

(With a big gulp here) — SURPRISE!! And a big Thank You to Hugh Waddell, author of “I Still Miss Someone,” Hugh’s brilliant, insightful, heart-tugging and fabulous tribute book to J.C. with more than 40 individual tribute chapters from some of “John’s” closest friends. (If you were a close friend, you’d know why it’s John and not Johnny. And if because I call him J.C. it gives away I wasn’t a close [sniffle] personal friend, so what?)

I mean, we’re talking tributes by Cash’s daughter Cindy Cash, his son John Carter Cash, Luther Fleaner, W.S. Holland, Merle Kilgore, Lou Robin, Bob Wootton, his #1 fan Dennis Devine (from Iowa, yeah!) and many more, and that’s not even counting the beautifully written forward by the Rev. Billy Graham and his wife Ruth.

Okay, so the big question: did they or didn’t they? Well, I may not be the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune, but for a year-old website still in its infancy, I didn’t think 941 hits to Hugh’s story — in October alone — was too shabby. And here it is, only Nov. 19, and already 1446 hits for November! And these were just to the story on Hugh’s book, not counting the hits to the J.C. images that accompanied the story. (Special thanks here to Michelle Brown at Cumberland Publishing.)

(Between you and me, I think I’m developing a close relationship with Cumberland — on Monday I’ll be interviewing Earl Hamner, Jr. [yes – The Waltons‘ Earl Hamner, Jr.] as well as James Person, author of the new bio, “Earl Hamner: From Walton’s Mountain to Tomorrow” — and yes, also published by Cumberland.)

Like I said, I’m not USA Today or People Magazine, but the highest number of hits I’d had before in any one month for one specific story were within the 300-mark, so to have over 1440 hits in less than a month just to read that one article is truly a big deal to me. And (in case you haven’t guessed) Hugh’s book is a big deal to me; it’s simply phenomenal, and Nope — I’m not receiving a dime for promoting it here. It’s just one of those must-have books if you’re a Johnny Cash fan. Or, if you’re not and know someone who is, I think you know your way to and also know the number of days until Christmas…

Oh, and when you leave your review on, make sure to include your shoe size and hometown. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Parting thoughts (solicitations?): on Nov. 24, be sure to check back and read my article (under my Author Interviews) on Peggy Knight’s three books on Johnny and June and Mother Maybelle, as well as comments on the film. You Cash fans know who Peggy is. I’ll also have more JC photos and some “Devine” comments from Johnny’s #1 fan.

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