Turning 56: Out of My Comfort Zone - Soapbox Jr.
Through the years, dad would usually write a soapbox around his birthday and reflecting on his life, so as I try to keep his legacy alive, I started writing a similar piece for my birthday, but as it often happens, it turns out very differently than it began.
I don’t have anywhere near as many trips around the sun as dad did, and I don’t have 80+ years of wisdom to impart, so I thought I’d just talk about a few things that have been happening recently.
The past almost 10 months have been challenging, which is obvious. I’m still trying to figure out how to keep a company going long term without the focal point, but the Lord – for better or worse – endowed me with a considerable amount of stubbornness, so I’m still determined to forge ahead.
Part of that forging ahead is developing new ideas, and thinking outside the box. For example, dad’s daily words of wisdom book, “Let’s All Make The Day Count,” has been a success and is currently in its third printing. When the book deal was originally signed, there was an option for an audiobook, which would have been read by dad, as he did with his autobiography, “Never Look at the Empty Seats.”
Originally his touring schedule kept recording the audiobook off the front burner, and – obviously - now that is an impossibility.
I understood that HarperCollins Christian Publishing was looking for someone to read the audiobook, but they couldn’t find anyone they really thought worked.
So, thinking outside the box, I remembered that dad had recorded the Bible a few years ago which unfortunately got shelved because of copyright issues.
Some things you have to learn the hard way.
We were using a 1984 NIV translation and knew very little about translation copyrights. This was a labor of love for dad, and something he really wanted to do.
Well, it turns out that the entity that owns the NIV copyright was no longer signing off on the 1984 translation because they were now onto a newer translation released in 2011.
So, in my “outside the box” thinking, I thought that maybe we could use some of the Scripture that dad had read would work for the daily scripture sections of each days reading. But unfortunately, that didn’t work because dad had only recorded the New Testament, and a lot of the scriptures are from Proverbs and Psalms, and in translations I’ve never even heard of before… What’s the MEV?
So, that didn’t work, but Chris Wormer, one of dad’s guitar players, and also engineered the audiobook recording of dad’s autobiography said something that would have knocked my hat off, if I had been wearing one.
He said, “You should do it.”
Once I picked up my jaw, Chris convinced me to give it a try.
Let me be clear, I am not much of a public speaker and I don’t think I’ve got a great voice, and I don’t sound like my dad, but we did a test with the first three readings. I felt I was rushing the story of dad’s barn burning down and about to hang it up, but when I got to the latter part of the story about finding a stud colt from our bloodline that we thought had been lost in the fire, it just seemed to click.
I could feel myself getting into a cadence and rhythm that dad would when I’ve heard him tell stories in the past. And to my surprise, it kinda worked.
So last week I recorded 50 daily readings and an introduction on Wednesday and the other 50 on Thursday. I don’t think I’ve ever been as tongue tied as I was those two days.
So, it’s not dad, but it’s not as horrible as I thought it might be. We will keep you informed as to when it will be available.
I’ve got some ideas on taking some of the more than one thousand remaining daily “Let’s all make the day count” tweets and combining them with daily prayers that dad also tweeted, combined with words from songs, other writings and supplemented by my own words to make a “Let’s All Make The Day Count” Volume II.
I’ve been working on that a bit here and there.
And I may possibly try to expand on some of my soapbox writings into something bigger.
Plus, I want to make a documentary about dad’s life and career along with many other dream projects, including a musical based on “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
No shortage of ideas here.
And still trying to work out the finer points of marketing steaks and ham. More coming on that very soon.
I also wanted to share something that happened recently at church on a Saturday night.
World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro has a Saturday night service as well as Sunday morning, and this evening, the worship band played “How Great Thou Art.”
Dad performed that song many times and based his arrangement on the one made famous by Elvis. I got back to the car and played dad’s version as I was leaving. I’ve listened to it plenty of times in the past, but it hit me hard this time.
It was his favorite Gospel song, we found the arrangement of it when he performed it at World Outreach one Easter, and it begins the livestream of his funeral.
He always sang it wrong.
The actual lyric says “I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,” but he ALWAYS sang it, “I see the sun, I hear the rolling thunder.” I always meant to correct him, but never did.
As I was listening in the car, all of the emotion I’ve been holding back trying to focus on the tasks at hand came flooding in, and the waterworks started flowing.
With trying to chart a new direction for our business, my prayers have started asking the Lord to bless our business to help honor my father, and to glorify my Heavenly Father.
I still hate the sound of my voice, but I’m getting used to it.
I’m even toying around with the idea of a podcast.
Not sure where any of this will lead, but as long as I try to keep my focus on dad and Jesus, I trust that we will find what works.
And one last thing. Harper Collins is currently trying to reconstruct dad’s reading of the Book of Mark from the four Gospels that he read, painstakingly tweaking things here and there, so that may be available before too long as well. I’ll keep you posted.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police, the peace of Jerusalem and our nation.
God Bless America!
Let's all make the day count.
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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