Boots and Second Heavenly Birthday - Soapbox, Jr.
Last week was extremely busy and emotional. I had planned on writing a soapbox to share on dad’s birthday, but I sped up the timeline on the most recent podcast episode so its release could coincide with dad’s birthday, and then Friday was all about promoting the podcast, and a busy overall weekend kept me from getting this done when I had planned.
But, better late than never.
Wednesday was the first Charlie Daniels Patriot Awards Dinner since dad “changed addresses.” In the weeks leading up to it, I had decided to wear a cowboy hat – Like I did at the last Volunteer Jam – as a tribute to dad, but I haven’t worn cowboy boots in probably 25 years or more.
My calf muscles are freakishly large, and I just stopped wearing them a long time ago because they were so uncomfortable.
Dad had bought these Tecovas boots to wear with a suit before he went home. From time to time dad would wear a suit if he had to go to an event like the Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremonies or performing at a funeral.
His basic boots were a light beige/off-white ostrich. He had gotten a pair of black ones to wear with a suit, but sadly he never got to wear them.
Recently, mom was going through shoes of dad’s and she had these boots, and she wanted me to try them on - even though he wore a size 12 and I usually wear an 11. I decided to humor her, I knew they would be too tight around the calves, but I tried them on anyway.
Sure enough, they were too tight around the calves, and I was going to put them back in the box to let her figure out what to do with them, but mom suggested taking them to Charlie’s Shoe Repair in Lebanon. They were able to split them about an inch and a half in the back and stitch around the split so that it didn’t rip anymore and they didn’t even look butchered like I thought they might.
And best of all, they felt pretty good.
I was able to wear them to the Patriot Awards on Wednesday.
It just felt right.
I’ll never be able to fill his boots, but I can still wear them.
This year the event – which sadly was not held in 2020 for obvious reasons – moved to City Winery and it was bigger than any previous events for The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project.
I was caught off guard when we were on our way to sit down at our table – after I did a couple of quick interviews – when not only did they play a slideshow video of dad’s “My Beautiful America” that I edited several years ago, I was also shocked to see “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by… dad.
Last year when Covid protocols were in full force, NASCAR asked dad to record the singing of our National Anthem. I’m not sure which one it was intended for, and I’m not sure it was ever actually used, but it was a surprise to me, and I have to admit, I got a little misty-eyed.
Awards were presented to MTSU’s Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Families Center, accepted by Gen. Keith Huber (Ret.), Mark “Oz” Geist, one of the survivors of the 9/11/12 Benghazi attacks, Marty and Cindy Daniel from Daniel Defense, and singer Darryl Worley.
Chris Young graciously headlined the event, stepping into dad’s role by being the closing entertainment, and generously made a large donation to the charity which aims to help our veterans adjust to civilian life.
I heard it said more than once that while it felt strange that dad wasn’t there, his presence was definitely felt and filled the room. Dad’s passion for our veterans was on display, and no doubt will help many of those who served our nation and protected our freedom.
The event was held on October 27th, the day before what would have been dad’s 85th, birthday, a “sadiversary,” as those who have been reading my column for the past 16 months will remember.
Of course, mom and I went to the cemetery on a rainy October 28th, I went to dad’s marker for a couple of minutes, but mom stayed inside her car while it was raining.
We were both okay, at least while we were visiting there. We both had busy days which was probably a good thing. Mom had a long lunch with friends of hers, and I busted my butt to get the latest podcast episode released in the evening of dad’s birthday rather than after, or close to, midnight which had been the norm since I started podcasting.
I’ve heard people say that It doesn’t really get any easier, you just learn to live with it, and I guess there’s some truth to that. Plus, staying busy seems to help as well.
I thank everyone who has continued to pray for mom and I, and for everyone who helped make The Charlie Daniels Patriot Awards a huge success.
The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project will be around for a long, long time. If you would like the help our mission, please go to HERE to donate.
“Only two things protect America, the Grace of Almighty God, and the United States Military.” – Charlie Daniels
Let’s all make the day count.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police, the Peace of Jerusalem and our nation.
God Bless America
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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