Happy Fourth Heavenly Birthday - Soapbox, Jr.
The weather is beginning to change, Fall is definitely in the air, and that it brings, football, cooler temperatures, Halloween, football, Thanksgiving, and did I mention football?
There is also a hint of bittersweet that lingers in the autumn breeze, it’s one of the dreaded “sadiversaries” that I’ve written about for the past three years. October 28, 2023 would have been Dad’s 87th birthday, and it still doesn’t seem possible that this will be his 4th birthday after “changing addresses.”
This time of the year, the CDB would typically slow down a bit, so he would be around more than the super busy summer months, so the void becomes more vivid.
So many things that I would have loved to talk with him about, the ups and downs of Tennessee Vols and Titans football the past couple of years, the shaky state of our nation – and the world, questions about CDB history that I wish I had access to while I’ve been writing, and some long-gestating songs that he never got around to officially recording.
The bottom line is simple, I still miss him terribly.
He would be at no loss of words for so many things going on right now, and I would love to be able to have those conversations with him because he was so knowledgeable about so many things.
He was one of the most well-read people I have ever known, He was always reading, first by carrying around several hardback books, before adapting to his iPads as the primary reading sources.
He loved Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, John LeCarre, and had more recently, Brad Thor, who referenced a Charlie Daniels song in his book “Foreign Agent.” The two followed each other on Twitter, and Brad gave Dad an advance copy of, “Hidden Order,” for which he contributed a quote for the book jacket, “Rockin’ from cover to cover.”
Dad also read his Bible daily. He and Mom would have coffee and Jesus in the mornings, except Dad didn’t like coffee in the morning, he would drink it later in the day, but his morning beverage of choice was Bewley’s Irish Breakfast tea, shipped directly from across the pond.
Very often, he was not around to celebrate on his actual birthday because of his busy touring schedule, and quite often he was either performing or en route to another city where he was scheduled to perform.
One time Dad was entertaining our troops at a military base in South Korea, when a young lady brought out a cake for him on stage and everyone sang “Happy Birthday,” but unfortunately, while she was trying to show the cake to Dad and the crowd, the cake slipped off the tray and onto the stage. The poor woman was mortified and extremely apologetic, but Mom and Dad told her that he had plenty of birthday cakes over the years, and it was nothing to worry about.
In 2011, Dad celebrated his 75th Birthday at the Grand Ole Opry, actually, it was the day after, but the Opry had special Hatch Show Prints made up to commemorate the show, and a spectacular cake complete with a gold fiddle, and four years later on October 27, 2015, the Opry had another cake for him – two, in fact - one in the shape of a cowboy hat, and another one in the shape of a gold fiddle.
Then, of course, the following year was the big 80.
The entire year of 2016 was a whirlwind for Dad, with his announcement and later induction into the County Music Hall of Fame, his appearance on the 50th CMA Awards and his 80th Birthday party which was held in the Hall’s Rotunda where all the member plaques hang. I also put together a video of highlights from Dad’s and/or the CDB’s TV, commercials and movie appearances, or just songs that were used in TV/Film.
It was a highly satisfying labor of love and a modified version of it lives is on the CDB YouTube Channel.
It was one of the best Birthday gifts I ever got him, because trying to find that perfect gift for him was always a head-scratcher.
One thing I don’t have to worry about is what to buy him for his birthday anymore. He was absolutely the hardest person in the entire world to buy for. If he saw something he wanted, he bought it, so he never used to talk about something he hoped to have at some point. If he had, then we would have had some ideas for birthdays and Christmas.
What I wouldn’t give to be racking my brain to try and figure out the perfect gift for the man who has everything.
Happy Heavenly Birthday, Dad.
I love you and eagerly await the day - many years from now -when we will be reunited. It will be nothing short of glorious!
What do you think?
Let’s all make the day count!
Pray for our troops, our police, the Peace of Jerusalem and our nation.
God Bless America!
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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