Willie tries to become a pilot but washes out, although he proves to be so proficient at aerial gunnery that, rather than being sent to Europe to fight, he is made an instructor and assigned to a base near his hometown. After two years in the same place, he is branded a coward by the townsfolk, even though he continually requests a transfer into combat. He finally gets his chance when a gunner on a B Flying Fortress bomber gets sick and Bill is allowed to take his place.
The plane takes off for England, but owing to fog, is unable to land and runs low on fuel. The crew is ordered to bail out, but Bill is asleep and does not parachute out of the plane until it is over German-occupied France. He is captured immediately by the local French Resistance unit, led by the beautiful Yvonne Corinne Calvet. While there, he sees a secret German rocket launch, which is filmed by the French.
He and the film are picked up by a British torpedo boat and taken to England.
There, he passes the vital information and his eyewitness confirmation on to a series of important generals, first in London and then in Washington, D. During the time he is in the bomber, France, England, and Washington, he is continuously wakened when he tries to sleep, and plied with liquor as a pick-me-up or to settle motion sickness. Bill finally collapses, exhausted.
He is sent to a hospital to recuperate, under strict orders not to reveal what he has done, where a doctor mistakenly puts him into a psychopath ward.
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When the hospital attendants believe he is crazy and try to put him in a straitjacket , Willie escapes and heads home on a freight train. Back home, because only four days have elapsed since he left Punxatawney, his parents and girlfriend don't believe his story either. Officers from the Pentagon arrive to return him to Washington to be decorated personally by the President of the United States. Something started calling to me. The music keeps calling.
Over the course of his more than a hundred albums and 30 years of playing the Farm Aid concert, a benefit he created in support of family farmers, Nelson has played with everyone from Wynton Marsalis to Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash to Waylon Jennings. At the poker or domino table, he has lifted a small fortune off his Maui neighbors and best buds Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson—all the while burning more grass than the plains states in a drought. And yet he has the kind of snap-trap memory and continual, thrumming, joke-telling patter of a sage.
In the process, Nelson has become an enduring figurehead—the outlaw rider; the hippie-redneck activist; the legalization advocate; the ruffian, poet beatnik—and an endlessly beguiling, elusive man. Willie Nelson is already a legend, and still he rambles on. Or maybe a Volcano or the pen, some kind of vaporizer or anything going on there? Maybe we can get stoned together.
I've Loved You All Over the World
I think they did a good job. Really they did us a favor just by leaving us with our grandparents.
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My granddaddy died when I was about 6 years old, I think. And my grandmother took a job cooking in the school lunchroom. So she did great. He was a blacksmith, and I hung out in the blacksmith shop with him when I was a kid, watching him shoe horses. In fact, he got kicked by a horse one time, and he had to wear one of those rupture belts all the rest of his life.
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They were hard workers. I had to be 4, 5 years old, and I ran away from home. They brought me back and he whipped my little butt. He had one of those razor strops. You know, one of those wide, leather razor strops that you sharpen your razor on. And he hit me a few times with that. I think it was a Harmony guitar. My sister played the piano. So my grandmother got the guitar for me, and showed me a couple of chords to start off. And then I got me a book. Next thing you know, I was playing along with sister. What was that like? The day I got in, I started trying to get out.
Then I spent my last few months in the Air Force here. I come back here to Biloxi quite a bit. I like it here. Bill coming. So I took what I had and went to Baylor there for a while, majored in dominoes. When I was really young, the old men in Abbott all played dominoes. So I learned to play dominoes pretty good.
And some friends of mine, like old Zeke Varnon up in Hillsboro, who is the best dominoes player I ever met, showed me a lot of stuff. He was a card hustler, dominoes, pool … You name it, Zeke was good at it. So were you an encyclopedia salesman? They need some books.
How did you end up in Nashville? It was the big deal back in those days to play the Grand Ole Opry. I had to quit the Opry because they insisted that you play it 26 weeks out of the year. They still do, I guess. But I was playing in Texas a lot, so it was hard on me to get back 26 weeks out of the year. My first job was in a Bohemian polka band, the Rejcek family polka band in Abbott. The old man in the band had another blacksmith shop in Abbott, but he liked me. All he had was horns and drums, and I was set up over there with my little guitar with no amps or nothing.
I would play as loud as I wanted to, and nobody could hear me. He took good care of me. He had 20 children, I think, and they were all musicians. Is it too early for that question? I got a few, who I love dearly, but 20? He passed away. And Paula and Amy, from me and Connie. And Lukas and Micah, from me and Annie. I got a bunch of good kids. So that set me up in Nashville. And he called and asked me if I could play bass. His bass player, Donny Young, had quit on him, I think out in Nebraska somewhere.
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