Thank You Mr. Merle Haggard!

By Eileen Majors

It is always a joy to think back to the time when I was a little girl. My dad was a music lover, and Country music was his favorite, which added to the fond memories that enriched our lives.

Merle Haggard was one of the Country artists that stands out most to me. I remember my dad turning it up when Okie from Muskogee came would come on. It was almost like an Archie Bunker moment when my sister’s then-hippy husband was standing around. The memories surrounding the music of this master still make me smile. I always enjoy hearing it immensely.

I have long been aware that Mr. Haggard resides right here in Northern California and have long daydreamed about getting the opportunity to interview this amazingly talented man. I was not sure just what he was up to, but thought an interview might be something we could someday make happen. Then a few months ago I watched in awe as Dan Rather interviewed this humble and true legendary songwriter/Country star. He said he was still touring and he had seemed to turn his music into a family affair, playing with his son and still enjoying the ride. “What else would I do?” he asked Mr. Rather rhetorically.

He is still performing regularly and is continually gaining fans. His popularity with a younger audience soared once again after his recent performance on the Grammys.

“Hmmm… Maybe this interview won’t be so easy to get!” I thought to myself.

Anyway, I had once heard that one of our advertisers, Dr. Michael Herndon, a dentist practicing in Quincy, was friends with Mr. Haggard. Our sales gal Suzanne Monroe was not afraid to ask for that interview. We want to thank Dr. Herndon for setting up the chance to interview Mr. Haggard for Mountain Valley Living magazine. And of course we can’t thank Mr. Haggard enough for taking the time to talk to us. We’ve not been able to wipe the smiles off our faces since we first found out we would be getting the interview.

While everyone in our company really wanted the opportunity to interview Mr. Haggard, it was a unanimous decision to give the job to the person whose contribution to the magazine is amazing; plus Merle Haggard’s music also weighs highly in her childhood memories, too. So it was Missy (known to our readers as Melissa Wynn), who proudly interviewed this humble giant of the music world. Suzanne and I also got the honor of talking with him as well. Read about the interview on page 34. His songwriting talents have enhanced millions of memories, I am sure. Thank you Mr. Merle Haggard for mine!