My dad songwriter Kim Williams would have been 70 years old today June 28th 2017, had he lived beyond last year February 11th, 2016.
Like so many of us who have lost a beloved parent, I smile and ache today thinking about how funny Dad was, and the jokes he would have told and hated on this dreaded day marking “old age” (as he built up in his mind).
Dad always said he’d never live to see 60.
When I was a little girl, we spent many a season housed in various hospital family facilities while dad had one more reconstruction or life saving surgery.
Having been burned in an electrical fire at his work, a glass plant in East Tennessee, Dad was forced to turn to his passion of songwriting, partly as a way of exercising his mammoth will after his journey to physical recovery.
Recovery came with its grueling trials of pain – stories galore he poured on my tender innocent Mom and me - Mom, who stayed with him through all the burns and recoveries and surgeries. There was endless “something medical” from infections to addictions and everything in between.
Dad’s will to live pressed him through all those times, and his songwriting and eventual commercial success validated his unique experience – the lens through which we look when we hear his hits: “Three Wooden Crosses,” “Papa Loved Mama,” “Blue Angel,” “New Way To Fly,” “Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,” “She’s Gonna Make It,” “It’s Midnight Cinderella,” “Haunted Heart,” and on and on in the modern country lexicon.
When he passed away in Florida last year, having taken a month sabbatical with my mom after learning of inoperable heart congestion returning – he was still studying.
We looked through his computer and found that he had been reading through the yogini descriptions of how to purposefully and willfully leave the physical vessel, setting oneself up in a good position for the next stage.
I miss talking with my dad on this day. I miss being able to discuss politics and religion, and historical perspectives with this man, so learned and creative. It is doubtful that I will ever meet anyone like my dad.
His boisterous laugh was of a variety of hilarious cadences and timbres, ranging from cheetah-baboon like cackling to booming thunderous staccato. Babies and dogs loved him.
His punctuation was the quipping, cleverly timed jokes that never ceased to crack everyone up – including Dad himself, “his own biggest fan” according to Mom.
Today the kids and I went down to pay our respects to Dad’s Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame commemoration. I had never been there before, but the kids had been with him and they led me to the spot, an engraved stone tablet surrounded by the names of songwriting royalty, many of whom Dad looked up to and admired greatly.
I had brought along a handkerchief in case of rain, but found that none came on the hot sunny sidewalk outside the Music City Center, site of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
This is the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Commemorative Walk
Far from sad, the kids and I imagined what Dad would say on this beautiful day, and laughed about how he never would have wanted to be 70. 60 was all his own dad Lonzo Williams had lasted.
70 was too much to ask of such a proud, amazing, troubled, and brilliant songwriter, my beautiful daddy, Kim Edwin Williams.
Happy birthday, Dad!
You made it better down here for the rest of us, and we thank you for the time we shared with you here on earth. See you around the campus on the other side.
Dad and I playing at Marcy Jo's, Joey Feek's restaurant in Columbia in 2011. Dad had a heart attack later that night, and kept on living for another 6 years.
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