A few months ago, Charles A. Lanford Library branch manager Susan Lemme was standing in line at Krystal, waiting to order her breakfast and get the day started. As she pondered her order, a conversation began between her and an elderly gentlemen with breakfast on his mind as well.
As the conversation progressed, he shared unbelievable stories of playing with country music royalty about half a century ago, years before he found himself in Macon. That man’s name is Jimmy Haney and boy does he have some stories to share.
Jimmy Haney is a dapper, 90-something-year-old man, who describes his first guitar in such detail, you’d think he just ordered it from the Montgomery Ward catalog. Better still, he remembers a great deal of people he met, places he went and things he was able to do because of his interest in playing guitar, writing songs, and performing country and gospel music.
On May 26, Haney shared these stories to an audience at Lanford library on Houston Road. He talked about his friendship with Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, his part in the D.C. country music scene, working with Don Owens, his love for his family and how he ended up in Macon after leaving the music business.
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The library set up an exhibit of photographs and clippings of Haney; he even brought the jacket that he wore during his time in Cline’s band and as a solo artist. He talked for more than an hour, but all of those in attendance felt like he could have easily talked for much longer. Walking away from the event, I was again impressed by the diversity and depth of music-related history in our community.
On a random Thursday night, I had the opportunity to meet and share the same room with a man whose career in music crossed paths with countless country music legends, all due to a chance encounter at a local fast food restaurant.
This reminded me of a few things. One, that we should cherish and listen to the elder members of our community because they all have stories worth sharing. Two, you really never know who you’ll run into around here. Three, libraries are pretty awesome.
The point: There are plenty of things to do around here, you just need to pay attention. You never know who or what might turn up.
Chris Nylund is a founding member of Field Note Stenographers, a collective of local musicians who write about shows in Middle Georgia. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.