On the Glory Road – Harmony In The Car

My brother and I were not happy little harmonizers on The Glory Road.   Daddy was following his calling to preach, Mother followed her calling to sing, but we two believed our true calling was to amble down a country road somewhere that led to a house of our own, a school we’d go to every day, and friends who’d know us from one year to the next. Just because you can sing harmony it doesn’t mean you always want to.

We were on the tent revival circuit, booked for months in advance and from time to time the family needed to refresh our presentation. Daddy said we’d best practice before we get to Amarillo. He enticed us into learning our parts by singing songs we liked on the radio. We started off with The Sons Of The Pioneers’ Tumbling Tumbleweeds and when we had our parts down on that one, he switched to What A Friend We Have In Jesus in the same key.

Long stretches of Route 66 through the Deep South offered nothing to look at except tumbleweeds, giant puffs of them rolling free on the highway or stuck to a fence.  Daddy played a game with them.

A huge tumbleweed clump was minding its own business somewhere in Texas and as we got closer it loomed about half-a-car size. The motion of our big old sedan invited it to dance.  It floated up and plopped on the windshield, covering the view.  Leslie Ray said, Daddy you better stop but Daddy said, watch this.

Instead of stopping and freeing the thing, his game was to keep driving and speed up, then brake quickly trying to get it to release itself.  Man against nature.  It wasn’t safe, but not much about car travel was back then.

Here are The Sons Of The Pioneers helping two young Gospel Gypsies learn harmony.


4 thoughts on “On the Glory Road – Harmony In The Car”

  1. The story of your vagabond childhood is wonderfully rich in my imagination because you tell it that way. To you it’s probably just what it was but I think it’s a unique piece of Americana that is typically overlooked in our cultural landscape. Even though I was honored to read an early version of your manuscript and saw the first live reading of the stage play, I still love each segment of The Glory Road that you’re sharing in the blog. Please keep ’em coming.

    PS. I wish Netflix or Amazon would get a load of this stuff!

  2. Your lips to God’s ears. My agent wanted to see it onstage and on the screen. For me the earliest reason for taking on this big fat multi-media project was/is that it’s part of American music history and American history in general. I’m not sure there are many of us Gospel Gypsies left. I don’t know any.

  3. I’ve neglected reading your blog, sad to say, life got in my way. Thank you for this piece, so needed right now in MY life, as I spend my mother’s final days with her. You were blessed to have yours, on the road again and realize that family, no matter how or where is all that matters. Love you!

  4. Thank you Rob. Please give your mom a hug and tell her it’s from me. Prayers for you and the family. Goodbye is not an easy word to say. Love you too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *