A Little Good News and Sweet Dreams

When I was a little tomboy growing up in Grimes County, Texas, which was one of the poorest counties in the rural southeastern Piney Woods side of the state, my dad’s brother, my Uncle Ray who lived in the big city of Houston, was a huge country music fan…and when I say huge, I do mean huge. He was like the most faithful Saturday night radio Grand Ole Opry  and Louisiana Hayride kind of country music fan.

The rest of my family was luke-warm to what are now considered the country music classics because they were all gospel music folks, snow white Southern Baptist church music kind of folks: quartets, singing conventions on Sunday afternoons with dinner on the grounds, Baptist Hymnal songs played on the organ and piano on Sunday mornings for the congregational singing.

Out of that place I began to sing solos in the little country church we attended before I could read the words to the songs. My mother taught them to me by repeating the words over and over until I could remember them. Then she would have me stand on a little folding chair on the floor just below the minister’s pulpit on Sunday morning to sing the “special music” for the service while she accompanied me on the piano.

I could look out on a congregation of maybe 50 people that included my two grandmothers, my dad, my grandfather, and at least two of my uncles…sometimes one more if my Uncle Ray came from Houston for Sunday lunch at my grandmother’s house. They all beamed back at me with love and great appreciation for my singing talents.

So much so that my Uncle Ray paid me the highest compliment he could give me one Sunday when I graduated to standing without the chair and actually was able to read the words to the music on my own. I must have been around eight years old at the time.

Sheila Rae, he said, you sing as good as Patsy Cline. You should be on the radio on the Opry or the Louisiana Hayride.


Well, now this suggestion made quite the impression on my prepubescent self – remember this was in the 1950s before American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, The Voice and reality TV – and that comment sparked my interest in country music that has lasted for the past 60 years. Could I sing as well as Patsy Cline? Clearly not, but I could fall in love with her music.

In times of trouble and deep distress, therefore, I am more apt to listen to George Jones than I am Hootie and the Blowfish or the new country sound of Darius Rucker. Yesterday I resisted MSNBC, Blue Bloods, In the Heat of the Night, a tennis tournament in Singapore, Ellen and Sharon Osborne… and found myself with the Country Classics. It was good for what ails you.


Here’s a portion of my playlist…

That Woman I Had Wrapped Around My Finger

Came Unwound

(George Strait)

A Wound Time Can’t Erase

(Stonewall Jackson)

Blue Moon with Heartache

(Rosanne Cash)

It’s a Long, Long Way to Georgia

(Don Gibson)

If I Miss You Again Tonight

(Tommy Overstreet)

Ghost Riders in the Sky

(Johnny Cash)

Sweet Dreams

(Patsy Cline)

I Met a Friend of Yours Today

(Mel Street)

Don’t Fight the Feelings of Love

(Charley Pride)

Together Again

(EmmyLou Harris)


The Right Combination

(Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner)

A Little Good News

(Anne Murray)


I’ll let the titles do the talking.

Until we meet again, I leave you with this Irish blessing: may all of your troubles be less and your blessings be more and may nothing but happiness come through your door.


About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
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11 Responses to A Little Good News and Sweet Dreams

  1. Luanne says:

    Love this post today. It’s been a tough week in many ways, but I am trying to find the lovely and loving in humanity today. Last night I was incredibly devastated to learn of the passing of Leonard Cohen, so I’ve been listening to KD Lang’s version of “Hallelujah” over and over again (best version, if you don’t know it). Music can heal. On a country music note, I was thinking the other day of how much I always loved Tom T. Hall and his storytelling and sentimentalism (don’t judge, please). By the way, I have that exact Patsy Cline CD. It’s a little worn hahah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My friend Luanne, the poet and closeted country music fan! I adored Tom T. and he and his wife’s storytelling through songs. Marvelous.
      My favorite version of the Cohen “Hallelujah” is the KD Lang version. Surely we are sisters in another life. I wrote two blogs on Leonard and Suzanne back in 2014 on February 28 and March 03. Thought about reblogging today and probably will next week but had the country music on my mind today. But I am also missing Leonard Cohen this day. His music had a special meaning for me with one of my ex-lovers, but that was in a life long ago and far away and already in a book.
      Have a great weekend – we shall still rise.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I started our Toy Drive early this year because I needed something to pull me away from what is happening these days (which it seems is spilling into Toronto!). Hugs to you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susanne says:

    Maybe I should listen to some music. Feeling so awfully blue since Wednesday – kind of like Austria might have felt in the 1930’s. Nice to see the Canadian content on your playlist – Anne Murray. Thanks for the happy post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Susanne…of course you’ve felt blue. It’s enough to make people of good will horrified. Horrified.
      That’s how Pretty has been all week, too. I have been so worried about her. But more than half of our people voted against hate so that is the good news, and I have to believe we still will rise.
      We must not grow weary of well doing.
      P.S. Anne Murray is one of my all-time favorite singers. I saw her one time live in concert in Vancouver in 1969 so Anne and I go way back. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bob Slatten says:

    All good tunes, but Rosanne Cash?
    Oy, how much do I love her songs.
    You’ve made me crack open the CD collection for a Rosanne Cash evening and for that I thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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