I had the strangest, sweetest experience in my home town, back in April. Georgia and I were in Meriden, at the request of an old high school buddy, to play the Daffodil Festival, a yearly event held at the city park.

Robbie (the aforementioned old friend) has been the music director for the festival for many, many years and he was retiring. He said he wanted to go out with a bang, so he asked if Georgia and I would play in the guise of our duo alter ego, Middleman/Burr. Since I jump at any chance to visit my old stomping grounds and hang with my old friends, we flew up and braved the cold to play for a crowd that was pretty much everyone I had ever known or grew up with on Baldwin Street.

After we finished our set, a gentleman came up and asked if he could tell me a story. After my security team roughed him up a little I heard the following tale…

He used to work for my Dad. He was an electrician at Burr Electric, and when he was a young fresh recruit, he was ordered to take the boss’s son (that would be me) out on the job and teach him how to be an electrician.

“All you did was sit in the front seat and play air guitar to the radio! You told me how much you didn’t want to be an electrician. You were going to  write songs and play in a band and get famous. I remember rolling my eyes and saying to myself… ‘this kid is delusional!'”

Georgia and I stood there with our mouths open. I did not want him to stop. It had been a really long time since I talked to anyone who actually KNEW my Dad, and I was thirsty for some new paint strokes on the picture of him I had built up in my mind.

“I remember him standing up on a ladder with a hacksaw, cutting a piece of metal conduit, every stroke getting more and more violent as he talked about his son and his crazy plans.

“I just want him to learn a trade. He says he’s gonna make a living playing music, but that’s crazy. He needs to have a trade to make a living, in case music doesn’t work out for him. I try to talk to him, but we just start yelling at each other. His mother’s no help… she just tries to calm us down and keep us from arguing.”

Then my old electrical Yoda told me an amazing thing.

“Your father, hacking away furiously, then said, “I just want him to be okay. I just want him to have a future. I worry about him. That’s my job.”

Pretty crazy, right? A few weeks after my Dad died, I wrote a song about our relationship called, “That’s My Job.” I don’t recall why I used that phrase in the song. I don’t remember ever hearing my Dad say that. I am sure he felt it, like any good father would… but I really don’t think he ever said it to me.

I don’t believe in paranormal stuff… spirits and ghosties and things like that… but it is an amazing feeling to know that I am so much my Father’s son that I could write a song using the words he said, but I never heard.

That song was a big reason why I was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame. Those words are carved in stone in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennesee, and will be there for years to come… barring any large scale construction work to repair a city sewage line.

Now I know that they were HIS words as well as mine. You can say I channeled him… you can say it was a parting gift as he entered the spirit world… any and all explanations are welcome.  The only reality I know is that I met a guy and that guy knew my Dad and he gave me one more moment with him and it was very, very sweet.

Next Post
Previous Post
Share