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The Carriage Driver 4 – Glen Campbell


Griffin did not know exactly where he was. The carriage had been cleaned and Nuelle brushed. The team sat together in a country meadow. A breeze made the flowers sway. Majestic trees graced the slopes just to the east. They could have easily made this spot their home.

A young man walked toward them. His cowboy boots were shined, his smile gave away, a glowing heart, and country pride. A guitar was strapped across his back. His walk gave away his confidence as a freeborn man. When he reached the carriage, he approached Nuelle and scratched her behind the ear, ‘Hey, little one, looks like I am home again, far away from the world I used to know.”

Griffin stood and listened to the conversation. He had been around long enough to know that the sun keeps shining and the world keeps spinning. He knew he had everything a man could ever need.

Glen looked over at Griffin, “Where are you taking me?”

Griffin replied, “Anywhere you want to go.”

“You mean, all I have to do is dream?” He adjusted his guitar. I have been working on this. What do you think?”

“I travelled country back roads

Guitar pick in my hand

Searched for summer breezes

Toward my life as a singer in a band


Swept out every barroom

Between here and Tuscaloosa,

Started working in the clubs as I traveled

Every country back road in this U.S.A. our land

Gonna make my life as a singer in a band


In the window of a pawn shop

Hung my first guitar,

I bought her quick, because

As a singer in a band

I knew I would go far


I searched for summer breezes

As I travelled country back roads,

And set my sites on Memphis

And a place to sing my songs


Found a rhinestone studded Stetson

While on my way to Memphis

Took jobs at every Honky Tonk

As a singer in a band”

“As far as I am concerned, you have been given the greatest gift of all.” Griffin said, leaning back against the carriage.

“I think I know what is going on here. It seems like yesterday, when I was young I tried my hand as a folk singer. Chased a country girl. But who knows the fate of man? It seems I am no longer 500 miles away from home.” He looked over at Griffin, and asked was there ever a cold December in your heart?”

“Sure, I have had some tough times. Like the day they tried to take Nuelle from me. That was a really bad day. But you have looked at things from both sides now, sang your early morning song, God only knows, listening to you many have said, you help me make it through the night.”

Glen turned toward the slope with the trees. A warm breeze blew through the meadow. He was young again. Strength had returned to his arms and legs. His mind was sharp once again. He thought about his children and wondered as a man had he done enough. He briefly thought about the women that he loved and what had gone wrong. Where did he fail to make things right. But he did not find an answer. He thought that he may have enough time now to access his failures. His attention had been on success, and the failures were, well, he did not understand the failures. He turned to walk to the step of the carriage climbed in, sat down, and adjusted his guitar across his lap.

Griffin paused, standing by Nuelle sharing an apple.

“When I recorded the song, ‘Galveston’ the Vietnam war was raging. That year the Beatles released, Here Comes the Sun, Octopus’s Garden, Come Together, Maxwells’s Silver Hammer and Something. Bob Dylan released Lay, Lady Lay. Every time I got puffed up about singing Galveston, my wife would remind me that Tony Joe White was on the charts with me singing, Polk Salad Annie.” He smiled. “I made the charts, but the writing was on the wall.”

“You got back in the race, that is important.”

Glen strummed his guitar, “What did you do?”

Griffin paused again, trying to remember if he had been asked the question before by a passenger. He could not remember. “Me, I was a Captain in the Union Army, during the Civil War. Basically, just a universal soldier. My men showed true grit, then one day walkin' down the line, our time ended. Just like that.” Griffin snapped his finger. Nuelle did not stir at the memory. It was a long time ago, the days when burning bridges was not a cliché were over.

Glen strummed his guitar, “Let me tell you about Mary, just a sweet country girl, she was the one girl, for sure, for certain, forever, for always, gentle on my mind. We were so young.” He smiled at the thought of Mary, a country lane and summer breezes. Thankful for the pleasant memory. “We lay there in that meadow thinking, tomorrow never comes, she told me ‘you're young and you'll forget,’ she had matured quicker than myself.”

“You might as well smile,” Griffin told him. He glanced at Glen who was still reminiscing. Griffin kept giving Nuelle attention, waiting for Glen to decide what he wanted to do next. He was in no hurry.

“How does this work,” Glen asked, a forlorn look on his face. “Am I assigned a cloud and handed a harp? The harp is not really my instrument.”

“Your destination is up to you. I can show you a map to places other people have chosen. But I don’t think you really need one. These things, your happiness, can be pretty simple. If you need a stage to play upon, then we can deliver you backstage, where you can prepare for the performance of your life. Thousands of your fans will gladly arrive and to hear you sing the songs from your youth and theirs. Other performers have joined forces and stage a continuing party. Around the clock. People come and go as their tastes change.”

“Crowds of thousands? No, I don’t think I would like that. I never understood, how The Rollings Stones managed that. I play acoustic guitar, not plugged in and amped up.” He strummed again. “There was this club in Chattanooga where the locals gathered. I think that is where I met Billy Jean. She took my breath away. She was a refreshing, scenic beauty. We flew the highest together. That was a wonderful time. People don’t appreciate their youth, before the bills and headache number three hits them.” Glen sat back.

Seeing this, Griffin climbed aboard. Nuelle began their journey. Griffin got comfortable in his seat.

Glen began to play his signature song. By the time I get to Phoenix. The first concert ever performed from the rear seat of the carriage had begun. Seems it was a day of firsts for Griffin and Nuelle.

Nuelle knew Mr. Glen Campbell, was homeward bound.


By The Time I Get to Phoenix - Glen Campbell

Gentle On My Mind , Glen Campbell , 1967 Vinyl

Glenn Campbell ...The Rhinestone Cowboy

© 2018 mckbirdbks


mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on February 03, 2019:

Hello Shy - I have added your song. I am listening to it now. So powerful just like your strength to carry on. Thanks for the visit. Neither of us seems to be writing, both of us need to fix that. As always, thanks for the blessings.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 02, 2019:

I had to come back to reread this and feel my hubby's presence. Wish you would add Glen's last song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" to this collection.

Blessings always

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 30, 2019:

Hello Peg - Hard to believe that I wrote this eight months ago. As it happens this article has climbed very near the top of my most viewed articles. Glen Campbell was part of our youth. He entertained so many of us. His style was being pushed back by much louder music, but he still manged his spot in our hearts and minds. Writing song lyrics eludes me, but I did not mind trying. Thanks for the visit. I was shocked to have a comment. Guess I need to dust off my finger tips and try writing again.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on January 30, 2019:

Mike, it's unbelievable that I missed out on this one. What a fabulous story full of hope, memories and promises. Wow, that sounds like a title to a country song. You did a fantastic job of capturing the sweetness of this country boy with the amazing voice and incredible talent. Fascinating tale here. And your poetry reminded me of the days of Emerald Wells Cafe. Absolutely lovely. Sorry it took me so long to find it.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on July 08, 2018:

Hello Shy - Glen Campbell is a legend. He was often on the radio in the 'day' and his music was turned up as we all traveled down the highway together. I did have fun putting this one together. Thanks for the visit, and the blessings are appreciated.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 07, 2018:

Mike, this is awesome, I love music and was saddened by what happened to Glen in the End, I am glad you brought him back to his glory days 'And the Wichita lineman is still on the line' I know you had must have had fun with this one as Shauna says.

Blessings always

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on June 15, 2018:

Hello Shauna - This has become one of my most visited hubs. So, others must see the fun that I had putting it together. Glad you are back on the hub.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 15, 2018:

I love this, Mike! The whole episode reads/sings like a song. Sounds like you had fun with this one.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 13, 2018:

Hello Genna - John Denver is also a favorite of mine. I always leaned toward songs with lyrics rather than heavy heart rattling sounds. I did not know much about Glen Campbell's personal life until I did some research for this piece. Yes, losing the use of your mind has to be the most terrible thing. We all have brushes with this, as people we know begin their suffering.

Have a Happy Mother's Day.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 13, 2018:

“As far as I am concerned, you have been given the greatest gift of all.” Griffin said, leaning back against the carriage. This is so true. John Denver and Glenn Campbell were two of my favorites although Denver was a bit more in my time. Campbell's rendition of By the Time I Get to Phoenix is so beautiful. And I loved his song lyrics in your story. I agree with Paula in that it was sad what he had to endure, prior to his passing. Lovely writing, Mike.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 12, 2018:

Hello Nikki - Happy Mother's Day to you too. Glad you liked the Glen Campbell music. He was a star in his own right, with plenty of rock n roll competition. Yes, Nuelle and Griffin are certainly getting a work out.

Nikki Khan from London on May 12, 2018:

I love it Mike, what a hard time Nuelle and Griffin are getting this time.Lol.

World truly spins around so fast, Griffin has found out with Glen for sure.

Loved the songs videos, thanks for sharing this great story.

Happy Mother’s Day!

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 11, 2018:

Hello Bill - I was a Glen Campbell fan. My story of the 70's is that I did not care for The Rolling Stones, now, I think their work was genius. So, we can only all agree on Glen Campbell, how is that for circular logic.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2018:

I was always slightly embarrassed that I liked Glen Campbell during the late 60's. It seemed like a sacrilege to like him when rock n roll ruled the day, but he was just that good. Love, love, love this!

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 10, 2018:

Hello Paula - Glen Campbell is easy to like, isn't he? Soft music, with lyrics, is a novelty now. His songs are timeless, as I am seeing by his fans here at this piece. His music was gentle, I always lean toward gentle vs other options. Thanks for such a nice comment.

Suzie from Carson City on May 10, 2018:

Mike.,...How I love Glenn Campbell's music. I was a serious fan back when he was actively recording as a pop Country Star. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," always made me cry.....but then it doesn't take much, I guess. He was also a really nice Down-to-earth guy.

So sad what he went through a while, prior to his passing. I wish his loved ones peace. Thank you for another great installment. Always a good read, Mike. Peace, Paula

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 10, 2018:

Hello mar - Thanks for noticing. There were dozen more titles, but it is tough to drop, "By the time I get to Phoenix" casually into a paragraph.

As for how it got to May tenth already - I just don't know. It is going to be a speedy year. Way too much to do.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on May 10, 2018:

PS - I noticed and loved the song titles strewn through this installment ... very clever.

Here's to living... and how the heck is it May 10th already :)

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 10, 2018:

Hello Verlie – I have an odd relationship to music, as a kid, or young man, I liked music, but then lost touch with it. It is much easier for me to relate to music from my youth. Glen Campbell was certainly on my 8 track list. (An old reference haha)

Maria, Patti and Peg encouraged the continuance of The Carriage Driver series. The stories seem more structured than the previous three sets of stories. Working harder may be in order, to get some of the spirit back into the stories.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on May 10, 2018:

Another great write Mike, I forgot about these Glen Campbell songs, they were huge. Gentle on My Mind is especially sweet to hear again. I loved that you tucked a poem into the story. So happy that you are still riding with the Carriage Driver series. Thanks again for the insights into a different era, you are so good at selecting the nuances from the lives of these special passengers.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 10, 2018:

Hello mar - Thanks. I enjoyed listening to Glen Campbell again, as I put this together. In the text, I think I included dozens of his son titles just for the fun of it. I am glad you and Miss Sammie enjoyed this installment.

An awful lot of living is going on around me this May 10, 2018.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on May 10, 2018:

Miss Sammie and her daughter are both loving this installment of The Carriage Driver.

Lovely that you built some lyrical poetry into this journey - also including three of Glen's finest hits.

Hope you are having a peaceful day. Hugs, mar

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 10, 2018:

Hello Nellieanna - When I was doing the light research to write this piece, it said that Glen Campbell was very hard to beat on the guitar. I did not know that but you now have confirmed the information. How nice that you were able to see him in concert, and with Andy Williams. Andy Williams has long been one of my favorites. He was added to many Emerald Wells Cafe presentations as the music of choice. Thank you for such a nice comment.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on May 10, 2018:

I LOVE it, Mike! A beautiful look at Glen Campbell. Thank you.

He was one celebrity I have seen perform in person, before his decline. It was in the early 2000s at Branson, Missouri, sharing a stage with Andy Williams. How he handled that guitar! My, oh, my! Truly, no one ever surpassed him in that!

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