I learned a painful lesson over the holidays.
Like many of you, I’m sure, I have always seemed to function best by writing notes to myself reminding me to do things. Whether it’s a loaf of bread I need to remember to pick up at the store or a business associate I need to telephone, I’ll come a lot closer to remembering it if I simply jot it down on a sheet of paper.
Just before the holidays, I wrote two notes to myself, laid them on my desk, and didn’t rediscover them until it was too late. Each note was a reminder to call an old friend. This almost seems surreal now, but the names I had written were Dave Dudley and Vestal Goodman.
I had gotten a new phone number on Dave, and wanted to call and invite him to be a guest on my “Visit With The Legends” radio show next time he was in Nashville. XM satellite radio reaches a large segment of the truck driving population, and what country singer spoke to the truckers through his music better than Dave Dudley? Sadly, Dave died of a heart attack December 22nd.
I had wanted to speak with Vestal Goodman for two reasons. First, just the sound of her voice always made me feel better. She was an up-beat, spiritual woman, and like everyone else in our business I loved her a lot. The second reason I wanted to talk with her was to issue an invitation for her to appear on our upcoming City Lights Festival this June down in Commerce, Georgia. I know she would have donated her time and been with us had she been able to fit it into her schedule. But Vestal died of complications from the flu on December 27th.
The two notes were still lying on my desk the morning I went back to my office after Christmas. I still haven’t thrown them away. In them lies a great lesson: We should never postpone getting in touch with those who are special in our lives.
I’d give anything to hear Vestal’s cheerful, “Well, hi darlin’!” ringing in my ear one more time. And Dave’s rich baritone teasing me for the millionth time about the morning I stood outside in a blinding Canadian snowstorm and tried to sell him a luggage trailer.
But I waited too long to call. And I’ll be sorry for the rest of my life.