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Nephew Tribute to His Grandpa…My Dad…Webb Hester by Dan Hall

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 21-09-2015

10

Uncle,
Do you remember Pop singing as he worked, as I was with him a lot as a very young person, he would sing a little, never the whole song just a line or sometimes maybe two lines. A lot of time it was just 🎶 dee da lum, dee da lum day🎶,( I don’t think I spelled that right). Do you remember that?
He liked the Jimmy Rodger’s song “T for Texas, T for Tennessee,” but that was about all he sang. He liked some of Hank Williams Sr. songs.
Early on Sunday morning, he would watch The Wally Fowler Show, they sang Southern Gospel as I recall, they always ended the show with: May the Lord up above bless you real good, I’ve spent a lot of time praying that He would. He really liked it because he sang it a lot.
Sometimes he would sing ” All the Kings horses and all the Kings men could never put it together again. I remember thinking at the time he just liked the nursery rhyme about Humpity- Dumpity. This must have been another of his favorites because he sang if often.
Now if you will let me move forward to just a few years ago. In 2010 my sweet wife and I got me a new truck and it came with the new Sirius XM radio. I love it because I like to listen to old country music. Well one day on my way back from Pickens county, to my surprise there was Hank Thompson singing a song titled ” A Humpity, Dumpity Heart” as it turned out it was Pop’s song, about ” all the Kings horses and all the Kings men could never put it together again.” Well I’m hear to tell you I couldn’t wait to get home and call my kids about hearing Pop’s song. I knew they had heard him sing those lines before too.
If you google it, it is a cute little song from the late 1940’s.
Just a few of the wonderful memories I have of the Man, I call Pop

Danny, thanks so much…and yes I do remember him singing and seem like it was always just part of a song, but I do remember a little more of, “T for Texas, T for Tennessee, T or Texas and T for Tennessee, it’s T for Thelma, Lord that gal made a mess out of me…” or something like that  and sometimes he would add a Jimmy Rogers yodel…….Thanks for reminding me, Dan…He was a happy fellow…Pete

Comments (10)

I don’t remember Uncle Webb singing all that much, as I was never around him all that much when he was working, but my two best memories of him was playing dominoes. He wasn’t a “loud mouth”, and he never argued; but he just sat their quietly studying his hand and pondering his next move. When he did move, you had better watch out because he would have something big in store. When I was a very small kid at the beginning stages of my awareness of the world around me and my memory of it when my Dad was away at the war, I remember Uncle Web more than any of my uncles because he would come around often to run errands for my Mom and to go to town to get what we needed in the way of groceries, which I now understand were rationed at the time because of the war. I suppose he was my second “Daddy” image when my real Daddy was away at the war: second to my big brother, Cecil, only because I saw him less frequently. As Aunt Otera was my favorite aunt, Uncle Webb was my favorite uncle.

I remember reading in one of Dad’s WWII letters that was written shortly before he completed his training at Camp Blanding, Florida about how much he wanted his Harley with him down in Florida. This particular letter was all about him asking Uncle Webb (or asking Mother to ask him) to ride the Harley down to Florida, and he actually did. I never knew how he got back to Alabama. Can you imagine someone riding a Harley that far just for a brother-in-law? This must have been when family bonding, even extended family bonding, was so real. In the 21st century, an in-law would likely expect payment before even thinking about doing such a thing. At about the same time after he was discharged from the Marine Corps on a disability, Uncle Buck took Cecil and I down to Florida to see Dad graduate from basic training, but he did it in his ’38 Chevy. It would have required a really loyal brother to have ridden a Harley that far just to see a brother with whom historically he had almost always been fighting.

Thanks Errol….Dad was 4 F because of his feet and Uncle Dee and Uncle Buck was very special to him. I suppose all the others were also but I was not around them quite so much. I think he just wanted to be helpful to Aunt Vera as I don’t think she drove, maybe later, but I don’t think she did then. But, yes, Dad sung a lot and he had a pretty good voice. So did Mom. Henry Helmers recorded her singing with the folks down at Salem Nursing Home and Joyce forwarded me a copy of the cd. Singing was a large part of life around our house….probably not when we had company so you probably would not know that. Thanks for the comments. Pete

Thanks Pete for the information! I knew that Uncle Webb never went to the war, but I never knew why. I didn’t know that he had foot problems. No! Mother never drove. As far as I know, she never tried too. My first memory of an automobile was Dad’s ’38 Chevy parked underneath the porch shed in front of our house near the church in Coal Fire. I had so much fun getting in it, standing on the front seat, and twisting and turning the steering wheel, playing like I was driving it. I still have fond memories of doing that. While Dad was at the war, I guess Uncle Webb was the only one who ever drove it just to keep it running and to keep the battery charged. No! I didn’t know that singing was a large part of Uncle Webb’s family. That use to be my favorite place to spend the night; but, when I stayed there, I don’t remember any singing. I just enjoyed Aunt Tewo’s cooking and her hospitality.

Dad was cutting a standard on a log truck once to unload the logs. Before he finished the cut, it broke and the load of logs rolled up his feet and legs before he could get out of the way. He was off for a little while, but not long, as he needed the money to badly to stay home and nurse his foot and leg. I remember the foot was pretty badly mashed but I don’t recall the damage to his leg. They probably spared you the singing…by the way, did Aunt Vera teach you to sing a part, or do you do any singing with her and your dad. They were both excellent. Aunt Vera with a good alto and Uncle Dee could sing a mean tenor, or lead…Cecil and I sang with them frequently….

I remember Mr. Hester as being a very nice man and he was always so polite to all of us teenagers who came home with Pete. He never complained about all the food we ate. I have always had a fond place in my heart for him. God bless him!

I never tried to sing at all with Mom and Dad. Privately and secretly, I just sat by the fire listening to them singing, wishing they would just shut up while I concentrated on reading about far off places in my World Books. I suppose I was tone deaf at the time; and, according to Marina, I still am. I use to wonder how Mother could play the piano (she only played by ear, as she didn’t know very much music.) and sing the words at the same time; and I often wondered why Dad almost always sang the notes (shape notes). With my tone deafness, it often sounded so weird listening to the words being sang at the same time that the notes were being sang. I often wondered why he didn’t just sing the words because that was where the meaning of the song was carried, at least for me. Looking back now, though, I can see how much I really enjoyed their singing and often wish that I had more of it now to substitute for some of the garbage on television. Other than for football in the fall and some of his favorite shows, like Lawrence Welk (Joann Castle) and sitcoms like Jack Benny and Amos & Andy, Dad almost never watched television. Later in life, he merely used it as a sleeping pill.

I suppose the reason for that is that, in the Fifties, television was rare and radio was a luxury. In earlier decades, television did not exist and radio was really a luxury. The first radio that I remember was Dad’s old battery powered Silvertone, I guess a Sears brand, that he treated with kid gloves because the batteries were so costly. He wouldn’t let us kids even touch it, much less listen to it, because he didn’t want us to run down the battery. He only used it to listen to football games and the news, especially the war news, which was occurring during the time of my first memory of it. I use to wonder how that thing worked. I use to peep around behind it to watch all those little lights from its many vacuum tubes inside, wondering where the people were. I suppose that is the process of learning at a young age by a kid motivated by curiosity, yet afraid to touch anything because of discipline and respect for the rules that were made by one’s elders. Now that electronic gadgetry has become so common and readily available and kids become so adept to using it at such a young age, even more adept than many parents, that parental discipline is missing and is forever affecting the learning of kids and of future generations. Those were the days!

Just as a side note, the thing that made Dad’s old battery powered Silvertone radio so special is that it always sat on the table that Dad had built in ‘Fessor Howell’s shop when he was in high school. This is the reason that we called it a “radio table”. It was Dad’s special place, that is, his office. It always had a bunch of official looking letters bunched beside the radio, making it look even more foreboding to a three-year-old. I never saw that table used for anything else other than a writing desk. It was a computer desk before its time: a family business and correspondence center.

Otis and Errol, thanks to you both for your comments. I appreciate you both coming by hesterbooks.com and making these statements. And Otis, sharing meals with my friends were never discussed by Mom and Dad….I don’t think they ever thought about feeding additional people. You and George Millard were almost like family anyway, so maybe that’s why…And Errol, Uncle Dee and Aunt Vera could read shape notes, singing the pure pitched do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do, I could sing those same notes by not with the quality of those two. Cecil could sing shape notes also…not sure to his pitch, however…

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