Roy Exum: Why I Adore ‘Country’

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

A long time ago, maybe 40 years or more, I would hit the road early Monday afternoon, drive hard to some town in Georgia and Alabama, and speak to the Quarterback Club in Athens, Gainesville, Muscle Shoals, or Decatur. It was easier than picking low-hanging fruit. Tell three good jokes, recite a poem, and share some inside SEC stuff and you were golden. They would pay a grand to $1,500 – later it was more --- and my calendar was chock full. I had great fun doing it, met some great people, and enjoyed a lot of laughs.

The next day I’d spend at some SEC school, gathering info for a couple of columns before Saturday’s game. We didn’t have the Internet so a group of Southern writers would get on a conference call Thursdays and share notes.

The result was we came off as geniuses when, in turn, without each other we knew about as much about this week’s game between Alabama and Georgia as the guy in Section JJ, Row 17, Seat 3.

Going to practice was futile. I couldn't tell if the offense was running a split-back veer, if the defense was in zone coverage or man-to-man. Nothing. But I Knew enough assistant coaches who could tell me all of that and more. Further, head coaches were notoriously tight-lipped but the trainers, the field experts, the medical residents who helped the team doctors ...oh, I was a super sleuth. And because I would befriend anybody, I got to know a Dallas Cowboys genius named Gil Brandt.

Gil was the chief talent scout for the legendary Tom Landry and, oh, a greater expert never lived. He’s the one who went to Navy – of all places – and got Roger Staubach. He figured out a way for the Cowboys to obtain Herschel Walker. He went to small colleges for Drew Pearson and Everett Walls. His trades yielded ‘Too Tall’ Jones, Tony Dorsett, and Randy White. Yes, he was a key cog in Cowboy world championships.

He was also the funniest guy you’d ever met, and everybody loved him. So, it was Gil who introduced me to the “The Cowboy List.”

Understand, this is back when Dallas was pure. The Cowboys would stand at attention for the National Anthem, dreaded Landy’s piercing stare, and lived to beat Lombardi and the Packers. Somebody once asked Cowboy Don Meredith if Landry ever smiled. “I don’t know … I was just there for nine years.”

Again, 40 years ago everything was different and the Cowboys – as a team – listened to nothing in the locker room, the dining facility, or the travel buses but country music. Soon they compiled a hysterical list of the greatest lines ever sung to the twang of a guitar. In the last several weeks I have attempted to update “The Cowboy List.”

Here are just 75 that I came up with in honor of Gil Brandt:

* * *

ACTUAL LINES FROM COUNTRY MUSIC SONGS

1.  -- I can never pass a honky-tonk, and there's one on my way home.

* -- I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

* -- When the phone don't ring, you'll know it's me.

* -- I only miss you on the days that end in "Y".

* -- I'd love to live with you again, but then I couldn't live with me.

* -- Hey, Barnum and Bailey, can you use another clown?

* -- I've closed my eyes to the cold hard truth I'm seeing.

* -- It don't hurt me half as bad as holding you feels good.

* -- It seems the best in you brings out the worst in me.

10. -- Drop-kick me, Jesus, through the goal-posts of life.

* -- The worst you ever gave me was the best I ever had.

* -- So, I'll wait for her, looking out my window through the pain.

* -- You went out of your way to walk on me.

* -- I don't know what it is, but I sure miss it when it's gone.

* -- It wouldn't be so bad if it hadn't been so good.

* -- You can't make a heel toe the mark.

* -- She's the trip I've been on since you've been gone.

* -- Flushed from the bathroom of my heart.

* -- It's been a hard day today, I need an easy one tonight.

20. -- My wife ran off with my best friend, and I miss him.

* -- Lay back down and love me and leave the leavin' for later on.

* -- I turned out to be the only hell my mama ever raised.

* -- It's commode hugging time in the valley

* -- When the hangover's over, your memory's still hangin' on.

* -- I borrowed the shoes, but the holes are mine.

* -- If practice makes perfect, I'm leaving you perfect this time.

* -- Our marriage was a failure, but our divorce ain't workin' out either.

* -- Remember to remind me I'm leaving.

* -- Just because you got to first base don't mean you're home free.

30 -- I knew I'd lean, but I never thought I'd fall.

* -- You can't even do wrong right.

* -- She's waiting on the tables while she's waiting for the tables to turn.

* -- When she's got me where she wants me, she don't want me.

* -- It's the bottle against the Bible in the battle for Daddy's soul.

* -- The work we done was hard; at night we'd sleep 'cause we were tard.

* -- When she left me all she left was a reason to drink.

* -- She took everything but the blame.

* -- Liars: 1; Believers: zero.

* -- I've got a funny feeling I won't be feeling funny long.

40 -- Old Glenn lived himself to death.

* -- While I was busy holding on, you were busy letting go.

* -- How long can I keep loving you if she keeps loving me.

* -- How can anything that sounds so good make me feel so bad?

* -- Nine o'clock boy in a 12 o'clock town.

* -- How can a whisky six years old whip a man that's 32?

* -- She's just a name-dropper, and now she's dropping mine.

* -- You rubbed it in all wrong.

* -- Your love left a ring around my finger.

* -- It's bad when you're caught with the goods.

50 -- How come my dog don't bark when you come around?

* -- If fingerprints showed up on skin, wonder whose I'd find on you?

* -- Does my ring hurt your finger when you go out at night?

* -- I bought the shoes that just walked out on me.

* -- He's walking in my tracks but he can't fill my shoes.

* -- For better or for worse but not for long.

* -- I can't build a bridge to get over you.

* -- If today was a fish, I'd throw it back.

* -- If you want to keep the beer cold, put it next to my ex-wife's heart.

* -- I need somebody bad tonight, cause I just lost somebody good.

60 -- Red necks, white socks, and Blue Ribbon beer.

* -- I'm sick and tired of waking up so sick and tired.

* -- Four on the floor and a fifth under the seat.

* -- You can't go in the red playing Bluegrass.

* -- It takes me all night to do what I used to do all night long.

* -- The only thing I can count on now is my fingers.

* -- Send a dozen roses up to her and pour four for me.

* -- The devil is a woman, and she wears a short red dress.

* -- The girl who waits on tables used to wait for me at home.

* -- I'll tread water as long as you think you can make it rain.

70 -- She even woke me up to say goodbye.

* -- I gave her a ring and she gave me back the finger.

* -- Walk out backwards, so I'll think you're coming in.

* -- When I'm alone I'm in bad company.

* -- I only feel at home when I'm gone.

75 --When you leave Amarillo, turn out the lights.

* * *

Let’s hope we can do some more ‘country’ sometime!

royexum@aol.com


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