Why one Willie song always makes me sad.

Music is very powerful to me.  It can whisk me away to another time or situation and the memories come rushing in.  One of those songs is Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind”.

I married once before, at the fairly young age of 20.  John was sweet, came from a good family, was a carpenter, played the guitar, wanted to be a musician and I loved him with my whole heart.  We dated some in high school.  After graduation we went our separate ways.  Then the following year we met again when we were both attending TCJC.  We were practically inseparable from that point on.  We married in January of 1982.

After marriage I found that Doug had a drug addiction.  Crystal Meth and his preferred method was to use a needle.  He hid it from me, but you can only hide that sort of thing for so long.  He kept his kit hidden in the bathroom.  I found it, but never confronted him on it.  But Crystal made herself know in other ways.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I stood in line at the county jail waiting to visit him through a small pane of glass.  There were overdoses, hospitals, psych wards, rehabs, and half-way houses.  A diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.  Early one morning he informed me that I was the antichrist and he was Jesus returned.  The only way we could save ourselves was to burn down the house.  I called his father.  There was a trip to the lake with a 38 to kill me.  When he went to get the fishing poles (crazy I know) I took the bullets out of the gun.  Once while in jail there was even a drug dealer who showed up at my door.  I told him if he wanted his money to go down to the county jail.  There were tears, promises broken, and a million other stories.

After finding my wedding ring (the one I bought) gone and a pawn ticket in his wallet, I opened my eyes and realized I couldn’t save him.  He loved me I know, but he loved Crystal more.

I told him he would have to leave at the end of the week.  I wanted a divorce, I was done.  I cried, he cried.  It was heart breaking for us both.  While I sat on the end of the bed and cried, he sat in the living room with his guitar and sang “Always on My Mind”.

I don’t know where he is now.  But I do know that he went to prison at least three times that I know of after we divorced.  I know I made the right decision.  Yet a tiny piece of my heart has been sealed away forever and that little part will always belong to him.

Last night on my way home “Always on My Mind” played on the radio and I cried..


  1. >"Desperados Waiting For a Train" by Jerry Jeff Walker. When I hear it, and it is not often, it reminds me of John and makes me cry. He was my hero, and I watched him spiral away into a place that I couldn't imagine. I knew he was using crystal, but he never did it in front of me, so I refused to think about it. I wrote a song about him, it too was sad, but he never heard it. I saw him in the early 90's. I was a cop and he was still using drugs. It was surreal. I bought him a guitar. We played a couple of times, he talked about how peoples thoughts were like tendrils and would reach out to him so he knew what everyone was thinking. It broke my heart. The last time I saw him he was in jail going back to TDC. I still believe that he truly wanted to be good and make us proud, it just wasn't meant to be that way.

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