Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Thanks for the pickin', grinnin' and 'Yesterday'


November 21, 2018

For those of us old enough to remember when television brought families together — in the same room at the same time, with commercial interruption because that was the only choice back then — Thursday was a sad day.

Roy Clark died.

He was country, the song goes, when country wasn’t cool, back when Tammy Wynette was standing by her man. But he was more than a singer, more than a gifted entertainer. He was a generation’s best friend, maybe your dad’s buddy from work or a local cotton farmer who chose to spend his Saturday nights with us on the other side of the TV screen. That’s how it felt anyway.

Clark was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, and even sometimes guest host for Johnny Carson on the “Tonight Show.” But mostly he was the co-star of “Hee Haw,” when grandpas and grandmas and toddlers and everyone in between settled into their favorite living room chairs and sofas and watched the hillbilly antics of the residents of Kornfield Kounty.

One night — Dec. 17, 1969, to be exact — Hee Haw even offered up a Kornfield “salute to Muleshoe, Texas, population 3,871.”

That happened in the first season of the variety show that many thought wouldn’t last past Christmas, but continued for 25 years because it reminded so many of us about a simpler time, that may or may not have ever existed.

Clark, 85, died from pneumonia at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He will be most fondly remembered for pickin’ and grinnin’ with Buck Owens, for corny jokes that led into musical performances by Donna Fargo or Merle Haggard or some other classic country star.

But many of us will also remember him for singing a song so sad it made baseball great Mickey Mantle cry the first time he heard it.

At Mantle’s request, Clark also played “Yesterday, When I was Young,” at Mantle’s funeral in 1995:

“Yesterday, when I was young

“The taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue

“I teased at life as if it were a foolish game

“The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame

“The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned

“I always built to last on weak and shifting sand

“I lived by night and shunned the naked light of the day

“And only now I see how the years ran away.”

Songwriter Charles Aznavour’s words apply to all of us. Coming from our friend Roy Clark, they inspire us to do better with our lives.

Thank you, Roy Clark, for the entertainment and the inspiration.

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis Media Inc. editorial board, which includes Editor David Stevens and Publisher Rob Langrell.


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