Sam Houston is the publisher of the Hood County News. He is also an author, playwright, performer and entertainment producer/promoter.

2020 has been a tough year! Just like most of you, I could go on and on about the changes, troubles, aggravations and annoyances that have rained down upon us these past few months. If a fella is not careful and lets his mind focus only on the negatives, it can lead to a jaded view of the world.

In the past week two Texas music legends passed on; Billy Joe Shaver and my favorite artist, Jerry Jeff Walker. Both played an instrumental role in creating the Austin sound and fostering the Texas music scene.

I first heard Jerry Jeff Walker in 1974 when my college roommate turned me on to the sounds of a guy singing about “Redneck Mother’s.” Certainly, the music fit in well with college as there were numerous songs about drinking, but as I continued to listen to the lyrics I found that Jerry Jeff truly was a troubadour; someone who could put my feelings and thoughts into a song.

His signature song, “Mr. Bojangles,” was loved by many, whether it was sung by Jerry Jeff, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, or Sammy Davis Jr. It did not matter what age group or what your social economic background, the lyrics and the melody touched you.

I saw Jerry Jeff in concert maybe 15 times over the years. Later in life, when I was actively promoting musical shows, I had a chance to meet and visit with him. He was a little contrary and had his own way of doing things. Certainly not a person you would identify as a “people pleaser.” He marched to his own drum and did his own thing in his own way.

Seems like a little part of me has died knowing Jerry Jeff is gone. I will never hear another “new song” and will have to rely on the music I have heard so many times. I know every word and beat. That is OK, because the memories Jerry Jeff created and the emotions he stirred inside of me will live on.

This year has been tough, but I have good friends and coworkers to be thankful for. I have a loving and caring family. I have Jerry Jeff Walker and the memories we share. No adversity can change that. I bet you have some “special music” which does the same for you.

Hope you all are liking our new “Diversions” section of the paper. Over the next few weeks and months, you will see the paper grow with more stories and photos about our people, organiza-tions, schools, sports, and activities. We have even added a cartoon and are in the process of adding a Sudoku puzzle. I hope we have something for everyone! Like our Mission Statement says, we are a “community” newspaper and Hood County, and its inhabitants, are our “community.”

Thought for the day: When everything is coming your way ... you are in the wrong lane!

Until next time...