Merle Haggard drove up to our service station in Redding California. I was sitting in the office, doing my paperwork; it was a Sunday, and I’d gotten stuck working. The familiar ding of the tire rolling over the air-filled hose alerted me that someone wanted full service.
Out I jumped from the office, and as I approached the vehicle, there stood Merle Haggard, leaned against the front of his 1960 convertible Cadillac, white with red interior. He wore shorts with his cowboy boots, a tank top under his unbuttoned shirt, and a broad cowboy hat.
“Hi, darlin’,” he smiled as I came out.
“Hello,” I said. “What would you like? Premium, regular, or the expensive stuff?”
He laughed and started to sing me the answer, then went on about the gas station on Highway 5, the girl with the curly hair and burly husband. He smiles and added, “Premium, please.” He was too charming and had a peaceful feel.
I was seeing things, but the timing was not right.
Then I checked under the hood of Cadillac. He smiled, and I chuckled.
He said, “I can do that.”
I replied, “Stand back, mister!” and he laughed out loud while I checked the oil and the water, and topped off his washer fluid. He sang the whole time. Merle was happy. I was happy. He kept smiling as I checked the air pressure in the tires; he was getting a kick out of it, I guess because I was a woman.
“Who owns this gas station?” he asked.
“I do. Well, along with my husband.”
“Is that the big man with a beard?”
“Yes,” I laughed.
Apparently, he had been here before. He looked down at his fingernails, took in a breath and said, “Come up to the club and listen to some music, you and the big guy. Later, I’ll have a party on the houseboat. Dwight Yoakam will be there, along with others, my family. Bring the big guy if you’d like.” he flashed a huge cute smile.
I giggled like I was sixteen and said, “Sure.”
This was Merle; not only was he a local, he was a great guy, easy going and fun.
Well, of course we went up to the Silverthorn on Shasta Lake. Beautiful place, and the music and the people were amazing. The big guy and I, we danced and drank and I even bought Dwight Yoakam a beer. He was really very friendly, even coming back to sit with us a while. I told Dwight he needed to stick with the story-telling lyrics. Yeah … I was tipsy and feeling pretty good.
Merle came by and with Dwight sitting there, and said, “Hey, come on, we’re going to the Shasta Queen. Let’s go!” and off we all went to the houseboat, called the Shasta Queen.
I began to see a woman behind Merle, smiling and waving. We got on his three-story houseboat, and oh my gosh, the water must have conducted some serious energy because it was like a show. There were so many there; some felt old and looped in energy but his mother was there, too. She wasn’t a loop; she was looking and waving at me.
She kept saying, “Flossie, Flossie, Flossie,” over and over.
I was getting dizzy, the energy was intense they Merle, his friends, and Dwight started playing and singing. The spirits on that boat were so outta this world.
I don’t really know how it happened, but I caught Merle in the small hallway that led to the bathroom. First, I have to say, it was totally not right to what I did. I have high standards, but at the time, I was just beginning to read people and wasn’t aware that I shouldn’t have approached him the way I did..
“Merle,” I said, the words spilling from my mouth. “Your mom is here with a whole bunch of other people. This boat is a floating spirit box.” He laughed. “Your mom is Flossie and there is an old dog with her.”
His eyes widened, and he said, “What does she look like?” and from there he listened.
Very quickly it came out of my mouth, about his mother his dad, and the dog, then I moved on to the energy of the houseboat. He smiled and laughed, and I could have sworn he had a tear in his eye. He said I was a “magic lady.”
Needless to say, the sun came up, and the boat grew quiet; whatta night that was.
To be very honest, I didn’t appreciate this at the time, I didn’t really know Merle Haggard’s music. My husband did, and my mother did. I did, however, love Dwight Yoakam. I wasn’t intimidated by Merle. That made it easier to read him, and it came on fast and furious. I swear it was that houseboat.
It wasn’t too much longer after that night that we went to Montana. I loved Redding, but off we went , back to our roots, where everything changed.
I had heard that Merle died, and I just knew I heard him say “magic Lady” I know I did. I believe that I did.
edited by https://www.offtheshelfediting.com/
Jody E Freeman