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  • As you can see from the ticket stub above, I had the great pleasure of being present for a show featuring two living legends of Country Music. It was everything I expected and more.

    Merle Haggard (75) and Kris Kristofferson (76) may be getting on in years, but it sure hasn't diminished their ability to perform and entertain an audience of about 1,400 people. Granted, the audience sported as bit of white and gray hair, but there were a few youngun's there, too. (Remember, at 60, that's a relative term.)

    Kris opened up the show with a single acoustic number and accompanied himself on the guitar and the harmonica. Merle came out with the Strangers (not the original players, unfortunately, but nonetheless a very accomplished and talented group of musicians), and opened up with the song you are hearing if you have your sound turned on. And the memories just kept flowing from that point on.

    First Merle would do a couple songs, followed by Kris, and back and forth for an hour and a half of incredible music. Me and Bobby McGee, Sunday Morning Coming Down, Wanted Man, Hungry Eyes, Sing Me Back Home, Why Me Lord (the song I tried to sing for you with today's Psalm), and many others came out to rounds of applause and a whole bunch of folks singing along. With every song came a memory. Talk about your "I Remember Moments", I can remember where I heard those songs the first time, and pretty much what I was doing at the time.

    Silver Wings was once known as the official song of the girls who worked in the bars along Magsaysay Boulevard in Olangapo. When I was a young sailor in the Navy in 1972, every time the song would come over the jukebox or was played by the band, all the girls would sing along. I can close my eyes and listen to them today.

    Why Me Lord is a song I will never forget, for several reasons. Besides being a modern hymn that speaks of the real situation of so many Christians today, it is also the song requested by a good friend who asked me to play it for him while he lay in a hospital bed. I knew he was dying, but managed to sing it, along with several other of his favorite hymns, before he passed. I later sang it for his memorial service.

    Like Dylan, these two gentlemen have contributed more to the heritage of American lyric poetry than most people will think of in a lifetime. Watching them on stage tonight made me remember why I choose to be a poet. Not for the fame, but for the ability to put to words the experience of the common man.

    Its a lofty ambition, I know. Will I make it? I'll leave that in God's hands.

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