As y’all no doubt know by now, music legend Loretta Lynn left us the other day. After casting about trying to decide which of her many solid-gold country classics I ought to post here to memorialize her, it hit me that one of my favorite scenes from the great bio-flick Coal Miner’s Daughter might do just as nicely.
As it happens, the BP’s manager Mike Evans was on friendly terms with Doolittle Lynn. Mike always has had a way of seeing to it that he crossed paths with all kinds of people most of us would never even think of approaching at all, introducing himself, chatting with them, and following through afterwards to remain friends with them for years and years. Remind me to tell y’all sometime all about the morning he walked up to the front door of Graceland mansion not too long after Elvis had died, but after all the hooraw had finally died down and Memphis had gone back to whatever normal is there.
In a nutshell, Mike rang the bell and Elvis’s longtime housemaid and cook—a gentle, matronly black lady name of Nancy Rooks, who was the culinary genius behind those nanner and peanut butter sammiches fried in about half a stick of butter each which the King was famous for devouring entire plates of at a single sitting—answered, telling Mike he should come back in about an hour or so. Vernon, see, was in the middle of breakfast, and wasn’t receiving guests until she had finished getting him fed. Mike drove off to a nearby Waffle House or some such, sat on pins and needles in his old Corvette staring at the slow-moving minute hand on his watch, and ended up sitting in front of the TV with Vernon Presley watching Vernon’s favorite Elvis movies one after another, occasionally weeping together in grief over Vernon’s and the entire world’s loss, and just generally chewing the fat like old high school buddies. That story’s a good ‘un, it truly is, a real jaw-dropper for sure.
The cast, crew, writers, and producers of Coal Miner’s Daughter certainly did right by their subject, doing honor to an iconic artist whose like we shan’t ever see again. The movie came out kinda towards the tail-end of a minor spate of music-legend biopics—Lady Sings The Blues, Bound For Glory, The Buddy Holly Story, Sweet Dreams—and outshined ’em all hands down, if you ask me.
Rest easy, Loretta.
Okay, okay, just one song then.