This piece was originally printed in Southern Partisan magazine in 1985.
Hank Williams has now been dead longer than he lived. And outside of a hundred or more fine songs, his thrity-year-old memory survives best among some of his cousins down in Georgiana, Alabama, about sixty miles south of Montgomery. Among them are Taft and Erleen Skipper (Taft’s daddy and Hank’s mother were brother and sister), who run a kind of clearing house on Hank. Taft is a tall, thin, and happy man, content to make way for a vital wife who keeps up a hand-written correspondence that would intimidate the secretarial corps at General Motors. Hank’s fans call Erleen so often to chat about their hero that she has to sleep with the phone off the hook. But she’ll talk to you in daylight.
And if you love Hank like she does, she’ll have you to dinner the day before the Hank Williams Memorial Picnic. (That way you’ll know enough people to feel at home when she has you to dinner again at the picnic). I swear that she’ll have cousins who have come all the way from Mobile and Panama City eat in the kitchen to make room at the table for a stranger from New York or Oklahoma who wants to know more about Hank.
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