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Good memories help with the loneliness
Lee Cassel dances with Julie Wauson at the Floresville Opry.
We went to the Floresville Opry on May 2. We had a good time. My brother, Bob, and my niece, Debbie, and our good friends, Lee and Dee Cassel, went with us. They said they had a good time. It made my heart tender to see them out on the floor dancing. Bob was a gentleman and danced with me one time. I admit I was pretty rusty! I thought I remembered how to two-step! I finally got in the groove after awhile. I didn’t step on his toes too often!
But the highlight of the night was when our friend Lee danced with Julie. Julie was in seventh heaven! She doesn’t get asked to dance often these days. She loved it. Lee made her day! And mine too, being her mother!
Sitting there, listening to the old country classics and watching the people dancing, gave me a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes. It was nostalgia time. My readers have read my past columns about the good old dance hall days in Wilson County, especially the ones I knew and went to. Well, last night I heard Leon Payne Jr. sing one of his daddy’s, Leon Payne Sr., most memorable songs, “I Love You Because,” which was written and recorded in 1949. He sounded just like his daddy! And I was in the Hermann Sons Hall in Poth dancing to that song. Or maybe it was after I graduated that spring and was dancing in the old Circle B on Broadway in San Antonio, on their patio in the fall, after I had moved to San Antonio and was living in my own apartment in an old two-story colonial white home on Hackberry Street.
I just know that song brought back memories of good times when I was young and carefree. I remember hearing that song on the radio lots of times, and I always wished I knew Leon Payne. The words to the song meant so much to me, because I was in love with Eddie Wauson, and he didn’t even know it then!
I know the song went to number four on the Billboard Country & Western Best Seller lists and spent two weeks at number one on the Country & Western Disc Jockey List, spending a total of 32 weeks on the chart. That song was Leon Payne’s only song to make the country charts. I can’t believe that!
Leon Payne was blind in one eye at birth, and lost the sight of the other eye in early childhood. He attended the Texas School For the Blind from 1924-35. Amazing that I didn’t even remember that. But yet maybe I didn’t know that till recently.
At the Opry they had a tribute to the legendary George Jones. They sang several of his most famous songs. I loved George Jones, and we will miss him and his voice. George Jones recorded an entire album of Leon Payne’s songs, “George Jones Sings the Great Songs of Leon Payne,” in 1971.
But the main thing that brought a lump in my throat was that I missed my husband. But what I enjoyed was listening to the old classic country songs being sung by all those talented people up there on the stage, because it brought back so many good memories of former dance halls that I had danced in over the last 65 years.
As I watched the dancers going around the dance floor, my vision was dimmed as I was taken back to those days long ago, and I smiled as I remembered the first time I danced with Eddie: at the Circle B in San Antonio, when he was there with a friend and I was there with my Aunt Sallie and he saw me and asked me to dance, and then said “What is a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” Then several months later, in October 1950, he and I danced at the Peanut Festival street dance in Floresville. And the rest is history! We were married three months later!
So can you blame me for getting nostalgic at country dances these days?
Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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