Susan the Singer/G. the Track Star

          I dug Susan the singer.  If I weren’t married, I’d kiss her in a heartbeat.  What a voice!  If a plain middle aged woman can sing cynical Hollywood types into submission in three lines there’s hope for all of us.

         I bet it wasn’t by accident.  My guess is she took a gift God gave her and worked her a^^ off for years with no other motivation than to be her best.  Time is on the side of folks like that.  They know they are out there, it is only a question of when the rest of the world comes to realize it.

        If you watch the video closely, there is a sense she knew what was to transpire.  Part of the fun for her was to watch folk’s prejudice disappear right in front of their eyes.  They had no choice but to admit they’d misjudged her, and that she was beyond good.

         I remember a kid years ago in Jr. High.  His name was G. Byrd.  Everyone called him ‘Bird Legs.’  He was sort of a Barney Fife type fellow who suffered a lot of taunts and ridicule, but seemed to take it in stride.

        I didn’t like the Bird Leg thing, and he didn’t either.  We couldn’t get anyone to call by his real name, so I took to calling him Bird.  Except for the meanest bullies it stuck.  They still called him ‘Bird Legs’ and laughed a lot at his expense. 

         When we were kids it was baseball, basketball, and football.  We didn’t do other sports, except a few of us played golf.  One day Coach told us we were gonna start up something new called track and field.  We’d never heard of that.

         We all dressed out and went out to the ball field.  I forget how many laps it was now, but he explained to us how many it took to make a 440 and 880, and had us toe the line.  I could see right off we weren’t gonna do so well at this new gig.  He blew the whistle and we took off.

         You know the rest of the story.  The last we saw of Bird was his high top black Ked tennis shoes as the trademark red dots disappeared in the distance.  Eat my dust!  All those boys saw of Bird in that race was his scrawny rear end kicking their ass.  

        When we got to the finish line, I laughed myself silly.  “Dang, Bird, where didja learn to run like that?”

         He shrugged his shoulders.  “Just came naturally, Tommy.”

         The rest of ’em panted and held their sides and didn’t say a word.  From then on he was Bird to everyone.  He became a high school track star, went to college, married a pretty girl and settled into a nice life as a teacher, and also a track coach.  He never did come back home much and I can’t say I blame him.      

         Years went by and I ran into Bird in a Winston-Salem restaurant.  I wouldn’t tell this part of the story except one of those bullies is dead, and another is in jail.  “Bird, how the heck did you run like that right out of the box?”

        “Shoot, Tommy.  We had trails out at the farm.  I practiced every evening for two years.  I knew Coach was gonna start up track and field and I was gonna be the best.”  I was one of the few folks who knew Bird a little bit, and he’d never breathed a word of it to anyone until then.

          Later I went and asked Coach, who was long since retired, if he had tipped Bird off about track and field.  He said, “Bibey, do you know what the penalty is for not being dressed out?”

        “Yes sir.  Two laps or three licks.”

         “Do you have your gym clothes here?”

          “No sir.”

           “Then I suggest you get your Doctor ass outta here, unless you want to run two laps to save it.”

            “Yes sir.”  I left and did not ask any more questions.  Coach was my patient and it might not have been considered proper for him to have to whup me.  He is deceased now, and never divulged the secret if he knew.

        For Ms. Susan and Bird both, I guess they coulda told ’em, but it’s like my agent always says; it’s better to show ’em.  They sure did it, and I’m proud of both of them.

Dr. B



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6 Comments on “Susan the Singer/G. the Track Star”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    One of my favorite country songs is Toby Keith’s “How Do You Like Me Now?” a song about a guy who turns into a big success as a singer and sings the song to the pretty, popular girl who spurned him in high school. As I’ve come to know a bunch of musicians in the past few girls, I often think of the kids who were “dorks” and “nerds” in school, staying home to practice guitars and drums in the garage while the popular kids were playing football or cheerleading and making fun of them. By the way, I think George W. Bush was a cheerleader in high school. I know he was a bully. – Ted

  2. drtombibey Says:


    I think history usually gets it right in the end and bullies get their just reward.

    If the highlight of one’s life is High School graduation, that is sad. It should just be getting started.

    Dr. B

  3. Speaking of bullies, here’s an article from the Herald in the UK about Susan Boyle. Kind of raises the question, for me at least, of whether or not we’re bullies by assumption, i.e. assuming someone is not worthy of listening to because of their appearance.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Yvonne,

    Thanks so much for sending this link. It is excellent. The woman was as brave as she was talented, which was enormous, and my hat is off to her.

    One thing about bluegrass music I love so much is that it is an equal opportunity employer. We have young good looking folks in our genre like Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent, but we also embrace performers not eqully blessed in terms of physical appearance. Heck we even take on old geezer Docs!

    When Lester Flatt was old and Marty Stuart started out with him, he told Marty (paraphrased) the difference in bluegrass and some other music art forms was in bluegrass when you got old they didn’t toss you aside, and folks were fans for life.

    Respect of the elders is still a significant part of the genre. (Thank goodness)

    Thanks for visiting, and I hope you’ll come back again.

    Dr. B

  5. Karen Says:

    Dr B. we showed the clip of Susan in church today to remind everyone that while other’s look at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart. I get all teary when I watch it, even though I’ve seen it a few times now. She has a true gift.

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Ms Karen,

    My wife watched it twice yesterday and cried both times. I am an old Doc and I cried too.

    I agree. I believe God is going to speak to a lot of folks through Susan.

    Dr. B

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