We’d had years on the circuit, playing rodeos and country shows, town halls and festivals. Years of fighting and getting back together. Always the song. I told him he could sing anything else to anyone else but that song would always be just for me. It had been a big hit when he needed one. It saved him in many ways, and it still got the biggest response from fans. Even tonight it sounded as good as when I first heard him sing it. Because when he sings it I almost forget to breathe.

The record company had called me in. That song you sent us. We want Clem to have it. Sure I said. Then they shoved a contract in front of me and next thing he’s got it all right. By the time the record came out—words and music: Clem Mullins—we were together and that song was never going to let us be apart for long.

Tonight I’m alone in our trailer while a sweet country girl with fame in her eyes shares his bottle. I drop the needle on the crackling track.

holding you close to my heart until morning

 

(this is an edited version of the story Rodeo, published on this day, 2010. See about small stories about love)

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