Its Thursday, September 13, 2012, and on this date 32 years ago Willie
Nelson performed on the South Lawn of the White House, sang a duet with Rosalyn
Carter, said good night to the president and, later, after the First Family
was abed, went to the White House roof where he fired up a fat boy.
Nelson revealed his midnight toking in his autobiography -- he called his
joint a big fat Austin torpedo" -- although it wasnt a revelation that
surprised anyone: The great country singer has at least as many marijuana
arrests as wives (four), and hes on the board of directors of NORML, the
National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws.
President Carter wasnt up on the roof smoking with Willie Nelson, although
it might have helped him relax. September was a trying time for the 39th
president in 1980. The U.S. economy remained in the dumpster, the Iranian
hostage crisis showed no signs of abating, and it had dawned on Carter that
Ronald Reagan was a tough customer.
president, a longtime dry fly fisherman, found solace by tying flies alone and
reading the Bible at night. But on this evening 32 years ago, Carter derived
pleasure from hearing his old pal team up with the first lady on a spirited
rendition of Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother.
Jimmy Carter will be
88 years old in a couple of weeks. Willie Nelson is 79. You cant exactly say
they are retired, though. At the beginning of the summer, Willie was performing
at Atlantas Chastain Park Amphitheatre when he invited Jimmy and Rosalynn
Carter on stage to join him in Amazing Grace.
Carter, not exactly
known for letting his hair down as president, even donned Willies trademark red
bandana for the occasion. Times (and technology) being what they are, someone in
the audience recorded it
. Its not great movie-making, or even great music
anymore, but what took place on that Georgia night in mid-June is a pretty
definition of aging gracefully.
Thanks, Willie, for all you do
for the legalization movement, even after all these
Keith Stroup, Esq.