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Jesup, Georgia 31545

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


When George Jones sang a song, it was sung

My Opinion
With his cowboy boots touching my tasseled loafers, we were toe-to-toe, 10,000 feet over the Peach State. On our way to tout Georgia to a group of industrial prospects, I leaned forward to pop the question: Governor, whos the best country music artistever? George Jones! Zell Miller fired back, over the hum of the King Airs twin engines. No surprise there. I just wanted to hear him talk about his friend, DINK Possum. NeSMITH And thats why I called himto Chairman hear the retired United States senator talk about the greatest country singerever, again. George Jones didnt write many songs, Gov. Miller said, but when he sang one, it was sung. He would take others and turn them into a George Jones song. You knew it when you heard it. Zell and George go backway backand they had more in common than cowboy boots. Both were Marines, and both sported flattop haircuts for the longest time. And when the Possum released his biography, I Lived to Tell it All, his friend hosted a book-signing party at Georgias governors mansion. Zell enjoyed taking an entourage to the country music awards show in Nashville. One year, Atlanta JournalConstitution President Tom Wood rented a motor home for the trip. Editor Jim Minter and columnist Lewis Grizzard were on the velour couches for the ride up I-75. And with Zell as the ringmaster, I would have enjoyed tagging along on that circus-like pilgrimage to Music Row. Back when Zell was running for governor, Possums tour route had plenty of potholes. Struggling with booze and drugs, the country star was dubbed No Show Jones, as he became infamous for missing events. Still, Zell could count on his friend. For a campaign commercial, George pulled out his guitar and hit a few licks before belting out a few lines of The Race is On, his red-hot single. Zell said, George added to the radio spot, so, you take it from ole No Show Jones, Im for Zell Miller, and this is one election Im going to show up for. As the legendary resident of Young Harris and I bantered about George Jones, we clicked off a few of our favorite Possum tunes: The Race is On Well the race is on/and here comes pride in the backstretch/heartaches are going to the inside/my tears are holding back/theyre trying not to fall/my hearts out of the running/true loves scratched for anothers sake/the race is on and it looks like heartaches/and the winner loses all. The race was on for Zell Miller, but he didnt lose. He won the right to sit in the lieutenant governors and governors chairs. And he was appointed to the United States Senate. He Stopped Loving Her Today Zell says Possum almost turned down what many consider to be the all-time top country song because it was too morbid. But if the ballad doesnt jerk at least one teardrop, well, you might need to listen to it again. Choices Zell thinks these lyrics sum up Georges 81 years: Ive

When George Jones released his biography, I Lived to Tell it All, his friend, Gov. Zell Miller, right, hosted a book-signing party at the Georgia governors mansion.(Photo courtesy of Zell Miller Papers, Richard B. Russell Library for Polictical Reseach and Studies, University of Georgia.)

My friends, this is George Jones, and you know Id like to take this opportunity to talk about the next governor of the state of Georgia. My good friend of many years, Zell Miller, has said that I am a good legend in country music. Well, the same thing could be said about Zell Miller. Zell is definitely a legend in Georgia politics. Zell has spent over half of his life trying to make things better for the state of Georgia--for our schools, for our senior citizens and for the working public. So, when you go to the polls to elect your new governor, remember when you vote for Zell Miller, you are voting for yourself. My bet is on the winner, Zell Miller. had choices/since the day I was born/there were voices/that told me right from wrong/if I had listened/no I would be here today/living and dying with the choices I made. Hotter Than a Two-Dollar Pistol The governor laughed when I mentioned this one. I come from a long line of front-porch storytellers. And this tune has a twist in the tale thats bound to tickle your funny bone. I dare you to listen and not laugh. Rocking Chair If youve got silver in your hair, you might adopt this as your anthem: I dont need your rockin chair/your Geritol or Medicare/I still got neon in my veins/this gray hair dont mean a thing/I do my rockin on the stage/you cant put this possum in a cage/my bodys old but it aint impaired/I dont need your rockin chair. Zells done with politics, but hes not ready for the rocking chair. He told me, George Jones was the greatest. There wont be another. He was a country song. Yes, he really was. And thats when I thought: Other Georgia politicians may wear cowboy boots, but there wont be another Zell Miller, either.

Possum climbs on the stump

George Jones was the greatest. There wont be another. He was a country song. Yes, he really was.

Zell Miller, former Georgia Lt. Governor, Governor and United States Senator

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