Midnight In Montgomery

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

After finding that her grandmother had died, a young, up-and-coming country singer meets the ghost of her hero.
















Midnight In Montgomery


Arby Ansiel


























Now, I know y'all won't believe me when I tell you this, so that's why I decided to write it down. I remember having a night that only dreams were made of, only I was wide awake witnessing it. I still wonder why that happened, and to all people, me, but I'm grateful it did.

I assume those reading this have actually heard about the great Hank Williams, Sr. If not, not don't worry. Even I found stuff about him that I didn't know. And I got to talk to him. I mean actually talk to him. Now, I'm no psychic medium, but I felt that God warranted to send a message. I know you can't really talk to the dead, but looking at the ghost of Hank Williams was like I was actually there with him when he was alive. Course he wasn't always pasty white, God love him.

Me? You wondering who I am? I am Madison Geary, an up-and-coming Country music star with comparisons to becoming the next Reba McEntire. Of course I can never be her. Ms. McEntire is so much better than I am and I respect her for it. Although, I'm glad I don't have Kelly Clarkson dating one of my relatives. Anyway, I digress. This ole girl's been struggling for awhile. I know I'm still young, but, uh, it's been harder and harder for me to come up with a good song for my next album. At least it was until my grandma, Norma Jean Reilly, (just a coincidence if you know the Diamond Rio song) passed away at the age of 72.

Now my Grandma was the reason why I got into the music business. She would get me to sing in church for their Choir. She even paid for piano and guitar lessons no matter how much I dreaded going to them on some days. She even made sure I got singing lessons by persuading me to sing for my high school's choir. She knew of my talents and told me to be like Hank. But in reality, I would prefer to be a writer. Hence why I prefer to tell you my story like this. That's my specialty, so being a songwriter just came naturally to me in a sense that made Grandma, and me, happy. I'm trying to remember what she what she died from. How embarrassing! It's been a while.

I remember now. Grandma Reilly succumbed to her second bout of breast cancer, and my mama called to tell me about it three days after the funeral while I was headlining a concert up in Tennessee. She had done this while I was in the middle of my pre-show warm-ups. How irritating! And just as I was hitting my high notes. Now my mother knows to always call me on my Alabama cell phone, but she NEVER does it. But she knows I hate funerals, and it's been like that since I was a little kid. Just looking at a dead body in a casket still gives me the creeps. It's been like that since my Aunt Jo's funeral when I was 6 years old.

"Hey Maddy, honey," Mama chimes on her end.

"Hi Mama, what's up?" I ask very peeved. "I keep telling you to call me on my Alabama line. You know my Nashville number racks up charges."

My mother's apparent entitlement starts to resonate on her end. She knows damn good and well I am not giving her a dime to pay for anything, but she refuses to listen.

“I know, honey,” She says in her annoying confidence.

Uh, oh. Here comes the bad news. Mama finally tells me the news that Grandma Reilly passed away. Yet she decided to tell me AFTER they had the funeral. Why wasn't I invited?

“I know, honey. I didn't want to burden you even further with what you got now,” she chimes. “Besides, I know you hate funerals.”

“Yeah! But I could've been there for my cousins,” I chirped. “I could've sucked it up just to see them. Plus, I'm always wondering what Uncle Jack is doing now.”

That was beside the point. I finished the call by telling Mama that I was coming back to Montgomery as soon as the concert in Tennessee was finished. Finally, Mama told me that Grandma Reilly is buried at the Oakwood Annex, the same cemetery as her favorite singer, who just happened to be Hank, Sr., like she's always wanted. I still can't get over the fact that my grandma's gone.

It literally took just over five and a-half hours from the afternoon concert in Memphis, Tennessee to my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, non-stop with very few breaks in between. And yes, I was tired, but my agent, Rod Myers, had to tag along. You know, “to keep me safe.” Even though being as rushed as I was, going to see my grandma was my top priority. Despite the fact that Rod was moaning and snoring the entire ride down there. I don't know, but I like that whiny, curly brown-haired bastard better when he's asleep.

I finally reached Grandma and Grandpa Reilly's house at about eleven o'clock that night. Praise God Grandpa Jim is still alive. I knew that old coot would outlive his wife of 55 years. Too bad he now has my mother to contend with. Ha ha! When I got to my grandparents' house, I reintroduce Rod to my Grandpa, and as soon as their heads hit their respective pillows, I was off to the Oakwood Annex cemetery with my guitar.

Now, Grandma and Grandpa Reilly's House was literally a few blocks away from where Old Harm was buried. Grandma would normally take me, and sometimes my brother Jake, to see his grave marker on any day that wasn't bombarded by tourists. “Someday you'll be like him, Madison,” she'd point out, and funny enough, I did. I haven't overdose on anything just yet, though. Yet I still knew the way, so I walked.

Since Montgomery, Alabama, LOVES Country music, the guard at the gate let this newly celebritied daughter of the City walk right in after hours. The poor boy, God love him, even led me with his flashlight to where my grandma was placed. You know, so I could pay my respects.

“I'm sorry I missed your funeral, Grandma,” I said to her tombstone which had a lovely picture of her on it. “I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to see you at all.”

I didn't mean it like that. In fact, with all that I've been doing with my new-found celebrity-dom, I haven't been able to see my grandma during her treatment. My career was her curse, despite her being the jump start of it. Even so, with my guitar in hand, I played for Grandma some of my songs including her favorite “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

Midnight had struck as I was getting ready to leave. Suddenly, I smelled whiskey in the air, and I heard familiar music coming from the broad of the park, so I went to investigate. My first thought was probably some random group of teenagers doing some underage drinking and making fun of my music by playing a Hank Williams song rather loudly. Boy, was I wrong!

The more I looked into the sound, the more I saw this bright, white light the louder the sound got. I finally saw him! Hank Williams himself. I stood by a distant tree and watched him finished his song. Coincidentally, the song was “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry”, the very same song I had just finished singing to my grandma. I sort of startled him by singing along with him.

“Ah, I knew I had an audience!” he boomed. “Come here, little girl. Let me talk to you.”

I obliged and walked over. A huge cheesy grin came across my face. Oh, my God! I was really getting to meet Hank Williams!

“What brings you about the park tonight, little Missy?” asked Hank.

I had to be polite. Despite still looking like he was 29 years old, this man was certainly my elder, and I wasn't going to jeopardize the acquaintanceship just because he was famous. Who would want to do that, right?

“Well, Mr. Williams,” I started to answer. “I'm here to see my grandmother. She's a really big fan of yours. I didn't expect to see you here this evening.”

“Hey, little darlin', you don't have to call me that,” Hank began to explain in regards to his name. I did not know he didn't like to be called “Mr. Williams”. “My name is Hank. That's what the world calls me. But it looks like you're my new friend now, so you can call me 'Skeets'. What's your name?”

“My name is Madison, Madison Geary,” I tell him. “I'm 'Maddy' to my mama; 'Sonny' to my friends. I like 'Sonny' better than 'Maddy', though. I'm just Madison to the world myself.”

“I see,” said Hank. “That was an awful lot of explaining. Looks like you and I share some things in common. I see you got your guitar. Can you play?”

“Sure, I can!” I said excitedly.

“Can you sing, Sonny?”

“Yes, Sir!”

“Then pick them strings, little girl,” he said in his excitement. “Let me hear you sing.”

I was scared at first. I hesitated some as I started to play for Hank one of my songs from my first album. I don't remember which one. Just something that I know I wrote. It could've been “Forever In Your Eyes”; one of my sad songs. I don't know. For some reason, when I finished, I couldn't tell if Hank was impressed or disappointed. I'd like to think he was impressed, but it didn't sound like it in his voice.

“Well, that sounded good,” he said while debating in his head. “But that had no real twang to it. No Blues. It sounded like something Bill Haley would play.”

Noticing the skepticism in his voice, I started convincing him about the different type of music that I play.

“Well, it's supposed to be a Country song, Skeets,” I began to explain. “I happen to be a Country singer, too! We just happen to sing different types of the same genre.”

“Is that so?” Hank pondered. Time began to hit him quick. “What year is it?”

I explained to Hank from what I learned in school about in regards to what happened in the decades after his death. That we were now in 21st Century, and that a lot has changed in the Music Industry over the years. Even in recent history. Then Hank began to wonder about his children: Little Randall and the baby he never got to meet. I explained, too, that what happened to them. Randall now goes by “Hank, Jr.” and the baby he never met is now a grown woman by the name of “Jett Williams” in honor of both him and his former mistress, Bobbie Jett. I even told him that he has a look-a-like grandson going by the name “Hank III” and two granddaughters. All of whom are in the music business.

Hank turned his head in disappointment. His selfishness, his drinking, and his sadness and loneliness all came back to haunt him. Remorse was written all over his face. His was so proud of his family, very much; but Hank had missed so much. I touched his shoulder to try to embrace my sympathy toward his pain. After what I told him, he definitely needed a hug, but I could not provide that. It was something this little blonde, 29-year-old was not prepared to do. Instead, I, uh, I played him another one of my songs. This time around, he decided to join me.

That's what all we did the rest of the night. We just talked and sang. We talked about the women in his life, the men in mine, and our families. I also asked Hank why he took those pills that he was found with the day he died.

“It wasn't the pills that killed me, Sonny,” He explained. “It was the heart attack I suffered after taking them that did me in.”

Get it now? I realized in the 1950s they did not have side effect warnings like we do here in the 21st Century.

The hours ticked away like seconds. At least that's what they felt like when I started to feel the sun quickly come up.

“Well Sonny,” said Hank with a grin. “It was fun while it lasted.”

“Will I ever see you again, Skeets?” I asked innocently.

“If you're ever in Heaven,” began Hank as he was getting off his perch. “You should come and see me. I'll be around.”

I was sitting down as he walked away. He started singing “I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” as he was leaving. I didn't exactly see it, but Hank waved goodbye to me as I glanced at what I found out to be his memorial marker he was sitting by. Then he was gone! Tears streamed down my face as I had to say goodbye to the man I had come to respect. I rose up with my guitar on my back with a look of gratefulness on my face while admiring Hank's memorial.

As luck would have it on a sunny 7am, my whiny agent Rod comes looking for me. I turned to meet him.

“There you are!” he exclaims. “Where have you been? I've been looking all over the entire cemetery for you. I literally couldn't find you anywhere. I almost called the police.”

“What do you mean, Rod? I was right here the entire----Whoa!" I had stopped myself as I had turned back to the grave. I must have been in with Hank in Heaven this whole night. I never dreamed that could be done before.

"Well, let's get going, Madison," says Rod trying to tease with me as he taps my shoulder. "Our final stop is in New York City, and we can't afford to miss it. Now get in the car. We got to go."

"Yeah, yeah, just give me a minute," I said. "I'll be right behind you."

As he left, I looked over at Hank Williams' memorial. My grateful smile came back across my face. That warm wind blowing around me felt like a big hug from Hank himself.

"Thank you, Skeets," I said while touching his memorial. "Thank you so much. For everything."

After I got into the car, and we drove off, I told Rod what happened to me that night. He didn't believe me, either.

"That's one hell of a story, Sonny," said Rod. "You made it sound like he was actually there. I sure wish he was, though. Too bad, he's not really singing anymore."

"What are you talking about?" I asked in rebuttal. "He's always singing there."

I turn my face toward the window on my side of the car. Another smile came across my face as I was fighting back tears. I was missing Hank, but somehow I just knew that he was going to be alright. I will see him again. Someday.

"Hank's always singing there."

Submitted: October 15, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Arby Ansiel. All rights reserved.

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