The Saint of Dry Creek
October 12, 2015 5:58 PM   Subscribe

That was a sweet story, and I really enjoyed the animation too!
posted by dubitable at 6:03 PM on October 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

Wow. This room is so dusty, I can't even.

Great story and great post, thank you. I had no idea Storycorps was animating their recordings. What a fantastic thing.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:22 PM on October 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

Man, my allergies are awful today. 2nd time I've heard this and it was great both times. Good post, nadawi.
posted by evilDoug at 6:43 PM on October 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

Love this. So glad you posted it. Thank you.
posted by zarq at 6:44 PM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Aw geez, I didn't know this the first time I listened to it before the animation, but the end of the cartoon says his dad died in 1961 (born 1901) and these events described take place in 1959 and that's pretty sobering.

And I think it's obvious that it had a huge effect on him--that's why this story resonates so much and got recorded by StoryCorps--but I did a little more reading up and turns out he's considered the first person to make a gay country music album called Lavender Country in Seattle.

Here's a short interview with him about it. Pitchfork did a longer interview and there's a picture of him with his daughter in 1981 and one with his family in 1945! And he talks more about his father, too:
I always loved my father and knew that my father loved me, but when I was a child, I thought was he was just another dad who loved his kid. There wasn’t anything exceptional about him. Because he never went to a place and said, "Aren’t you lucky you have a father like me? Don’t I stand out? Aren’t I different from all the other fathers, because I’ll put up with behavior from you and no one else will." He never went there. He never represented himself that way.

I had no gay consciousness, I didn’t know I was going to be homosexual, I didn’t know what it meant. My dad couldn’t discuss that issue with me. He had to show the love that he had for me regarding my sexual orientation in all kinds of subtle ways. It wasn’t something you talked about. It was something you did. It was a sparkle in his eye.

When I was 30, and I was out, I’d talked to so many different gay men about their relationships with their own fathers. Then, 10 years after he died, I began to realize what a truly unusual and remarkable man he was for his time and place. It’s incredible. I was so blessed to have a father who loved me. And he knew very well what I was going to be when I was six years old. I didn’t know it, but he did. Which sissy’s father in rural America in 1960 is telling them, "Whatever you do, don’t sneak because you’ll ruin your immortal soul?" One in a million, one in three million, one in 10 billion? So I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m 70 now and I’m looking back and going, "You had a really, really amazing father." When he said "don’t sneak," I said, "You’re right dad, I’m not going to sneak." And then here comes Lavender Country, fuck all of you. If you would’ve had my dad, the patron saint of all sissies everywhere, for a dad, you would’ve written Lavender Country too. You’re supposed to write Lavender Country with a dad like that.
Haggerty's 70 years old now, and still excited about producing and sharing things and that's so wonderful. And it looks like the album is available on Amazon nowadays as well.
posted by foxfirefey at 7:12 PM on October 12, 2015 [20 favorites]

I heard this when it first aired, and still remember it. But I had no idea about Lavender Country, and the Pitchfork interview especially adds a lot of depth.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:21 PM on October 12, 2015

one of the reasons this always hits me - and i thought i'd just keep it to myself, but reading the extra context from foxfirefey i just can't keep it to myself, i am a queer girl from arkansas who worked on a dairy farm a time or ten and had a father who shouldn't have understood but did - i realize how remarkable my dad was/is - even if he questions how he handled things. while he was learning to deal with the changing world and his changing faith - he always loved me, he always accepted me, he never really discouraged me - i learned to not sneak through his imperfect support of me. i'm alive because i always trusted he'd learn to love anything about me - and he did.
posted by nadawi at 7:32 PM on October 12, 2015 [38 favorites]

Around the same time in New York Peter Grudzien was releasing his country albums. It's an interesting mini-genre, 70s queer country music. I made a post about Grudzien some years ago.
posted by Kattullus at 4:40 AM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

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