I’m having trouble believing that Merle Haggard is dead. I’m sad for him and his family, but I’m having trouble believing it, even after seeing it reported at CNN. This trouble stems from my long standing mistake that Merle Haggard was already dead.
Seriously, I kept thinking Merle Haggard was dead for almost two decades now. Merle Haggard would come up in conversation and I’d be sure he was dead. Then I’d check and find out I was wrong.
This even got into a story of mine, “The Boys of Volunteer Fire Two-Twenty-Two-Point-Five,” that’s in my new short story collection, Not Quite so Stories.
For years now, I’ve been having to stop myself when I’d think Merle Haggard was dead. No, I’d tell myself, you always think that. He’s still alive. However, now he’s not. Am I going to spend the next two decades convinced he’s still alive, that I only keep thinking he’s dead, while he isn’t alive anymore?
Sad for Merle, and his family and friends, but this is going to mess with my head for a long time.