JR and Joanne at their parents' house
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There are so many things about my brother J.R. (that's who he is to me). I am asked almost every day "How was it growing up with Johnny Cash?" When we were growing up, he was J.R. Cash--that is the name on his birth certificate. When he was born my parents were talking about a name for their third son in our family. Daddy wanted to name him 'Ray' after himself. Mama wanted to name him 'John' after John Rivers, her Dad. They couldn't decide so they named him J.R.Growing up with J.R. was like any other family member. He wasn't famous in those years when we worked on Daddy's 40 acre cotton farm. It was hard work..
We all had jobs to do. We worked hard. We played hard and we went to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. We sang a lot. From morning until night we sang in the cotton fields. Then at night around Mama's old upright piano, we would sing until bedtime .Singing was a part of our daily lives. Gospel, country and those hand clapping spiritual songs with amen, praise the Lord brother, type of singing. J.R. would turn the radio up as loud as it would go and sing along with them. J.R. said so many times to me--"Baby, you're going to hear me singing on the radio some day". I wondered if he really would. J.R. and our brother Jack were very close. They did everything together. Jack was going to be a minister, even at fourteen his heart was set. He left us much too early in life through a tragic accident with an electric saw. Our family was shocked and grieved at the loss of Jack. J.R. was devastated. He said Jack was a good influence on him for the rest of his life. He talked about him often.J.R.'s talent increased year after year through high school. He won every singing contest he entered. When he was in the Air Force he would write letters often telling me about a band he had in Germany. He said "They're calling me Johnny Cash". I liked that . Mama would say often, "J.R., God has his hand on you, you will be great, and you will sing." Time has proven that. J.R. Cash became the Johnny Cash that the entire world knows and loves, which includes the many number one songs he had, the gospel albums he recorded, as well as the film "Gospel Road" on the life of Christ.. J.R. Cash is now singing in heaven with Jack and Jesus. He's moved on up to the 'big time'. I can live in a world without Johnny Cash, but I miss my brother, J.R.
My Brother JR, The Legend