Not on Willie's road again

Willie: Ask not for who the road tolls Posted by Hello

My heroes have always been long-haired, scruffy musicians, who don’t much give a damn. Take Willie Nelson. He’s an all-American hero. Came up from poverty and church singing in Abbott, Texas, screwed up most of his life, sings like Bob Dylan swallowed tree frogs, plays an old, beat up guitar that was probably found on Noah’s ark, but still turns out some of the most soulful music this side of Nacogdoches. He’s lost his ass to the IRS, found it again, got busted in Hewitt, but for reasons that he’d rather not disclose (to paraphrase “Me and Paul”) and now he shows his real mettle by telling the state of Texas to stick their toll roads where nothing good grows.

State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin proposed that the new toll road around his fair city be named the “Willie Nelson Turnpike.” But Nelson, through his lawyer, reportedly declined the offer saying such a gesture didn’t exactly fit his style or “world view.” I think I may have read that he also didn’t relish the idea of people cussing his name every time they have to pay tolls to use the road. Willie chalks it all up to politics, which is about the only reason anyone ever names a road after someone.

Even though I wrote in the newspapers quite a bit about Gov. Rick’s “Trans Texas Corridor” proposal, which would let private companies build and own their own roads, I still don’t know enough about the details to determine if its good or if it is crooked (those usually are the choices when it comes to government contracts). A lot of the plan is heavily dependent on toll roads and if that’s the future, it kind of makes you wonder what the hell the state and federal government has been doing with your tax-funded highway dollars all these years. And no, I’m not just now wondering that!

It’s nice to hear about someone not getting caught up in flattery and his own celebrity, especially when the gesture involves a project that could potentially have us all shedding dollar bills like rattlesnake skins.

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