Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was a favorite of Larry’s and mine. Listen to it here. Larry and I were both fans and, when Otis died tragically at age 26, we mourned his early death. We weren’t the only ones, as the song’s popularity skyrocketed it to the top of the Billboard charts.
I’m certainly not the only one in my family with a gift for storytelling. Larry identified with Redding’s “Dock of the Bay” and I remember him telling me about it. One of his favorite stories was about the times he went crabbing off the Mobile Bay pier in Alabama, where his mother’s extended family lived. His Alabama tales were rich and filled with experiences I could only imagine, having grown up in the sandy fields of West Texas. Larry promised, as soon as he graduated, he’d take me crabbing on Mobile Bay.
After our marriage on May 27, 1966, Larry and I spent many hours in our one bedroom apartment, listening to 45 rpm records on our inexpensive hi-fi. We owned one car the first year we were married and always traveled with the radio booming, especially on the highway to Brownfield to visit my grandmother Nennie.
We both worked and attended Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. During the day, I divided my time between shifts in the Methodist Hospital’s records department and college classes. Larry worked a full eight-hour shift from 8:00 pm–4:00 am at the Bell Telephone Company and attended the university whenever the classes he lacked for graduation were offered. In August 1968, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business.
Since Larry and I had so little time together, we splurged on 45 rpm singles and left our favorite songs listed on a sheet of paper stuck to the kitchen cabinet. Music trivia and debates regarding the best artists and our favorite songs were ongoing during the weekends, when we had time to spend together. Sunday night dinner at Pops’ included playing our favorites on the jukebox and trying to goad Pops into taking sides.