The start of that story belongs to a 22-year-old woman and an orange Camaro. That is 1983. Jody Lynn Benham has that gleaming sports activities automotive, the colour of a Popsicle, a cat named John Wayne that she walks on a leash, and a burning want to get the hell out of Michigan. The notion happens to her that she’s going to go to Nashville and she’s going to marry both Merle Haggard or David Allan Coe, who’s already as well-known for being a supposed polygamist and member of the Outlaws bike gang as he’s as an artist.
“It was actually simply one thing to say,” as she tells it now. “Simply being younger and foolish.”
So Jody hits the highway, ultimately making it to the Music Metropolis, the place she takes a job cleansing rooms at, the place else, the lodge at Opryland USA. It isn’t lengthy earlier than a fellow housekeeper invitations her to fulfill David Allan Coe at a recording studio. She waits within the foyer till he seems: an enormous, tall, magnetic determine coming down the steps, flanked by the producer Billy Sherrill and the singer Charlie Wealthy.
A member of Coe’s entourage introduces them: “That is Jody. She wished to fulfill you.” Coe appears at Jody. He takes her hand and says, “Let’s go.”
“I don’t maintain fingers in public,” says Jody.
“You do now,” says Coe.
Earlier than the night time’s over, Coe tells Jody he’s about to go on the highway and needs her to return with him. “Couldn’t we simply, um, date?” she asks him. That’s not how he does issues, says Coe: “You’re both with me otherwise you’re not.”
Jody decides she’s with him, not less than lengthy sufficient that she finds herself pregnant. Then she splits, again to Michigan, the place her little one, a son, is born. She doesn’t even put “Coe” on his delivery certificates. A 12 months later comes a telephone name: “David Allan is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Please come to Nashville, to Johnny Money’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, and let him meet his son.”
On the airplane to Tennessee, she prays: “Lord, assist me be sturdy. Let me rise up for myself.” On the home, Willie Nelson is there. So are Kris Kristofferson and his spouse. June Carter Money, in fact. Waylon… Nicely, she doesn’t fairly keep in mind if Waylon and his spouse, Jessi Colter, are there, however what the hell, let’s say they’re, simply to finish this firmament, this Nashville Versailles. David Allan Coe is in an upstairs bed room, apparently bereft. Johnny Money himself takes the child as much as the room. He says, “David, I would like you to take care of this little one for a second,” handing the infant over earlier than Coe has an opportunity to protest. When he comes again a couple of minutes later, the 2 are getting alongside.
“Say, this child likes me. He appears sensible too,” says Coe.
“Nicely, that’s your son,” says Johnny Money.“His identify is Tyler.”
The weekend goes effectively, however Jody tears herself away. Again in Michigan, she leaves Tyler together with her dad and mom in a single day for the very first time, to attend a marriage in Detroit. When she calls to verify in, her mom tells her, “David simply known as from the airport. He says he’s coming to get you.” Perhaps it’s no matter it’s about David Allan Coe that’s onerous to say no to. Perhaps it’s that she suspects she’s pregnant once more. However Jody says sure. Earlier than they depart to start out their new household life, Coe takes the keys to that orange Camaro and tosses them to Jody’s brother. She gained’t want that automotive anymore.