George Jones’ Widow Isn’t a Fan of His New Nashville Mural
There's a new mural in Nashville inspired by George Jones' infamous lawnmower ride to the liquor store, but not everyone is a fan. Notably, the singer's widow Nancy isn't the least bit amused about the newly painted depiction of her late husband.
“Have you seen that thing?? It is plumb ugly!" Nancy Jones says in a statement to Fox 17 in Nashville. "It doesn’t look anything like George. It is stupid, hideous, self-serving, NOT accurate and certainly not sanctioned by the estate or the museum.
"George was a great writer, a great singer," she continues, "and a proper mural should be about him and his music, not a mischaracterization of him on a lawnmower!”
The new mural of Jones appears at Colonial Liquors on Franklin Pike (2401 8th Ave. South), where Jones was once a regular customer. Per the Tennesseean, Nashville artist Shawn Catz and his crew based the design off an episode of the animated Mike Judge TV series Tales From the Tour Bus. The article also claims that Catz got permission from Judge, Cinemax and the George Jones Museum, though Nancy Jones' statement contradicts that detail.
Jones confirmed his infamous lawnmower ride story in his book I Lived to Tell It All, stating there that it happened in Texas, not Tennessee, during his 1954-1968 marriage to Shirley Ann Corley.
Once, when I had been drunk for several days, Shirley decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about eight miles from Beaumont and the nearest liquor store. She knew I wouldn't walk that far to get booze, so she hid the keys to every car we owned and left.
But she forgot about the lawn mower. I can vaguely remember my anger at not being able to find keys to anything that moved and looking longingly out a window at a light that shone over our property. There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat; a key glistening in the ignition.
I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.
Still, there's some debate as to when and where Jones' ride happened. In the Tales From the Tour Bus episode that inspired the mural, Jones' former lawyer, John Lentz, claims it happened in Nashville during Jones' marriage to Tammy Wynette, which lasted from 1969 to 1975.
Jones married Nancy on March 4, 1983, during a career resurgence that helped the country icon shed his unflattering "No Show Jones" image; in fact, he credited her with helping him get his life back on track through sobriety. But, to be fair, Jones poked fun at the lawnmower tale over the years, including with cameos in the music videos for Hank Williams Jr.'s "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" (1984) and Vince Gill's "One More Last Chance" (1993).
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