31st Annual 2001 Wildflower Festival
(Avinger, Linden, Hughes Springs, Cass County, Texas)

April 28, 2001

Parade Grand Marshall Don Henley

(Donald Hugh Henley)

by Paul Ridenour

"And I think it's about forgiveness, even if, even if, you don't love me anymore"

Growing up a drummer and singer, I was always a big fan of the Eagles and Don Henley.  I saw their "Hotel California" tour twice during my high school years.   I always knew that he grew up in Linden, Texas.  People always get Linden and Lindale mixed up.  Recently, Don Henley moved back to Dallas from Hollywood.  He moved back for two reasons:

1.    To be near his mom
2.    Hollywood is not a good place to raise kids

Many do not agree with some of his beliefs on religion, politics, and the environment, but we can all agree that he is one great singer, songwriter, and drummer.

Dottie and I went to the Cass County Wildflower Festival Parade on Saturday, April 28th, 2001, to see Don Henley and get his autograph. Two state congressmen attended along with Don's wife, children, and mother. A young black man sang the National Anthem. He was very good.  I noticed Don singing.

The parade featured the boy scouts, a drum core, cheerleaders, drill teams, the Linden High School Marching Band, church youth groups, ROTC, Miss Linden Wildflower, Jr. Miss Linden Wildflower, Miss Cass County Wildflower, Jr. Miss Cass County Wildflower, and several other organizations. There were so many Miss this and Miss that, I was waiting for Miss Micro-Organism and Miss Fetus Wildflower.  The parade was a lot of fun and lasted about an hour and a half.  Henley had purchased the band uniforms for Linden High School.

I did not realize that Linden is known as "Music City Texas."  There was a huge banner and lots of people wearing T-shirts.  If I were to guess, I'd say it is solely because of Don Henley.

We stood next to the area where Don was going to sign autographs.  We were about 5th in line.  By the time he starting signing, we were about 30th in line.  People kept butting in line.  The line was very long and stretched around the corner.  He signed the Hotel California CD cover that Dottie had and signed two of his solo albums that I brought.  I told him I was from Dallas and had some distant relatives buried in Linden that his mom might know.  He asked me their names.  I told him "Barbees" and he said he knew them.  I told him that I was glad he is living in Dallas and that "Sunset Grill" is one of my favorite songs.  He said thank you very much.

"You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave"


Clarence Hayes, Don Henley, and Freddie Neese (1964 - 2nd Place in the State FFA Talent Contest)

Don Henley was in a band called "Four Speeds" which later became "Shiloh".  In 1970, they moved to LA and recorded an album on Amos Records.  Amos Records had also signed Glenn Frey.  Don and Glenn became friends while touring and recording with Linda Ronstadt.  The Eagles were formed in 1971.  The rest is history.

Linden, Texas

The young man who sang the National Anthem

Don's "fishing boat" float

Signing autographs

"Lets go down to the Sunset Grill"

Henley at the rodeo

In the parade and at the rodeo

"But I found somebody with a heart as big as Texas..."
...I bit that bullet, I took that vow, and everything is different now"

"Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion - well,
it just ain't cool
So send me back to Sunday School"

The Eagles are back together touring and will work on a new album/CD in September, 2001
L to R: Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, and Glenn Frey
(Original member Don Felder is no longer with the band)