Don Henley: ‘My dad taught me responsibility and the value of hard, physical work’

Singer/songwriter Don Henley was a founding member of the Eagles and a seven time Grammy Award-winner in his solo career. In 2008, he was ranked one of the 100 greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

In my humble opinion, he wrote one of the greatest songs about divorce ever, “Heart of the Matter” (audio here). Another favorite of mine is the powerful, sad “New York Minute” (audio here).

While in college in Texas in the late 1960s, Henley left to spend time with his father, who was dying from heart and arterial disease. Henley’s father was a farmer in Texas. Of his father, Henley says:

My father was an avid gardener. On many a summer morning he rousted me out of bed well before sunup and handed me a hoe. We had more than an acre to tend, and the objective was to get as much as possible done before the sun rose too high in the sky and the temperature rose above 100.

The humidity in that region, while good for the skin and for growing vegetables, is oppressive, and heat exhaustion is always a possibility in the summer. On several occasions my thoughts turned patricidal.

But as the years have passed, I have grown to appreciate what my dad taught me, not only about growing things in the earth but also about responsibility and the value of hard, physical work.

I now derive physical and spiritual pleasure from gardening. All this galls me a little, because my dad always said it would turn out this way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *