Gloria and Anderson: An intimate conversation

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I knew of Gloria Vanderbilt growing up because she made great jeans and she was the “poor little rich girl,” Little Gloria – a Vanderbilt.

It wasn’t until I read her new memoir, co-authored with her son, CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper, that I saw the woman behind the myth: the young woman at the center of one of the most notorious custody battles in history; the much-married mother of four boys who drank too much while they were growing up; the mother who was home when her son, Carter, decided to leap off the terrace of her Manhattan apartment; and the 92-year-old woman who has come to peace with her past, who – in spite of everything – believes she is a “hopeless optimist.”

Cooper and his mother based this book on their ongoing email correspondence that began as Vanderbilt turned 91.

“I decided to start a new kind of conversation with her, a conversation about her life. Not the mundane details, but the things that really matter, her experiences that I didn’t know about or fully understand.”

While her first responses to Anderson were “one or two lines long,” as she got more familiar with the format, Vanderbilt poured out her heart to her son, pulling no punches, with remarkable candor and insight.

I was particularly interested in the life Vanderbilt made with Wyatt Cooper. With him, she had two boys, Carter and Anderson. He died of heart failure in 1978.

Vanderbilt writes: “There are times even now when dark thoughts take over. Instead of fighting or pushing them away, I pursue each to its final destination. Entering the tunnel, I know I will circle back, as always, to the place I started from; wishing it had been me who died instead of your father. How much better he would have been at guiding you and Carter, far better than I could.”

Cooper answers: “I hope you know that I do not feel this way. . . . You opened my mind early on to the idea that I could achieve anything I wanted if I were willing to work relentlessly for it. It was by watching you that I began to imagine what my own life could become, and I love the life I have now.”

Genuine tenderness between two people who are bound by blood, respect and love – a lot of love.

There’s something good here . . .

There’s something good here . . .

Margaret's Book - Terry's Column - 5-26-16We’ve run out of minutes for the Manus Pullarum Laetarum (A Band of Happy Girls), but we have a new connection to the ladies.

While cleaning out some of Karen Wheeler Pendergast’s books last week, Rhandi found a little collection called “Reflections and Moral Maxims.”

The book (in photo below) was printed by David McKay Company of Washington Square in Philadelphia sometime around 1930 and cost .75.

In the front of the book, written in a hand I know so well: “To Karen – Love, Margaret Vickers – 6-3-95.”

Margaret was the niece of Miss Helen Alvis on her mother’s side. Miss Helen was one of the founding members of A Band of Happy Girls.

She was also my next door neighbor growing up on Main Street. We lived in the house that now serves as offices for Brooks Well Service. Margaret and Russell’s house was south of us, across what was Vick’s Well Service’s parking lot. I spent a lot of time at their house, playing games and reading Margaret’s many books.

Margaret and Russell didn’t have children, but the kids who lived around them found a safe haven in their home.

In the coming weeks, I’ll share some of the little book’s gems.

As I was writing, the volume fell open to page 93, where someone had underlined #330 in pencil: We pardon in the degree that we love.

The Band of Happy Girls lives on.

 There’s something good here . . .

Cookbook - color.jpgAm thrilled to announce that the “Women of Winnsboro” cookbook is going into a third printing.

This time around, proceeds will benefit Winnsboro Center for the Arts, with a percentage set aside for classical music programs.

We will be collecting 38 (for a total of 550) new recipes for this edition, so if there’s a time-honored dish you enjoyed while growing up here, please send it to me at

Deadline to submit recipes will be July 15. We hope to take delivery of the books in late September, early October. The price is $25 and that includes shipping. Copies will be available at the arts center.

It feels good to do good.

There’s something good here . . .

Guy Clark

He didn’t reached the level of fame like Glenn Frey or Prince, but Texan Guy Clark, who died last week, was a songwriter’s songwriter. His tunes were covered by some of the best in the business, including Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett and Alseep at the Wheel. His influence will be felt for generations to come.

I was fortunate to have interviewed him several times and to attend his 70th birthday celebration in Austin a few years back. That concert also marked the launch of a 2-CD tribute, “This One’s For Him.” It was the highlight of my concert-going life.

The artists who performed at the Long Center that night brought their A-game. Lovett, Crowell, Terri Hendrix, Rosie Flores, JT Van Zandt, Joe Ely, Jack Ingram, Verlon Thompson, Shawn Camp and others took turns performing songs from Clark’s deep, rich catalog.

When James McMurtry came out and sang, “Cold Dog Soup,” everything got eerily quiet. While the tune isn’t among Clark’s most popular, it is one of his most profound. It tells the real story behind the life of a traveling troubadour.

There ain’t no money in poetry.

That’s what sets the poet free.

I’ve had all the freedom I can stand.

It’s cold dog soup and rainbow pie.

Fill my belly ‘till the day I die.

Cold dog soup and rainbow pie.

 Rest easy, Guy. The world is a better place because of you.


To hear McMurtry’s cover, click here.


If you want to bring attention to something good you’ve seen or been part of, please e-mail it to

 We need more positive news in our lives.  


JD Souther to play two North Texas dates

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JD Souther will play Music City Texas in Linden on Friday, June 10 and then be at The Texan Theater in Greenville on Sunday, June 11. (Courtesy Photo)

JD Souther is coming to northeast Texas in June for two gigs. He’ll be at Music City Texas in Linden on Friday, June 10 and The Texan theater in Greenville on Sunday, June 12. He’s also playing The Kessler in Dallas and a show in his hometown of Amarillo.

JD has been called “the fifth Eagle.” He and Glenn Frey were roommates when they were starting out in the music business. He wrote a lot of the Eagles’ hits –  “Heartache Tonight,” “New Kid in Town” and “Best of My Love.” He and Linda Ronstadt were once an item and have remained good friends through the years.

His shows are an intimate peek into the heart of a true artist who honors his roots – his grandmother was an opera singer and his dad a big band leader – while always breaking new ground with his songs.

“Tenderness,” his eighth studio album, released last year, was the result of a divorce. I think it’s his best work yet.

On this swing through our corner of the world, it will be just JD, a guitar and his deep catalog of songs. They’re billing the shows as “An Intimate Evening with JD Souther.” So dreamy.

Watch upcoming editions of The Winnsboro News for an interview with this Songwriter Hall of Fame member.

He has always been generous with his time and we’ve had a lot of really good conversations about his life, the early days in Los Angeles and his long and successful career.

He really is one of the good guys.

Tickets for the Linden show are $35. Call 903-756-9934 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tickets for the Greenville show are $180 and include parking, open bar, appetizers, a three-course dinner (usually steak, but sometimes can be chicken), gratuities and the show.

This will be my first visit to the newly-renovated theater. I’ve heard such good things about it. Call 903-259-6360 for reservations, which are recommended.

Click here to watch JD sing “Dance Real Slow,” a crowd favorite from “Tenderness.”

Click here to hear JD and Phil Everly do “White Rhythm and Blues.”

Click here to JD sing “Faithless Love.” This clip should be a taste of what we’ll hear on the upcoming Texas Tour. Just JD, a guitar and his incredible love songs.

Sweet Judy Blue Eyes has a knack for picking songs – Chance encounters turn into memorable duets on ‘Strangers Again’

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Judy Collins’ concert on The Bowery Stage at Winnsboro Center for the Arts is sold out. (Courtesy Photo)

Judy Collins found it strange that she and fellow singer/songwriter Jackson Browne had never met. They had been in the music business for years and had many friends in common, but their paths had yet to cross.  Continue reading “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes has a knack for picking songs – Chance encounters turn into memorable duets on ‘Strangers Again’”