Luckenbach regulars enjoy another original poem by Walt Perryman. The west Texas native retired to the Hill Country 10 years ago, and now performs his “true stories” for parties, concerts, and friends. Photo by Phil Houseal
To listen to an audio clip of this poem click here.
To watch a video of Walt at Luckenbach, click here.
Walt Perryman: Riding his words
by Phil Houseal
Though he grew up in West Texas, worked on a ranch, wears a cowboy hat, and speaks with a drawl, don’t call Walt Perryman a cowboy poet.
“I tell true stories,” he said.
When your life is the story, you don’t have to make it up.
I was growing up out in Grand Falls, Texas back in 1958
Now I only lacked about four blocks to be at my destination
The Grand Falls native never planned to be a writer and performer. Like the time he jumped on the back of that truck, it just kind of happened - starting during a 26-year stint working in Saudi Arabia.
“I started writing poems over there on growing up,” he said. “I never dreamed someday I’d be telling somebody.” The performing part started when he came back to the states and his aunt asked him to recite some of the poems he had sent her. “I said, Aunt Charlotte, I can’t talk in front of a bunch of people. Then I got to thinking - I’m retired... what are they gonna do, fire me?”
I was hanging on to the back of that tanker
Well the look on my face beat anything you ever seen
Perryman has recorded two CDs that take the listener from his days growing up in west Texas, through his years in the oil business, to his retirement in the Hill Country.
How fast were we going
Now I shoulda been at my Grandma’s house safe and tucked into my bed
Now he has enough material memorized to do a 45-minute show. He has performed for picnics, parties, and of course at Luckenbach “about eight days a week,” where he often is called on stage to recite a story during band breaks.
So I climbed along that tanker
His biggest gig involved spending five days speaking at a universityin Michigan, a place more foreign than the Middle East to the small town native.
“I was worried about it... because I can barely talk Texas talk. But it worked pretty good cause they love Texas.”
Now I did not know this driver
That driver hit the brakes
So I hit the ground a running
Perryman and his wife JoAnne retired here in 2000.
“Fredericksburg is the neatest place I have ever been in my life,” he said. “The other day someone said, Walt... have you lived here all your life? I said, not yet.”
I went away back to my grandmother’s house
But from that night on
“I just enjoy what I’m doing.”
(From the poem The Red Light by Walt Perryman)