George Jones’ Infamous Lawnmower Ride the Subject of New Nashville Mural
Throughout his life, George Jones was known as a great musician and possibly an even better storyteller. One of his most infamous stories -- a true-life tale about a desperate ride to a liquor store on a lawnmower -- has been immortalized in Nashville.
A new Music City mural, located at 2401 8th Ave. South -- fittingly, on the side of a liquor store named Colonial Liquors, which Jones frequented, according to the Tennessean -- depicts "the Possum" driving his lawnmower with a six-pack of beer riding in his lap. Behind Jones and his John Deere, "Nashville" is painted in bright yellow and blue. The brightly colored mural was painted by Shawn Catz and some of his friends.
This new mural nods to the now-famous night when Jones' then-wife, Shirley Corley, had hidden all of the car keys to stop her husband, who battled alcoholism throughout his life, from getting to the liquor store. She would have succeeded -- except that she forgot about the motorized, ride-on lawnmower they owned. Jones knew it was his only option to make it the eight or so miles he needed to go to get his booze.
"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 10-horsepower rotary engine under a seat, a key glistening in the ignition," Jones wrote in his autobiography, I Lived to Tell It All (quote via the Houston Press). "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."
Jones' lawnmower adventure became country music lore, sung about in his own "Honky-Tonk Song." Jones also appeared on riding lawnmowers in the music videos for Vince Gill's "One More Last Chance" and Hank Williams Jr.'s "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight."
According to the Tennessean, Catz and Colonial Liquors dreamed up the idea for this mural after seeing the episode of Mike Judge's animated TV series Tales From the Tour Bus that recounts Jones' lawnmower ride. The episode first aired in 2017, but the mural crew needed permission from both Judge and Cinemax to go forward with the idea; they also got an okay from the George Jones Museum, which is located in the Lower Broadway area of Nashville.
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