Cash revealed that he used to pray that God would give him a hit gospel song so he could better share his faith with others. "God gave me 'A Boy Named Sue,'" he said, laughing. "I kept praying for a hit gospel song, and He gave me 'Folsom Prison Blues.' I kept praying for a hit gospel song, and He gave me 'Ring of Fire.' And then 'Ballad of a Teenage Queen.' Those records were like a beacon. They attracted a lot of people." But the fame that came from those hits, he declared, gave him an entree to many people with whom he could share his faith.
Toward the end of our interview, I asked if he could be anyone in the world for one day, who would it be. He pondered, then clarified, "Just for one day, right?"
"Yes, one day."
"I know a 78-year-old man named Hoy Jones, who's a retired farmer. He does nothing but sit on his front porch and wave at people. I'd like to do that. I'd like to be Hoy Jones one day. Who was it that said, 'Let me live in a house beside the road and be a friend to man'? Well, that's what I'd like to do if I only had one day. I'd take it."
The answer to my final question from a man who was one of the greatest music stars in history tells you something about the real Johnny Cash: "One hundred years from now, how would you like to be remembered?"
"I'd like to be remembered as a good daddy."
Then he got up, shook my hand again, thanked me and was gone.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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