Randy Travis Relives Happy Memories, Not Just Challenges, in New Book
Randy Travis' new memoir, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith and Braving the Storms of Life, takes readers on a journey through some of the singer's darkest moments and most difficult challenges. He details his struggles with alcohol, his troubled marriage to longtime manager Lib Hatcher and the financial problems that continue to this day.
While Travis admits that parts of the book were difficult to relive, there were also aspects of his past that he loved going back to and revisiting. Travis' powers of speech and mobility were severely affected by a stroke he suffered in 2013, but when The Boot asked him about his favorite memories to write about, he didn't need words: He pointed to his wife, Mary Travis, who was sitting beside him, and gestured, as if to say, "I mean, c'mon!"
The early stages of Travis and Mary's relationship stand out as a highlight of the singer's life, even though their love arose amidst a complicated divorce. Three years after they became partners, a massive stroke nearly took Travis' life, and the recovery that followed meant intense, round-the-clock care from Mary as he re-learned basic movements and skills. Still, she never left his side, and the couple quietly married in March of 2015.
"Mary's commitment to me has been truly astounding," Travis writes in his memoir. "I was healthy, in fantastic physical condition, and a highly successful country star when we fell in love. But she married me after I had been incapacitated by a stroke, knowing full well what she was getting herself into. That was a major commitment -- a commitment of love."
Travis adds, however, that he wouldn't have blamed his wife if she decided not to go through with the marriage. "The doctors had told her that my future was extremely unpredictable and that I would most certainly require long-term care. Mary could have bolted. But she didn't," he continues, "Instead, she has been a loving warrior when it comes to my care, and we still have loads of fun together. We get up every morning with smiles on our faces, and we laugh every day."
Professionally, Travis also had many happy memories to recount: In 2016, he was invited to become a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, fulfilling a lifelong goal.
"I mean, there's the cake, the icing, the candles, the flame on the candles -- how much better can it get?" Mary explains. "Because you're invited to be -- he was number 130, which is not a high number, when you consider all of the people that have walked across country music. I think that speaks volumes for the man that he is and the difference he made in country music. It was a 'pinch me' moment, really."
Travis has enjoyed many of those "pinch me" moments over the course of his career, from earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to his induction into the Grand Ole Opry. Mary goes on to say that Travis has never stopped feeling humble and grateful regarding his accolades, and that humility continues to help his fans relate to him.
"'I can't even get my arms around it,' is what he would say," she recalls of his reaction to joining the Opry. "His humility is so precious and endearing, I think, to his fans."
Travis discovered his voice by accident, Mary adds, after he went to take guitar lessons with his older brother, who declared that he was not going to be the one to sing. Therefore, Travis had to.
"And thank God," Mary points out, "because he opened up that mouth and that catalog of music came out. He knows that it was a gift. He didn't earn it, he didn't deserve it, but God gave it to him, and he gave it to the world.
"There's lots of joy," she adds. "There's lots of silver linings, even in the clouds."
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