“I didn’t fully appreciate what life on the road gave me until suddenly it was gone.”
Rosanne Cash on life in Tennessee and memories of her father, Johnny Cash:
My second Tennessee began in 1967, when I was twelve years old. My parents had just separated the previous winter, and that first summer my mom let my sisters and me go to Tennessee to spend several weeks with my dad. He had just bought the big house on Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, about twenty miles from Nashville.
Dad was just emerging from the depths of his drug addiction, but he was clean and sober, if gaunt and a little shaky. He and June were not married yet, but she and her daughters, Rosie and Carlene, were around a lot and we befriended our soon-to-be stepsisters. The next several summers were glorious, each better than the one before. Dad had a little speedboat, and he taught all of us to water ski. He was the most patient teacher in the world. We jumped in the water, hooked our feet into the skis, and he gunned the engine. We fell and fell and fell. And then, eventually, we got up and he whooped and waved his arm at us as he pulled us around the lake. We did this every day for hours. Once I was sitting in the boat with him while he pulled one of my sisters up on the skis when the glove box popped open and money—bills of all denominations—flew out and away. My dad glanced at the currency as the wind carried it out of the boat, but never looked back, never said a word. That gave me an insight into my dad’s relationship with money: He let it fly and never looked back.