Tag Archives: Ryland Hawker

Kevin: Me, My Dad and Elvis

Me and my dad, about 1977

I feel like I’m constantly evolving into something else. It seems as if my past, my present, and my future are all intertwining into one strong rope that can’t be broken. That is a good thing.

I suspect that Jo thinks I’m a bit extreme for being so interested in Elvis, but he filled a void in my life, and I’ve never forgotten it. My earliest memory of Elvis must have been when he died. I remember sitting in the living room with my dad and watching concert after concert during the night. I thought he was the most awesome personality that I had ever seen.

I remember when my dad left. I remember there being lots of screaming and crying and me feeling like I was caught in the middle. I really tried to sink into the atmosphere and disappear. My daddy, the person everyone said I was just like, was leaving me. The word devastated is probably not strong enough to describe my feelings.

The truth is that I don’t know, with any certainty, how old I was when my dad left. I’m thinking around five or six. Who knows if I’m even remembering that night accurately, or not. It’s been about 32 years ago.

I remember watching my dad getting ready to go play music. He was my Elvis. He had the jet black hair and all. He wore the stylish clothes of the day and wore those cool side-zip boots. My dad was kind of famous around here. He was one of the T-birds. I remember sitting back stage while Susan Lea, the singer, would play with my hair and comb it like Elvis’.

Me, about 1976

I don’t really know how I ended up loving Elvis so much other than my relating him to my dad. After my dad left, I poured all of my hurt and pain into listening to Elvis. It’s like I could relate to the pain and hurt that I heard in his voice. I still hear it. I think that’s what draws a lot of people to him. He’s like a kid crying out for his parent. Perhaps he was crying out for his mommy that he loved so much.

Elvis was a very sweet person with a heart so big, but he also had a temper that matched it. No one could be more loving than me when I was a kid, but I also had that terrible temper. We both love our mommas dearly, and the rest of our family. Elvis and I both loved Christmas. Somehow, I have fought that feeling for many years since my grandpa died. It’s like I let Christmas die with him. I need to embrace Christmas with that love that I used to have for it. I have more reason now than I ever had to absolutely love Christmas. The only negatives are having to work and that some of the family that I love have died, but they’re always with us in spirit. I want to love life like I used to. I deserve it.

I have the most beautiful wife in the entire world. I also have beautiful and smart children that I love dearly. I have every reason in the world to love Christmas. I’m taking Christmas back for myself! I love life and I want to enjoy it now. I understand what Christmas means now and I want to revel in it. It’s all about love and the truth is that I’m bubbling over with love. I need to stop trying to contain it and just let it overflow. I need to stop being so wrapped up in myself and let the people that I love know that I love them beyond the shadow of a doubt.

I love my wife more than life itself. I want her to be bubbling over with my love for her. I’m running out of time. We all are. Time is something we really can’t make more of.

Since I’ve been a dad, I’ve wanted to be super consistent for my children, but what I’ve found is that this desire is not always possible to enact. The truth is that I’m ever-evolving. I don’t want to remain the same and consistent. I don’t really like who I am. I am certainly not perfectly holy yet, so I can’t be consistent. I need to be fluid and to change. Fortunately, my kids are pretty forgiving and understanding.

I want them to know that there is no one on this planet that I love more than their sweet, sweet mama. I wish I could kiss her on the forehead right now.

I’ve got to get past trying to be the same as I already am because that is not where I need to be.

I have just as much love in me as anybody in this world does. My whole life and the life of my beautiful wife and kids and everybody that I come into contact with will be changed if I truly let everyone see all of the love that I have inside. I will do it starting now. I promise to God that this is my highest priority above all else.

I’ve removed my lapis rosary and took my tiger’s-eye rosary out of my pocket. There’s such a fine line between faith and superstition. I need a break from them. I must guard against superstition. I feel good about this decision. The truth is that I don’t need the rosary to pray and I usually pray without it because I can’t hold on to it a lot of the time that I’m praying. Praying is about as automatic for me as breathing. I need to not have requirements for whether I wear a rosary or a scapular, or not. I will always fulfill my commitment to the Church and the Confraternity. That’s all that matters in regards to the rosary.

I need to not bog myself down with anything. My only focus is to be true love. I want to be pure and clean. The presence of pure love will always make a difference and, with God’s help, I will be that. He wants all of us to be that love, and to share that love, for He is love itself.

Currently, I’m wearing only my wedding ring and my anniversary ring. I’m focusing on the incredible love I have for my wife. She is so beautiful. I love her from head to toe. I don’t know why God decided to give me the gift of Jo, but I’m sure glad He did. I want her to totally feel how much I love her. Please help me with that God.

Kevin R. Hawke (John of the Cross)
February 23, 2012

UPDATE: Songs & Pics added to Bluegrass Jam

from left: Wes, Laura, Kevin & Ryland

We’ve added additional pictures and individual song files to the 5/31 Bluegrass Jam at James Lynch’s house — featuring our cousin Wes Holtsford, his friend Laura Liem, and Kevin’s dad Ryland Hawker.

The eight songs include: The Man Who Wrote ‘Home Sweet Home’ Never Was a Married Man, Home Sweet Home, Going Down the Road Feeling Bad, Moondance, Cumberland Gap, Faded Love, Old Joe Clark, and Sally Goodin.

Go listen and let us know what you think. :)

Bluegrass Jam, 5/31/11

Last Tuesday, my cousin Wesley Holtsford and his friend Laura Liem, both in from west Texas, played some bluegrass music with Kevin and his dad, Ryland Hawker.

Their impromptu jam convened at James Lynch’s house. He’s Wes’ great-grandfather and my dad’s sister’s husband. (You really wanted to know the details, I know. ;)

It was so awesome! The four of them really sounded great to have never played together before!

Kevin played guitar and sang most of the songs. Ryland, of course, played banjo. Wes played mandolin and fiddle. And Laura played fiddle.

(I sang some backup and one lead, I think, but was mostly on Kid Patrol. ;)

James was dancing and singing along. He invited his brother and his fiance over to listen, too.

Even Jo-Jo, James’ little poodle had fun … although he probably would’ve had more fun if Lucas and Atticus hadn’t wanted to play with him soooo much! (I wish I’d gotten pictures of that.)

And Wesley and Laura? Wow. They are really great musicians. And both sweet as can be. I wish they didn’t live so far away!!

6/18/11 UPDATE:

I’ve finally been able to sit down and figure out my file-transfer issue from phone to laptop. What a mess!

I used my Droid X’s (awesome!!!) TapeMachine app to record eight songs … and then my phone died.

I didn’t get the beginning of the first song or the end of the last, and I only got eight songs from the several hours of playing. (I wish I’d remembered to grab the H2 on the way out the door, but we only had about 15-minutes notice.)

I’ll come back later and post the individual songs, but here’s the whole of what I recorded, talking and laughing and all in between:

7/17/11 UPDATE:

Here, finally, are the individual songs that I recorded:

And some additional pictures from the evening:

Thanksgiving Music, part 2

Here’s the second clip of Kevin and Ryland’s bluegrass jam the other night: “Dig a Hole,” “Salty Dog Blues,” “Ballad of Jed Clampett,” and “Can I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister.” My brother Bobby’s behind the video recorder, and his wife Kim’s dad, Bruce Wiles, is the off-screen singer on that last song.