Here at WLAF, we claimed Red Harrision as one of our family members. He was a staple on WLAF for years and years and remained a dear friend until the end. Red’s daughters, he likely would’ve said, “my girls,” took time to share a touching letter of thanks to Red’s home community.TOP PHOTO: Earl “Red” Harrison is on the far right.
Dear Campbell County Friends,
Many of you knew our father, Earl “Red” Harrison, who passed away on Sunday, January 20, 2019. We wanted to write this letter to thank everyone in La Follette, Jacksboro and Caryville who was so kind to our Daddy in his later years.
Most people knew Red because of his music. He played upright bass and guitar, and sang with Pap and the Young ’Uns, the Blue Valley Boys, and S&S Express, Many of you will remember the Tennessee Jamboree that played on WLAF on Saturday nights in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Red was a well-known fixture on that show. His music took him as far away as Manitoba and Rome. He had opportunities to play with Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Mac Wiseman, Charlie Collins and Larry McNeeley (both of whom had lived in Campbell County), Old Joe Clark, Little Jimmy Dickens, Sunshine Slim, and many others. But mostly he liked to stay near home and encourage local talent. Two months prior to his death, he was still playing bass with the house band at Rickard’s Ridge restaurant in Cove Lake State Park. You might say that Red was kind of a local celebrity.
Perhaps it was because of his celebrity status, but more likely it was because you people of Campbell County are decent, friendly people, that you cared so much for him. In his later years, when he needed someone with him all the time, we would often take him out to eat at local restaurants. We couldn’t go to Katie’s, or the Royal Pool Room, or Two Sisters, or The Local, or Corner Market, or Rickard Ridge without somebody stopping by our table to say hi, to tell a story or two, or to celebrate an elderly man who was much loved and appreciated.
Sometimes we didn’t know who you were. Often Daddy wouldn’t know either. He always figured that if someone was friendly to you, you should be friendly back. “I’ve made a lot of friends in my day,” he would tell us. “If I had it to do over again, I would have made more.”
And that is the main point of this letter: you are a loving, kind community. You cared about our Daddy, even after his hearing began to fail and he started getting feeble. We don’t think there are too many communities in the United States that are as caring as you are.
So thank you. Thank you for making our father’s last years happy and contented ones, years filled with friends and laughter and music.
Sharon Harrison King
Earlean “Charlie” Harrison Ramsay