Brush With Local Greatness, Vol. 4 : Don Henley

About a year ago me and the family were at a local catfish joint here in Dallas when, lo and behold, in walked an honest-to-God living musical legend – Don Henley, drummer for The Eagles. He was with some other guy, no idea who, and looked really old. Don, not the other guy. Anyway, I immediately thought, “That’s what being famous in the 70’s will do to you.” He looked terrible – craggy face, almost completely bald. Nothing like the long flowing hair I remembered him having from pics in Rolling Stone.

He ordered his food and he and his compatriot sat down at a booth, chatting and waiting for their food. When his buzzer/coaster went off he sauntered up, not a care in the world and, upon receiving his food, returned to his booth and ate. No one really paid much attention to him since he really didn’t look like The Don Henley that you see pictures of and remember from The Eagles and his illustrious solo career.

But my history with the Donster went back even further than that.

Don was born in Gilmer, Texas, which is about 20 miles northwest of Longview. From what I know about the man, he lives out at Caddo Lake along the Texas/Louisiana border and is a big environmentalist out there. I guess I would be too, given the fact that Caddo Lake is one of the few natural lakes our state has. Anyway, his Texan credentials are true and up to date.

I’d also heard, back in the time when the Internet was young, that he also has a house in Dallas, somewhere…out in the hinterlands. Which brings us to my first brush with Don Henley.

It was 1995 and I was working at the Bookstop near the Inwood theater (Where, it seems, I meet almost everyone famous that I know) and in strolls Don Henley. He wanted to know where Mary Karr’s bestselling memoir, The Liar’s Club, was shelved. Per our training, I looked it up and walked to where the book was kept. Most of Ms. Karr’s other books were kept in the Poetry section, and since the Bookstop gods had not deigned for us to have a dedicated Memoir section, her latest, and all other memoirs, were kept in Poetry. This troubled Don greatly.

“Why is this in Poetry?”
“We keep all memoirs in the Poetry section.”
“But this isn’t a poetry book.”
“…Right.”
He fumed a few moments, looking at the hardback.
“Well that’s stupid.”
“Couldn’t agree more.”
He looked at me, taken aback a tad by my comment, then back to the book, then to me again. “Ok…thanks.”

And that was it. He was a pretty big jerk with me so I didn’t say “You’re welcome,” or anything like that, I just walked away without checking to see if he needed more help.

Hey Don, I didn’t run the company at the time, so I didn’t make the rules up, okay?

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