It was one heck of an invitation. George Jones had died earlier that year and what was supposed to be his final concert had been scheduled for Nov. 22, 2013 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. With his death, the concert was changed to an amazing tribute concert featuring over 100 artists. My friend, Tammy Gould, had an extra ticket – a friend couldn’t go – so she offered me the ticket. Tammy, her dad and her sister were going, too, and away we went.

But the day before the concert, five years ago today, with Tammy’s dad as our tour guide (he knew where to go), we stopped outside George’s home just outside Nashville. We took some pictures outside the grounds and at the driveway gate. I stuck my camera between the bars and got a shot of the driveway with the sign “Possum Trot.” I was tempted to use the intercom and use a fake excuse to get inside: “I hate to bother you, but I really need to use a bathroom.” I didn’t go through with it. After several minutes of looking around and taking pictures, it was off to our next destination…George Jones’ grave.

Like many country music stars, George was laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery. His friend, Johnny Paycheck had been buried there, not far from George’s grave. I had heard that George had paid for Paycheck’s burial. Talk about timing. We arrived at the spot just before the sun set. It was easy to find. Earlier that week (again, we lucked out with the timing), an impressive monument had been erected at Jones’ gravesite featuring the title to his signature song, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and a brief biography of George on one pillar. The other was blank, reserved for his widow, Nancy, for when her day comes. It was sombre and serene and we felt privileged to have paid our respects in person to the man known as country music’s greatest singer.