Jim “Curly” Musgrave January 16, 1943 – December 13, 2009
Although he was an authentic, modern-day singing cowboy, Jim “Curly” Musgrave, ironically, was born in England in 1943. His father brought his family to Canada when Curly was a young boy. Growing up in the cattle ranch country outside Calgary, Alberta, he was exposed to cattle drives, the cowboy lifestyle, and cowboy music firsthand. An early interest in horses was matched by his interest in music. He took up the guitar at age 12, learning his first chords from a woman who was boarding at his family’s house and owned a guitar. After she caught him sneaking into her room to play with it, she taught him his first song, “The Wayward Wind.” By the time his family moved to California Curly at 17 had his own guitar. Through his artistic passion was music, Curly also pursued a career as a licensed counselor, earning a master’s degree in psychology, and established a counseling practice, settling in San Bernardino Mountains in California with his wife Kathy, where they would go on to raise a family. They had two sons Jim and Jonathan and now 9 grandkids and 6 great grandkids. Family meant everything to Curly. In the dedication of his album “The Heritage” he said, “to my mother, Florence May Musgrave thank you for your love of word and melody…. To Kathleen, God’s greatest gift to my life, you warm and ennoble the heritage with your love, a love that awakens and impassions the words and music I pass on. To my sons Jim and Jonathan you are what I leave the world and the men I respect most.” Curly was so generous with his time on every level, wherever he had an area of knowledge, whether it was as a husband, Dad, therapist, musician, songwriter or just a person he would be there for you. He embraced anything he undertook with full-throttle energy, passion and enthusiasm. On January 9, 2010 a Celebration of Life was held. The gathering lasted more than four hours and was filled with photos, stories and music from many of his Western music friends and extended family. He was an authentic, modern-day singing cowboy, well decorated for his musical talents, loved by those who knew him well, and admired for his ability to nurture others. Through his music, Jim “Curly” Musgrave captured the essence of the Western Spirit. Throughout his life, he enriched the lives of those around him. “Well Done” Curly
Curly talks about his life.
Curly touching the life of another.
Like most gifts of sacrifice, it's not one I take lightly or for granted but, as most Americans, with reverence. And I figure, if I am to revere and respect the gift, I use it to the betterment of others, or I may, inadvertently diminish the gift. I suppose I even need to be careful with THAT, 'cause if I figure I HAVE to give something in exchange for it, then it makes it a DEAL and not a gift...then we always wonder 'am I getting a GOOD deal, or giving a good or fair deal...then I might feel guilty or that I got taken....rather than just letting the gift be just that. Forgive me for taking what might be a roundabout way of talking about, not only your sacrifices, but the sacrifice of your comrade, the Sergeant, who died for you.
I sure can understand what has come to be called 'survivor guilt'...It's a pretty natural phenomenon for caring people to experience, especially in the context of sacrifice, because then we examine ourselves to see if we were 'worthy' of the sacrifice and, naturally, we're inclined to come up short. Then we might feel that 'guilt' that they're gone and we're here. So maybe we just need to grow into the 'reverent, but appreciative' acceptance of gifts, especially sacrifices, wether it be in our wives and children enduring our absences or moods, our comrades in arms, or the sacrifice of Jesus himself.
How can we be worthy of that?...Yet He gave us that and would like us to accept it in joy and giving to others. So, when I heard your story and the sacrifice and gift of your comrade, I saw the parallel in his Christlike giving and felt a certainty that he would have his gift accepted without guilt or regret, just reverent acceptance and living in joy and service. Just imagine the wonderful opportunities there are for that in being a husband and a father. One of my greatest joys as a husband and a father (and now a grandfather) is to know that I can grow, in the ways God would have me grow, through growing to meet the needs of those God has blessed me to be with. So much of what my wife and kids need of me is difficult to give...I just don't have it online...so I have to GROW into it on their behalf. In that growth and service, there is just joy, no guilt...even in not doing all that needs to be done...just in the striving.
Took me a long time, Josh, to get that and to not feel ashamed when I came up short. THEN I got what God's grace is about. So I suppose 'reverence' for the gift and 'grace' in the acceptance might apply to your comrade's sacrifice.
Reckon I've rattled on long enough...
for our first 'howdy', Sergeant, but I wanted to say thank you again and just pass along a thought or two that might allow you to let guilt subside, thanking it for reminding you of the 'gift', but then letting it go and allowing the grace of the gift to attend you all your days. That way, your wife, your children, EVERYONE around you get to share in the gift with you. God bless you and ALL our troops.
Warmest and grateful regards,