Evan Smith: Could there have been a Willie Nelson without an Abbott?
Willie Nelson: I doubt it. I’ve always felt like Abbott was a special place. It was the perfect place for me to grow up because it was a small town and because everybody knew everybody. Everybody there was friends or family or worked together or went to school together. There was something real positive about that.
ES: In a lot of small towns, everybody gossips about everybody else; there’s nothing positive about that. But not in Abbott?
WN: If it’s gossip that bothers you, you’re in trouble, because there’s gossip everywhere, in little towns and big towns. I was a telephone operator in Abbott back when they had telephone exchange operators. My sister was really the one who had the job. Whenever the operators would take a vacation, they would hire her to run the board, and I would come in and help her. All the time I was sitting there, I’d be listening in to the conversations going on all over Abbott. I tapped every phone in town! I knew everything about the whole county.
ES: What’s your earliest memory