Bocephus fell off a mountain in Montana about 40 years ago and almost died. When his friends found him, they thought he would definitely die. It took them a long trek through the wilderness about a quarter mile and then a helicopter ride to the nearest hospital to save his life. It took doctors and surgeons a couple of years to get him completely patched up, telling him he would never sing again. He proved them wrong, though, which is good for us, and him, too.
He wears a hat and sunglasses to cover most of the scars from the surgery, and he’s grown his beard out to cover the rest of them. He got the scars from the many rocks and sharp pieces of ice that cut him as he fell 500 feet down the mountain’s side. When I think about it, I am amazed that he didn’t end up in an avalanche.
While his appearance changed, his voice really didn’t, it just seemed to have changed to some people, but that is what a few years of not singing can do to anyone. The fall caused him to lose all of his teeth because of the damage it did to his jawbone. It seems he didn’t really suffer much damage except to his face and head. Anyone who can go through all of that and survive is meant to carry on doing what they were already doing, I believe, and that’s sing. He kept on singing as soon as he was able, and I often look at that as a powerful inspiration to keep trying to do what I need to do in my own life.
He was unconscious for quite a while, but when he woke up after the fall and the first surgeries, he said the two people he saw there were June and Johnny Cash. He found that he couldn’t talk. June told him that it was going to be okay. He had always trusted her and Johnny. The doctors stated several times that he would never sing again, which Bocephus was determined to do again. I wonder if he would have been as determined to restart his career after such a literal fall that stopped his career so suddenly if they would not have been there.
The fall didn’t affect his ability to play the guitar, either. He can still play the same instruments and many others in country music cannot. Hank Jr has always been a determined man, and I think it is this determination to be his own man even while keeping his father’s memory alive for others, and himself, too, is what makes him so special. He can play several instruments, including the banjo and the harmonica. He’s also great at playing the piano. Even falling off a mountain couldn’t stop him.