When Mariah Carey isn't hanging with her kids and hubby Nick Cannon or beefing…
- Posted on Aug 22nd 2008 5:00PM by James Sullivan
The Possum, as Jones is nicknamed, conducted one of the truly legendary careers in drinking and drugging in a genre that's particularly well-known for such extracurriculars. His tremendous talent for missing tour dates while on binges earned him every letter of his other nickname – No Show Jones. Most famous, though, Jones gave new meaning to the grim world of driving under the influence when, in the throes of another two-week bender, he set out in search of a drink on the only motor vehicle handy – a riding mower.
In an effort to help her husband clean himself up, Jones's second wife hid the keys to their cars and left the house. Living eight miles from the nearest liquor store in his home state of Texas, the delirious singer was beside himself – until he realized the keys were still in the ignition of his 10-horsepower Cub Cadet.
"I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour," he would recall in his 1996 autobiography, the aptly titled 'I Lived to Tell It All.' "It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did."
Wynette, his third wife, told a separate mower tale in her own autobiography, claiming she once confronted Jones at a bar 10 miles from their house after spotting his mower outside. That's what you call settin' 'em up and mowin' 'em down.
More than 20 years ago, Jones's doctor told him he'd lived just a couple more days if he continued to drink. His battle to quit went on through seven rehab stints, until a terrible 1998 car accident finally scared him straight. These days, the Possum continues to play dozens of tour dates each year, and he's the proud sponsor of a successful line of breakfast sausage and biscuits. Like the proverbial sausage factory, you don't really want to take too close a look at this Country Music Hall of Famer's personal history.