Jake McLemore’s father, Charlie McLemore, was mid-level executive at the J.M. Guffey Petroleum Company of Oil City, Louisiana where Jake was born in 1959 and where he spent his early life. Charlie moved the family to Shreveport in 1968 after he got a job at United Gas Corporation. Shreveport would be Jake’s home until he graduated high school, and went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jake decided to stay in Nashville after graduating from Vandy with a degree in Business Administration. After investing in several businesses, he came to own a bar, which he had won in a poker game. He promptly changed the name and settled down as proprietor of McLemore’s Bar in 1985 (see song, “McLemore’s“).
By that time Jake had already married and had a son, Lee, in 1983. But Jake’s happiness and home were shattered when his wife, Amelia, was killed in a car accident when a drunk driver ran a red light, leaving Jake to raise his son alone. Soon after graduating from high school, Lee McLemore enlisted in the army and was deployed to Iraq.
But before he left for Iraq, in July 2003, Lee’s girlfriend Ellen Brewer gave birth to a son whom they named Charles after his grandfather Charlie McLemore. Lee and Ellen secretly married shortly before Lee shipped out for Iraq that December. Jake knew nothing of this son and lost touch with Ellen Brewer. It was only much later that, largely out of curiosity, Charles looked Jake up and established contact.
On March 31, 2004, five U.S. soldiers were killed by a large IED on a road a few miles outside of Fallujah, one of the soldiers who died that day was Lee McLemore.
Jake kept the bar going for several years after Lee died but ended up selling it in 2007 and bought some land outside of Shreveport, Louisiana not far from Oil City. He had fond memories of fishing on Caddo Lake with his father and settled into that kind of life again.
It didn’t take long for Jake to become bored with retirement, and he bought a diner in Shreveport where Pearl Robison happened to enter one day in January 2010 (see song, “Pearl + Jake“). For five years Jake and Pearl had a turbulent romantic relationship, before Pearl took to the road again (see song “Hit the Road“), heading west on U.S. 80, leaving Jake heartbroken at 56 (see songs, “The River and Jake” and “The Red River Flows“).
Unbeknownst to him Pearl was pregnant when she left, and gave birth to a daughter, Sadie Jo Robison. Pearl initially had no intention of letting Jake know about this child, but she eventually did tell Jake (see song “Terrell“), however, nearly two years after she had left Shreveport. Jake immediately proposed to Pearl, and they got married and moved back to Shreveport to raise Sadie Jo together.
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE
Sadie Jo, I love you so
For the rest of my days, I’ll keep you safe,
Watching you grow
Your mama, Pearl, and my baby girl
Everything is brand new since you
Entered my world
Lost my first wife
To a damn drunk
He blew through a light
In a rusted out truck
I lost my son
In a pointless war
What your mama done, she gave me a someone
To love once more
Sadie Jo, I love you so …
I’m a tough old cob
To be a new daddy now
Wanna do a better job
This time around
A new baby and wife
Were not in my plans
I thank God every night for blessing my life
With this second chance
Sadie Jo, I love you so …
© 2019 Frank David Leone, Jr./Highway 80 Music (ASCAP). The songs and stories on the Highway 80 Stories website are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.