Just a few weeks before he died, Charlie Daniels invited John Rich to come out his home in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee on June 16 for a sit-down interview for Rich’s show, The Pursuit! on FOX Nation. So in what would become one of Daniels’ very last interviews, he shared his thoughts on everything from his deep faith to his pursuit of happiness and just about everything in between. Daniels, 83, died on July 6 after a hemorrhagic stroke.
Here are just some of the highlights from the conversation:
Rich: What is it about the way you go at life that allows you the strength to pull through those kind of moments? Because I think everybody out there that ever goes for anything big is going to experience similar things.
Daniels: If I didn’t have the Lord in my life, I don’t know where I’d be. I really don’t know where I’d be. And there’s been times in my life when I did not have the Lord in my life, and bad things would happen, and I wouldn’t know where to go. You don’t know what to do. But I learned what my motto nowadays is, we try to walk by faith and not by sight. Because right now, with all the stuff that’s going on around us, especially in our business — you know, we’re probably going to be the last business to open, because we’ve got to put people together. And it’s like you’ve got to stop and think, if you look around you, everything just looks bad 360 degrees. But if you look at it and say, “My God’s bigger than this, my God controls this thing.” And this is the first time in my life I’ve ever seen anything happen that happened all over the world. I mean, the rich people couldn’t get out of here and go to the Riviera and get away from it. There’s no place to go. So what does that tell you? Who are you going to depend on?
I ask every guest on The Pursuit! this question as the final question. And that would be this. How has the right to pursue happiness changed your life?
It is my life. I live my life. There’s so many things I enjoy. I enjoy eating (you can probably tell that). I enjoy a good glass of wine. I enjoy hunting. I don’t get the chance to do it anymore, but I love my guns. I love fishing. I love being able to, if I decided today, “Hey, let’s go down to the lake where I can catch some crappie,” you get in the car and go. Or let’s fly to Australia. Get your passport. You know, let’s go somewhere, let’s do something. Nobody stopped me. A lot of places you couldn’t do that. You couldn’t go out of the town you’re in, you couldn’t go out the state you’re in. Freedom and pursuit of happiness go hand in hand together. Freedom to worship anyway you want to. Freedom to go anywhere you want to, do anything you want to, to say anything you want to. Right, wrong, indifferent, whatever. People don’t have to listen to you, but you’ve got a right to say it. That’s the pursuit of happiness. Being the person to reach your potential and be the person that God designed you that you could reach your potential to be. That, to me, is the pursuit of happiness. God, family, country, work. Those are my four principles.
Daniels also shares stories about his first job (at the Taylor Colquitt Creosoting Company), the two first songs he learned (“You Are My Sunshine” and “Kneel at the Cross”), and the first guitar he ever played (an old, beat up Stella guitar with rusty strings).