WACO, Texas (KWTX) Just ahead of his 82nd birthday, a local blues legend was honored with his own day, a flag that flew over the state Capitol, a proclamation from the county commissioner’s court and in true Classie Ballou fashion, the performer accepted the honor with not a word of thanks, but instead a song.
Classie Ballou and the City of Waco proclamation honoring him. (Courtesy photos)
“I see trees of green, red roses too,” Ballou spontaneously sang from the podium in the Waco City Council Chamber.
“I see them bloom for me and you,” he continued.
But the next words, he changed from Louis Armstrong’s well known hit “What a Wonderful World” to better fit the special occasion.
“And I think to myself that I’m so happy that Waco gave me this presentation,” he belted out followed by a laugh and cheers from the crowd.
Ballou has sung and played the blues for nearly 70 years until this past February when he suffered his first stroke.
He had another one in May making performing too difficult for the man who has always felt most comfortable on stage.
His daughter, Cean Ballou, has followed in her dad’s footsteps leading her own band.
She says these days she’s helping care for her father who also has dementia and Parkinson’s disease and decided to get together with city officials to give her father the recognition he’s long deserved.