"Pretty Paper" - Willie Nelson's Christmas Tribute to a Fort Worth Man

    One of my favorite Christmas songs is Willie Nelson's Pretty Paper. It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned the inspiration for the song was a handicapped man from Fort Worth.

   Willie Nelson wrote the song after seeing a legless man outside Leonard's Department Store in downtown Fort Worthin the early 1960s. The man was a downtown fixture and could often be seen pulling himself down the sidewalks on his hands. He sold pencils outside the department store and during Christmas he also sold pretty paper and ribbons to wrap presents.

   The opening lines from the song was the man's sales pitch during the Christmas season.

 Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you

  The song was written in the early 60's and first became a hit for Roy Orbison. Willie later recorded it himself in 1964. 

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