Johnny Cash's description of paradise.

Written by Cole Schafer


There was an interview.

Nobody seems to recall when nor where.

But, someone, somewhere, asked Johnny Cash for his definition of paradise.

To which the American legend responded…

“This morning, with her, having coffee.”

He was referring to June Carter Cash, the five-time Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and the woman that became the love of his life.

In an interview in 1981, the two reminisced on the evening of their proposal…

"He asked me to marry him in front of 7,000 people, but I would have liked it if he had gotten down on his knees and proposed to me, you know, but that wasn't the way it was. It was a great big production."

Johnny took up the story where June left of…

"We had just sung a song called 'Jackson', and I stopped the show and said, 'Will you marry me?' on the microphone.”

It wasn’t necessarily happily ever after, but it was something.

I don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture here.

Johnny and June’s marriage wasn’t quite like the happily ever after fairytale the country music world worshipped. It was tumultuous, riddled with drug and alcohol addiction, as well as an affair or two.

But, despite this, it was something –– something that manifested itself into some damn pretty prose and songwriting during the more than three decades the two spent together.

Johnny once wrote…

“You see, to me, the most romantic, beautiful love stories ever were the ones where two people meet, fall in love, and then fifty, sixty years later one of them dies and then a few days after that the other one dies because they just can’t bear to live without each other.”

When June passed away on May 15, 2003, Johnny made it a little longer than the romantic stories he held close to his heart.

He died four months later.

By Cole Schafer.