From Willie Nelson, country music’s most quintessential musician, comes a heartwarming holiday tale based on his classic Christmas song, “Pretty Paper.”
For over fifty years, Willie Nelson has wondered about the life story of the legless man who sold wrapping paper to customers on the street in front of a downtown department store in Ft. Worth. This seller of “pretty paper” inspired Willie’s classic Christmas song, and now, with a leap of imagination, he tells the tale of Tom Winthrop. It’s a love story with roots deep in the soil of the American heartland. Tom grew up on a farm outside Vernon, Texas, raised by his grandparents after losing his parents in a car accident when he was six. Tom learned to play guitar, and he sang in the church choir. That’s where he met the love of his life, Marla Jean Hart. While still in high school, they formed a country group and called themselves the Dreamers. They enjoyed one local hit—a Christmas song titled “Faith”—and they played at small dance halls throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. After settling in Nashville to perform and record, the group split up when Marla Jean took off with another man. Tom moved back to Vernon to work the family farm, but hard times prevailed. The land was lost, and so Tom found work in a Fort Worth slaughterhouse where a freak accident cost him his legs. A year after that horrific misfortune, Willie found Tom during the holiday season, crying “pretty paper.” Determined to know what might have happened to Marla Jean, Willie tracks her down as is surprised to discover the fantastic turns her own story has taken. Willie’s endeavor to reunite the former sweethearts on Christmas Day—exactly one year after Tom told him his story—fuels an exciting and heartwarming adventure of life on the road. Download and start listening now!