Tennessee House speaker recalls Isaac Hayes as friend

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Isaac Hayes may have declined to eat the barbecued raccoon at Tennessee House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh's annual gathering, but that didn't hurt an unlikely friendship between the late singer and the powerful Democratic lawmaker.

Hayes, who died Sunday at age 65, was born just outside the county seat of Covington. Naifeh was about four years older than Hayes and the two men didn't meet until both had risen to prominence. But their relationship had grown close in recent years.

Hayes had become a regular at Naifeh's annual "Coon Supper," West Tennessee's best-known political gathering. Naifeh said he never took offense at Hayes' aversion to the featured raccoon dish at the event.

More recently Hayes would make weekly trips to Naifeh's property to go fishing with family and friends.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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