The Imprint of his Father, James Haggard
Merle wrote his second autobiography in 1999 titled, My House of Memories. In it, he shared how much his father loathed liars. Hence, those who knew him could attest that he’s trustworthy. He’s a man of his word. Even as a child, Merle understood the value of honesty as modeled by his dad.
It stands to reason that his songs reflect the traits he’d seen in his dad. They’re all about national truth, the value of labor, and embracing your own person. It’s just unfortunate that he died early in 1945 from Intracerebral hemorrhage. Looking at the bright side, Merle did not lose the values instilled by his dad. He may have strayed in his teenage years, but upon maturity, he put those lessons to work through his songs.
By the way, did you notice how much of a rambler Merle Haggard is? He also got that from his dad. He states his complaints upfront when he’s not happy with something.
A father possessing integrity can do give more of an influence to a child for a short time than one whose presence is frequently absent even if he’d lived for a while.