Write Again . . . And I am grateful

Published 2:54 pm Monday, November 21, 2016

If there are, or have been, things in your life that have given you enjoyment over the course of many years, then surely you recognize it as a genuine blessing.

So it is, or has been in some cases, true for me as well. And when an activity, endeavor, that gave me such pleasure came to an end, well, it was hard to say the least.

Among my “pleasures” are or have been running, reading, singing barbershop harmony and writing, in no particular order. (And our pets, of course.)

I now find myself sans two of these avocational endeavors. Quarteting and running.

Exposure to barbershop harmony came at an early age, 10 years old, to be exact. The man who led me into that awareness, Charlie Stevens, let me listen to a couple of 78 rpm records. And I was hooked.

At age 15, I actually began singing barbershop, while in high school. Charlie was our school choral director, and he began a tradition of having a boys barbershop quartet. In that foursome with me were Will Jenkins, Ward Marslender and Charlie Mike Smith. We were together for two wonderful years. We sang in some special places and events.

Little did I realize then that this activity would evolve into a full-blown passion, and that there would be many more quartets across all the years to come. As well as choruses.

There are so many memories from these years of trying to sprinkle a little musical sunshine in four-part harmony.

I’ve sung in so many diverse situations and varied venues and made such good memories, some, many, which will be with me until it’s my time to leave.

The “Singing Valentines” opportunities sometimes offered poignant experiences. Such as singing for patients undergoing chemotherapy, or a lady who was battling cancer, where we sang “The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi,” and on her sweater was the fraternity pin her boyfriend-became-husband gave to her so long ago.

One night we sang in the bedroom of a terminally ill friend, who was held sitting up in bed by her daughter and a hospice nurse. We sang “The Rose.” Or tried to. You know, “Some say love, it is a river …”

My Outer Banks quartet, the “First Flight Four,” sang all up and down the beach, and from Raleigh eastward as well as in the Tidewater. We also sang in Hartford, Connecticut, at our bass’s 50th high school reunion. Two of those dear friends are now departed. May I sing with them again in that ecclesiastical venue.

I sang for several years in the “Nostalgics,” which had three fellows from New Bern. We were quite active and I rolled up a lot of miles during that time. The bass is now gone. “Buster’s Boys” had a good run. That bass is also gone.

The quartet I was in the longest, however, was “Men ‘n a Chord,” also my last one. I’m truly grateful to each of them for the special times we had over many, many years. Our last time together as a quartet was July of ’15.

It is my hope that we really did sprinkle a little musical sunshine along the way.

In four-part harmony.