Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Adams Family

Just over a week ago, I was in Ruston, LA doing a benefit concert at Louisiana Tech for the Baptist Collegiate Ministry.  I wrote a piece about it but left out an important part of one special thing that happened that night.

There was a very distinguished couple sitting in reserved seats on the front row.  And it was a special occasion for them. They were celebrating their anniversary.  I don’t remember the exact number but it was somewhere a few clicks north of 60 years! 

Mr. and Mrs. Adams lived two houses down from us on School Street in our hometown of Wisner, LA.  Guess what was across the street?  I couldn’t make up horror stories about walking to school if I tried.

I went to school with a couple of the Adams Family.  And I played in a band with Dennis and Gary Adams, my brother, Mike and another guy named Connie Moran.  I was younger than all of them, so I was pretty jazzed when they invited me to join.  I had a bent for lead guitar back then and I guess that’s what they were lacking.  I remember overhearing my brother and the other guys talking, “Now we can have lead on Louie Louie!”

You remember Louie?  If you didn’t hear it in the 60s, you probably heard it being belted out by a high school marching band under the Friday night lights somewhere in America.  Nobody really remembers the words to Louie Louie but the melody was hard to forget.  If it’s playing in your head right now, uh, sorry.

The Adams Family was one of two Catholic families in our little neck of the woods.  Their church was in Winnsboro, a little larger town than ours fourteen miles to the north.  I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know much about the faith of this family and I probably didn’t give it much thought.  I just knew that it was different.  And I knew this – the dances our band played for at the Catholic Church would have never happened (that’s to say, they never did happen) at the First Baptist Church. Odd – I couldn’t go to dances but I could go play for other people to dance.  Confusing.

Well, like I was saying, Mr. and Mrs. Adams were at the concert celebrating their anniversary.  When I got word, via Facebook, that they wanted to come, I was surprised.  I had no idea they would be interested.  I can’t remember the last time I saw them or anyone from their family. 

I found out the kids (all now grown with families of their own) had set it all up.  They had gotten the tickets and the special seating secured, they arranged for the hotel and the restaurant.  It was their way of making sure their parent’s anniversary was memorable.
It struck me as a huge display of genuine thoughtfulness.  Talk about honoring your parents.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give your folks.

Thoughtfulness is becoming a lost art.  We find ourselves in an era of self-absorbed thoughtlessness.  Not so much a mean spirited, aggressive neglect.  Rather more a, “Huh?  wow . . . the thought never crossed my mind” kind of culture. 
All the techno luxuries were supposed to free us up.  To do what??  To have more time to ourselves for ourselves?

I don’t want this to turn into one of those stories that throws rocks at modern advancements, but let’s face it.  Most of them aren’t driving us toward each other. They’re driving us toward a more isolated existence that’s empty of real intimacy, real giving, sharing and real sacrifice. 

I know some of you don’t agree with that and you put these tools to good use.  I’ve gotten lots of email praising social media that’s helped you re-connect with old friends or schoolmates.  That’s great!  Just try to resist letting it replace real face time with those in your house, your family or your community. 

I talked with Mr. and Mrs. Adams after the concert.  They felt so blessed that their kids would plan such a thing.  Mr. Adams is a quiet, dignified gentleman.  That night in particular, he reminded me of my dad - dignity and humility.  He told me how much he enjoyed the music.  “Thank you for  “Amazing Grace” he said.

I say that every day. 

Thank You.


Concert at Louisiana Tech


Wouldn’t you expect me to say this after every event, every concert?  “It went great!” 

When I ask my peers, “So how did it go last night?”  it would be nice to hear, sometimes, “Ya know what?  It just stunk!  I stunk!  I sounded bad.  Nobody showed up.  The sound was terrible.  The air conditioning was out.  Wild monkeys were running around the stage.  Just not a very good night.”

But most times in answer to the question, we reply, “It went great!”

Monday night, at Louisiana Tech was . . . Uh . . . GREAT!  And I mean it!  No monkeys, great sound and lighting for the venue, a room that was full of college friends from years past, lots of family and friends from my hometown, an hour of pre-show reception with great food and refreshments.  The only down side . . . just too little time to visit and catch up with everybody there.

The event was the grand opening of the new BCM building on the Tech campus.  When I was there, it was called the BSU but I guess somebody finally got enough of all the acronym cracks and decided to re-name it the BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries).  I don’t know why. Heck, you can still get a BS degree from most any university in America.   I know a lot of people that have them!  And some that don’t but should be granted and honorary!

Anyway, even though the weather outside was frightful – cold and rainy – the spirit inside was tremendous.  When the MC got up to introduce me, he changed course and asked a few people to stand up and tell a quick WW story.  Thankfully, all that chose to stand and deliver, came up with good stories.

Man, talk about evidence of time flying!  The people facing me were testimonies of God’s grace and mercy, testimonies of His blessing.  I think we all relived a little bit of our college days on Monday night.

I started out telling the audience there would be some “Acknowledgements and Apologies” throughout the night. 

A few acknowledgements . . .

To my friend and, during my college days, as close to a mentor as I’d ever have, Dr. Ferrington.  “Doc” we called him then and still do.  Interesting, I’ve met lots of “Drs” over the years.  Some earned their degrees and others were given honorary degrees.  Funny, lots of the earned “Drs” couldn’t care less what you call them and lots of the honoraries really prefer, and sometimes firmly suggest that you address them as . . . Dr.  Hmm.  Well, with all due respect, I guess.  What do I know?  I’m not a doctor . . . but I’ve been to the doctor!!

Anyway, Doc and wife, Dottie (also a Dr! Geez, talk about a hard envelope to address) were in the audience Monday night.  When a band in California offered me a position to play with them in my second year at Tech, it was Doc that talked me into staying in school. I’m so glad I did.  Not just for the book stuff but the life stuff that college offered.

There were other acknowledgements and some that were, regrettably, left out.  Mr. and Mrs. Ray Young from Wisner (and their children and grandchildren) were there.  Dorothy Young takes care of my mom’s business affairs and lots of other stuff.  I don’t know what we’d do without her.  Mr. Ray was my first guitar hero. He had this beautiful Yamaha FG 300 acoustic that I loved!  I eventually saved up and bought one and I wish I still had it.  It was my first really good guitar.

And the list could go on and on.

Some apologies (some in fun and others . . . well).  The most sincere apology was to no one in particular and to lots of people in general.  “I was tight in college” I began.  “Not tight as in cheap . . . heck, I’d spring for a pizza now and then, but tight as in tightly wound.”  It embarrasses me to think of the people I probably turned off to a faith in Christ with my hyper spirituality and self-righteous, legalistic attitude.  I wish I’d known a better definition of grace and mercy in those days. I received it well enough but just wasn’t real good at extending it.  And it would be a long time, through some tough times ‘till I would learn that lesson.  Oh well, we’re all being created in His image.  Some of us are just on day 2 or 3 out of the 7 it’s gonna take to make us.

Many thanks to Lisa Trussel and everyone that made this event happen. I hope it was just the first of many good things that take place under the new roof.

Hope to see you on the road somewhere.  2011 is looking busy and I’m thankful to have so many doors opening.  Thank you for your prayers!



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Please . . .

Hi Everyone....and thanks for checking in here.

  I've moved most of my entries, my time and attention to the new so consider this your invitation to visit there. There are blogs, concert schedules, news, photos, videos, a discography, a bio and I freshen it often.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

something good

I was reading a devotional writing by Soren Kierkegaard this morning and this one paragraph was something I wanted to share with you.

From "Prayers . . ."

     You are not like us;  if we are to preserve only some degree of constancy, we must not permit ourselves too much to be moved, nor by too many things.  You on the contrary are moved, and moved in infinite love, by all thingsEven that which we human beings call an insignificant trifle, and pass by unmoved, the need of a sparrow, even this moves You;  and what we so often scarcely notice, a human sigh, this moves You, You who are unchangeable!