Life’s Playlist…. Forever Young performed by Joan Baez

For me, few things evoke genuine emotion like music.

I can listen to a song and be taken away to a place, a time, a moment.

Some songs make my heart soar, others send me into a deep despair.  I cry when I hear the Star Spangled Banner, my heart is filled with youthful joy when I hear Mustang Sally.

We Are the World puts me in a pool at Georgia Southern College and Vogue places me on the dancefloor at a Sunday Tea-Dance.

Years after their funerals I still struggle listening to How Great Thou Art as it places me on the front row at my parents funerals.

Yesterday, I was writing my April column for Georgia Mountain Laurel, the column is about someone who has had a major impact on my life and a song kept coming through my head.

It’s funny, how a song can put your mind in a place or the notes of a chorus brings a person to mind.

Music has always had this impact on me, all the songs of my life tie together to form a symphony of the people and places of my years here on earth.

I hope my chorus has many more stanzas to go, before the final note is played.

Last night I was watching YouTube and this song popped up on the screen.  I watched one version and ended up watching five different artists perform it.  I have always loved the song, let the words speak to you, in my mind they represent Bob Dylan’s best work….

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay
Forever young
Forever young
Forever young
May you stay
Forever young
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay
Forever young
Forever young
Forever young
May you stay
Forever young
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay
Forever young
Forever young
Forever young
May you stay
Forever young


Life’s Playlist…. A House Is Not a Home performed by Luther Vandross

Tomorrow the final chapter of my life in Florida comes to a close.

Good Lord willing, I am scheduled to close on the sale of my condo there.  I hope the new owners will be as happy in that little space as I was.

The Florida condo was my first major purchase, the biggest by far at the time I bought it about 15 years ago.

Two bedrooms, two baths, set on the fourth floor of a four-story building.  The condo is in a complex of 20 matching buildings with 24 units in each building.

I paid $54,000 for the unit.  I used an inheritance my grand-father left me for the $5,000 down-payment.

During the years I was in the condo I enjoyed it very much.  I got my first taste of political life there when I ran for the Board of Directors and was elected six years in a row.

When I decided to buy my home in Lake Park, I kept the condo as a rental, those were interesting days to say the least.

A year before I moved back to Georgia, I renovated the condo and moved back in.  When I moved back to Georgia, I rented it out again.

For the last two years I’ve had another renter in the space.

I recently decided I just wanted the condo off my books.  I put it up for sale and the tenant moved out.

I had an offer, we agreed on price and the purchaser couldn’t get funding.

Second offer came through and eventually fell through, it was below asking price but I accepted because I was starting to get nervous about the sale.

Last week I got a full ask offer, all cash closing in ten days.  JACKPOT, I took it.

Yesterday I signed the contract and sent it in….. LORD PLEASE LET THIS BE FINAL!

So todmorrow ends a portion of my life that served me well and blessed me beyond my wildest dreams.  A piece of my heart will always be in Florida, but for me home is where I am today.

Sunday Playlist…. Holy Spirit Rain Down by Alvin Slaughter

The first time I ever heard this song was at the United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches.

The song was one of the most powerful in their repertoire and I always knew when I heard the opening chords that the Lord was going to touch me.

As the years went on the song was retired, this morning when I woke to heavy rain outside, I knew exactly what the song of today must be.

Life’s Playlist… Hero by Mariah Carey

Day 6 of the 500 Word Challenge by Jeff Goins….. tell someone else’s story.

She watched her 11-year-old son, riddled with cancer, die a painful and grueling death.

I fist met her when a news report was featured on the local news channel in West Palm Beach, FL where I was living at the time.

Her child had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  The most brutal of all cancers, for a child to get the diagnosis was quite rare.

The news report told the story of a fund-raiser for the child that had been scheduled at his school.  Due to regulations, my friend had been informed two days before the event, that it would have to be cancelled.

The news unsettled me,  how this event had to be cancelled over stupid regulations added insult to injury for this family that had already seen far too many bad turns in their lives.

At the time, I was the Marketing Director for a local retail/entertainment center.  The story haunted me through the night and the next morning when I arrived at work, somehow I was able to locate the mom’s phone number and contacted her.

Within an hour she was in my office and we were planning the logistics to move the event to our center.

We hit it off right away, through the tragedy that she was enduring, we became friends.

The event came and went at our center, but our friendship sustained over time.  We kept in touch and she would give updates about her son’s condition.

About a year after our meeting, my friend’s son lost his battle with the disease.  He passed away in their family home.  His little body suffered and by the time he passed he was constantly in pain with his family suffering every moment with him.

During those painful months, my friend rode every roller-coaster of emotion imaginable never leaving her child’s side.  Since his passing she feels guilt, sorrow and a broken heart that will never mend.

Not long after her child’s death, my friend opened a retail store in the tiny town I served as a City Commissioner for.  The thrift and consignment store was opened as a charity to assist families of children suffering with cancer.

My friend had found a new mission, one that would honor her son and allow her to give back in ways that would help sustain other families dealing with the same issues she had endured.

From opening day through the years the store has been opened successes have been difficult to measure.  Financially, the store has never operated to its anticipated dream, located in the small run down shopping center of a neighborhood that was fraught with crime, drugs and prostitution, it was difficult to make a go of the mission my friend envisioned.

Featuring a wonderful selection of furniture, clothes, antiques and accessories, the store should have been a success, unfortunately the neighborhood blocked that possibility.

My friend always kept her head-up and worked towards her mission.  Through her constant grief, her vision to honor her son never wavered.

A couple of weeks ago my friend announced the store will be closing.  Her continued battle to make the store meet her vision would come to an end.

The store will close, but I know my friend….. her vision and commitment to families who are going through the unfathomable days she went through will not.

My friend is a warrior and she is guided daily by an angel that helps her put one foot in front of the other.  The store may be closing, but my friends broken-heart will go on, she will persevere, she has already done more than she will ever know and her journey continues, through pain she will continue to heal and help others in her child’s name.


All-Time Favorites Playlist…. Piano Man by Billy Joel

The song Piano Man changed my life.  Believe it or not, I used to sing.  I sang a lot, I sang in choirs, performance quartet, small groups and solos.

When I realized I actually had a voice was the first time I sang this song.  It was in High School at a State Arts Competition, I enjoyed it and got great feedback.

In my later years, I sang in college and later performed in a couple of musicals… it was tremendous fun!

This song brings those memories of performing back, I miss those days.  Who knows, maybe 2018 is a time to unclog the pipes and see if I can still carry a tune.