“Be like a tree, let the dead leaves drop.” ~ Rumi
Remember I said that I had the chance to meet new friends and visit with old friends at Erin’s book release party? I also had the pleasure of watching other friends meet and start their own friendships. Take Harriette Swart and Silas House for instance. It is a beautiful thing to watch two kind, conscientious souls meet one another for the first time. Little wonder that Silas and Harriette hit off. He is the consummate gentleman, and she the most refined lady I know. I’m lucky they put up with me and I’m sure thankful for it. We three Kentucky natives enjoyed fine conversation. We could have talked endlessly. I happened to have my new lens with me, perfect for that wide-angle selfie. It gave me a picture I’ll cherish almost as much as seeing these two awesome people meet. What a gift.
“It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” ~ Robert H. Schuller
Meet Sharon Ruble. We go way back to the days when her band – Reel World String Band – was several years into carving their place in history as stellar musicians and activists. In 1985, I joined a little band called Radio Cafe (later known as Stealin Horses) with an equally tenacious Kiya Heartwood. Our paths crossed with RWSB periodically. We’ve continued to cross paths for more than three decades now. I connected with Sharon almost immediately. Maybe because as bassist and drummer we had a rhythmic understanding. Or maybe it was because we are photographers (she far exceeds me in that department to be sure). Or maybe it’s because we’re both kind of quiet (I am, contrary to popular belief). Whatever the draw, I’ve always felt a bond with Sharon, and admired her kindness and gentle spirit. So, when she asked me to be the official photographer (her words) for the band’s archival donation celebration last week, I was speechless. Sharon retired from the Herald Leader as their photo editor (I’m not entirely sure her official title). She could have had any of the paper’s award winning photographers do the job, but she asked me. I just can’t tell you what an honor it was just to be asked, let alone actually photograph their special night with their many friends and family. I am so grateful to Sharon for her friendship and all the women of RWSB for all they’ve done for women in music in Kentucky and abroad. I must be living right to be in such grand company.
“Fear has two meanings:
‘Forget everything and run’ or ‘Face everything and rise.’
The choice is yours.”
~ Zig Ziglar
Erin Chandler had a gathering to say goodbye to 2015, welcome 2016, and bring together a few family and friends for laughs, food, and music. Indeed, we had all of that and more. Some of us met for the first time. Others of us knew one another from various and sundry parts of our lives. And many of Erin’s closest family joined in the celebration.
Erin’s first cousin, Whit, confessed to me as we stood in the kitchen. He confessed that he attended many a Stealin Horses show at Café LMNOP during his youth. He was the guy doing the pogo. If you’ve ever seen a Stealin Horses show, you’ll know that during our take on Gloria, Kiya would pogo at some point, and always the dancers would join in. Whit was one of those Solid Gold Dancers! He made my night with that story. Plus, I realized that I hadn’t been crazy all these years by thinking I knew him from somewhere. I really did.
Whit’s mom, Erin’s Aunt Toss, was drawn to the music. She was also drawn to Silas House. She was very cute about it, too, making her way around the room quietly, weaving in and out of the crowd, until finally, she made him scoot over so she could sit beside him. She’d had her eye on him from the start. Ultimately, however, she was in it for the music. The bottom photo with Whit warms my heart so much. He is so tender with her in the way he talks with her, the way he touches her. Frankly, I think Whit hung the moon. That he’s also one of the world’s best huggers is just icing on the cake.
It was a great evening just as Erin intended. Before dinner we each said what we were grateful for in 2015 and what we hoped for in 2016. I’m blessed in so many ways and grateful for every bit of it. That’s true in 2015, and it will be true in 2016 come what may.