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Monday, June 8, 2009

Money Can't Buy This

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I so wish digital cameras had been invented back in the day when I started teaching. Like 1966. Then I would have photos to go with these stories. Yesterday I had a surprise blessing.

There is a group here in Hartsville called the Sonoco Men's Chorus. It is a Black Men's Singing Group that has been singing for publicly for 49 years. I have seen articles in our local paper ever since I have lived here but I have never managed to hear or see them perform. Yesterday they were to be performing at 4 pm some where in Hartsville. I called my good friend Bobbie to see if she wanted to go. While she waited on the phone, I looked on line to make sure where the performance would be and found out it would cost us $8.00 each.

I was sure that would end that outing for both of us. (We are both NOTORIOUS cheapskates.) Surprisingly she said, "No, I'll go."

Well, when we got our programs we found out there were eight other groups scheduled to perform. One of them was the Kay Branch Youth Choir. I knew one of my former students directed the adult choir so I thought maybe she directed the youth, too.

The Sonoco Men were first. They were so good. I love black gospel. I have some Mahalia Jackson, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Andre Crouch, Babbie Mason CD's but that's about it. But they sang what I presume to be real old timey gospel. "I'm sendin' up some lumber" "Don't want to cause no one to stumble" and the audience knew the songs and clapped in time.

Then came two seven year old little boys in white face and white gloves who mimed to two songs about how strong God is and how He holds on to and protects us and watches over us and never lets go of us. They got a standing ovation from us all. So precious, I hope they never forget those words and store them in their heart.

Finally, The Kay Branch Youth Choir and there was my Carmen front and center in the choir of about thirty 25-35 year olds who could sing your socks off.

I had Carmen in Kindergarten at our local Antioch School the first year I taught there. I think there were about 15 in the class and it was an all day kindergarten. It was pretty racially balanced. She had two buddies in the class Dora Lee and Renee. The three of them were the Supremes at recess; they got those wooden jump rope handles, held them up to their mouths and let loose with some "Stop in the Name of Love" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and I loved every minute of it.

Now Carmen came from a godly family that lives maybe a mile from my house. Her mother worked in another school cafeteria. I forget where her Dad worked, probably Sonoco. Dora Lee's Mom was a single Mom who had one other child, a special ed boy and no husband. Renee's Mom I don't think had a husband Renee had a couple of siblings. I doubt Carmen heard the Supreme's much at home but Renee and Dora Lee no doubt did and taught Carmen the words.

I have never seen Renee or Dora Lee again. I would love to.

Carmen works at the bank where we bank. It is a local community bank and everyone there loves her. She has personality plus. If I ever go in, I go tell anyone I can find about her singing with the jump rope, "Stop in the Name of Love" and you can believe I act out the motions and Carmen laughs and laughs.

You can bet I went up to her as she came off stage and said, I'm glad I got to see you sing without your jump rope and she hugged me and laughed. I got to see her Mama too and tell her how proud I am of Carmen.

You don't make a lot of money teaching but there are memories and experiences money can't buy.


Anonymous said...

What a great teacher you were, and still are, to have so much interest and enthusiasm for your students. Usually, whenever I see former teachers, with the exception of a few, I just assume they won't remember me!

Anonymous said...

Hey! Did you know your blog is doing wonky things? Like your last post about your BFF keeps disappearing and then reappearing?

Anyway, I DID blog about out trip to Charleston---it's underneath my last post about working. Check it out! We had a wonderful time.