February 12, 2012

A Time to Mourn

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;...He has made every thing beautiful in its time: also he has put eternity in men's hearts, so that no man can find out the work that God does from the beginning to the end....

Turning to Ecclesiastes 3 this morning. It is only the second month into this new year and we have lost so many luminaries who influenced our lives in some way. Among them: Angelo Dundee; Kevin White; Jimmy Castor; Joe Paterno; Don Cornelius; Etta James; David Peaston and, now, Whitney Houston.

I grew up listening to the gritty, soulful sounds of Etta James, "Something's Got a Hold on Me," "All I Could Do Was Cry," both on the radio and on albums played on the glamorous hi-fi console which my mother proudly paid for with weekly installments. Saw her, among others, at the illustrious Howard Theater, that venerable institution, a major stop on the Chittling Circuit, which introduced us to so many stars.

I met Kevin White, former mayor of Boston, in a Boston eatery. My son was wearing a NY Yankees hat. Angelo Dundee's signature adorns a poster of Muhammad Ali.  Met them at a prefight exhibition in Landover, Maryland.  Lawd, Lawd, Muhammad was prime!

Don Cornelius and Soul Train brought me through my very early adulthood.  Who can forget the Soul Train Line and the colorful, cutting edge, clothing, platform shoes, and gigantic Afros? Entertainers walked, danced, and sang themselves right into the living room. And danced myself crazy with Jimmy Castor's "Hey, Leroy," "Bertha Butt Boogie," and "Troglodyte."

David Peaston's "Can I?" , "God Bless the Child," and others will be long remembered for his silky, smooth, renditions.

And then, there's Whitney. Whitney Houston, America's Songbird, our troubled child, The Voice. Glamorous, beyond talented, gifted. Her personal trials, like her triumphs, played out in the media in minute detail, brought us joy, pain, exasperation, and anger for a waste of her God--given gift. Her hit list is too numerous. We all have a favorite or two.  We will never forget her singing of the national one has done it was played for days after on the radio. Or the remakes of "I Will Always Love You," "I'm Every Woman," and "The Greatest Love."  A personal favorite is "I Look to You."  May she find peace.

Regardless of their age or circumstances, they are all "Gone Too Soon." Be Safe. Be Blessed.

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