Another week in South Carolina

So . . . This week has been much different, with a combination of work and sight-seeing so far. When I visited my sisters chorus, my first week here, I announced to the ladies that I would be available for odd jobs. One of the ladies approached me after the rehearsal and told me that her ex-husband had recently been injured in a serious fall. His left arm was in a sling and his right arm was in a cast. He needed help with his yard and moving some appliances into the house from his garage. He called me this past week-end and I went to his house on Monday at noon. He had a pretty good sized yard with lots of trees. It had not been raked in months. The leaves were about four inches deep across the entire back yard. I started working to get the leaves up and moved to the back side of his property line around noon and didn’t finish until after 5:00 p.m. It was work. When I finished I was pretty sore but happy. He asked me if I could come back the next day to change out his existing appliances for the ones in his garage. I was happy to help him again on Tuesday. I moved his existing refrigerator, washer and dryer into the garage and moved the newer ones into the kitchen and laundry room. I had to remove the doors from the house as well as the doors from the refrigerator to get the old one out and the newer one in. It took some time. He was pleased and I was glad to be able to make a little money.

This is the kind of work that I am hoping I will be able to find on a regular basis as I travel the U.S. this year. I am an excellent helper and have a strong work ethic. I am not a taker but a giver. So if you are reading this blog and you receive a call from me this year to ask if I can stay with you for a few days (or a week) please know that I can help with a task or a project while I am there. I can provide “an extra set of hands”. I have done my share of moving over the years. If you have a storage area that needs to be thinned out, I’m the guy who can help. If you have household items that need to be moved from one location to another I can help. I won’t provide the truck or dollies but I can provide some knowledge, expertise and manual labor.

Yesterday morning I drove to Charleston, SC to visit with a friend. I had helped her move out of her house into an apartment after she sold her house in Indy last year. She wrapped up the final details concerning her job and moved to Charleston in the fall. She was an excellent tour guide showing me some interesting spots in Charleston, such a beautiful and historic city! She is in the process of having a new home built there. It is not the first time that she has done that. She built a home on James Island about twenty years ago. What a fascinating lady. I really enjoyed spending the day with her yesterday. Thank you Judy!

As I look out the window here from the kitchen at my sisters house I have a great view of Lake Murray. The sun is shimmering on the water and it is supposed to be near 80 degrees today. The dogs will be outside most of the day today.

I was finally able to get my mini-van repaired. All total I spent over $1,200.00 on repairs. I am optimistic that things have been resolved with the mysterious issue that I was experiencing before leaving Indy. It certainly drove very smooth yesterday. Turned out to be a brake issue. Thankful for a mechanic who kept looking for the problem until he found it. Can’t say much for the Dealership that I took it to in Indy back in January.

I have one more possible job from one of the guys at the men’s chorus in Lexington, SC. Waiting for a call back. He has some yard work that he needs help with.

Will most likely be making a trip back up to Asheville this week end for a hike. Beautiful part of the country and an interesting and lovely lady with whom to spend time.

Valentines Day

Friday, February 14, 2014

This is the first time in the last 13 years that I am not out delivering Singing Valentines! Circle City Sound (henceforth to be referred to as CCS or “my chorus”) sends quartets out to the entire Indianapolis Metropolitan area to deliver Valentines messages in song. Typically the quartet will sing one of two songs, Heart of my Heart or Let Me Call You Sweetheart. Quartets that are registered with the BHS will usually have a more extended repertoire that they can draw from. Today I’m pretty sure that CCS is sending out three registered quartets as well as a few other pick-up quartets. The SV program usually runs like a well oiled machine thanks to the efforts of several men who know what they are doing. This year should be a good year considering the exposure that the chorus had on radio, t.v. and newspaper. This past Monday I tuned into Fox 59 on-line and watched Don Brown, Larry Anthony, Duane Henry and Jerry Troxel deliver a Singing Valentine to the on-air personalities. I was lucky enough to do that last year.

This year I am sitting here looking out the window at snow that is keeping most of South Carolina indoors. They shut everything down when they get more than two inches. My sister’s chorus had to cancel their entire program because of the snow. They just don’t have the equipment to be able to handle any more than the Interstate highways.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My sister Lu and her husband Ray are leaving for Seattle, Washington tomorrow and I will be taking care of their dogs while they are gone. Lu has been bustling around the house today packing and making preparations for their departure. Of coarse the house has to be cleaned and all the stuff for the dogs has to be in place. This is one very quiet place when no-one is here. Except of coarse the dogs can make their presence known when a car drives by or a squirrel runs up a tree or a neighbor’s dog starts barking or the wind shifts or they just feel like barking. I’m sure that I will adjust to being the dog whisperer.

Earlier this week I drove up to Greer, SC because my good friend Johnny lost his Dad last week-end and I wanted to be with him in his time of loss. His family was very gracious to welcome me in and let me stay with them for two days and nights. The snow delayed my return to Leesville. I made it back on Thursday.

Lu and Ray will be returning on Monday, February 24th about midnight. I will either be leaving for Florida on the 25th or 26th. I have a contact in Florida that I am looking forward to meeting soon after I arrive at my brother Michael’s home. I hope to be talking with a lot more people who have experienced CACM before I leave South Carolina. It takes time to make connections with people, their lives are so busy. No-one is just sitting by the phone waiting for my call.

One week in South Carolina

On January 31st (my daughter’s birthday) I finally finished getting my condo empty and everything neatly tucked away into a 10 X 16 storage unit. I slept on an air mattress that night and packed the rest of my stuff into the van on Saturday morning. I finally left Indianapolis at 7:00 a.m. February 1st. As I listened to the radio heading south out of town the weather man was predicting snow.
I arrived in Leesville, SC in time for supper at my sister’s home. Lu Anne and her husband Ray are always such wonderful hosts. They are stellar examples of Southern Hospitality. The week-end was spent resting and catching up.

The early part of the week was rainy but with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s it wasn’t difficult to get adjusted. On Tuesday I contacted the gentleman from Asheville, NC who had hosted me in January on my way to the NCHB. I expressed an interest in attending their chapter meeting that evening. He assured me that I would be welcomed and I was very warmly welcomed by the entire chapter. I’m pretty certain that every man greeted me individually and shook my hand. I was impressed with their organization and the sound that this great chorus had as they were preparing for an upcoming performance.

While I was in Pinehurst, NC in January I was fortunate to meet Beverly Greene. Beverly was married to Chuck Greene who had been the director of the Asheville Chorus and an extraordinary man. Chuck passed away in 2012. In the later years of his life Chuck had been traveling across the U.S. and Canada presenting his work shops for “Compellingly Attractive Chapter Meetings”. CACM is a leadership training seminar primarily targeted to the International Barbershop Harmony Society and Sweet Adeline’s, Inc.
After talking to my contact in Asheville regarding attending their rehearsal I called Beverly to ask if I could meet with her while I was in town to talk about Chuck’s workshops. She very graciously agreed to meet with me. I really didn’t know what to expect when I pulled into her driveway.

When I introduced myself to Beverly in Pinehurst I had asked her if anyone was continuing to present Chuck’s workshops. I mentioned that I would have an interest in continuing his work. I had met Chuck through my participation in the Indiana and North Carolina Brigades and was very impressed with his talent and passion. In my conversation with Beverly I learned a lot about her life with Chuck. She was so warm and gracious. Having lost my wife such a short time ago I understood that for Beverly to talk with me in such detail about Chuck was both bitter and sweet. I appreciated her candor and openness.

The more I have learned about Chuck the more I admire him. My first impression of him was that he was scary smart and so extremely passionate about everything barbershop. He had directed the IHB and NCHB choruses that I had been a part of. He seemed to have boundless energy. I wasn’t surprised to learn from Beverly that his life and work has had an incredible impact on the BHS and also on the lives of all that knew him.

Listening to all that Beverly shared with me left me feeling intrigued and a little overwhelmed. I would be the first one to admit that I am not the brightest bulb in the pack. Following in Chuck Greene’s footsteps could leave a guy feeling very intimidated. But I am beginning to believe that his work is so important that it really must continue. It is clear to me that regardless of who picks up the mantle to carry on his work, the Society, and many others desperately need what he was offering!

I am currently in the process of learning and absorbing as much as I possibly can from the materials that Beverly has shared with me. I will be spending my time here in South Carolina trying to determine whether I am the one to help continue the work of a visionary man who I admire greatly. Or at the very least what role I can play to see that his work continues.

If you are ever fortunate enough to meet Beverly Greene I would like for you to know the following about her; she is an incredibly intelligent and creative woman. I was so very impressed with her grace and humility. If you look in the dictionary under hospitality you will see her picture. Let her do most of the talking and you just may learn something.