Leaving A Record Behind
I almost drowned once. My family did not grow up around water. There were no swimming lessons for my sister and I. My dad was a strong swimmer. He also worked the swing shift with frequent overtime so we didn’t always see him a lot. He did own a Lot on Lake Michigan for awhile. I remember the family going there and finding his lot. I also remember going to the beach. We may have waded into the water a little ways but that was it. I remember one time my dad going way way out into the lake. I mean he was so far out that he looked very small way out there. He was a very practical man. When he went to the grocery store he knew what he wanted and he got it. As a swimmer that day he knew he wanted to go way out in the water and then swim his way back. Looking back I was in great admiration that day of his swimming abilities.
My best friend growing up was Keith who was my age. He had three brothers, two of which were a little older one was much younger. At times I would hang around with Lloyd or Wayne, the older ones also. This particular day Lloyd and I did something together and we ended up back at his house. In his back yard on the other side of the fence the neighbor had a in ground pool. They also had a pool party going on! I’m sure all of the excitement and noise made Lloyd want to be in that water. If Lloyd wanted to do something he could be very persuasive. In order to get into that pool with me around he decided that he would give me the only swimming lesson I would ever need. After all he had earned his merit badge in swimming with the cub scouts. “I’ll teach you” was his response when I reminded him I couldn’t swim. His next step was asking the neighbor lady if we could join the party. “You both are good swimmers?”, the lady asked. “Oh yeah”, Lloyd said and we were admitted. We were standing down at the shallow end and Lloyd decided the first step would be to relieve my fear of the water. “We’ll both go under the water at the same time”, he stated. It seemed kinda strange but I was willing. Plunging myself completely under the water in a quick instant. To this day I really don’t know what went wrong. All I remember is that the water had control of me. I bobbed up once, then twice in the drowning mans bob. Before I went down for the third time Lloyd picked my whole body up. He was much bigger than me in size so the feat was no big deal. Of course I was coughing and gagging and he was scolding me. “You opened your mouth didn’t you?” “You know, you could have just stood up”, he mentioned again. When he sat me down I was only in maybe chest deep. To be honest I was just glad to be alive. I didn’t remember the details and I don’t remember if he tried to continue the swimming lesson or if he just decided it was hopeless.
The reason that this distant memory came to mind was the fact that it is Labor Day weekend and time for Harvey’s sale! Harvey is a guy in our town that has the biggest garage and basement sales that I have ever seen! Harvey has a sale Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, and one in the winter. He has the most extensive collection of records in the state! We are talking vinyl albums that we all used to have! All of his albums are arranged alphabetically in his basement and most are for bargain prices! Going through Harvey’s collection is like going through a large record store back in the day! You would have to be there a few hours to get close to thumbing through all that he has! If there is a group or individual that you can think of that had at least one hit record, chances are Harvey has their album! If they didn’t have a big hit Harvey still might have them. We are talking many decades too! From the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, you can find them in that basement. From the one hit wonders to the household names Harvey has them all!
Speaking of one hit wonders there is a song my wife and I used to listen to on W.I.D.R the Universities alternative music radio station many years ago. The song is titled “There’s Never Been Any Reason”, and it is by a group called Head East on their Flat As A Pancake album. My wife was very disappointed in the album because she bought it based on the one hit only to find it was the only song she liked. In the chorus the song has the lyrics “Save my life I’m going down for the last time.” It repeats that phrase many times throughout the song and thus my connections with the experience that day with Lloyd and the swimming pool.
Thinking of Harvey’s astronomical collection I started to wonder. I wonder what the groups members on those albums are doing now? I wonder if they are happy all of these years later with the legacy they left. After all, their legacy in most of our eyes are what we hear when we play their albums if we play them anymore. At one time their songs were on everyone’s lips! At one time the fame of being a member of their particular band could get them so much of what the world has to offer. Yet, now most of them are just remembered by their albums that can be bought at a place like Harvey’s as memorabilia. For most we may hear their songs on the oldies radio station but that’s about it. Some have found that their lives were empty and met a tragic end. Others might do tours with their old fans reliving their youth. I’m sure that most get royalties from their old hits, but I wonder if they feel empty thinking their glory days are behind them? Wondering if what they left behind is really worthwhile?
What if we all had an album that when played would give the listener songs of the things we did that helped others in our life’s path? What if the mistakes that we made could be deleted from our album so that only the hits could be heard? When I thumb through Harvey’s albums there are times I ask myself “Who was that?” “What did they sing?” Sometimes I will recognize a song and say to myself “Oh, I didn’t know they sang that.” Other times the titles will have no meaning at all. The title “There’s Never Been Any Reason”, from the Head East album, is not the way God looks at our lives. There is a reason each of us are here! Whether we are known to everyone or not very well known at all God knows. There is an album each of us are making whether we realize it or not. By having God in control, editing the entire production, our album can be a legacy for all that follow us. It can be a living light and a testimony that inspires others on their path! Instead of being forgotten our lives and our legacy can live on in others! It would be a comforting thought to know that someone playing my album would be blessed and come to a closer walk with God after I really do go down for the last time!