Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Talk to Chuck!"

“Talk to Chuck!”  for "We're Gonna Stay"

The title is a recent ad campaign slogan I saw that made me think of my very good friend in the group, Chuck.  I can’t count all the times Chuck has stepped in to help not just me but so many other friends I know.  He’s done it again in recent days.  I was trying to get us organized for our upcoming Reunion Concert since I have some time. Pretty soon, I felt like I needed some help.  (I am pretty good at some things and I can persevere my way through my lack of ability, but anyone who knows me at all knows I couldn’t organize my way out of a paper bag.)  So who was I going to talk to?  Obviously, “talk to Chuck”!  He helped immensely like he always does.

Last night, I actually lost sleep worrying (darn, should never do that!).  What about?  I’ve been nervous about how the sound system is going to work for our upcoming concert.  I had sent an email out about it.  WELL, today Dave wrote back to say not to worry.  It turns out his brand new job is right near, a few hundred yards away, where Greg, our guitarist, works! (Dave didn’t know this before he got this job.)  Guess what?  Chuck had thought to arrange a meeting with Dave & Greg there today!  Part of the agenda was finding out what questions to ask about the sound system when he goes up to the venue in Maine tomorrow.  Can anybody say ‘Providence’?!

Way back when we were teens, so many of us used to go to Chuck’s family’s house up at the old dairy farm in Waterville; we just loved that family.  Chuck helped bring me to faith and is one of my oldest and dearest friends.  And we started playing music together at St. Paul’s Center and in the Maine Catholic Charismatic Choir back in the 70’s.  That’s when we encountered the fruity, mellifluous tones of his horn.  It’s actually a ‘marching valve trombone’.  (You can hear it in some of our songs like “We’re Gonna Stay”, the video of “Roll the Rock Over” or “Let’s Stay”.)

Chuck was sort of a godfather in the birth of Living Waters as we know it, leading practices, helping Omer or Jim in all sorts of leadership tasks.  And who can forget those oh-so-serious auditions we had early with the elaborate American Idol grading system!  Even when he and Joyce ‘left’ the group for a while, they were still driving our St. Valentine’s Day gatherings & other ‘family’ business, prayer and social life.

More than that, I know we all treasure Chuck’s jovial demeanor and joie de vivre.  He lights up the room with his silly, suave goofiness.  Recently, he served as the Master of Ceremonies at the reception for Jon and Caroline’s wedding, ably aided by his fine son, Chris.  Plus, he is a man of prayer, filling his trips with Paters and Aves.  Wonderful husband to Joyce, adored by daughter Jacqui, whose hands are filled with good deeds, just as his have always been.

I’ve written tributes to many of us in our faith family and it’s clear how much we value and treasure each other.  But I am especially glad to honor this man who strives so much not to let the left hand know what the right is doing.  He loves being the center of attention for our joy and entertainment, but he acts like a "hidden center", like John the beloved disciple behind the scenes when he is doing his work of charity.  He likes to “step down” for the sake of others.  He is now striving to attain the Permanent Diaconate.  Makes sense for someone who has such a heart for the Body of Christ.