Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

“Gather ’round me, everybody…
Feel a sermon comin’ on me
The topic will be sin,  And that’s what I’m ag’in'”
Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen

Over the past two years, I’ve been involved in resurrecting our ‘60’s rock band, with some of the original members. And, based on the simple, eternal flame of friendship – and, doing what we love – we reclaimed a prize we thought lost.

“If you wanna hear my story
Then settle back and just sit tight
While I start reviewin’
The attitude of doin’ right”

We decided we were going to do justice to the classic songs, their creators, and performers… feeling everything else would fall into place. However, early on, one of our members was diagnosed with cancer. And, despite undergoing chemo and radiation treatment, he still attended 90% of our scheduled practices. Such is the measure of his resolve and commitment to do something worthy. We stand in awe of him: he has become the rock to our roll. Rob’s battled on; he’s beaten the cancer into submission; he’s our hero!

“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between”

This dedication to his craft hasn’t changed since we were kids – like not standing up for his brother at his wedding because we had a last-minute gig. His family was not pleased!
So, when standing shoulder to shoulder with someone with such a laser focus, how can you not play to your utmost?As Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, said, “Better to make a few users love you than a lot ambivalent.” Being true to yourself; putting quality over quantity, and daring to ‘do the right thing’, has lasting rewards.

That’s a worthy goal. But, who will show us the way… the courage not to give in to our fears? Often, it will come from those with the most challenges and personal limitations – especially from family and friends.

I remember Uncle Earl – confined to a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis: a disease he said he wouldn’t have wanted to wish on anyone. But, when people visited him, it was they who we’re cheered up; he had so many funny stories! So, how much we improve people’s lives is something totally within our control no matter the circumstances.

Last week, our family attended the funeral service for our friend Neil; a man who lived to give. His son, Perry, remembered when he anonymously paid for the breakfast of a complete stranger – with a knowing wink and smile to Perry. It was typical of a man who would drop everything to help anyone who asked… and many who didn’t. Neil was loved.

Yes, negativity is real, but we’re not naïve in our hope – seems we can afford to be generous – realizing that we ‘reap what we sow.’

Fred Parry               The Music In Me
February 2016










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