When I was in high school, one of the unsung heroes of the neighborhood was Mr.C. He was the father on one of my classmates. He was a little quirky. He was an avid cyclist. On his bicycle was a basket. In the basket were pruners, hedge shears, loppers, and a hand saw. Wherever he went, and he went all over SW Portland, any time a plant was in the way of the bicycle lane, he got off his bike and trimmed back the offending plant. The guy was a one man landscaping crew. I didn't know his daughter very well, so I didn't keep track of her, but all the same, I knew when her father passed away, because over night, the bike lanes became overgrown. I was thinking about him today, walking along the lane as I was forced out into the road several times by overgrown shrubs. I thought, dang, I miss that nut.
Who are the unsung heroes in your life?
The late John Meagher wasn't necessarily unsung. He was a prof at St. Michael's College, U of Toronto, and quite a popular one. However, my connection to him was at St. Basil's, U of T, the "student mass" in the basement chapel. One September Saturday in 1973 we played at a wedding mass. John had three PhDs, but he was kind of heavy on his guitar strings and often broke them. Just before the last song of the wedding I whispered, "Congratulations, John. You haven't broken a string yet." Famous last words.
Anyway, we went to the reception and afterward I suggested we get him a new set of strings, so off to the Toronto Folklore Centre we went. As we walked in, I saw a L'Arrivee dreadnought on the wall. John said, "Why don't you buy it, Paul. You've been wanting one for about three years now." I was joking when I replied, "I don't have any money, John, but, if you want to pay for it, I'll buy it."
He turned around and went back to his VW microbus and returned with his chequebook. The guitar was $550, used. Imagine what it would cost today. I immediately gave him the hardshell case for my Yamaha, and that evening I gave the Yamaha to my teaching partner from the previous year (my first year teaching). Yes, I paid John back, and I still have that guitar. It's the best steel-string acoustic I've ever played, and others would agree. I wouldn't be playing it if it hadn't been for him.
Really, just Paul and I have unsung heroes?
'I'm A Good Old Rebel' 3 min
'Bacon belmont..' 45 min
'Orpheum Tenor Harps' 2 hrs