Tag Archive: friends


Picture taken at the last show of mine Sam got to see.

Our next door neighbors, Richard and Dottie Powell, lived there long before Cyndy and I moved in with our sons thirteen years ago. They’ve known Cyndy since she was born. Richard has had health problems for a number of years. He passed away a week and a half ago. They were able to have a funeral, but with limited attendees and grave site visitors, leaving others to mourn at home unable to attend. Which was just one of the many unrelated deaths during the pandemic that is/was not given the funeral or memorial service they deserve(d).

Our friends, Sam and Sally Shank – brother and sister – retired and bought a house together in Colorado. They’ve had a chance to travel in the past year and were settling in after living there only a couple of years. Sam had some tests done recently and was waiting on the results. They were regular tests and there were no alarms.

Sunday afternoon, I came back from an essential errand. I opened the front door and thought I heard Cyndy holler – at me I thought. But I had just walked in. She had her headphones on and was talking to Sally on the phone. I came in late in the conversation and had no idea what they were talking about. It sounded like a normal conversation between the two. I wasn’t really listening anyway. Cyndy was talking loud.

When the conversation ended, Cyndy came into the den where I was working at my desk and stood looking at me. I looked up and she told me Sam had passed away late Saturday night. He was only 68 and, like I say, there were no alarms. The coroner thought it looked like a heart attack.

Sally’s sight is not the best. Cyndy and I will do everything we can to help. Our boys call her Aunt Sally. When they release Sam’s body, he’ll be sent back to Ft. Worth for burial. The graveside service will be small enough to fit the restrictions.

But Sam shouldn’t have left so early. I’m going to miss liking his posts on Facebook, and getting messages from him. Cyndy and I were planning to visit them in May. One of the songs Conner and I did the music video of in the hotel in Iowa is Foxes in the Henhouse. I’ve been trying to play it for him since I wrote it. I haven’t been playing it in my live show. I was going to post it and tag him. Now I’ll post the video and dedicate it to him. He would really appreciate the song. And I’ll be thinking of him.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

As I was saying in part one, my old friends Kevin Burns and Jan Duggins showed up at the showcase to see me perform. I adjusted my set to begin with River That Flows, which Tim Duggins and I co-wrote. I got in touch with Tim three years ago to update his info for song registration purposes. We tried to get together, but he had lung cancer and it was hard for him to get around.

When Jan showed up with Kevin and not Tim, I was afraid the news was not good. When I sat down to talk with them after my set, Jan confirmed that Tim died a couple of years ago. She said Tim had been glad that I’d gotten in touch and he was happy I was still playing. He had gone downhill after that, when they started treatments. I was also glad that I’d gotten in touch with him before he died. We had a lot of good times.

As I also said in part one, Kevin was one of the people in the group of friends that began in West Hall at NTSU (now UNT). I met Tim at Richland Junior College (now part of the Dallas County Community College District). Richland had just opened the year before. I was able to share stories about Tim that Kevin and Jan hadn’t heard.

Tim and I instantly began playing music and hanging out. Sometimes when we should have been in class. Truth be told, there are some substances that, when consumed, render going to class a useless activity. We transferred to North Texas, and so began the West Hall chronicles. I may share some of those stories. There are some I’ll never tell anybody. Unfortunately, as I found out through our conversation, I’m the only one of the original group not dead or missing.

Kevin was at my first wedding. What I didn’t remember was that I had met Jan. When Desperados on Greenville Ave. opened, Tim had a friend that he introduced me to. She was the bartender at Desperados and said she could use help. So I became one of the first bartenders there. At the time, it was a service bar behind the stage, which faced the front door. If you go to Desperados now and sit at the long side of the bar, look to your right. There is a door that goes into a closet. That used to be the bar.

I also played there with Joel Nichols and with Tim. As it turns out, when Tim and I played there, Jan and a friend were in the audience. They were just friends at the time, so I didn’t think anything about it.

So the three of us spent the time sharing memories and celebrating Tim’s life. Good music, good friends, and good memories – a nice way to end a whirlwind trip and showcase.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

fb_img_1479572463549I just got home a little while ago from helping to pick the food up from Metrocrest Social Services with members of Christ United Methodist Church to deliver Thanksgiving food to the Sack Summer Hunger (SSH) families. With the weather having turned cool, it was quite a bit different than the 90+ degrees weather we worked in during the summer. All of the volunteers were in excellent holiday sharing spirit as everyone helped get the vehicles loaded.

When most of the vehicles had been loaded, I headed out with the food for my SSH neighbors. It was the first time I had seen my “summer friends” since SSH ended for the summer on Saturday, August 6th. At the one house I delivered to, the father opened the door as I reached the porch with the food. At each of the two apartments, after a quick knock, they answered the door quickly. Everyone had smiles on their faces – they very much appreciated the food. And they were glad to see me, too. It was like a reunion at each home.

At the one apartment with the little girl that always comes to the door with her mother, the girl was more excited than usual. Partly, I think, because the food was in a sealed box – like a surprise package. Also partly because we were happy to see one another. We had shared smiles once a week all summer. As I was leaving, after I said “Happy Thanksgiving,” the little girl said “thank you, thank you, Happy Thanksgiving, thank you….” and she kept expressing her joy as her mother closed the door.

I don’t deliver the food to hear “thank you.” I do it because it’s the Christian thing to do. But hearing the little girl still talking as I walked down the stairs was a really nice bonus.

I leave you with the video for my song What the Lord Intends (Sack Summer Hunger). Peace be with you.

Dan at WildflowerI was running late for the Wildflower Arts and Music Festival last Sunday. My scheduled time at the DSA booth by the Courtyard Stage was 4 – 6 p.m. I was to play at 5:30. At 2 p.m., I had to set up the sound for Cat McGee at Mercy Wine Bar where she would play a show at 7 p.m. Then I had to take my son to work. A friend, Raquel Lindemann, said she would cover for me at the booth until I got there. I finally found the yellow tag parking lot. It was in the blue parking garage – go figure.

I entered the festival and proceeded to look for the Courtyard Stage. It is easy to become disoriented in a sea of white booths. I was standing in an intersection of lines of white booths, deciding in which direction I should turn. Suddenly, a big bearded man grabbed me by the shoulders.

“Are you Dan Roark?”

“Yes,” I nodded, searching his face to figure out who he was.

“I’m John Welch. Do you remember me?”

“John, of course I do,” I replied, putting my guitar down to shake his hand. I recognized him from what little I could of his face around his eyes. There’s more than one reason I look people in the eyes when I talk to them.

To cut a rambling conversation short, he asked how we knew each other. It didn’t take but a minute to remember our mutual friend Jim Salerno, who played bongos with me for a few years. I told him I was playing at 5:30 and had to leave. He was still amazed we’d run into each other. We hadn’t seen each other for about thirty-five years. I still wasn’t where I was supposed to be. And it was getting later by the second.

I finally got good directions from someone. I was turning the corner to my left when someone grabbed my left arm. My mind was reeling at this point.

“Dan Roark?”

“Yes,” I nodded. It was getting to be a habit.

“Randy Box, remember me?”

“Absolutely, Randy, how are you doing?” I had recognized him instantly. We talked for just a minute. I told him I was playing at 5:30 and he also said he would try to come listen to me. We hadn’t seen each other in forty-two years.

I finally made it to the booth. I thanked Raquel, and took my place at the booth. Mr. Troll who

Mr. Troll

Mr. Troll

was scheduled to play at 5, started a little early because there was a lull in the lineup. I followed Troll and closed out the stage for 2016. The videos that Harry Hewlett – who also ran sound for the weekend – took of my show can be found on my youtube channel.

After I finished my set, Troll and I walked to the parking garage. I loaded up my guitar and bag and headed for Mercy Wine Bar. Cat’s show was great. The sound was better for her second set. It had been a long day and for some reason, I had trouble with her vocals. I reset everything between sets and it worked out okay. I say all that because, despite any problems I may have had with the sound, Cat’s performance was relatively flawless.

Cat McGee

Cat McGee

You can hear Cat and myself, along with John Mason, at the Sack Summer Hunger Concert on June 5th from 5-6:30 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. Tickets are $20 with $12 going directly to Metrocrest Social Services and the Sack Summer Hunger program. The SSH program distributes food to children who receive free or reduced lunches during the school year, but don’t get anything during the summer.

Peace be with you.

I attended the funeral of an old family friend yesterday morning. She lived across the street from my parents. I went to school with her two sons and daughter. She and my mom have been close for years. Carolyn was cremated, so it was a memorial service – a very nice and appropriate service.

At some point during the service, as the pastor was talking, the sound of children talking and laughing came through the wall as they went out the door from the hallway into the playground. My first thought was how interruptive it was. But then I began to think that it was rather fitting. A festive counterpoint to the somber proceedings on the other side of the wall.

Carolyn’s grandchildren were beginning to fidget from having to sit still so long. Hearing the children in the hallway did not help. It was as if God was illustrating that as one life ends, another begins. Reassuring those assembled that Carolyn is still with us in a spiritual sense.

It is odd to me that funerals can seem like reunions. But then, funerals are, after all, more for the living than the departed. Which makes the interruption of the children more poignant. The cycle continues. Love comes into the world, even as the loved depart from it. And all will meet again.

God speaks in many ways. We just need to listen.

Peace be with you.

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