Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “I didn’t find my friends; the good Lord gave them to me.” And, I have to shout out a big “amen” to such a statement. You see, some of my dearest friends have come out of adversity and broken times. Times when others may close a door, or turn the other way. And these friends are the ones that have made tremendous impacts on my life in so many ways and have played such large roles in the ministry of The Sounds of Grace. One friend in particular, is Staff Sgt. Tony Rivers of the Sumter Police Department. This is the story of how God appointed two pale redheads to friendship and just how he would reveal the need for that friendship. And, just as you imagined, this friendship did not evolve over a couple of church picnics.
When people think of a harpist and the venue that they may find them performing, the last place on their mind would be next to the counter at a local downtown soda fountain. But, not if you live in Sumter, South Carolina.
It has been almost a year since we spent the day making impromptu visits to unique locations around town, with the Sumter Cut Rate counter being our second stop. The harp music was welcomed and enjoyed by everyone seated at the counters and in the booths near by. But, man did they shoot some strange looks my way when they first saw the harp which I had positioned next to the medical supplies. And, it really grabbed folks' attention when they saw that I was seated on a portable bedside potty wrapped in plastic. For those of you who are not familiar with Sumter Cut Rate, it is a medical supply store and pharmacy with a "soda fountain" diner. It has been a Sumter classic for decades. The portable potty isn't always my choice of seating!
So, after having several requests for another visit, I decided to make Cut Rate the location for a photo shoot that we were needing to do for an upcoming article I had written. I arrived about thirty minutes early, so that I could play for those perched at the counter. How do you think the remainder of your day would go after starting it off with eggs, bacon, coffee, and a little harp music?
And, just what does a harpist play for an audience such as the one gathered at the counter? Well, after assessing my audience, I realized that there would not be just one style of music that would entertain this eclectic group, so I decided to play into the "Monday" game and see who recognized my first selection. The melody that was carried by the strings of my harp sang these words....
"Heading out to San Francisco, on a Labor Day weekend tour..."
Ring a bell?
Once I finished, the gentleman that was seated closest to me, possibly dressed for work on a construction site, picked up his coffee to go and walked closer to me. With a smile on his face and tears in his eyes, he softly said to me, "Jimmy Buffet never sounded so pretty. Thank you!" He then walked out the door, and proceeded with his day. Don't you wonder how the rest of his day turned out?
We are excited to share The Sounds of Grace with you on our new website and hope that you will check in with us from time to time to see how the Lord is at work through music in our local healthcare and hospice facilities, as well as in classrooms for children with special needs.