They were the pre-Harriet days and my father, life not quite turned around, would be driving with me as Glen Campbell’s “Try A Little Kindness” blared on The New WCOL. How the old man would scoff.!

“Write him and ask him to send you twenty dollars!” he snarled, still adjusting to his first born with sideburns.

It was 1970, and with the releases of such films as “Midnight Cowboy”, “Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid”, “Z” and the like —-I looked it up—- I had seen all five films and eight of the ten nominated best actors and actresses.


The Oscars are Sunday. Should I care?

Eight films are up for Best Picture. I caught not one. Nearly a score of others vie for acting and supporting acting awards — not one in a performance that I’ve viewed. Does it matter?

Ed. Note 1: Yes, I’ll keep an eye on Michael Keaton. (He’s from around here, you know. Allegheny Valley. I’m partial too, toward Robert Duvall. Was he not the original Frank Burns?).

But do I care? Hardly. Suffice it to say the only result I’m really eager to hear is for Best Original Song.


It is a Saturday afternoon and Hal has assembled some of the best and the brightest of his world. Convened at my brother’s, we’ve gathered to watch “I’ll Be Me”, the film of Glen Campbell’s bout with Alzheimer’s.

With the TV occupying the closed end of the family room, the north sideline was mine as Maynard The Elder sat south. A third couch in the open end held old friends Howard and Hal (rocket scientist and musicologist), as well as Brother Jeff. (Ed. Note 2: I really didn’t know him that well growing up. A contemporary of Hal’s, I think he lived near Bexley — different world — and besides, I’m not certain he played Little League. All I know is that he showed up years later with a banjo on his knee).

We sat there just more than an hour. We sat, somewhat glued to the screen. I’m not sure… if in those seventy-some minutes, I spoke.

Ed. Note 3: It’s hard to speak, oh so hard to speak, with a lump in your throat.

The film itself was a well-done, somewhat documentary look at the singer’s farewell tour. Maudlin it wasn’t; straightforward it was, until…

Ten minutes before the thing ended the song came on: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.” It was then that my tear ducts unleashed.

From the moment the lyrics played — clear message being that as his mind faded he wouldn’t remember or consciously miss what he would soon be forgetting — that he wouldn’t know, compute, or perceive the pain and loss that his friends and family would…

I sobbed.

It’s been four decades since my father wryly urged me to write Glen Campbell.
I’ve lost — in that time: two parents, four grandparents, two in-laws, a brother-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

— And I hold memories of each.

I have laugh-filled anecdotes in my heart, wistful remembrances in my head; images they are: un-faded by time.

Lucky I am, to miss them to this day.


Sunday will be busy:

Wake up in Chitown, brunch with Stacy, get dumped at O’Hare, kiss Carrie at Hopkins, perhaps catch a meeting…and the Oscars.

(At least one award).

2 Responses to “WITH A SONG IN MY HEART”

  1. Stuart says:

    I’m laughing because I remember how much your Dad also liked the Supremes and your poster of the group. Go see The Imitation Game.

  2. H says:

    I am NOT laughing because I remember seeing the Temptations in concert with Albert, Harriet, and Harriet’s family in Miami during winter vacation in 1971. (Harriet thought it would be fun.)

    To say that Dad hated the show would be an understatement.

    He hated the show so much that we had to buy an extra ticket for him. One for him to sit in and an extra for his puffed lip. Oy vey was he angry.

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