Friday, November 13, 2009

The song book story...

I am President of the local Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club. We are called Hagen's Heroes, in honor of Earle Hagen, a nice man who wrote "The Fishin' Hole," the show's theme song. He wrote the theme to "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and others, too. Google him sometimes. I called him at his California home years ago to ask if we could use his name as our club's title. He answered the phone and everything. Love him.

There are other "believers" out there who, like me, know that The Andy Griffith Show is a bit of heaven on earth. Seasons 2-5 are the best television ever made. Please don't argue with me about his; you'll embarrass yourself.

One such beleiver is Bill. (I can't tell you his last name because that would be indiscreet. Johnson. Bill Johnson.) Now and then Bill makes us lapel buttons, like the one you see above. I wore it the other night at the FCA Founders Day Banquet; it inspired a little contest for a sleeve of golf balls. (By the way, we have a winner!) The question: Where is this saying from? And the answer is, In the song in the 'Hot Mic' episode, one of the great Barney moments of alltime. As a fellow clubber pointed out to me this week, Andy went to great lengths to keep his friend Barney from needless hurting. Often he saved Barn from himself. Andy was funny and Andy was wise, and Andy was a servant. He didn't let friends get away with things that would hurt them, but he selflessly protected them from their own innocent quirks when he could. Andy did not mind taking one for the team.

I received a songbook in the mail recently, from Bill. He wrote me this note this week. The songbook is close by me now.

The rest of the song book story...
I am a collector and recycler of stuff.
Love books, especially old books.
I appreciate the quality of printing and the craftsmanship.
Some look good on a bookshelf.
Some have great engravings or illustrations.
Some are just great to read.
I can't resist looking through a stack of books for sale.
The Centenary Book Sale is an opportunity to indulge my habit at bargain prices.
At one of those sales in the late 1990s...
After sorting through a pile of old sheet music
(some of those have great art or fun titles)
I noticed the little song book.
It occurred to me to search the index for a title.
I can't remember why I thought to do that.
Maybe the solo mic episode was on my mind.
Maybe the song had just been playing on the radio and stuck in my head.
For whatever reason I searched and found, Welcome, Sweet Springtime.
Then I turned to page 36 and on the same page was Juanita.
I became lost in the moment, oblivious to the frantic action around me.
I looked over my shoulder to the bleachers behind me.
Surely someone had set this up and was watching.
Only a true believer can understand how special that time was.
I had found gold for a dollar and a quarter.
I left there with dozens of books.
Can't tell you now which ones.
Made three trips to the truck to carry them all.
But that one at $1.25 was the prize.
I treasured that book for a while.
Showed it to those I thought could appreciate it.
Considered removing page 36 and framing it.
Maybe getting Barney to sign it.
At every Centenary Sale since my first stop is at the music table.
I want to find more copies to share.
Haven't found another one there yet.
Found one at a local garage sale and another at an estate sale.
Bought one more online.
Gave one to Hayden Slack for his graduation last year.
Those Slacks are true believers.
Been saving the original (and its pedigree) for you for a while.
Knew you would get the same chill I did when I found it.
Never could find the right time to give it so I just did.
Still have two.
One is available to a worthy recipient at some point.
One will be passed down to my heirs.
It'll probably end up at a Centenary Sale.
Hope a true believer finds it.