Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne...

Well it’s that time of year again – the end. But this time we’re not only saying goodbye to another year. We’re saying goodbye to another decade. Ten years ago, my only worries were Y2K and hoping the world would stand long enough into 2000 that I could marry Kellie. And then I look back at ten years before that. I was eleven years old… eleven. That puts me in what, the fifth grade? The only worries I had… wow, I don’t even know that you could call them worries now.

And I look back at the many changes this decade has brought about in my life. I moved to Jackson County in late 1999, and married in February 2000. I became a daddy – not once, but twice! Mackenzie was born in 2002 and Makayla in 2005. I’ve been an employee at Unum since 2001, so I’m working on a decade of employment here. I bought my first new car in 2000… and I’ve still got it. I bought a house! And started more renovations than I’ve finished. I’ve written books, recorded CD’s, and other this-and-that’s, leaving my mark on the world for my children and grandchildren to remember me by when I’m gone.

The blessings at the end of this decade? I’m still a husband and more in love with my wife of almost ten years than I even have been. I’m still a daddy to two beautiful little girls. I’m still the son of two relatively healthy parents. And the most important… I’m still a Child of God.

And then there’s the trials of the past decade. Wow. Sometimes I never thought I’d make it. Life hasn’t been a walk through on the flowers beds of ease like it seemed it would be when I was “preparing” for it ten years ago (I draw attention to the word preparing because I realize now that nothing could have “prepared” me for it). And amidst those trials I look back at all of the friends and loved ones to whom I’ve said good-bye. Countless friends from the churches we fellowship, several aunts, uncles, cousins…Kellie’s step-grandfather, Red Cardin, who we loved so much left us in 2002. Granddaddy Bird passed away in 2003. Kellie’s great-grandmother, Mama Guffey (Mae Guffey), slipped from our sights in 2006. And then there was Alvie. I can’t even go into that loss without recalling the absolute worst moments of my entire life. I think about all the others all along; but I miss Alvie every single day. He was my father-in-law, my best friend, my mentor, my hero, my song-leader at church, my Mr. Fix-it, my piano player, my favorite singer, and so many more things, all wrapped up into one handsome, smiling, loveable package.

It is these changes – the changes brought about by the loss of a loved one – that I have discovered are the most profound in our lives. It doesn’t change this or that… it changes every single aspect of our lives. We are no longer the same person ourselves, after those whom we love so dearly are gone from our sights. And such losses have become my absolute greatest fear. Over the past decade, I would estimate conservatively that I’ve known upwards of 500 people who have passed away. That may sound extreme to you; but I’ve actually kept a list for 2008 and 2009 and there are more than 100 people combined on those two years alone.
So, that makes me dread next year and this coming decade. Some changes that seem unbearable are already on the horizon. And should I still be around ten years from now, I realize that I’ll probably be having similar thoughts of the changes over the passing decade. And I wonder who all’s memory I will be recalling.

"Should old acquaintances be forgot? And never brought to mind? Should old acquaintances be forgot and auld lang syne." Auld lang syne is Scotttish that roughly translates into “days gone by”. It was first written in the 1700’s by an unknown author; but I imagine that he, like me, was probably a sentimentalist who sat to write and could think of nothing more than days gone by and those acquaintances who filled those days.
I don't mean to sound absolutely totally depressed - because I can look back over a lot of days in the past decade that were filled with such happiness and undescribable joy. And I am so very thankful for my wife, my kids, and all of the blessings the Lord has bestowed on me. It's just those old acquaintances and days gone by... blessings that can only be recalled in memory. That's just the whole theme of this post, I guess.
Happy New Year, folks...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

CD's are DONE!!!

Well after months of hard work, our CD, "The Alvie McKenzie Family - Not Another Tear: In Memory of Daddy" is finally finished! I'll be picking them up in Nashville this week. The album features fifteen songs written by Kellie's daddy, Alvie McKenzie. The line-up includes: I'll Live Again, King's Highway, Be Ye Ready, Not Another Tear, I'd Rather Be Here, That Wonderful Day, Holy Power, Heaven's Beauty, Today is the Day, Comforter, The Roadmap, He Will Stand By Your Side, How Can You Measure Love?, Let the Praises Ring, and Go Get My Children.

So many of you have asked us to let you know when the CD is finally available for purchase; and we cannot express to you how much we appreciate your support! Since we don't sing in a group and won't selling the CD's at singings, some of our friends have offered to help us in distribution. Friends and family will be selling them in Huntsville and Big Cove; and of course we'll have them available for you to drop by and pick them up at our house any time. And if you'd prefer, we can mail one to you for only $3.00 shipping/handling. The cost of the CD is $15; and if you want to order by mail, please just shoot me an email and then mail us a check for $18.00, payable to Shannon Byrd.

Thank-you again to everyone who has supported us in this endeavor. We didn't record the project because we thought we were good singers; but instead, we just wanted to do this as a tribute to Alvie's work, and to preserve these songs for our children, grandchildren, etc.

Hope to hear from you soon!!!