My father would have been 79 tomorrow. I’ve talked about how he died, but only touched on how he lived.
After he passed away five years ago, the Charlotte (NC) Observer wrote one of those appreciation pieces, not strictly an obit, written by staff writer Gerry Hostetler, from which I will quote liberally.
(Have you EVER been in a news story and NOT find an error, in fact or tone or emphasis? This story said I was the YOUNGER brother of my sister Leslie when I’m the oldest of the kids.)
“Life is not worth much unless you can share,” he once said. That’s what life’s about…and sharing is beautiful!” Leslie H.”Les” Green, also known as the folk singer Lonesome and Lonely Traveler, died Aug. 10…
Sharng is what Les did best. He shared his singing, painting, floral designing, poetry, and ministries in church and in prisons. And he shared his love.
[Paragraph about breakfast ministry, which he did for four years.]
When he visited prisons, he took along a bag of marbles. “The marbles were a symbol of ‘be smooth in your pursuits’,” said daughter Leslie, who shares her father’s name. “Prisoners wrote him, ‘I kept the marble; I’d be back in prison if not for you. You really helped get my life on track’,” his daughter said.
As vice-president of J.A. Jones[actually A VP of the construction firm], he visited schools about job interviews. Wearing a disheveled wig, he admonished students, “Don’t go in there like this – look the part to get the job.” Singing was one of his favorite things, and one shared with the family. He taught daughter Leslie to play guitar when she was 12, and joined by brother Roger, the trio appeared as the Green Family Singers at churches and functions in their native Binghamton, N.Y. “He did it for love, not the money, “Leslie said. “Fifty dollars a month was a big night.” The Greens came to Charlotte in 1974. “It was the best move we ever made, said his wife, Trudy. Trudy and youngest daughter Marcia were the cheering section of their audience.
They sang again when Les went into the hospitalized in July and August. His big, beautiful baritone voice, accompanied by Leslie’s and Roger’s, overflowed his sixth-floor room at Carolina’ Medical Center. When he was transferred to the third floor, the nurses from the sixth came down to check on him and, just maybe, to listen to his powerful voice as it wrapped around the words of joyous hyms or cushioned a soulful folk song.
Well, OK. A little saccharine, and a few other facts were wrong. I never sang with my father in the hospital. He had already had a stroke. I probably sang with my sister, and with others.
I guess, I’ll have to write muy OWN appreciation, warts and all. Check back same time, next year, for what would have been my father’s 80th birthday. Maybe by then I will have digitized a picture of him to share with you.