From the Desk of Don Slinger Issue 46

Spring 2003 CSANews Issue 46  |  Posted date : Apr 15, 2007.Back to list

Hi folks!

If you missed Snowbird Extravaganza 2003 ­ held in Lakeland, Florida on Jan 14 and 15 ­ too bad! Here is my synopsis: Superb! There wasn't a weak spot throughout the two days that could be controlled by humans. The building superintendent wanted us to keep the doors shut as much as we could to keep the cold air out (50 F). At previous shows, we kept the doors shut to keep the cold air in.

Medipac vice-president Christopher Bradbury was in charge of the entire show and left nothing to chance. At the wind-up gathering of entertainers and staff, Chris paid tribute to the folks who had brought the show to such a high level of professionalism in previous years. Such notables as Steve Roberto, Jeff Fraser and the late Derek Morrison. These folks left a very strong foundation upon which to build.

Ronnie Prophet and I were visiting on one occasion and he asked me how old I was. I stated that, come Valentine's Day, I'd be 81. He said "Go on. Your clothes may be that old but you aren't!" It's nice to be among friends.

I'm sure glad that Beth and I are lifetime members of the CSA. We have so much to be thankful for!

On a more serious note, with the threat of war all around us, I came across the following article. Many of you will not know this and many of the world's decision-makers would do well to heed the message.

We have all heard the haunting melody of "Taps." It's the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes. But do you know the story behind the song?

If not, I think you will be pleased to find out about its humble beginnings.
Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing, Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who was severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention.

Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward the encampment. When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered that it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son.

The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status.

His request was only partially granted. The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son. The request was denied, since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say that they could give him one musician.

The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform. This wish was granted. The haunting melody, which we now know as "Taps" and which is used at military funerals, was born.

I, too, have felt the chills while listening to "Taps," but I have never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know that there was more than one verse. I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn't know if you had heard either, so I thought I'd pass it along. I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.

It isn't my intent to end my column in a melancholy mood, Thus, I will refer you to a sign that hangs on the wall of an electric company's office. "We would be delighted if you sent in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be."

God Bless!

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lakes,
From the hills,
From the sky,
All is well, safely rest,
God is high,

Fading light,
Dims the sight,
And a star,
Gems the sky,
Gleaning bright,
From afar,
Drawing nigh,
Falls the night,

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
'Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.