I was extremely impressed with two events that took place last week.
First of all, the bridesmaids of Major League Baseball, the perennial also-rans and one of the most beloved sports teams in the country, after a 108-year dry spell, the Chicago Cubs are the undisputed Champions of the World.
And only after having the kind of World Series that had the long-suffering fans biting their fingernails to the quick and fearing another near miss, after a disappointing home stand, heading back to Cleveland down three games to two to face a sudden death elimination game against a murderous Indians pitching staff, did the Cubs reach way down somewhere and grab that last ounce of courage to pull off a victory over a century in the making.
And it never got any easier, the last game was a roller coaster ride that drained their bullpen, went extra innings and was interrupted by a rain stop.
But the Cubbies hung in and walked away with baseball’s most coveted prize.
Congratulations, Chicago Cubs, and your loyal fans, courageous all.
Secondly, I watched Randy Travis walk across the stage at the CMA Awards and sing one word at the end of a song.
Now, that doesn't sound like much unless you know the circumstances surrounding it.
Among some other serious medical problems, Randy suffered a devastating stroke in 2013 and has been fighting his way back ever since, and it's been a long, hard fight. The stroke affected his motor skills and his speech.
But Randy Travis is a fighter, a tenacious fighter, who refuses to spend his life in a wheel chair and be confined to a limited vocabulary. Randy has fought hard, and the good news is that he's making headway.
Randy was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year, and at his induction ceremony, with tremendous will and effort, he walked up a short set of steps and stood at the podium, while his wife Mary talked about what Randy had been through in the last few years.
And then, to the total and delighted surprise of everybody in the room, Randy sang a verse of “Amazing Grace.”
But the climax of Randy Travis' CMA Awards weekend was to be played out live on network television and 10,000 people in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, when he joined Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Alabama, Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Charley Pride, Ricky Skaggs, Reba McEntire, Dwight Yoakam, Roy Clark, Clint Black and yours truly, as the whole cast sang one of Randy's biggest hits, “Forever and Ever, Amen.”
The last line goes like this:
“I'm gonna love you forever and ever,
“Forever and ever, amen.”
We sang a verse and chorus; the music slowed and stopped, and Carrie Under introduced Randy as the newest member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Randy stepped to the microphone – and as only he can, in that Tar Heel drawl he's so well known for – sang a deep, drawn out, multi-syllable “a-a-a-men.”
There were wet eyes, on the stage and in the audience. There were fists raised in the air, hands clapped, roars from the crowd, thousands of smiling faces and joy in Music City.
One of our own, one of our most beloved, was back on the stage again.
I have pondered this and tried to imagine the courage it took for Randy Travis to stand in front of the whole world and sing that one word.
Hats off to you Randy, for your courage and your dedication to the music and the fans you love so much.
Keep getting better, buddy. I pray that one day I'll see you walk on stage with your guitar and sing the rest of “Forever and Ever, Amen,” as only you can.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
— Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.