In the early 1960's I was introduced to Mr. Ray Charles. It was by way of record albums being played on our big, blonde, wooden hi-fi. (That thing weighed a ton. Saturdays were cleaning days, and I only dusted around it because I couldn't lift it, and besides.....there were records being played on it....mostly Ray's.)
My older sister, Jo Ann, loved his music. I mostly didn't. I was into The Beatles and MoTown. And I swooned whenever I heard Johnny Mathis, even though my crushes were only that....unrequited love.
As I got older, I first learned to tolerate, then kind of like, then enjoy, and finally love Ray's music, whether they were ballads or the ones you just couldn't sit still listening to.
Little known fact: For years, I thought "Georgia" was about a woman named Georgia. ☺
Why am I writing about this today? Because I just returned from the beautiful state of Georgia. Because some of my family and I had lunch at Wolf Mountain Vineyards on July 16th, which would have been Jo Ann's birthday. (It was also my niece Kate's wedding anniversary.) And because Jo Ann loved Ray Charles so much.
For years after Jo Ann's death, I couldn't listen to any of his songs, especially the ballads, without shedding tears. If one came on the radio while I drove to work, I usually changed the station right away. Other times, I felt the need to go ahead and let myself grieve.....Oh, the healing process...
I took this photo from the window of the plane.
Once I got started on this, I wrote more than I'd planned. SO, I promise that tomorrow my post will be about meeting my Georgia Blog Buddies...and the one I didn't meet!
**Oh, and what famous author did I see on the plane to Atlanta......Maya Angelou! I didn't get the chance to speak to her, but she was lovely and stylish and chic and unpretentious.
"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!" -- Maya Angelou