Friday, November 20, 2009

Archie Dean (Buddy) Renfroe

Archie Dean (Buddy) Renfroe

My father-in-law, Buddy Renfroe, died peacefully at our home on September 29th. He suffered from a neuromuscular disease called Inclusion Body Myocitis. It is much like ALS; the body just wastes away. Buddy was one of those guys who could do absolutely anything - plumbing, electrical, automotive, carpentry - I mean ANYTHING. He was always busy doing something. After his diagnosis, he said that the only thing he didn't want to be was an invalid, but that is precisely what he became, for 18 terrible months. Yet during those 18 months, I never heard him utter a single cross word to anyone.

Buddy was, in all the ways that count, the greatest man I have ever known. He was a wonderful father, husband and friend. He served his country during World War II, seeing action in France, Belgium, and Germany. His engineering company built what was at that time the world's longest treadway pontoon bridge, putting it up across the Rhine River in nine hours while under fire. He never talked about it. Serving your country was just something that one DID in those days....

Jan and I found this epitaph on a grave in Philadelphia that perfectly describes him:

For courage with humanity,
Discipline without rigour,
Skill with good conduct,
Integrity above suspicion,
And honour without blemish
Beloved in rare degree
With friends of kindred worth and feeling
He died as he lived
Without fear and without reproach

Since Buddy's death, we have been sad for ourselves, but happy for him. He has been given a brand new body, and I am sure he is busy somewhere in Heaven right now. That is the wonderful assurance that we can have as Christians.

I followed Marjorie Morningstar by reading another Herman Wouk book in our library: Youngblood Hawke. This also was made into a movie, but I haven't seen it. Incredibly, the title role was played by James Franciscus! I can't think of anyone more wrong for the part. Suzanne Pleshette was also in the movie. I really loved this book. It occurs to me, after reading these two books by Herman Wouk, that his characters are drawn so much more richly than one finds in today's best sellers.

Clara Ponty, daughter of renowned jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, is a unique and fascinating artist. She studied classical music in the USA, but is now based in Paris. She has three outstanding albums to her credit. The first one, Clara Ponty, remains my favorite, but all three are great. Check her out at

I've had a lot of requests for a Timeless II album, and I'm working hard to finish it for a March release. So far, I have definitely chosen two pieces by Rachmaninoff, several by Chopin, one by Beethoven, one by Bach, and one by Mussorgsky. Do you have any favorites that you would like me to include on Timeless II ?

I also learned a cool piece by Bach this week. It's called Nun freut euch lieben Christen g'mein (Rejoice Beloved Christians). Here's a link to a performance of it by pianist Frederic Chiu. Good fingers!

Proverbs chapters 15 and 16. It is a blessing to know people we can look up to and emulate. My father-in-law's life provided a wonderful example for me. I hope that one day I can be half as good a man as he was. I always think of him when I read Proverbs 16:32 - "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."

THIS WEEK's MP3: Clouds on the Ceiling This lullaby is dedicated to Chloe Wolfe, little sister of Emily ( of Teatime for Emily). I wrote and recorded it last weekend.

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Welcome to my News Page. This is where you will find up to the minute information about recording projects, new releases, upcoming performances and more. You will want to visit every week because each FridayI will be offering a new original song for you to! In addition, from time to time I will be sharing studio happenings, what I am listening to, favorite books, and glimpses into my personal life. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions on what you would like to know about me and my music.


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