published Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Roberts: Honoring unsung heroes

By Dalton Roberts

I am starting a series of podcasts on unsung heroes who have made big contributions to my life. For the first time ever, I have been jolted by the realization that unsung heroes impact us a lot more than recognized heroes.

I am working on an album of songs I learned from my musical heroes. There are some who were well-recognized stars and heroes, like Hank Williams and Floyd Tillman, but others whose influence was just as profound were never well-known. But they walk around like giants inside of me.

There was my Uncle Van who taught me my first three chords and my first song, but his main gift was giving me a love for music and an overpowering desire to play. My desire was so strong that I learned on an old warped guitar that ate my fingers up. I had blisters, then callouses, then blisters under the callouses. When a man can fling that kind of craving on you, he will forever remain a hero in your innermost being.

Pete Cassell was an old blind man from North Georgia who had a local radio show when I was a child. One of the thrills of my early years was when mother let me go with a neighbor to the Pilgrim Holiness Church on Taylor Street to hear him. I sat on the edge of the pew and remember that my feet barely touched the floor. I was admitted to heaven that night and walked the golden streets with an old blind man who had no idea he was branding me for life.

Pete's music never brought him success and riches, but success is a very personal thing at times. You can be unknown to the world but be a blinding star to one little boy from downtown Watering Trough. You can die so poor that the family has to borrow a suit for to you to be buried in but suddenly discover when you meet the Master that you have laid away many bars of solid gold in the hearts of those you sang for. When we die, it's the gold the Master knows about that matters and, really, that's the only gold that matters in this life.

In a church service I am so glad I attended, a regular guy passed out a picture of a beautiful young girl. As he cried, he told us he had just been informed that she died of a disease easily curable in America. He had been sending her $15 a month for a long time. I had known him for years and had no idea he was sending money to a child in a faraway land. He instantly became one of my unsung heroes. When you can pour love on someone who will never be able to hug you and personally thank you, you are making the angels stop and bow their heads in respect. If only a fraction of the inspired words about heaven and the hopes we hold in our heats are true, I am deeply convinced that someday that little girl will run into his arms and thank him for his love and caring. It will be the unsung heroes that make the angels sing.

Today I wish to join you in honoring the unsung heroes of your life and mine.

E-mail Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.

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