Friday, November 13, 2015

Sharing My Gift With The Governor

One of my greatest honors as a singer/songwriter, was meeting Louisiana’s two-term governor Jimmie Davis. He was first elected to office in 1944, and then again in 1960. As a nationally known singer/songwriter, with several Top Five singles on the country charts during his first term in office, he was often referred to as the Singing Governor.

I had the privilege of sharing a concert stage with Governor Davis in 1982. After the concert, he expressed a love of our sound and an interest in my songs. At the age of 84, he was recording a "final" album for his beloved Louisianans, and he was searching for new material to include. Could we visit him at his home in Baton Rouge, and let him hear more of my tunes?

Of course, we could. ☺

Governor Davis and his beautiful wife Anna Gordon Carter (known for her alto vocals in the Chuck Wagon Gang) were the perfect hosts, and their home rightly reflected elegance and grace.

After sharing a meal around their dining room table, we drifted to the grand piano. Harmonies soon followed, and as I sat there, making music with the man, whose signature song was "You Are My Sunshine," I knew it was a moment I'd share with my children one day.

Later that night, all settled in my stately bed, it felt a little surreal, knowing the governor and his wife were sleeping down the hall. I remembered my favorite scripture in Proverbs: "A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men." For sure, that had been true in my life, and for sure, it was true tonight.

The next year, Governor Davis included two of my songs on his album, and we remained in touch through the years. After my daughter was born in 1985, he sent a personal letter of congratulations, which I still have tucked away in a box somewhere. 

Following his death on November 5, 2000, The New York Times published an extensive piece about Governor Davis's upbringing and his many accomplishments. His was a real rags-to-riches story, and I will always feel honored to have stitched one tiny thread in the giant tapestry of his remarkable life. ♦