Setting up the stage

Saturday I got involved with a little bit of show business. My father, B.F. Robinson, has been with a group of musicians that visits the nursing homes and performs for the patients. The fact that many in the nursing homes cannot hear very well probably helps their success rate. Quite 6-25 Page 4A.inddhonestly, many older Americans are placed in nursing homes and forgotten by their families, so most of the residents are happy with any visitors.

My father’s group is a bunch of retirees. I will be honest. In all my studies, the closest I’ve come to being able to play a musical instrument is pushing the play button on a tape recorder. But many of these people have been playing music for years. We’re not exactly in a suburb of Nashville, so I guess they knew they had some talent but never used it as they worked through each week to earn a living for their family.

That takes courage and dedication. Hence, I have no talent.

Pa’s group of friends, when they are not playing at nursing homes during the day, generally find some place to get together at night. And one Saturday every month, they perform as part of Table Rock State Park’s “Music on the Mountain” series.

This week was special though, because my niece, Jessica, who now lives in Charleston, promised my father that the next time she came up, she would make time to go with him to sing. So I decided if I was not talented enough to sing, I could at least take pictures with my camera. I am talented enough to find the auto-focus, so I could preserve some memories.

Saturday night, the family met at Table Rock State Park for the singing.

As usual, my father was half-playing politician, introducing people to our family. They all knew him and joked with him about private things.

Eventually Jessica got there and set up to sing with my father. She was not as loud as she usually is, but my sister Rhonda was there and joined in as the three sang “I’ll Fly Away.” I think Jessica was surprised to see so many folks there singing.

My great nephew Karson Hamilton — Kevin’s son — was there, too, but he just wanted to play with other folks’ musical instruments. Rhonda grabbed him and kept him out of trouble.

Then the rest of the seniors took turns singing. Some struggled with the words, but at least the fat guy operating the camera appreciated their efforts. Even the least-talented singer was about 50 times better than I could even imagine being.

We had hot dogs for lunch and heard from the park ranger, who said he appreciated the group of seniors finding a use for the building, which I remember as the Table Rock Lodge from when I was growing up. I can’t imagine many more people being there as there were back when meals were served family-style at the restaurant. I remember loving the grits when we ate there.

At the night’s end, we headed down the mountain. They have a sunrise service planned April 5. We always go to a sunrise service, either at our church, which has a combined service with Shoals Creek Baptist, or at Hillcrest Memorial Park, where my grandparents Arthur and Mittie Robinson and three uncles Bud, Cecil and Faris Robinson are buried.

It may be nice to go to Table Rock this year and enjoy the beauty and some of the finest people God has placed on Earth.