A Tale of Two Tiffins

A Tale of Two Tiffins (1,129)

April 27th, 2011

A time for the best. It was a time for the worst.

I found myself in Tiffin, Ohio, in 1972, at one of those burgeoning coffee-house-type establishments that became prevalent during that particular season. It was called The Gathering Place. I was just twenty years old and had a music group dubbed Soul Purpose and we were so wet behind the ears that we tended to drip on people. But we had passion. After all, some people extol planning, financial security and backing. I understand that philosophy. But without passion, you have a beautiful car with no engine.

We arrived at the coffee house and set up our meager PA system and prepared to offer our limited repertoire. At that point I had written four songs. I added in a few selections from the day, like My Sweet Lord by George Harrison, and That’s the Way God Planned It, from Billy Preston. Nine people showed up to see us at the coffee house. I didn’t care. I was just thrilled to be able to do what I did in front of anybody who was willing to listen. Fortunately for me, these strangers were moved by my simple songs—and even though we were all dressed like we were going to the prom because none of us owned clothes worthy of public consumption that didn’t have ruffles and bows, the blue-jean-clad audience still accepted us—because we had heart.

Move ahead thirty-nine years to last night, when I found myself once again in Tiffin, but this time, in Iowa. On this night, I was able to fellowship and commune with thirteen people. Now most folks would not consider that to be progress. I think that averages out to an increase of one person per decade.

But poo-poo on statistics.

I now have many more songs. I have the dust of nearly four decades of journeying behind me. I am no longer wearing clothes suitable for a school dance, but have simplified my wardrobe down to duds that are comfortable but acceptable. My PA system is much more sophisticated.

Still, the enduring quality—the ongoing evidence of my value—is passion. After all these years, I continue to be excited about what I do—no matter how many or how few are present. I’m not an idiot—I prefer five hundred to five. But it doesn’t diminish the passion because the numbers diminish.

And just like that night so many years ago in Tiffin, Ohio, the audience in Tiffin, Iowa, decided to abandon its phobias and apprehensions and embrace this vagabond. We included one another for an hour—bonded into each other’s lives. It is a remarkable adventure.

A tale of two Tiffins.

The similarities are marked by the reverence I possess for passion. The growth is made evident by the fruit of more material and enhanced procedures. But nothing can change the results, which are made known when I make myself passionate and I share that with grace to them.

Me blended with them becomes us.

And in a generation which festers with alienation, that union of purposes truly fosters the best of times.

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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