From time to time I feel compelled to do an article on people that are my heroes, role models, or just plain super people, IMHO! In the past, I have mentioned people who have accomplished amazing feats in spite of great physical hardships, feats that I probably could not do if I had all my body parts working in perfect harmony. In our world of today it seems like so much emphasis is on youth. Since my youth is a distant memory, I now look towards people who are no longer in the blush of their springtime yet are not only hanging in there, but are still running on overdrive and doing a damned good job at it!
As I have gone thru 60 odd years of life (and some of them have been odder than others) I have had the good fortune to get to know some amazing and wonderful people. One of them is my cousin Boo. Boo’s real name is Frances Long. I am allowed to tell you that she is now 82 years old. Boo is now a widow, her husband, Jack, was a totally cool guy, but you didn’t want to play cards with him! He’d whup your butt, but have you rolling on the floor laughing while he did it. One of the best things about Jack was he encouraged Boo in her love of and pursuit of MUSIC. Not little letters music, but MUSIC. Boo has been writing, and recording music since forever, and teaching music in her spare time. Boo’s first gold record was sung by the Mills Brothers, I think… back in 1967 . I was barely a puppy then. I remember seeing the record on the wall in her music studio.
She has had a number of songs on the Country and Pop national charts. She received a BMI Award for the number 1 song, “Room in Your Heart” co-written and recorded by Sonny James who also recorded her song, “More Than Ever.”
The Alabama Country Music Association nominated Boo Writer of the Year in 1987. Boo was 61.
In 2001, she won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gospel Songwriters of Alabama, age 75.
Boo has a Certificate of Merit for the Top 1% from the International Song Contest sponsored by Billboard and KFC.
She won first place in the Mississippi song contest sponsored by the Mississippi Poetry Society, and won 3rd place in the Tennessee Poetry Song Contest in 2001.
The World of Poetry has recognized her with 39 Awards of Merit and the Golden Poet Award for 1986, 87, 88, 89,90, 91, and 92.
Boo has her own music company, Jacilyn Music – see jacilynmusic.com.
Boo just sent me a CD with 20 songs on it. She seems to think I hate some of her music, but I don’t. I just prefer some kinds of music to others. If I had a choice of going to a Bach concert or a Gospel Sing, I would, no doubt, head into the Bach auditorium. On the other hand, if I knew they were performing some of Boo’s music, I would be there in the front row! Actually, I am listening to Boo’s CD as I write this. She included some stuff she KNEW I would really love, some easy listening instrumentals that I will probably put on my computer to listen to again and again – maybe copy to a disc I can use in the car. Boo emailed me to tell me she was sending me a CD.
“I ALSO SENT YOU A C D WITH 20 SONGS ON IT.... DIFFERENT GENRE ... AND AVOIDED THE GENRE I KNOW YOU WOULD HATE. I LIKE ALL THE SONGS.... BUT THEN I WROTE THEM.... HOWEVER I HAVE WRITTEN BUNCHES OF SONGS I DON'T LIKE AT ALL. MAYBE YOU WILL ENJOY A FEW. I HAVE 36 ALBUMS SO FAR AND 3 PENDING ... I HAVE TO GET
ON WITH IT... AT 82 I REALLY DON'T HAVE THAT MUCH TIME TO WASTE SO I DO THE THINGS THAT PLEASE ME MOST. AND RECORDING & WRITING MUSIC PLEASES ME MORE THAN ANYTHING. I DO STILL LIKE TO EAT BUT IT DOESN'T TASTE AS GOOD AS IT USED TO. I THINK THAT COMES WITH AGE. SOME THINGS I REALLY LIKE ARE MOSTLY THINGS I SHOULDN'T EAT ANYMORE... WHY IS IT THAT WHEN YOU GET TO THE POINT WHERE YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO.... YOU CAN'T DO IT ANYMORE? DOES THAT MAKE GOOD SENSE?”
Boo has even written a song about my little Possum, PITA. It is the coolest song! Boo’s albums include children’s music, country, easy listening, Christian, holiday, and comedy.
Let me make this clear, the only music I actually hate is Gangsta Rap with its words of violence and disrespect for women or any “music” that seems to focus on the F word. Since I believe our thoughts are our prayers, our music would be our hymns. With that in mind, I don’t think music should sound like a curse. Some of Boo’s music is a bit silly, but I am sure God has a sense of humor and would definitely approve! Boo’s F words are Fun, Family and Faith, not necessarily in that order.
So here is the point in this blog – and I haven’t even come close to making it yet – Boo is definitely one of my heroes in life. Not because of her music. Not because she has written some of the nicest songs I have ever heard, and even though a big part of my admiration for her is because at 82 she is still writing and recording and supervising the production of her music, that is still not all of it. Boo is one of the sweetest, most loving women I have ever had the pleasure and honor, to meet and know. She has the most infectious sense of humor – I swear she will have you in stitches in 2 minutes. Look at the picture of her standing in front of the window at the top of this post. See that hint of a Mona Lisa smile? See the laughter in her eyes? The beauty of her soul just shines thru and she can’t stop it! I just had to share it with you. Besides, she calls me her favorite cousin... or do I call her my favorite cousin???? Or do we both... well, you get the idea... As the kids today would say, Boo rocks.
Doesn't she look so well behaved and proper?????? That's not to say she isn't, mind you....