11 June 2004
The world says goodbye this week to two men who were hard to dislike. While I never cared for Reagan's politics, I have to say that I liked his optimism, sense of humor, and joy in life.
I never realized how much I liked Ray Charles until I heard him sing what is now my favorite version of America the Beautiful. He sang it at the close of one of the Olympic Games, maybe it was 1980 or 1984. I've heard that he also sang it at Reagan's inaugural ball in 1985. Ray Charles recorded so many great songs in so many genres that I'm sure I'll be discovering his music for years to come. Every song he sang became his own because he sang it in his own way, from his heart. Of all the musicians of my time, I would have like to have had a conversation with Ray Charles. His appreciation of life seemed contagious.