ENTERTAINING THE VETS

It always surprises me to see which songs bring tears to the eyes of our Veterans. We have World War II vets…but mostly Viet Nam Vets. Today it was “I Don’t Have a Wooden Heart” by Elvis Presley, from his movie GI Blues. It’s an up-tune…catchy with a couple of German verses. When the German was sung, a man perhaps around 80 began to weep. It was hard to keep singing. Afterwards, his wife came up to say thank you. She said “I think he was beginning to remember something.”

Things we take for granted — being able to remember. Names, faces, songs, places, books.

I am thankful that I can give back just a wee bit. I entertain a few times a month at the Veterans Home in Boulder City, Nevada. I try as quickly as I can to answer requests. Because it’s very possible that next week — the person who made the request will not be there.

There are many female veterans as well. One,in particular…Patricia. She never stops smiling…never! She loves the love songs from the 40’s and 50’s.

John is close to 80. All alone. Mouths every word I sing. And at the end of every song says “Muy Bueno” although he’s not Hispanic. He asked me if I knew “More.” I told him I will sing it next week. Not five minutes later he asked, “Do you know “More?” I said, “you know what, John. I do have that but not with me…I will bring it next Friday. I sang two other songs, and as he said “Muy Bueno,” he asked. “Is there any chance you could sing, “More?” I promised him I would next time I come.

Jim — World War II vet. Can’t speak except in garbled sounds. He has had more than one stroke. But when I sing jazz or torch songs — he says “Oh man!

There are many others who just sit with their hands folded…or they fall asleep.

Today, I finished with Josh Groban’s, “You Raise Me Up.” It was almost like church. Jose, who never reacts to any music, wiped his eyes.

It’s only an hour of my time. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My goal is help them smile…and perhaps laugh.

It’s the least I can do…for what they’ve done.