Yesterday, our family went by to see two of my dearest old friends in the world. Earl and Jeannie Holloway are two of the dearest people in the world to me.
Our story together goes back several years. I was fourteen years old and was attending the first voice lesson of my life. Being a “true” Tennessean, I had the Southern draw to prove it. The song selected for that first voice lesson was, “No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus.” Due to my horrid vocal technique and Southern draw that was not excluded to my speaking voice, I didn’t make it past the first line of the song. “Hot dawg, son!” Mr. Holloway must have said one hundred times! “I am not going back to see that mean man,” I said.
Well, I did go back. I went back until that man became my best friend. I trained with him for many years. He taught me how to sing, how to lead music, how to conduct choir, how to love your wife and how to live. I will forever be indebted to him for his influence and his love. He has never ceased to be a fountain of encouragement and love. He helped me to believe I was special to God and could be used by God.
It is in the spirit of his influence on me that I invest so much of my life in people. I am what I am by the grace of God given through his servants. Others deserve the same.
Mr. Holloway will be 88 on his next birthday. This past year he finally resigned his leadership of the Crown College Choir. His shoes are those that could never be filled. Living so far away, I did not know if this may be the last time to see him face-to-face. When I left I only said, “I’ll see you again.” Thank God, that event may not be on this side, but I am sure to be in that Heavenly choir with him who taught me to sing on this side.
His resignation makes me ask one more question: who will take his baton and keep leading men to God? When we left someone said, “They just don’t make men like that anymore.” I understand the expression; society is incapable of producing such men, but God can. If you or I could be half the man he has been, we would be sure to hear Christ say, “Well done.”