The Still Night
My guess is that virtually nobody reading this will remember who Fred Parris was . . . or probably never heard of him in the first place.
In February 1956 in the basement of Saint Bernadette Catholic School, New Haven, Connecticut, a group who called themselves The Five Satins recorded the doo-wop song, In the Still of the Night. It is one of pop music’s most enduring numbers, and is considered to be one of two songs from which the term doo-wop originates. Its tuneful timelessness achieved immortality thanks to cover versions by Boyz II Men, the Beach Boys, and others, and its use in “Dirty Dancing,” “The Irishman,” and other movies. The writer and lead singer was Fred Parris, who continued singing the song over a fifty-year career. He died in January 2022 in the same Connecticut city where the immortal classic was first recorded.
Fred was a star in his day. Today he is simply a memory, but with a caveat. He gave the world something that brings good pleasure to millions, and which contributes continuing joy to the world.
Fred Parris’ life prompts the question: Am I living a life that brings joy to the world? Any part of the world? Does what I do affect peace, harmony, and well-being . . . or the opposite?
Very, very few people achieve “stardom” like Fred or other “celebrities.” But every human being has a sphere of influence: family, friends, co-workers, community. What we do with our words and actions in whatever part of the world we inhabit results in contributions to either well-being or woe. It’s a choice which everyone makes, consciously or subconsciously.
“Star” status be damned. Each of us has a multiplicity of ways to shine.
- Volunteering at the Food Bank or serving Meals on Wheels
- Cutting the ill next door neighbor’s grass
- Singing in a church or community choir
- Helping disabled people register to vote
- Sacrificing personal time to spend it with spouse or children
- Participating in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters programs
The list could go on from floor to ceiling. Another choice is to simply be a congenial, pleasant, upbeat person who treats all others with respect and dignity. THAT makes the world a better place.
Be creative. Be purposeful. Be like Fred.