Occasionally I spend a little time looking at some of the old photographs from my days with the St. Paul Scouts. Tonight I read Roger Broderson’s speech from the 2006 reunion. An event that I was not able to attend, unfortunately. I simply felt moved to send you something tonight. Perhaps it’s age, perhaps some measure of reflection, but almost certainly a deep appreciation and thankfulness. The appreciation and glory always go to God Himself, even though I didn’t see it quite that way 60 years ago, I see it now. On top of this, many of those colleagues of mine in the early ’60s with the Scouts are now gone. There was a long period of hiatus when I had no contact with many of these talented young men who taught me so much. I wish I had that time back now so that I could thank them.
When I reminisce today, usually only in my own mind, I really think of two individuals, although there were many, many more. One of them is still with us, and one is gone. Bill Pohl impacted me in ways that I have never shared with him. Perhaps this note will get us connected again. Bill, and he may not remember, gave me my first drumming lessons, and they made all the difference in the world. I know that Bill had a career as a music teacher and that does not surprise me at all as he is a “master teacher.” He was even as a young man. Bill started me off when I really didn’t even know how to hold a drum stick, and influenced me to the point of playing snare alongside him and Joe Duncan during my last year with the Corps (1965). Competing alongside two extremely talented drummers like Bill and Joe exceeded every expectation that a very musically untalented young person like myself ever dreamed of. For all who got to know Bill Pohl, they know exactly what I am talking about.
Joe Duncan and I became quite close during my last year with the Scouts. I remember seeing Joe, along with a group from the Scouts when they attended and played at the Tomahawk Scout Camp in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. I am guessing the year was either 1959 or 1960. If you know Joe at all, you know how gifted he was, and by the way, it wasn’t only drumming that he did well. Joe made an impact wherever he went and whatever he was involved in. Some people are wired by God to make an impact, to make a difference. That is Joe Duncan. He impacted me permanently. I am active as a minister today and I am involved with developing and mentoring church leaders globally. Much of my relationship with Joe Duncan and his effect on me, has made me who I am today in my ministry, by God’s grace.
Why all of this reminiscing? My point here is to be an encouragement for any who read this. Don’t go for years without remembering and reaching out to the principals in those remembrances. We lose more and more of our colleagues every year. I pray that we each have an opportunity to reach out to a couple of our former St. Paul Scout brothers, and let them know how significant they are in our lives. I would love to attend one of the monthly dinner gatherings that I read about and see pictures post-event. I pray that I will have that opportunity in the near future. Life is in fact very precious and unfortunately often times seemingly not long enough. I think of Joe Duncan often and regret that the last time I was in any way close to him, was when my wife and I were expressing our condolences to his wife, at his memorial service. Bill Pohl, if you happen to read this, let’s talk some time. I would love to reminisce and say, thank you!
Blessing to all of you and thank you for the great music.