Jim Nabors has left us. I am glad he is in peace. I can’t say that he’s the reason I wanted to be a Marine. It’s too complicated for that. (It’s certainly more complicated than the unyielding call of the jets flying over the warehouse where I toiled.) His most recognizable character, Gomer Pyle, was simple in nature, kind of heart, which seems antithetical to being part of the war machine. He was part of my childhood thanks to Mom and his voice… oh. Jim Nabors’ voice. I learned about passion by his voice alongside Andy Williams, Johnny Cash, Cher, Barbra Streisand, so many more. I heard his voice sing the hymnals I recognized from church, and it moved me, a girl of impressionable age. Jim moved on, and I am grateful to the internet for sharing his performance of Impossible Dream (The Quest). I dare you to listen and not be moved and reminded that the world is the life and we are stewards of it all, and our voices are holy. Our voices are holy. (don’t waste it all.) He is with my mother now, who introduced me to black and white TV. Shazam, and Golly, and Surprise.
Oh, by the way. Tell me how you feel after reading the lyrics to this song. How does one bear it, how will you learn to bear it, where does your strength come from to sing those notes he sings effortlessly the power of that poem, to find the will, and the will, and the will to do anything at all, in those years that I didn’t know I had any power at all, little girl? Jim’s song seems effortless. I will never write or live or be as effortless as the victory of his voice… but it sure does give me something to strive for.
I may or may not stop weeping on the sound and the voice of his memory. And that’s just okay.