|Of all the many things that John Melton has done for
me, introducing me to his group of friends has been the most treasured
gesture. Beginning with Ruth and Will's Crawfish Party in 1998, I have
found a family of dear friends and fellow musicians whom I have come to
love and depend on.
I can't really remember the first time I met Bill and Colleen; I can't even remember if I met Bill first and Colleen later...I think maybe that's how it was. What I do remember is Bill's big, rough exterior and his sweet, cultured, choirboy tenor voice. Choirboy who has been smoking and drinking, that is ;-) I just remember listening to someone who was obviously a choral musician.
Already a fan of Bill's, I then heard Bill and Colleen together. Everyone knows there is a special harmony that goes on between family members. I've always thought that family members' DNA must make their voices synch together down tothe vibrato they share....it's the similar accents, the genetic shape of mouths and tongues....whatever it is, it's magic, and it certainly was with Bill and Colleen.
There is not one doubt in my mind that "Hard Times" was the first song I heard them sing together, and it stopped me dead in my tracks. Such a melancholy, haunting song, but still with an uplifting, promising message. Bill and Colleen didn't need instrumentation. As a matter of fact, I'm sure they didn't use a pitch-pipe--they just knew where perfection was.
The more I got to know them both, and I add Russell to the mix, the more I genuinely liked these people. Like most in this group, they were not self-absorbed in the least. Bill is introspective, creative and thoughtful. Russell is quiet and absolutely adored Colleen--I really liked that about Russell. You could just watch him watching her, and see this "I thinkyou're the most wonderful woman in the world" kind of look in his eyes. And Colleen? FUNNY!! Charming, witty, outgoing, and fun. Colleen always wanted to just "be." And that's what was so great about her; she shared her sun-shiny spirit with everyone around her. She was a sunbeam. You couldn't be around Colleen without being on the good side of things.
Like everyone else, I loved Colleen's voice. "I Know A Heartache [When I See One]" was always a favorite of mine, and Colleen nailed it. As she did everything she sang. We heard previews of the CD Bill and Colleen were going to release, and I so looked forward to playing it over and over.
I know I saw Colleen at the 2001 Thanksgiving Rehearsal Dinner, and again at Anderson Fair at the Rebels' CD Release. But I can't remember if she was at Spring Fling or the Crawfish Party. Then, the Beach Party was cancelled, so I didn't get to see her there. And she and Russell had just moved into their house, so they didn't come to TRD 2002. I was really missing seeing her and hearing her. The CD release party was December 15th, and John and I planned to go, but stayed late at another party and decided not to make the trip to Houston. Stupid, stupid. If only I'd known.
So on New Year's Day, as we were celebrating with friends, Miss Ellen broke the unbelievable news to us. I am devastated. At a loss. There is a huge chasm in my heart and soul. I regret.
Colleen lived her life in a positive, loving, giving way, and I am poorer for not having known her better. All my life, I will remember her, and think of the impact she made on me in a very short time, over a few short visits. The world should have had her for a longer time; we would have been better for her presence.
As I quoted on her memorial, "Don't you knock on my door, I won't be home any more....you can find me out walking in the sun." Saucy, sassy, sunbeam Colleen....we know you are out walking in the sun.
With much love,
Roger' Ruffcorn's Memorial
Glenn Jauer, Franci Jarrard, Colleen and Bill: Spring Fling
Photography by Nadean Livings
I was searching for Colleen's cd with her dad and ran across this page.Ý I knew her through my husband who use to be her boss at the Texan store.Ý She was a wonderful person and joyful person to be around.Ý I dont care what kind of mood she was in she could always answer that phone with such enthusiam and with a joyful spirit.Ý I will never forget what she told me when I asked her how she stayed so up beat when she answered the phones even during sick and low times.Ý She replied by saying it was her job and she had to treat it that way rain or shine sick or sad.Ý She said it was all about how she sounded on the phone to potential customers.Ý I will miss colleen and I know my husband will too.Ý He had just talked to her two days before her passing and was going to hire her at his new dealership.Ý She will truly be missed.
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