We sit closely on the leather couch, enough so that nuances can be felt by the tap of an elbow or by leaning towards his shoulder. Pointing to text, or a page number, is generally all that's needed.
Once the thick pages have been managed, (do we loose the texture of our finger prints with old age?), Ray's up and running - IN Key, recalling the harmony parts, regardless of his missing hearing aides.
We have fun acknowledging the song's history offered in the text and Ray never fails to pay tribute to his mother. His stories of a NYC upbringing in the twenties allows me to picture Ray's family singing around the piano. The melodies stay forever and for him, so do the lyrics. He's continued the rich tradition of singing with those friends who come to visit at the Haines Assisted Living Center, each Friday at 1 P.M.
We wrapped up yesterday's session by looking at a few of the essays, stories and songs written by the youth of Haines for the Peace Project. Ray was an educator for many years in the Haines schools along with his wife Vivian. He also ran the Chilkat Valley News, was prominent with KHNS Radio, and the Lynn Canal Community Players.
He's a literary guy and was a fine political activist in the region for decades. Who better to give some feedback on what the kids are thinking? His primary comment was... "It gives you hope, doesn't it?"
A potluck and awards will be given to honor the contest participants, Friday October 29th at the Haines Senior Center. All are invited.
This weekend, Haines hosts one of the better community opportunities towards the future. The second regional Drama, Debate and Forensics (DDF) tournament of the 2010 season will be held at the new school.
Alaskan teams from Wrangell, Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Mt. Edgecomb, and Haines will be represented.
The teams work on a variety of speech delivery forms, researched and written by the competitors. Both literary and dramatic interpretations have been polished and will be performed. They'll also debate current topical issues as teams.
The state tournament held in Anchorage each spring decides who will be represented at the National Forensic League competition.
Our community usually turns out in full force as judges, timers, audience and by opening their homes to house this large event.
It's present and future community building and one aspect of Haines at it's best.