This is a love story. One of opportunities, chance meetings and the choice between the good, better and best.
It was told to me as I sang to the crowds at Graceland.
My music often wafts through the air like a familar melody, lighting on hearts filled with harmony, the purest form of love.
Today, it’s swirling all around and in particular touches the heart of a dear, little lady of Puerto Rican descent.
I asked her where she was from and she began with a compliment about my music and then we started discussing her uncle, who was also a musician.
“My uncle Junior, that’s what we called him, was a musician,” she said. “He served in the Army in Germany with Elvis. Uncle Junior was called that because he was the youngest member of the family and he was our youngest uncle.”
As she pulled up the 1950s photo of Uncle Junior and Elvis on her iPhone, she told me the story. “Oh my, that’s great,” I literally exclaimed., remarking about the picture.
“Being a drummer, Uncle Junior and Elvis would jam together when they were off duty and hang out together,” she engaged in the story.
“He told me Elvis was always the kindest person and always interested in what was going in with my family. If you didn’t know that Elvis was Elvis, then you couldn’t have guessed that he was as big as he was by the way he treated everybody nice.
“My uncle was a very good musician,” she continued. Elvis raved about the Latin beats being laid down by Uncle Junior. ‘Man, when we get out, I want you to come drum with me. I’m going to be on tour and I want you to play drums for me.’”
It didn’t take long for Uncle Junior to come up with an answer for the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. “Elvis, I’d love to, but I’m going to go back home and marry my best girl.”
“OK, man,” Elvis said to Uncle Junior, as he looked at the picture of his beautiful sweetheart. “I understand.”
Uncle Junior returned to New York, married his sweetheart and had a wonderfully large family and a life filled with love.
He didn’t neglect his music, either.
With the foundation for his life in place, Uncle Junior, however, pursued the passion that likely attracted him to make a choice between a good life and a best life in the first. He went on to play with Latin greats such as Tito Puente.
His neice also showed me a picture of Uncle Junior with Tito’s band. She also showed me the picture of Uncle Junior beautiful wife and family.
“We often wonder about what his life would have been like had he went on to play with Elvis,” she pondered.
There are times in one’s life when the choices affect the future for the good or for the best. Rest assured, Elvis and Uncle Junior are probably playing together in heaven nowadays.
The succession of adjectives tells the story. There’s good; there’s better; and then there’s best.
Follow Uncle Junior and aim for the best.
(C)Cecil Yancy. 2017