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EVERYTHING BUT . . .: Life and death


Ridley Greene

EVERYTHING BUT . . .: Life and death

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When you hear those deft fingers a-picking
Sweet melody deep in your soul,
Mixed with gentle but piquant strumming,
Your heart and attention he’d hold.
But his grace and his style
And his ease to beguile
Brought you joy and peace in his rhythm.
Yes, his grace and his style
And his ease to beguile
Put your senses in seventh heaven.
 
THERE?WILL?BE?NO?SEVENTH?HEAVEN for me today; there won’t be for a while, actually. It’s now I will say goodbye to one who seemed so invincible; who tarried not with Destiny, and for whom Fate was a distant acquaintance.
I say today adieu to Clifton Augustus Yaw Glasgow, solo guitarist extraordinaire, master, teacher, life philosopher, father, dear and devoted friend – like many, many others will.
Cliff’s genius fingering and chording will be no more; not in the flesh for sure. But those of us who cherished the masterly Clifton Glasgow performances over the years, and those of us who sat at his feet, and by his side, will have the memories to keep us.
Today, in our deepest consciousness, we will reminisce on Clifton’s heart-tugging Romanza and muse on his haunting, and what has now become quizzical, Tears In Heaven.
The passing of Clifton is another thunderous reminder to every one of us that death will come someday – perhaps in agonizing slowness, in relatively short time, or suddenly and without notice – forcing us to leave this world and all its glamour, goodness and, yes, music behind. The constantly inspired awareness of this ought to guide us in the way we live our very own lives; how we impact others, especially our family, loved ones and close friends.
The passing of those close to us ought to stir us into thought of what memories we will leave those behind us: what we want them to remember us for.
It will, I believe, make some of us think seriously, and perhaps frighteningly, about where we are going when we depart this world; what will be our lot on Judgment Day when we stand, one by one, before our Maker to give account of our stewardship on this earth.
I ponder not on the eternity notion, nor the prerequisites to fulfil it. I am minded that in The Bible it is said in 2 Samuel 14:14: “We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”
And the Apostle Paul once declared to the Hebrews: “It is appointed for all men once to die, and after that the certain judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
The inevitability and, it seems, irreversibility of death in the human experience is a fait accompli. I fear these things have become too high-minded for me.
What I am clear about is that the thread of The Bible glistens like silken cotton with the declaration that the self-seeking and overtly self-willed, the disobedient and the weed-whacking manipulators of the truth, the plain wicked, theirs will be tribulation, anguish and calamity right here on earth – theirs or their seed’s, whether rich or poor, great or small, or high or low.
As we reflect, we ought to acknowledge there are sure consequences of our deeds, and that whatever you do and wherever you go, God is watching you.
Clifton Glasgow and I were pretty much agreed on these thoughts. He mostly crystalized them, when he would take a break from caressing the guitar that had come to fall in love with him, giving him that self-completeness he was wont to speak proudly of.
Those of us who acknowledge the inevitability of death become more focused on ethical and brotherly practice, for we reason correctly that the time of our demise is unknown and uncertain, and that every moment in life and good health counts.
I have my acoustic guitar with which I sat at the master Clifton Augustus Yaw Glasgow’s feet as my memento mori. But it will not only be a reminder that death is inevitable; but that life with Clifton was unbelievable!
Ridley Greene is a Caribbean multi-award-winning journalist.

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