Sometimes Life with Mike isn’t about Mike. It’s about people we’ve run into along the way, people who have left their imprint on us. That could be people at work, family, people at church, or just someone we happen to see at Wal-Mart.
Recently, a group called the Gospelaires sang at church. They’re four men who sing beautiful harmonies together. When they sang “Just a Little Talk with Jesus,” it was hard for me to keep the tears away. That song has a pretty bass line that carries the song, and not everyone can do it justice. This man did, and he reminded Mike and me of another bass singer we knew from church in Wichita Falls.
Ed Goodgion was a big, jovial man with a voice that could reach way down under. I had known him from church since I was a kid. He led singing at church often, and he taught a group of us teenagers in a youth chorus — teenagers who had most anything on their minds except being in a youth chorus. But he worked with us, teaching us new songs that are now well-known gospel songs.
Ed did a lot of work around the church building — always volunteering or being the general handyman — besides having a regular job. My mother was the church secretary for almost 30 years there and remembers Ed always helping out.
Ed could laugh at himself, too. Ed wore overalls while working, and frequently would drop by the church office. On one visit, he came in and sat down on the edge of a counter and rested a while, then got up to leave.
When he stood up, he knew something wasn’t right, but couldn’t quite figure it out. He turned one way to look behind himself, then the other way, unaware that what was following him around was the coffee pot. The handle of the Mr. Coffee coffee pot had hooked itself into Ed’s overalls when he stood up, and was going everywhere Ed went. He got a big kick out of that, as did everyone else in the office.
Mike knew Ed, too, before we got married, because Ed and his sweet wife, Mary, lived on Mike’s mail route. Later on, Mike and two of his brothers sang in a quartet with Ed. I got out the tape of them singing and just hearing Ed’s voice and how low he could go gave me goose bumps. Those vibrations resonated right down to my toes.
There’s a song called “A Beautiful Life” and the chorus says, “Life’s evening sun is sinking low, a few more days, and I must go, to meet the deeds, that I have done, where there will be no setting sun.” He would sing the first part of that at what sounds like an octave lower than written, and just when you thought he was headed down to where human ears can’t hear, he would raise back up to a normal range and finish the phrase. That was a joy to hear.
The first line of “A Beautiful Life” says, “Each day I’ll do, a golden deed, by helping those who are in need.” I know that Ed and Mary did lots of golden deeds in their lives. Ed did his deeds by helping out with the building, and by using his voice to serve God, and those are only two examples out of many.
Ed and Mary are both gone now, but remembered more often than they could imagine.
We think of Ed almost every church service, when we sing a song that he taught me for the youth chorus, or a sing a song that the quartet did, or when we sing a song with a deep bass part. To Mike and me, those will always be “Ed Goodgion songs.”
First published November 13, 2003, in The Journal of North Texas in the Life with Mike column
by Kathy Floyd
“A Beautiful Life,” written by William M. Golden, 1918.