News Columns & Blogs

From Annie to Syesha, sun to rise

Cock your ear and everywhere you will hear the latest, most-overused phrase permeating lectures, reports, broadcasts and bureauspeak: “Going forward.” It plays as background music as we build a giant Washington Tower of Babel.

Back here in our housing crisis/catastrophe, we are “going forward” and looking back to design our own stimulus package. Yes, Virginia, Santa may be asleep, but there is a future “going forward.” As we sort out our finances, drag out “How to Feed a Family on Five Bucks A Day,” dust off the dreamy Monopoly Game and spruce up for job interviews, it is extremely important to indulge our happy memory bank. It’s cheap therapy and sometimes irreplaceable joy.

When my then 3-year-old granddaughter came to stay with us, there were those moments of tiny world pain and heartache. The handiest remedy I could devise was a bathtub full of bubbles and a song. So I knelt on the bathmat and slowly and softly began to sing the lyrics from “Annie’s” song:

“The sun will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar ...”

When I belted out “stick out your chin and grin,” she sniffled and joined me in a dramatic crescendo with arms outstretched for a gigantic closing:


Show over, I inquired, “How are you?’

She said, “I’m good ... can we do it again?” And we did, many times thereafter.

As a grown-up, Katie recalls our ritual like an old hymn — especially when she was serving in the U.S. Navy on a submarine tender delivering supplies to our military in Iraq.

“There’s nothing like that memory in song to make me feel safe.”

It’s impossible to soothe everyone with words wrapped in melody.

But folks in Manatee County will find an opportunity Thursday night to add to our own stimulus package.

Welcome Syesha Mercado, Manatee’s own American Idol Star on stage in concert at Manatee Convention Center. Sponsored by the Manatee County Education Association and benefiting the school system’s Amer-I-Can gang prevention and character development program, Her rendition of “I Believe” meets or even surpasses some of our most highly paid skilled singers. Of course, I may be somewhat biased, but I know talent when I hear and see it.

The first time we met, Syesha was 10 years old volunteering her performance in the Manatee Can Can, a fundraising talent show benefiting United Way and Manatee Community College.

Syesha reaches inside. She connects. And this is a time we need to be on the receiving end of encouraging words.

Dial (941) 722-3244 and call ahead for tickets. I’ll look for you Thursday night.


Pat Glass, retired county commissioner and civic leader, writes biweekly for the Herald. Send correspondence to 102 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton 34205