On Wednesday nights Tom Carter, Leonard Coulson and I get together to play a few old-time tunes. When it came up that I was about to be honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Utah’s College of Humanities, Leonard gave me a level look and asked sarcastically, “Distinguished for what?” At that moment there wasn’t a thing in the world that came to mind. In the pause, Tom remembered a story I told him from my graduation at the University of Utah forty years ago. I had forgotten the incident but it all came back clearly. I was part of a sea of black gowns at the University Stadium. I remember feeling like a fly among a thousand other black flies scurrying across the stage to receive a diploma. As I walked past the president of the University, I overheard his whispered exclamation to his wife when he spied me: “That’s a big one!”
At that moment I wondered if I would ever distinguish myself for more than being a super sized human. Would I be able to find meaningful work and still make a living? Would I ever find love in my life? These were the questions that burned in my mind. So, these many years later I do feel distinguished in that I have found both in my life, Love and meaningful work.