Beau Palmer is my first cousin on my father’s side. He was born and raised in southern California; I am from Virginia. Although we met several times as children, we did not get to know each other until we were adults – when Tim and I moved to Southern California in the mid-198o’s. In my mind, Beau was a real California dude. He was a vegetarian, drove a VW bus, and referred to interstates as “the 5” and “the 10”. To add to the cool factor, he was also an opera singer. During our nine years in SoCal, we had many opportunities to hear Beau perform. It was always a treat.
During the next few decades, Beau traveled around the world singing as we moved across the country and then to Bulgaria where he visited us. In 2001 he got married and ‘retired’ from the opera to Montezuma, Georgia. He and has wife had four children who are now ten and nine, plus eight year old twins. Well, things don’t always work out as planned and his life took some unexpected turns. With shared custody of the children (who mainly reside with their mother about two hours away), Beau decided to go back to school to get his Master of Music at age 50. Now, nearly two years later, he is almost finished. I had the opportunity to attend his graduate recital earlier this week at Mercer University. I had not heard him sing in years, and was really looking forward to his recital. He did not disappoint. He sang a varied program – to excellent reviews I must add – in French and German. The last set consisted of three songs in English that he wrote – and composed the music – for his children. I’ve met his children…four bright, inquisitive, lively, creative, curious and rambunctious sweet kids. I could picture them as he sang all three songs. I have his permission to publish these lyrics. You probably had to be there to fully appreciate this southern gentleman’s approach to this song, but believe me, it was terrific. You can see for yourself on YouTube at
Fast forward to 2 mins and 15 secs to hear this song.
All that’s left for Beau are the comprehensive exams. As he has a 4.0 so far, I’m not worried about him.
Oh yeah…one more reason I’m proud of him. He recently gave up wheat (partly in solidarity with one of his sons who is gluten-intolerant) and as a result, has lost 50 pounds. Go, Beau!
From Songs For My Children…
When At Table
Dear children, there are just a few things you should know
Before out into the world you go,
I tell you all the time, and I know you’ll do fine,
But there are rules of etiquette for when you dine…
Get your elbows off the table
I am quite sure you are able
Do not shout, do not bounce
And put your feet in front of you
Do not belch, do not poot,
Eat your veggie and your fruit
And this would be so great
If you would eat over your plate.
Your shirt is not a napkin
Nor is it a towel or mop,
Gently lower yourself to the seat
For heaven’s sake don’t flop,
And please take my advice,
For it isn’t very nice
To make others shoot milk through their nose deliberately.
The world doesn’t need to hear
Each and every single thought that comes to mind,
Especially the ones that are not kind,
But where others fail you surely must not
If you haven’t anything nice to say
Don’t say anything at all.
Keep your lips closed while you’re chewing
Keep the food inside your face
Keep the chair on all four legs
Because that is its proper place
And please do not pick your nose
For it is very, very rude,
And for the love of God my child,
It is not food.
Do not carve in the table
with the tip of your steak knife,
I tell you this quite frankly
For I value your life.
Oh, my dear children, how glorious,
if only you’d obey!
Then we’d all live to see another day!
I really mean it!
We’d all live to see another day!
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