I was going to print this weeks ago, but got snowed under by the typical avalanche of things to do. A few weeks ago, Veeka and I had to go to Nashville, so I left a day earlier to catch a good-bye concert being given at a restaurant barely two blocks from our hotel. Turns out a contemporary Christian musician named Pam Mark Hall was leaving Nashville, where she’d been for about 30 years, to move back to her home state of California. I remember PMH well from my college years in Portland, where she was quite the celebrity after releasing two albums that so captured the spirit of the Jesus era back in the ’70s.
Portland, her marriage fell apart, some of her Christian friends dumped her and she went into other occupations for about 20 years. She is only just now coming back to doing Christian music. Bits of her story appear on her web site and even more on her Facebook page. Anyway, I dragged Veeka to this restaurant in freezing weather the night of Jan. 24. About 30 people were there, most of them well past 50. PMH, who was 61, was dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved white shirt and the event was to say good-bye to her friends in the area and maybe sing a bit. Her voice was much lower and much more throaty than years before. She talked a little of leaving church after her divorce because ‘my community went silent and I walked away.’ Perfect poster child for why people quit church. After the divorce, she wrote the song ‘Angry Woman’ and 25 years later, she played that in a Mississippi church. I met the pastor of that church in this gathering. Maybe this is the sort of thing that goes on all the time in Nashville but Jackson sure doesn’t have a bevy of musicians and recording artists who will all show up on a winter’s eve to say good-bye to a friend.
Does PMH have the same voice she had three decades ago? If that night was an example, I’d say she does not. Still, she’s planning to do some concerts in Oregon this spring to try this new career – her second reinvention – out. “You have to truly end a thing before you can begin another,” a friend told her there and that is true. Yet lots of people there seemed loath to let go of the creativity and beauty that once was and hopefully will be again.
In other news, Miss Veeka has been taking tumbling classes, which she likes. Soon she starts socer, a big experiment for us.