Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Tribute To My Uncle

I want to take this opportunity on Memorial Day weekend, to tell you about my Dad's brother, Harold Brooks.   As a young man, he served in the Army as an MP (stationed with Lefty Frizzell) He and my Dad grew up performing together as The Brooks Brothers (my Dad on banjo and my Uncle on guitar)  They played area square dances and other events and became quite popular on the local music scene.  They both ventured up North and performed with Ola Belle & Alex at Sunset Park and New River Ranch.  When I had learned enough to start performing with my Dad and Uncle Harold, we formed a band with Dean Clawson called, 'Mountain Drive'.  I hope you enjoy the photos from the mid 80's of my Uncle, my Dad, Dean Clawson and myself.  We played some really fun things for a number of years...The Crosby Golf Tournament, The Vantage Golf Championships, Bermuda Run Country Club, Fiddlers Conventions, Festivals...Harold had a high tenor voice very similar to Bobby Osborne.  He sang a lot of Osborne Brothers songs--and sang them well!  He was a lot of fun to be around and fun to watch on stage.  He served as a member of the North Carolina National Guard and his unit was sent to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm.  He was there serving our Country for many months with his fellow National Guardsmen.  Upon returning to North Carolina, he developed severe breathing problems, due to things he had been exposed to while serving in Operation Desert Storm.   His health began to quickly decline.  When he passed away, my Dad asked if we could work up a couple of songs for Harold's Funeral.  This was Dad's way of paying a final tribute to the brother who had learned to play Bluegrass with him and stood by him on stage so many times in the past.  It was a very hard thing to do...we were singing and playing guitars, while there was a vacant spot beside us...a voice missing from the trio...
For those of you who knew Harold, or at least had the opportunity to meet him, I hope this writing brings back a memory or two and puts a smile on your face.  For those of you who didn't get to meet him, I hope this brief look into his life will make us all continue to realize that the men and women serving to preserve our freedom are Uncles...Brothers...Sons....that have hobbies, talents and interests, but give so freely of themselves for all of us and for our wonderful Country.  Thank you, Uncle Harold.  I sure miss hearing you sing 'The Old Knot Hole'.~CB

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