Pastor Dan Damon

Pastor Dan DamonWhile working on this episode of Stories from The Point, I kept thinking of the proverb, “If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.” Our guest, Pastor Dan Damon of Point Richmond’s First United Methodist Church, seems to lead his life by this wonderful saying. And in his audio postcard, he shares with us a personal experience that offers a similar encouragement to cut through the perfectionism that I’m sure holds many of us back from truly expressing ourselves.

Pastor Damon grew up in a fairly restrictive household, with very little exposure to any breadth of musical styles. But before entering seminary school and ultimately bringing together his two life passions – religion and music – Pastor Damon graduated college as a vocal music major. Even though he would have liked to major in piano, he admits, “I wasn’t a piano major because I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have the Bach and Mozart background. But I had enough voice and I got in as a voice major and sang my way through.” Yet, that didn’t stop him from branching out after college and learning to play musical genres he really hadn’t much exposure to until adulthood (rock, jazz, etc), on piano no less!

To me Pastor Damon is both a music advocate (an anti-snob if you will) and a true spiritualist (call it what you will). What I mean is this: Musically he is someone who truly appreciates the art of music, but works just as hard learning it as he does getting others to see that you don’t have to be a piano or vocal superhero to create music. And in regards to religion, this non-practicing Jew (me) truly appreciates how well he humanizes the practice of religion. In this day and age, I see religion most often equated to intolerance, fear, and condemnation. That’s not Pastor Damon. He has built the First United Methodist Church into a welcoming place where you can come to seek solace and support as well as to simply check out great music. To end, “If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.” Don’t be afraid to be yourself. That’s what I hear in this episode of Stories from The Point. What do you hear?

The piano in the background of this episode is all from Pastor Damon. You can buy his CDs online at www.damonstuneshop.com/record.htm. You will find jazz, hymns, and solo piano. All of which are very enjoyable. To be sure, something for everyone.

Please remember, I love to read your comments. So, after listening be sure to leave yours. Enjoy this Story from The Point!

 

Visit Pastor Dan Damon online at:

www.damonstuneshop.com

Visit the First United Methodist Church of Point Richmond: www.pointrichmondmethodist.org

Do not to miss the two music series hosted inside the beautiful First Methodist Church of Point Richmond:

Point Richmond Acoustic: www.pointacoustic.org

Point Richmond Jazz: prjazz.org

Steve Wyrick

photo of Steve Wyrick[Update: Steve passed February 2014. Services were held at Wilson & Kratzner Mortuary Civic Center Chapel, followed by a wonderful gathering of family and friends who met at his home here in The Point.]

When my wife and I first moved to Point Richmond, we kept hearing stories about this guy named Steve who had lived here since the early 1940s. People shared fun stories, but mainly kept saying he was quite the character and that I just had to meet him. Well, I finally got the chance to sit and talk with him and I didn’t want to leave.

I don’t know for sure, but I’d say Steve Wyrick is probably the oldest member in the Point Richmond community. Besides living a long and healthy life, Steve’s enthusiasm for it is one of the things that really stands out when talking with him.

First of all, for much of his life Steve was a prolific gardener. For years he shared with his surrounding neighbors the bounty from his garden. He grew carrots, peppers, tomatoes, artichokes, string beans.  He also has 3 different types of lemon trees, an orange tree and a “prized” pear tree.

In his aged, Texas-rooted voice, Steve told me, “I always started with Early Girl tomatoes. I’d get them first. [I’d] always buy at least six of those. I’d plant in the same spot every year but I put in old 10-10 fertilizer, you know, and then you’d chew it down into the ground. That makes everything grow good!”

At nearly 97-years old he’s had to stop gardening. Now his garden is tended to by some of his family members who plant a few items, but mainly keep the grounds clear of weeds. When talking about the gardening help he now gets, Steve said, “They’re very good but they don’t understand the basic stuffs for gardening, you know?! I try to teach ’em.” Adding with his wonderful and sly laugh, “but they don’t listen to me. Ain’t that something?! Yes sir, boy.”

As you’ll hear, Steve has lived a full life and you can still hear the zest he has for it in this episode of Stories from The Point. Once you’re done listening please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

 

Thanks to patchen and RHumphries at freesound.org for the train sounds.

Dee Rosier

Dee RosierFor this week’s edition of Stories from The Point, we meet with one of our neighbors, Dee Rosier, who has lived in Point Richmond for 53 years. In her audio postcard we get a wonderful glimpse of Dee’s sense of humor, her caring personality, and learn a bit about her background. It was a pleasure to listen to her stories, but they left me with a bit of a challenge – which stories do I share!? I opted to do a little of everything, just like a postcard from a friend would be. We will most likely hear from Dee again because she is a wealth of Point Richmond history. Actually, Dee does volunteer with the Point Richmond History Association and you can visit them online at: www.alkos.com/prha. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. I love to get feedback so please be sure to leave a comment after listening.

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