My Dad...

My Dad...
Herbie "Pompeii" Pilato

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Here Comes The Sun: A Story of Hope"

Today, there are many wonderful charities that organize various "walks" to earn funding for their selected nonprofit organizations.

Years ago, in Rochester, NY (my hometown), circa 1971, my sister Pam and her high-school friend Joyce marched in the "Hike for Hope," which was then a charity walk for the then-medical big-line ocean cruiser that was essentially a massively floating hospital on the water.

At the time, the "Hike for Hope" was a pretty big deal. In fact, Rochester's turn-out that year was legendary, as it became the largest documented march in "Hope's" history.

I wanted to go, but I was too young. Although I did participate in something called the "Walk for Water" the following year, I don't recall exactly which charity that particular march served.

However, I do remember the water that poured down as rain during the monumental "Hike for Hope."

And I remember that rain clearly, because I felt so sad how it drenched the noble "Hikers."

Actually, all of Rochester was upset about the substantial downfall of rain.

But as the old saying goes, none of that dampened anyone's spirits. And to quote another maybe more applicable saying (of the era), the "Hikers," thousands of them, "kept on "truckin'."

Meanwhile, I kept on truckin' - with my parents, Herbie P. and Frances, in our green 1969 Pontiac Catalina, as we decided to set out and find Pam and Joyce in the rain, during one of the largest charity group events that ever took place.

I really didn't understand how we would be able to scout out my sister and her friend amidst the literal "sea of people," but that posed little threat to my parents, especially my Mom. She was determined to find them...despite the rain...and even a little opposition from my Dad.

"Frances," he said to her as I listened from the back seat. "We're not gonna' find those girls. Are you kidding me?!"

"Keep driving," my Mom instructed, ever so calmly.

Meanwhile, all three of us were simply amazed and what we did see. The dedication, loyalty and heart and soul of "all those kids," as my Dad put it, was just awe-inspiring.

Neither of us had any conception of what to expect as we commenced this journey to find Pam and Joyce in the wet masses that were soon surrounding us.

But now all that mattered was somehow, we were going to cheer on "all those kids," by offering the only support that we had at our disposal. And for the moment, that meant maybe playing some music.

As our Pontiac continued to nuzzle through the Hikers and the rain, with the windshield wipers, flumping, at full-speed, I asked my Dad to turn on the radio. At first he declined, but then my Mom doubled that request. "Turn it on," she said to my Dad.

He then reluctantly did so, and as if on cue, we heard the song, "Here Comes The Sun," by The Beatles.

"Oh, Herbie," my Mom said to my Dad, "Turn the music up - and open your window!," she added, as she opened the one on her passenger side.

"What?!," my Dad objected. "I'm not opening nothing. It's pouring out there."

"Do it," she insisted. "Look at those kids. They're soaked out there...and they're walking for something important. So, turn up that music...and open your window!"

That said, in seconds, my Dad did as my Mom requested. He opened his window after she opened hers (both by manual power), and out from our two-door sedan, poured the beautiful sounds of "Here Comes The Sun" to do battle with the pouring rain that was attempting to again, dampen the spirits of the Hikers.

But no way.

When "all those kids" heard that music coming from our car, with the little kid in the backseat and the two older adults in the front, they went wild with emotion.

We never did find Pam and Joyce, but we heard from their thousands of peers, as they shouted, one after the other, "Yeah, man!" "Thank you, Sister." "You're alright, Brother!" "Peace and Love to you!"

And on and on they went - as we drove on and on through the crowd, which was now melted - not by the rain - but by a little bit of Love that came shining through from a slow-moving vehicle operated by a sweet little man, a fast-thinking woman, and the illuminating sounds of very "en-Light-ening" music.

(Click on the link below to hear "Here Comes The Sun" by the one and only Beatles.)

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