The day that soul cried, a chilly mist hung over Madison, Wisconsin. Fans of Rhythm and Blues anticipated a thrilling visitor that Sunday night. Singer Otis Redding was scheduled for two shows at the Factory. Three days earlier, Otis had finished recording “Dock of the Bay,” a moody song that would later be his only No. 1 hit on the pop charts.
Otis was accompanied by the Bar-Kays, fresh-faced high school graduates from Memphis. Otis (The Big O) had performed the night before in Cleveland. He, the Bar-Kays, his valet and pilot were flying to Madison in his private twin-engine Beechcraft. They were scheduled to perform at 6:30 and 9 p.m. But they never made it. The plane fell three miles short of the runway and crashed at 3:28 p.m. in the near-freezing waters of Lake Monona. The sole survivor, trumpet-player Ben Cauley, was pulled from the water 17 minutes after stunned witnesses along the eastern shore of Squaw Bay telephoned for help.
On November 8, 1987 members of the Otis Redding Memorial Fund, a Madison, Wisconsin nonprofit corporation, culminated their fund-raising drive with the dedication of a memorial to Otis Redding on the shore of Lake Monona. The memorial consists of three semicircle marble benches, custom carved in Portugal with the initials, O.R. incorporated in the legs, Georgia gray granite marker and a bronze plague. The memorial was temporarily moved to storage to make way for the construction of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Monona Terrace Convention Center. A re-dedication ceremony was held August 15, 1997 on the Roof Garden of the Convention Center, where the memorial is now located.
What I write is inspired by the Creator. It is a natural process, not forced or coerced. It is written as it flows into my mind, and my life experiences and observations of the wonders of nature are the foundation for my insight. I am on a mission to let how I think be a voice that has not been heard. What I write and say is what I believe.
My life has been a road well traveled. There have been freeways, side streets and dead ends. I have been cautioned, sped up and slowed down. I have changed lanes, merged with traffic and yielded to the right of way. I have been first at four way stops and the last to leave. I have driven through heavy rain, sunny days, and dark nights. It is after the darkest of them all, that I came to an intersection. I could pray on or move on. I now move with the traffic. I speed up when I can slow down when I should and pass when I must. Though, I am not in a hurry for life to me is not a race. We get to the end of the road soon enough. I made a decision to stay on the road of life. To take the off ramp is a thing I did not want to do.
I know there is more to say than what has been said. What I have to say is not academic; I simply look at life in a way you may never have. It is how I see the world.