“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in so many ways.” (Line from a Ray Stevens song.)
My friends profess I have much to be humble about, but although this column may be considered narcissistic, it’s all true and verifiable in my files and tapes. My responses to reporters are unorthodox so read at your own peril.
This is “In a Small Pond” number 100. Who knew I was consistent enough to write that many columns for a newspaper, or that a newspaper would consistently print them.
Over the years I kept a full-time job for 47 years, a radio show for 30 years and according to some I have been consistently subjective, judgmental, undisciplined and mischievous for 86 years and counting. So maybe I am that.
Having achieved modest success in a long musical and political career, I was invited to host or entertain at hundreds of charitable, social and civic affairs, talent shows and beauty pageants. I accepted as many as I could, gratis of course.
For my services I was presented many awards, certificates of merit, plaques and engraved personal items which I’ve kept and cherish. Unfortunately many pre-1964 items were lost in the Hurricane Hilda flood.
Following is a small list of honors I received which were covered by the media, either the Daily Comet, The Times, The Lafourche Gazette or Times Picayune, or on radio, KTIB, KLEB, or KLRZ. My responses to questions by reporters, as quoted below were meant to be humorous and humble. (There’s that word again.)
Crowned “King of Fete Chapette” – (for many years a festival of the arts in Thibodaux).
Leroy: “I never excelled in any one thing, jack of all trades, master of none you might say, but for someone with limited talents, it took nerves to try all the things I did.”
Inducted into the “Louisiana Music Hall of Fame” in Lafayette.
Leroy: “They were getting to the bottom of the barrel and had to have someone.”
A kind friend responded in a Daily Comet letter to the editor recalling a yearly Cajun concert my band and I performed for her elementary school class. “Leroy must be referring to the barrels of public service he was always willing to donate for worthy causes”.
Named “Living Musical Legend of Lafourche” in a ceremony held at Nicholls State University.
Leroy: “It’s not hard to become a living legend in any field. All you have to do is live longer than those who are better than you.”
Named a “Person of Influence in the 20th Century”, a list by the Daily Comet on its January 1st 2001 issue, the beginning of the 21st Century.
Leroy: “What a great honor to be on a list with Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Edward Douglas White and the great State Senator and philanthropist Harvey Peltier, Sr. Are you sure it’s not an error?”
Receiving my third award from the “Cajun French Music Association”.
Leroy: “I’ve now won all your awards except the posthumous one. I’d like to wait awhile for that one.”
When Governor Edwin Edwards appointed me to the Louisiana Music Commission, a Times Picayune reporter phoned me and asked, “What did you contribute to his campaign?” “Nothing,” I replied, “which is why he gave me a job that pays nothing.”
The next 3 successive governors re-appointed me at the same salary.
In the new century, when the New Orleans Jazz Festival and the House of Blues, on their stages at two separate events, named me a “Musical Living Legend”, and when the “Bayou Cajun Music Association” gave me a Lifetime Achievement award, I just said “Thank You”. I had run out of clever things to say.
Next week: The most prestigious honor I received and the one I am most proud of.
Thus ends column 100. Now on to 101. 101? Does that sound like a college course? Surely it won’t be, and don’t call me Shirley.
“Modesty and Humbleness course 101 at NSU, room 203. Modest and humble, me? Come on, give me a break.
Comments are welcomed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Tue, June 14, 2016
by Leroy Martin