Start each day with a song — speeches are another thing

By Jim Lee

I was recently invited to present a talk to a Portales organization called P.E.O.
Nobody I asked seemed to know what name those initials represented … either that or it was none of my business.
However, I did learn that the organization does good work for this community and beyond.
P.E.O. is a philanthropic educational organization of dedicated volunteers working hard to provide scholarships for deserving women. When I was asked to speak I had no idea why anybody would want to listen to me, but it was a great honor — whether I deserved it or not.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I still don’t know why a philanthropic educational organization calls itself “P.E.O.”
The specifics of my presentation were pretty much left up to me, but it was supposed to be something related to “heart.” I put that word in quotation marks because the term, I assume, is metaphorical.
It had to be about the symbol because if they had wanted cardiac information they would have invited a medical professional — which I ain’t, by a long shot.
The general topic of “heart” got me to thinking about why on earth had this blood-squirting muscle become the symbol for probably the strongest emotion a human can have. Why should this organ have more emotional identification than any other item in our vast array of innards? Doesn’t it make just as much sense to say “I love you with all of my spleen?” How about best wishes from the bottom of one’s pancreas?
Regardless of the gut selection, isn’t the emotion every bit as much lungfelt?
Oh, well.
I suppose we can attach an emotion to just about any object. Love is such an important feeling, the symbol probably doesn’t matter all that much. Heart is just as good as anything else, so I might as well get back to the topic.
I was supposed to start the talk with a song. Those nice people didn’t anticipate the can of crawlies that opened up. Nine states have passed legislation making it a felony for me to sing inside their borders. Dogs have been known to howl for days upon being warned of a pending song from me. By comparison, Roseanne Barr would be given an award by American Legion for her rendition of the National Anthem.
I warned the group that my singing voice could be a violation of the Geneva Convention, but to no avail.
So I did my little song. Fortunately, it was very brief. Even at that, though, three people smashed their hearing aids with a ball peen hammer. (I wonder if Saundra would catch me putting a nice hammer like that one in my tool box.)
After the neighborhood dogs stopped wailing and the police helicopter went on its way, I started my talk.
The group seemed to enjoy it. After being subjected to my singing voice, any sound would seem like a tulip in a weed patch. Afterward, they politely asked questions and served refreshments.
The refreshments were great. The only thing better than the refreshments at the gathering was the group of great people who invited me. It was certainly a privilege and delight to participate. I appreciate the honor of meeting these dedicated women and learning of their service to the community.
A few days later I received a thank-you card with a nice handwritten note inside. I was very touched by that gesture, but I felt as though I should have been the one sending a card. I should have thanked these wonderful women for providing such a good experience, and we all should thank them for their dedicated service.

Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail: