We first moved to this area in 1975. The Pitts family lived next door: Bonita babysat, and Ronnie worked in Kansas City at Sears. They had three children.
My kids would ask to go over there to play, and since Bonita had a houseful, I'd let Jimmy and Rachel go over, but I'd set a time limit: Be back in an hour.
One time they came home after spending their allotted hour over there, and I asked six-year-old Rachel, "What have you guys been doing?"
"Singing," she answered.
She answered that yes, Donnie (who was perhaps thirteen at the time) had been playing the piano and they had been singing.
Later on, we got to know the family. They were all musically inclined. Ronnie played guitar, Bonita sang. Donnie played piano, and he and his sister, Ronda, sang in harmony. The youngest boy, Kevin, is the only one I never heard singing or playing an instrument.
Bonita sang a country song I had never heard anywhere else, and she did it with style. It was so good that, in my mind, I can still hear her singing it. Google tells me that a guy named David Wills had a hit of the song in 1975, and I sometimes hear it nowadays in Cliff's shop, on his satellite radio. But for years, I actually thought Bonita wrote the song. She sang it with that kind of feeling.
Here's the song by the person who actually recorded it; I'd give a hundred dollars if I could hear Bonita singing it again, because I swear she did it better:
The kids got older, and sometimes I'd sing along with Donnie and Ronda. I even bought an old piano once just for them. We put it in our kitchen, so Donnie could play and we could all sing together. One time we moved the piano outside and had the Pitts family over for a singalong in the yard! There was one song that Ronnie did especially well:
Oh, they were a talented family. Did I mention that they're related to country singer Sara Evans? But it didn't stop there.
Ronda is still singing. So is Donnie. And Donnie's boys, the twins that Cliff considers his grandchildren even though they aren't related, are picking, grinning, and drumming. I've shared this video before. I know the quality leaves something to be desired, but I recorded it with a dinky little Powershot camera, so what do you expect? Travis is on guitar, Tyler is on drums. Their dad, Donnie, is playing keyboard.
Quite a legacy, I'd say.
Continue to keep Tyler in your thoughts and prayers. So far he has refused to let cancer whip him. If anybody can beat the "big C", he can.