Sometimes a facial expression, the grace of motion, or a special word
can define or explain a situation far better than an entire chapter.
The unique glow in ones eyes, the sincerity displayed in their warm
smile, or even the hand actions or footwork of an individual can
occasionally communicate far better than volumes of words.
Some words send a vivid message or make a universal statement in
addition to there definition. Consider the man's name "Percy". Many
people would automatically picture a slightly built fellow, most
certainly wearing horn rim glasses, who has on suspenders as well as
belt. You would also assume that this chap would have a lily white
complexion, not being an outdoors type, and he would be engrossed in
studies, lost in reading, or working on the computer. Ninety percent
the people would think of a geek or a nerd when they thought of a
fellow named Percy.
Now ponder the images displayed when you think of the man's name
"Butch". A name that reeks with masculinity. A large, tanned,
fellow, sporting gold chains, tattoo's, and a Marine Corp issue hair
cut. You can almost see Butch lifting weights, riding a Harley, or
showing hand and foot speed inside a boxing club.
I have had three memorable occasions in my life that were defined more
by a persons actions and expressions than by the spoken words. An
just the other day brought back both the first memory from High
and the second in the 1970's. Strangely enough, both of those earlier
events involved Gladys Knight and the Pips.
One of the greatest days of my young life occurred when I was a
with the appearance of Gladys Knight and the Pips at our High School
Graduation celebration. Actually, back in the 1960's they were just a
group of teens called the Pips, and Gladys Knight was one of them.
and a brother, Merald, a sister Brenda, and two cousins were a
group, and the only claim to fame they had was that Gladys had won
Ted Mack Amateur Hour some 8 years before.
One of my classmates was a distant relative to these Atlanta kids and
she swore she could get the group to perform at our high school. She
had also mentioned that the group had recorded two 45's, that were
on the top `100 Pop Hit's' charts, which caused many of us to add
to our record collection. But nobody was too excited until just four
weeks prior to their scheduled school concert, when the group had
granted an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, which was a wildly
popular variety television program, broadcast nation-wide every
evening. Our whole town watched that broadcast in awe and
The school concert was the first and only professional performance any
of us high school kids had ever seen. Even then, Gladys was the lead
singer, with Brenda behind and off to one side, and the three guys on
the other side, singing and doing dance steps to the music. The spins
and dance, the perfect pitch, and the heavenly harmony was a thing of
beauty. Every song performed sounded as though it was played from an
engineered master track - pure PERFECTION.
Their stage presence was awesome, with only slight nervousness, but
glances from the entire group begged for acceptance and approval, and
our mixed group of kids, parents, and community people all expressed
their elation with standing ovations. I am bringing up this
not because of the superb renditions, but because it was my first,
a classic example of communication through gesture, facial
After the opening number, Gladys took a few minutes to introduce
everyone, gave a brief background on the group, and proceeded to win
over everybody's heart with her warm smile. Then she mentioned that
talking was over, there was going to be non-stop singing right
to the finale, and she led into the next song with: "And now I've got
something very special just for you, only you. Can you handle it?" A
huge smile, then asking "Are you ready?" and soon all in attendance
were captivated in her hypnotic trance.
Lucky to have a front row seat, I will always remember that show,
especially the eye contact with Gladys, a young girl no older than
myself, but with a stage prese