Bird Dog

In my new Harvest House Book "On The Road With The Oak Ridge Boys" I touch upon the amazing effect that our group and our music have had upon special needs children over all of these times passing. It has always been such a rewarding blessing when we hear of say an autistic child who does not communicate hardly anything at all to anyone recite the names of all four OAKS or to be able sing out every single word of "ELVIRA." We have done a lot of work with Special Olympics over the years and it is always been amazing to me that a special child on some level of understanding believes that William Lee Golden sings "Thank God For Kids" just for them. It boggles the mind and warms the heart.

Then there is the 'Bird Dog!' We used to know him simply as Joey from North Carolina and his parents have been bringing him out to hear us sing since he was a very small boy. Joey suffers from cerebral palsy for certain and his out of control body always shakes with uncontrollable joy whenever any one of us stops to talk to him and of course we always do. His mom and dad always make sure that his wheelchair is strategically parked right where we can see him as we get off the bus to sing and he is always right there after the show as well to say good bye to his favorite group. Joey loves the Oak Ridge Boys and always has. His room is adorned with our pictures and our music is always blaring on his sound system or iPod.

Joey cannot talk through his disability. All he can do is make a series of indiscernible sounds. To shake his hand one must grasp it firmly which is not an easy task as moves as if it had a life of it's own.

Joey is almost thirty years old now and has been coming to shows all of these years but over the last five or so something miraculous has happened. Joey can now communicate through a special computer and he emails me quite often. It is amazing to find that a very intelligent and all American boy lives inside of this uncontrollable body. His early emails came from Joey In Carolina but more recently they come from Bird Dog! Along the way he has become Bird Dog. I am not sure why but it sure makes me smile. I won't go on and on here but an email from Bird Dog might read. "Hey Joe, wanted you to know that I am coming to the show in Newberry South Carolina on March 28th and wondered if you could please sing "God Will Take Care Of You" and dedicate it to my mom. She has not been well of late and I know this old hymn would mean the world to her. You know I love you man. Please say hey to all of The Boys from me. God Bless... CU in SC!" Bird Dog

A young man in a wheel chair who has no control of his nervous system communicates like a valedictorian via email. It makes me sad in a way yet it also brightens and enlightens my heart on every level. Joey AKA Bird Dog is always the subject line and I have now learned so much about a young man who I am certain is not paid much attention to at all out side of his immediate family and The Oak Ridge Boys.

How do you measure a blessing like this? This is just one blog and one story and I thank Harvest House for inviting me to share it. I actually have many stories like this one. I may write about them all one day.

God bless you and thanks for reading.

Addendum: I often think of the book about one John Merrick whose physical deformities labeled him The Elephant Man. I remember people thinking how hideous and sad it would be if an intelligent man actually dwelled somewhere within and it proved out to be true. "It would be better if he was a mad fool," Someone said and I never forgot it for he was far from being a FOOL.

Perhaps you know someone like The Bird Dog. It is worthwhile to spend a little time and get to know them. My daddy was disabled most of his life. A stroke at age 39 crippled him and took 90% of his ability to speak. I found I could always understand him. You just have to take the time! God will bless you for it...