Fly on, Little Wing

By WES BROOKS,

Choosing a song for this article was tough. Nothing came to mind when it came to the subject of today’s article that I didn’t think would be trite or just plain cheesy so, that’s why this article’s song is an instrumental.

And although it has no lyrics, once you listen to it (I highly recommend with headphones), I think you’ll agree it doesn’t need any—this tune has ALL the feels.

It’s rare that a cover outdoes the original version, but those who know me well have heard me say “if Jimi Hendrix could’ve lived to hear Stevie Ray Vaughan’s version of this, he would’ve said ‘yeah, that’s what I meant’.”

Grab your headphones and search out Stevie Ray Vaughan’s posthumously released album The Sky is Crying for his version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.”

Additionally, Hendrix’s explanation of how he came up with the song was pretty cool:

“I got the idea when we were in Monterey and I was just lookin' at everything around. So I figured that I take everything I’d see around and put it maybe in the form of a girl, or something like that, and call it ‘Little Wing,’ and then it will just fly away.”

I have a good friend… sorry, Hattiesburg has a good friend who will be moving away in a few weeks. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Staci Cox about five years ago when my life was, in a word, busy. I’d just taken office as President of my Rotary Club, I was going through the Leadership PineBelt program, we’d just started a four-year capital campaign at work with a seven-figure goal, and throw trying to be a good husband and father on top of all that.

To say Staci is selfless, would be quite the understatement. Those who have called on her know that, if called on, the first thing she will most like say is “What can I do to help?” and do it with complete magnanimity. Like me, if you know her, then you have many, many stories that reflect how endearing she is. I’ll share one of my first.

It’s November 2013, I’ve only been holding the Rotary gavel for about 3 months, and it’s the night before our club’s big Bike-A-Thon fundraiser and I’m having one last pow-wow with everyone involved to go over work assignments. I’m sure my subpar poker face betrayed every bit of stress and anxiety I was feeling in that moment (ref. Finding Focus, 3/23/18, “It’s Written All Over My Face”).

Front and center was Ms. Staci Cox and, of course, the first thing she said was “what can I do to help you?” At the time, I didn’t know her well enough to know that this wasn’t just some platitude. The exchange went something like this:

Me: Sure, how about a wake-up text message at 4:30 a.m. and meet me here at 5:15 a.m.?

Her: How do you take your coffee?

Me: …(oh my, she’s not kidding)…

Me: Oh, Staci, I wasn’t serious, and I sure don’t expect you to do any of that.

Her: You sure about that?

Me: (my best poker face now on) Oh yes, please don’t do that, you’ve already done too much.

Let me break in the story here to clarify something that, to me, makes the exchange pretty special—Staci Cox is not a Rotarian and was there under no obligation. She was just there to help.

Well folks, again, it’s a good thing I didn’t shoot for a career as a professional gambler, because at 4:30 a.m. a text message hit my phone that read “WAKE UP! Bike-A-Thon Day!” Did it end there? I thought for sure it would. Being somewhat obsessive, in these situations I feel like I have to be the first person to arrive so that unforeseen issues can be handled with time to spare.

Not this time. When I got out of the car I was greeted with big smile, a big cup of coffee, and “what do you want to start on first?”

For those of you who know her, that story isn’t surprising or unique because you all have them too. And like me, you’re going to miss her like crazy too. Our community has been made better through her efforts as children’s ministry coordinator at Ekklesia, The Avenues Alliance, Hattiesburg Junior Auxiliary, Lucky Day Scholars Program, or the United Way of Southeast Mississippi and the 21 partner agencies there that she championed.

Even though we are sad, it’s overshadowed by our joy for her recent engagement to Kevin Davis and the life they’ll start together in Tennessee. (Additional kudos go to Franklin Tomorrow for being wise and hiring her quickly.)

Oh, and party bonus, The 6550’s have been honored with rockin’ her wedding reception.

Fly on, Staci Cox. We love you and couldn’t be prouder of and for you.

P.S. Staci, you and Kevin have 18-24 months to get Tennessee out of your systems and move back.

 

When he’s not rocking his socks off, Wes Brooks spends his days as the Development Coordinator at the DuBard School for Language Disorders at The University of Southern Mississippi.  Brooks is a husband, a father, and a guitarist for the local band, The 6550’s.