Thankful for the Graham Family’s music and message

Published 11:27 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 years ago, Tommy Graham walked into a music store and walked past a banjo. Something caused him to reach out and run his fingers over the strings of that banjo.

The sound that came from that banjo made an impression on Tommy. He liked the sound, so he bought the banjo.

Tommy Graham’s life forever changed the day he walked into that music store.

He had absolutely no background in music nor did anyone in his family that he was aware of.

However, Tommy practiced and learned to play that banjo alongside his first child, a daughter who sat at his side while he learned to play.

Evidently she liked the sound of music too. Their talent has to be a natural for them.

Saturday night, I went out to El Bethel United Methodist Church to hear the Graham Family sing and play instruments. I too, liked the sound of Tommy and his family strumming, singing and playing instruments. They left such an impression on all who heard them.

I have always thought harmony from a family is beautiful and better than most groups. The harmony that came from this family is just angelic. The talent this family has leaves you aghast.

Tommy has seven children — six daughters and one son. All of them, including his wife, Simmie, are beautiful and talented. He jokingly told us his wife was the producer of the group. She and Tommy have done a wonderful job of teaching their children what is important in life and let them know that a rock star or heroes the world thinks are great are not the heroes to mimic in life.

It was beautiful as the children stood before the crowd and quoted whole chapters in the Bible and sang so beautifully that equaled anything I heard on “America’s Got Talent.”

As they played different instruments such as guitar, violin, banjo, their mom on the bass fiddle (I hope I have these instruments correct) and Tommy played banjo. He also played the French harp. The audience was blessed and entertained at the same time. I smiled so much that night my face was a little sore.

When one of his daughters recited the story of “That Old Ragged Flag” with such emotion as Tommy played along on the French harp, it was hard for a tear to not escape from the eye.

I was sure that if a pin had dropped in the church, you would have heard it as everyone was hanging on her every word. She also recited the charity chapter, or the Love chapter as some refer to it, from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.

Many other Bible verses were recited in their hour-long program. It was clear to me this family knew what was important in life.

Even the very youngest sang as the twin girls with their brother in the middle sang and performed with their harmony equaling those of their older siblings.

I am so happy Tommy decided on hymns and scriptures for his family to include in their performance because it is refreshing to have a family who is different than the world’s view of what is important. It is needed so much today.

The world needs kids who can be role models their own age. They need to realize that what Hollywood shows for role models or idols are not the best to emulate.

During a child’s life they usually see someone they strive to be like and they need those who can stand up to the wiles of the world. Tommy explained that the heroes he wanted his children to learn from were the ones in the Bible.

I have known Tommy Graham for 40-plus years and knew him as a good kid. Now I can say he is a good man.

One memory I have of him was soon after my divorce from my first husband. I was sitting in church one Sunday at Calvary Christian Church alone, when someone slipped in beside me and whispered in my ear that I looked lonely and he decided to sit beside me. He will never know what that random act of kindness did for me to uplift my spirits for that whole day. Tommy had a good heart as a child and an even better one now.

Tommy has a mission in life, I feel, and that is to brighten others life daily. He is doing that. We all have the same mission in life daily. Do we do as well?

 I am so glad Tommy walked by that banjo one day many years ago.