I WAS THINKING LATELY ABOUT ADAM.
He was probably 5 or 6 years older than me. We had been involved earlier in running a church youth club, but it was following my demob from the RAF that we became friends.
By then he was the full-time warden of a local community centre and it was through his work that I became interested and eventually took up a similar post in Glasgow.
Adam lived with his mother and I joined them regularly for evenings of Canasta, a game over which they were really keen. Jean still recalls that one New Year’s Day we Canasta players tried to teach her how to play - and that was after she had been up all night celebrating!!!
I remember when he bought a very old Hillman car from someone in Glasgow. He had problems driving it home, for every time he braked the car slewed to the left. Obviously it needed urgent attention, but instead of going to a reputable garage (of which there were many locally) he gave it to someone he knew - a man who was renowned for being lazy! Perhaps the vehicle was beyond repair. It lay outside the fellow’s garage till it fell to pieces.
Adam had agreed to be Best Man at our wedding, but sadly it was not to be. He always had had heart trouble and, when his condition worsened, he was given the choice - either an operation with no guarantee of success, or spending the rest of his life as an invalid. He decided to go for it, but tragically he died on the operating table. I suppose a heart operation in those days was always a bit of a gamble.
I’ve lots of memories of Adam -
I remember that he couldn’t smoke a cigarette without an Imperial sweet in his mouth.
There was the time he organised an out-of-doors treasure hunt for the youth club, and no one turned up.
He was always involved in Charities Day events and one year he dressed up as “Patrick McCampsie, the hermit of the Campsie Hills” and arrived in style at Adamslie Park to open the proceedings.
He seemed to know everyone and everyone liked him. Time moves on however, and I don’t expect there are many folk left who remember Adam Stark.
This is a clip from 1934 of a piece of music which was well-known then. There are various titles, but perhaps “Dark Eyes” is the commonest. It’s played by Alfredo and his Gypsy Band.
It is easy enough to be pleasant
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is the one who will smile
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble,
And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the smile that shines through tears.
It is easy enough to be prudent
When nothing tempts you to stray,
When without or within no voice of sin
Is luring your soul away.
But it’s only a negative virtue
Until it is tried by fire,
And the life that is worth the honour of earth
Is the one that resists desire.
By the cynic, the sad, the fallen,
Who had no strength for the strife,
The world’s highway is cumbered today,
They make up the sum of life.
But the virtue that conquers passion,
And the sorrow that hides in a smile,
It is these that are worth the homage on earth,
For we find them but once in a while. (Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1850-1919)
I’ve always been particularly keen on my Quiet Corner blog, and so I was interested to see that last week more people viewed that site than Eighty Plus.
The latest posting on Quiet Corner includes -
A painting “Romeo and Juliet”
A Shakespeare sonnet
A popular song from 1955
And Maxim Vengerov playing Kreisler’s Liebesfreud.
Here’s something different - a short film showing fashion models of the 1920s.
In last week’s edition of “The Week” Alexander McCall Smith lists five of his favourite books. Among them is “The Towers of Trebizond” by Rose Macaulay which he notes begins with this wonderful line :-
“Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.
What a beginning! Brilliant!!!