In a few hours I'll be out trying to do something I haven't done before - run a second marathon in 48 hours. That's not much by my crazy friends' standards but it's another first for me if I do it. And people like today's inspiration are what got me here after 64 years. Mr. Jim London passed away a little over a year ago and I don't know why but it's affected me more dramatically than most other passings - especially since I didn't personally know Jim (I'd only met him twice at St Jude Radiothons and I know he didn't know who the heck I was).
But even though I didn't know him personally, he was with me every single day for so many years as I commuted to work in the Washington, DC area. He and Mary Ball and then he alone sat right there in my car every day as I drove the 60 miles in I-95 traffic. He heard everything I called other drivers and responded back with wonderful Country Music - although I might have first heard him when he was doing Oldies - I can't remember that far back - I know he gave me both Oldies and Country music and I think I got to hear him (amazing actually ) on the first day of a new DC radio station - Oldies 100! What a great find that was -not only because of the music but because of the people. He and Mary were something I looked forward to every single day of my life and I almost (not quite but almost) missed commuting on the weekends because I couldn't hear them.
Jim's voice was so deep and powerful that you just felt safe and warm when he was on the air. It was as if nothing bad could possibly happen to you. That voice and gentle nature simply resonated with you all day long.
So why is Jim an inspiration to me. Because he was so gentle and kind and cared about his listeners. Here is San Antonio I've been fortunate enough to find a morning show that has two wonderful people that also care about the listeners but in DC there were not alot of them. And whether the DJs (radio personalities...lol) know it or not, the audience can tell if they really care - because the DJ will talk to them, not around or at them. And Jim (and Mary) definitely talked TO you. No matter what, Jim was always there - you know he had bad days, didn't feel great, was not in a terrific mood or whatever, but as they say - the show must go on - and he never, ever let on. He was a rock. The closest I've come to seeing him not be a rock was when Mary left radio and they had a going away party for her. I got to stop in for a few seconds and was just one of the many but I remember the emotion was palpable and it wasn't just Mary - it was Jim and Mary - for they were truly a Team - Jim was never the same on the air after that. Although he was still wonderful, it was as if there was a piece of him missing. I think you just sync with some people some times in your life if you're lucky and Jim and Mary were two of those people.
Jim knew everything there was to know about Country music (and I think all genres of music) and you could learn so much just by listening for the title or artist of the song - it was an education you didn't even know you were getting. And Jim truly cared about Country music - that is what makes something live on forever. When people have that passion and Jim London certainly had that passion.
One of the most indelible pieces of his life that is forever embedded in my life is the song he co-wrote with Maura Sullivan called Christmas Eve in Washington - and probably because I loved it when it was cold and snowy in DC, that song is probably my most favorite song ever. Listen to it if you get the chance.
Mr. Jim London will live on in our hearts forever and I thank him for all those years he commuted to work with me and I thank him for keeping my sanity on those long drives. And I thank him for his tremendous support of St Jude Children's Research Hospital , which as many of you know is my primary passion. If it hadn't been for Jim and Mary I would never have heard of St Judes! That is something I'm forever grateful for.
Rest in peace Jim - you are still loved!