(Written 2 August 2007, delivered to and received by Melinda with Backup Flowers in Columbus, OH, 11 August 2007)
'Neath flowing waves of Ava Gardner curls,
And newsboy's cap beshadowing your eyes,
Street-smart leather jacket ghetto girls
Sing harmony to lofty angels' cries!
Melinda, "backup-girl" of Tennessee,
To Paula, Simon and the Dawg you came,
With heart and soul in deep humility,
Yet pealed the clarion prelude of your fame!
What ear such golden-honey sweet and strong,
Or eye with dearer beauty'd ere been blest,
When judges three fell awed before your song,
In unison proclaiming you the best?
Who knew, Melinda, slight of frame and years,
That yours so soon would be our hearts and tears?
Burst upon the scene, "Since you've been gone"
Your matchless art ablaze with youthful fire,
Charisma, joyful "yo" and "cute" in one,
Did swift the world's bewonderment inspire!
Weekly styles in turn then took their part,
Jazz, "country", rock, and sultry Latin fare,
Each bowed before your skill and mighty heart,
In those few weeks revealed beyond compare.
Oh Ella, Sassy, Billie, Judy, too!
Take five or ten from Heaven's cabaret,
And look to Earth, upon our Mindy Doo,
Your peer and avatar for us today!
Gladys and Aretha at your core,
Unpretentious as the girl next door.
And as we watched each Tuesday's thrilling show
Your tapestries of wond'rous art unfurl,
And came Melinda, Superstar, to know,
We loved the work, but grew to love the girl.
When we beheld your strength and poise and grace,
And how you turned your eyes to God above,
Whose Spirit sets aglow your sweetest face,
We learned for sure your greatest gift was love.
Who is she now, this master singer grand,
This cuddly woman Orpheus in jeans?
Whence came she to such masterful command,
Through diligence, or ardor, or what means?
This her secret be, she bade us know:
Prais'd be God from Whom all blessings flow!
Melinda! Faithful servant of the Lord,
Who steps aside her "baby's" way to show!
Concern and care in every deed and word,
Who, kids to save, to Africa did go!
Compelled to choose between two groups of friends,
She sat on stage and bade to not be moved;
When time will come for knaves to make amends,
Melinda's way of love will have been proved.
Melinda, who inspires young and old,
The way of work and faith and love to live,
Who in her caring shows us thousandfold,
How so much more than song there is to give!
Quoth Jesus in the hills of Galilee,
"What you do unto them, is unto Me."
Melinda, we adore your gorgeous smile,
Your sweet tea, "modest dress", and "Whitney"-wig,
Chanel, your love for Mom and inner child,
And seasoned pro who bids us all "dream big!"!
"Inside and out" we love you, through and through--
Your soul, art, strength, and wit and beauty rare:
These tigers, poems, and hugs we offer you
Are just impromptu means to show our care!
From gals and guys and, yes, from God on high,
Rejoice in all the love that you have earned,
While I, for one, attest that from you I
The majesty of selfless love have learned.
May e'er your darling kindness open doors,
That holiness and Grace be ever yours.
2 August 2007
(Copyright (c) Bernie, August 2007)