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"Friends Should Be Forever"

Today we received the shocking news 
that our friend Col. Marvin "Buster" Doss has passed away. 
We haven't accepted it yet as fact...because Buster is family. 
I'll miss our phone conversations, emails, exchanges of ideas... 
his creative mind, his soft-spoken laid-back style. 
I already miss knowing he's there if I want to call. 
Friends should be forever. 

I won't tackle Buster's biography here. 
His remarkable adventures and successes are already documented 
much better than I could do... 
especially on a day like this, when focus is hard to achieve. 
He was bigger than life. 

His rich story ranges from western movies, 
through being an award winning magician, 
to music shows and theater ownership, 
to songwriter, singer, producer, and mentor to many. 
He was ahead of the "outlaw" curve in Country Music, managing Cooder Brown, 
and his dedicated work ethic kept him busy for long hours every day. 
He never lost his edge. 

Just a few years ago Misty and I were isolated here in Florida. 
Our biggest adventures were behind us, 
and our friends left over from the golden days 
were just a few phone numbers fading in an old address book. 
We never got used to being out of the limelight, 
and were not really happy with the situation, 
and we didn't know what to do about it. 
But we had friends we hadn't counted on. 

In 1999 Mike Miller, our bandleader in the 1980's, 
took us to Nashville to appear on a big indie show, 
and to receive a "Legendary Entertainers" award. 
Chuck Dixon, promoter and owner of Song 1 records, was in the audience. 
He proposed to release our "Somewhere in Virginia in the Rain" 
on his Song 1 label. 
We'd met Chuck only once or twice many years before. 
The single got good airplay, but we didn't know how to start climbing again. 
We were sad to hear of Chuck's death shortly after that. 
He was a controversial figure, but he was good to us. 

For our anniversary in 2000, 
Wayne Kelley, another old acquaintance not often seen, 
bought us our first computer. 
The one I'm still using as I write this. 
We found a new world called the internet, 
and a new way of finding and nurturing new friendships. 
That's the year our paths crossed with Col. Buster Doss. 

So far we've had about 40 singles on Buster's excellent Stardust label, 
but that's just part of it. 
Buster became a real friend via telephone, email, music, and deeds. 
It's funny how people we've had little or no actual face-to-face time with 
became such a big part of our life. 

My grandmother exchanged beautiful letters with an old friend. 
For many years she carefully wrote carefully on her best linen stationery. 
Her penmanship looked almost like calligraphy. 
These letters were important to her... a lifeline between old friends. 
Today we do it with high speed electronics, 
but the feeling is the same. 

Now we have friends in California, Minnesota, 
Tennessee, Canada, Norway, England, Australia, 
and other places too far to walk to. 
We've been on the comeback trail, 
with a little help from our friends. 

Today's column is for Col. Marvin "Buster" Doss. 
Thank you, Buster. 

Right now I need to go get lost in the music. 

Copyright  August 6, 2006 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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