You didn’t have to spend much time with Debbie’s Dad, Lt. Col Ernest Payton (The Salvation Army), to know that his life revolved around music. Whether it was following, along with Joan, the riffs of a Big Band song on the radio, crooning with Nat King Cole about chestnuts roasting over an open fire, singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing or anything about Christmas, playing memory games with the church tunes from his 8 decades in the faith, playing the tuba in the Army band or, of course, as the bandmaster. Yes, in every setting, he was the leader of the band. He brought music to our lives in so many ways. His song is in our souls. His joy rings in our ears. His magnetism draw us to the memories.
The music paused this morning, as Ernie passed from this world to the next. We grieve the silence. We miss him already. Our father, brother, husband, uncle, friend, and purveyor of kindness and salvation to countless.
But this is not the day the music dies. His legacy is the cloud of witnesses who love him. His music will never end, for its resonates in generations to come, the heirs of those who have benefited from his life well lived and given.
And Ernie. He’s now part of the greatest brass band in eternity, worshipping the King of Kings. Unencumbered, pain free, light afoot, with boundless energy once again, his music rings once more.
But he leaves an enormous void; we cannot express how much we will miss him. Who will lead our band?