A Letter From Fred


Green Shoe Creative in Peoria, Illinois held a singer-songwriter contest over the summer asking people to upload their best original song to YouTube.

They received an unexpected and unassuming entry in the form of a large manila envelop mailed to their office containing a letter and a handwritten page of lyrics inside.

The entry was from 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh with a song dedicated to his lifelong love and wife of 75 years, Lorraine, who had recently passed away.

I started reading through the song, and he titled it Sweet Lorraine. Listening to the lyrics and the passion behind the lyrics… it was so heartwarming. [We] decided to take Fred’s lyrics and bring them to life. We decided to put them to professional music, professionally record it…

Jacob Colgan, producer at Green Shoe Studio

Fred, at 96, became the oldest artist to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 for his song. Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel over at NPR have more in their interview with Fred and Jabob.


Mr. Happy Man

Matt Morris Films brings us this wonderful short documentary about 88-year-old Bermudian Johnny Barnes who gets up at 2am each weekday so he can spend 6 hours each morning waving and spreading joy to motorists from a traffic circle. Johnny has gotten the nicknames “Mr. Happy Man” and “Mr. Good Morning” from those in the community where he’s obviously had a great and positive impact.

There was a morning when I was traveling into the city. It was not a happy morning and I could see in the distance Johnny Barnes and I had made up my mind I was not going to look because I wanted to hold on to my unhappy moment. But I ended up looking at him and sure enough he forced me to smile and remember that I had a choice for my day: to smile and be happy or carry this heavy weight of anger with me. That’s what he reminds me of everyday; that there’s a choice in how we start our day.

Thanks to Matt Morris and everyone involved in this project for sharing Johnny with the world. And thanks to Johnny for reminding us all that we too have a choice in how we want to face our day, each and every day.

via Laughing Squid