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Salsa Cruise was great... and from the midwest.. remembering a dear friend

From: Muhammad A.
Sent on: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 2:46 PM

Dear Charlotte Salsa Maniacs,

The Salsa Cruise on Lake Norman was wonderful. Lots of pictures were taken, and hopefully, those of you who have some to share please pass them along. Special thanks to Cassie, Brandon, and Marlo, you did a great job.

We all partied Friday until 1 am, and the next morning I drove to Chicago to bury my dear friend Clyde Murphy. I left later from charlotte to chicago than I intended for I needed to finish my tribute to him. I mentioned last week that I would share it with you. I am in Iowa now visiting my mother, and God willing, I will return to Charlotte on September 1 or 2. As such, I will miss you all this week at our usual dance locations, but I hope you are all well and will dance one for me.

Appreciate everyone, and cherish those you love,

"the Cat in the Hat"

I Remember Murph

(Clyde Murphy ? 1948 to 2010)

It has been almost a year since I have been on this YBAN (Yale Black Alumni Network) site, much less offered any comments. But today, I must add my voice to the many you will no doubt hear over the next few days; voices commemorating our dear brother, Clyde Murphy.

You will hear of what a great man he was, and what a champion he became in protecting and pursuing the civil rights of others. His achievements truly stand as a beacon of what we can do with our lives and what a difference we can make.

Those of us who knew him as our brother when we were all coming of age at Yale when we were so few, finding ourselves in the midst this new frontier that invited us in, but did not always make us feel welcome; all we really had was each other. The great man that Clyde became was already in evidence.

We are all sad today, and when any one we love passes, we are so hit by the moment and the lost we feel, that their death seems so big, that we often lose sight of the life they lived. So in my tribute to Clyde, in a fashion truly reflective of our relationship; I am going to, as they say: ?tell it like it is.?

By the way, I never, really ever ever ever called him Clyde. He was Clyde the Guide, Murph the Surf; from Opalaka, Florida?just outside Miami. Opa who? When I met him back in 1966, I thought: Who is this Negro who calls himself Clyde the Guide, Murph the surf?? He was living the Black man?s mantra: ?to be cool no matter what.? If you knew Murph, you know he was cool, mellow, peaceful, and yet passionate all at the same time. You could count on him. Before long, we were the best of friends.

When I got married to Beth in San Antonio, Texas, I was honored to have him as one of my groomsmen. When we walked into the church, we walked in to Al Green?s ?Let?s stay together.? How prophetic: the marriage did not last, but our friendship did. When we were at Yale we started the music on WYBC (the WYBC Soul Brothers), Murph and I started Jazz at Yale. On our radio shows we began a tradition: Coltrane at Midnight. At midnight, we always played Coltrane. We loved the music not only as listeners, but we were musicians too. Murph and I were in the then famous band at Yale: Au Naturel. We played gigs all over the east coast, and when Spook weekend came to Yale (yeah you heard me right), we put the P in party; it was heavenly. We had rap sessions, both being psychology majors those conversations were deep, heavy?ya hear me. Well, at least we thought so. Maybe it was in part because unlike Bill Clinton, we did inhale? literally and figuratively. Murph lived life to the fullest back then, and what made it special was doing so with people you cared about.

We brought Alpha Phi Alpha back to Yale (there were no Black fraternities on campus). The main reason we pledged was because we knew we could count on each other; so eight of us took the plunge together. We called ourselves the Omnipotent Octet (hey we were 19 year olds): Ron Howell, Ron Norwood, Carl Palmer, Charles Finch, Dennis Kellman, Henry ?Hank?Randolph, myself (then Ron Matchett); and Clyde the Glide Murphy. The Dean of pledges for our line was Allan Woods (Woody). He was our beloved big brother, and the year to follow I was honored to be the Dean of Pledges for the next line. And I tried to follow his example. We have lost Woody, who became the man in St Croix; Carl, a beloved leader and doctor in Alabama, and now Murph, one of Chicago?s leading citizens: all passing before reaching retirement; each still in the midst of the great works that would occupy their lives.

But a person is much more than the work they do, much more than the occupation that becomes the platform from which they navigate life?s journey. Beneath all that great work Murph did, he was loved; not just by his remarkable family, but by so many of us.

While at Yale, despite it being an all male university (until our senior year), we were fortunate to find the women with whom we would share our lives. Murph met Monica, and they have been together ever since, even sending a daughter (Akua) to Yale. He, like our brother Charles Finch, managed to stay married longer than many of you have been living (38 years and counting), are consummate examples of commitment to family?staying the course. And they all raised remarkable kids (now young men and women). Monica said: ?I think they are better than we were ? better than us.? Monica and Murph are both humble human beings, but we all hope that our children will surpass what we have been blessed to accomplish.

It saddens me, that you did not get to know Murph .But if you know someone, who even if years pass before you meet again, when you meet it is as though no time had passed, then you know Murph. If You know someone who just thinking of them makes you smile, then you know Murph. If you know someone who you know you can count on, no matter what, then you know Murph. If you know someone who loves you despite your faults and does not judge you, then you know Murph. If you know someone who is cool no matter what; then you know Murph. If you know someone who knows you, loves you, and sees you? even if your name changes (smile), then you know Murph. If you know someone like Murph, appreciate them while they breathe. Contact them.

We may not choose our relatives, but we get to choose our friends. And if we are really blessed they choose us too. This day I have lost a dear friend, but his spirit lives on? for he met that standard that Beryl Markham spoke of : ?If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light not just in one flamboyant hour, but it is to be found in the ledger of his daily work.?

Few of us will have that moment when history and destiny come together as King at the Lincoln Memorial or Lincoln at Gettsburg. But as much as those moments may impact our lives, there are people in our lives who the world may know little of (like a parent, a friend, a grandparent, or teacher), who in our lives their impact is the one that shapes us most. In the ledger of living their lives, they have away from the limelight, touched our lives beyond measure. Clyde was like that for so many. Had his great success before the United States Supreme Court never occurred, he would still be one of the great influences on so many lives.. mine included. I miss you already. Writing this somehow is like keeping you in the world, but I know soon I must stop?realizing you are still here.

Murph and I had many favorite jazz songs: Afroblue, Round Midnight, and I remember Bird. Well today, I remember Murph, and when I heard he named his youngest daughter Naima?another one of our favorite songs by Coltrane, I knew I knew her without ever laying eyes upon her? His spirit truly lives.

When Coltrane was a part of the Miles Davis quintet, he told Miles that when I play a solo, I can? t stop?.Miles gave him a hint of what to do: ?take the horn out of ya mouth.? Well, I am going to follow that advice and take my hands off the key board now.

Muhammad Abdullah (formerly Ron Matchett) Yale 70

From Reflections in the Key of Life (an autobiography of ideas - a compilation) by Muhammad Abdullah

On the tragedy of 9/11: "the real ground zero is the human heart."
On our gifts: "our gifts are not just to us, they are through us for the benefit of others."
On Personal Harmony: Soul is when the outside looks like the inside feels.

From Reflections in the Key of Life (an autobiography of ideas - a compilation) by Muhammad Abdullah

On the tragedy of 9/11: "the real ground zero is the human heart."
On our gifts: "our gifts are not just to us, they are through us for the benefit of others."
On Personal Harmony: Soul is when the outside looks like the inside feels.

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