Proper perspective

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills: from whence commeth my help.” (King David of Israel, Psalm 121:1)

Look up, raise your eyes to the skies, reach for the stars; such exhortations have been staples on the motivational menu for millennia, and still are. The upturned gaze is the preferred position most of the time but not all; not this time.

Outside the lights dazzled, the marquees flashed their enticements, the crowds milled and the traffic bustled in this city that never sleeps. One of those marquees informed (in modest letters) “In the Lounge, The Three D’s with Sandi and Sally.”

Above our humble announcement, the bright bold words shouted “In the Thunderbird Showroom OPENING TONIGHT—TOPLESS CHORUS LINE.”

Inside the Thunderbird hotel beyond the glitter and the slots and crap tables a solitary figure and his guitar climbed the bare concrete stairs enclosed in the bare concrete walls when he heard the clatter of high heels bearing basically bare bodies; the chorus line descending from their dressing–make that–undressing room.

“Watch your step,” the solitary figure with the guitar mumbled, left foot, right foot. Keep to the right. Hold on to the banister.

He entered his dressing room, set down his guitar and breathed a sigh of relief and fatigue, “Two shows, one night done, about 40 nights and 80 shows to go,” he thought.

Playing to a live audience is energizing, exhilarating. Playing to the walking, leaning, sitting, and slumping dead is a grind. A live show is strenuous emotional, intellectual, even physical work. Especially if you flog the guitar and banjo with the enthusiasm Dick always did. But in turn the audience sends their energy flowing back to you. But a jaded, lifeless crowd sucks you dry.

Welcome to life onstage in a Las Vegas lounge.

The Three D’s with two talented BYU coeds Sally Flynn and Sandy Griffiths had just returned from a tour entertaining troops in Viet Nam. The popular songs, and fast paced show we developed, and–let’s be honest–the beautiful young women were a great hit with the troops. The show also lent itself to a Las Vegas venue, so we auditioned, and were booked into the Thunderbird Hotel. In wasn’t our native habitat, but we had our moments. “The Las Vegas Review and Journal” newspaper dubbed us the most talented young act on the strip. They also called us “Purity Playhouse” for our squeaky clean show.

Penrod Glazier, my bishop from back home was in Las Vegas for an educational convention. He dropped in to the lounge unannounced one night. I have been pleased over the years to remember we didn’t have to change a note or a joke in our show to make it bishop worthy.

The first night we opened in the lounge, the main show room launched their new topless musical show. Great timing. The chorus girls’ “dressing” room was a floor above us with only one set of stairs. For six weeks they often came down as we went up. I happened to be alone on my way up the stairs that first night. I thought among other things, “I have three young sons, and more children to come we hope. They will grow up in a world more and more blatantly sinful.

“My children and even grandchildren may ask me some day, ‘When you walked by those ladies, did you look.?’

“I will tell them the truth, ‘Oh, I had to look; otherwise I would have tripped and fallen on my face The trick is to focus on good things. I kept my eyes down and could see. They all had very pretty feet.’”