It’s funny how two friends can live several years without any contact, yet still remain in each other’s hearts for decades.
I’m speaking of my friend Randy, who Sylvia and I met in Mrs. Moutz 7th grade English class at Beaumont Jr. High. The three of us (mostly me) were always in trouble for talking and laughing in class. During that school year, and several more after, the three of us were inseparable.
Randy and I competed in a statewide drama duet competition for Jessie Clark Jr. High. He never broke character in our comedy routine. I was like Harvey Korman trying to keep a straight face while Tim Conway ad-libbed through a skit on the Carol Burnett show. For all of you young folks who don’t get the last statement, imagine I’m Jimmy Fallon and Randy was Christopher Walken demanding more cowbell.
Randy has always been very animated, musically gifted, and…well…hilarious.
After high school, Randy went to Cincinnati Bible College and we didn’t see each other very often. However, when Jeff and I got engaged, I knew that there was only one person I wanted to sing at our wedding: Randy Marple. He could sing Prince’s falsetto in the song Kiss and give everyone goose bumps with his deep bass in How Great Thou Art.
Among other songs, I asked him to sing Ave Maria at our wedding. If I live to be 100, I will never forget that moment:
It was June 14, 1986 and it was hotter than Hades in Central Christian Church. Jeff and I had just exchanged rings and it was time to stare at each other blissfully while Randy sang Ave Maria. Halfway through the hymn, I hear a loud thud behind me and a collective gasp from the congregation. I didn’t want to turn around so I whispered to Jeff, “Was that the candelabra?” In a very subtle move, he looked over my shoulder and whispered back to me, “No. It was your sister.” I turned around to see my dad carrying Gail, my 18 year-old sister down the aisle.
Meanwhile, Randy kept singing. As I remember it, it was close to the end of the song and I heard another thud. This time I turned around to see my niece Emily, the junior bridesmaid, collapsed on the floor. Her uncle Steve scooped her up and carried her out while we all wondered who was next. With a long-sleeved-lacey- beaded- to- the-neck 80’s style gown, I was sweating bullets. It was June! What was I thinking wearing a dress like that? I tried to keep my eyes on Randy, willing him the strength to make it through what seemed like the longest song in history.
Wow. What a professional! He never missed a note. To this day, I can’t believe that we don’t have the moment recorded on video tape. We paid for the wedding ourselves and the cost of a $200 videographer at the time wasn’t an option. I still hear people say, “I will NEVER forget your wedding.” Since Emily and Gail didn’t break any bones or suffer concussions, I can now laugh at that comment.
Randy and me, June 14, 1986
Not long after the wedding singer incident, Randy became a high school history teacher, married, and had two gorgeous children. He told me stories about his class and how he would entertain and educate his students with music. Maybe I would have liked history if I had a teacher like Randy.
Still, Randy hadn’t found his bliss….until a few years ago. He opened a fitness center named Temple Fitness in Morganfield, Ky and became a personal trainer. Just recently, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, he began a fundraiser for women who can’t afford mammograms. I can’t help but think that my diagnosis might have helped plant the seed in Randy’s big heart. The fundraiser is named Barbells for Boobs. J
This is from Randy’s Facebook page. I pray that many lives and boobs will be saved!
One in Eight Women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. For every $80.00 that we raise on Nov. 16, one woman who cannot afford to get screened for breast cancer will be able to get screened. PLEASE HELP US save a pair of boobs! If you cannot participate in the workout, please support one of the participants.
This event will take place at Temple Fitness on November 16, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Everyone will pick a partner or will be paired with a partner. Each participant will be performing the Bear Complex, as many circuits as possible in 12 minutes. (Men-85 lbs., Women—55 lbs.) For each circuit your partner completes, please donate $1.00. You do NOT have to be a Temple Fitness member to participate.
To donate, just copy/paste the following link to your browser:
1. Go to barbellsforboobs.org
2. Click on "Join a Team Here"
3. Click on "All Results"
4. Type Randy Marple in the search box
5. Click on Donate
Randy and his son Reed