08/21/12 Miller’s Senior Living Community was full of fun and surprises on Friday afternoon, August 17th.  The fun started with the annual Lazy, Hazy Crazy Days of Summer picnic.  The dietary staff grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken and added all the trimmings for a summer picnic.  Following the picnic Jerry Holcomb of Anderson, In. entertained with his guitar and vocal solos.  He had a nice selection of songs beginning with, of course, “The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer which was made famous by the late Nat King Cole.  He was joined on several songs by his wife and daughter who provided beautiful harmony.

The surprise came after Holcomb’s concert when Activity Director Cindy Flagg asked the residents and guests to stay just a little while longer as there was a special guest in the building who had a surprise to share.  The surprise was for resident Gladys Umbaugh.

Several years ago during a “Poetry Corner” activity, Umbaugh had shared several poems that she had written earlier in her life.  The poems were about her home place and the beautiful, natural surroundings.  One poem in particular stood out because it was a lovely poem about finding love during mid-life.  It was titled “Young Again” and Umbaugh had written it in 1971.  After she read it aloud everyone taking part in the activity agreed it would make a lovely song.

After hearing the poem, Flagg began looking for a song writer.  She asked several different people over the past couple years but nothing worked out, until she met Steven Douglas.

Douglas, Director of Business Development for Manan Hearing Care spends one day a month at Miller’s taking care of resident hearing needs.  Through conversation Flagg discoveredDouglaswas also a musician and invited him to perform at the facility.  After getting to know him a little better Flagg asked if he wrote music.

“Funny you should ask that,” repliedDouglas.  “I’ve just started trying my hand at writing music.”

Flagg explained the situation and asked if he would be interested in setting the poem to music.   He agreed to take a look at it.

It only took a day or two and Douglascalled to say he had a tune.  He and Flagg mad arrangements for him to come to the facility and debut the song as a surprise for Gladys and her friends.   Everyone gathered in the Main Lobby under the pretence that Steve was going to sing couple songs.  He opened with “Johnny B. Goode”.  He introduced his second song by stating he was going to try out a new song he had just written.  He told that the words had been written in 1971 by someone that they all new.   He then invited Gladys Umbaugh to come to the front and listen as he sang.  As he began to play the beginning chords he said, “Gladys, this is your song!”

Needless to say, Umbaugh was quite surprised and seemed very pleased as he sang the sweet melody that he added to the touching lyrics.   He finished the song to rousing applause. He hugged Umbaugh and thanked her for the opportunity he’d been given to write his first song.  He then presented her with a copy of her poem with his musical notations.


Photo 1:  Gladys Umbaugh listens as Steve Douglas ofFt.Wayneperforms the song he wrote using her touching poem, “Young Again”.


  Photo 2:  Musician Steve Douglas poses with Gladys Umbaugh of Miller’s Senior Living Community.