A Tribute to Chrisopher Jerome Valladares

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A TRIBUTE TO CHRISTOPHER JEROME VALLADARES

St. Ann’s Church, Midway Road, Elizabeth Park

Thursday, 18th October 2018

In 1971 – almost 48 years ago – I visited Adelaide for the very first time for a holiday and at the invitation of Marianne and Genevieve.
We all did notice that in his earlier years, Chris was passionate about music and resolutely determined to master the guitar. Our generous parents willingly complied. And, thereafter, he would strum that guitar and made admirable progress with each passing day.

However, on this holiday, I was able to see and hear him often, and was just astounded at the progress he had made, not just as a guitarist, but also as a professional singer. He had literally progressed by leaps and bounds.

On one occasion, I found myself at a party and, as was the practice then, Chris was requested to sing, and he readily obliged. Apart from being an accomplished guitarist, Chris had a very good voice, and he sang literally from his heart – he invested himself fully in every song that he sang, regardless of the occasion or company. For him, it was a heartfelt expression of his own sentiments, aspirations and wishes. In a word, he invested his very best in every performance.

The song that he chose that evening was one by Glenn Campbell – Just Try a Little Kindness. I was so rapt by the melody and the power of the lyrics that I have treasured them both ever since. In just one song, Chris encapsulated his entire philosophy of life and his consistent endeavor over the years – as a husband, a father, a grand-father, a professional musician and a devoted friend. He just delighted in “trying a little kindness” wherever or whenever the occasion arose. And this is why he is remembered fondly and with respect, admiration and gratitude.

This is how the lyrics flow:

“Try A Little Kindness”

If you see your brother standing by the road,
With a heavy load from the seeds he sowed.
And if you see your sister falling by the way,
Just stop and say you’re goin’ the wrong way.

You’ve got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness;
Yes shine your light for everyone to see.
And if you’ll try a little kindness, and you’ll overlook the blindness,
Of the narrow-minded people on the narrow minded streets.

Don’t walk around the down and out, lend a helping hand instead of doubt.
And the kindness that you show every day will help someone along their way.

You’ve got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness;
Yes shine your light for everyone to see.
And if you’ll try a little kindness, and you’ll overlook the blindness,
Of the narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.

Very rightly has it been said, “Some people spread happiness wherever they go; others spread happiness whenever they go.” Without a doubt, Chris belonged to the first category – he spread happiness wherever he went. And this precisely is what he consistently did all through his busy and eventful life. If, as the saying goes, music is the language of the human heart with a universal appeal, Chris had mastered it perfectly.

In my Funeral Oration, you will recollect, I referred to the instance of a lady, who would regularly come to listen to Chris at the Paradise Hotel. She was isolated, lonely, and sorely needed a shot in the spirit. And Chris, through his entertaining performance, provided that so marvelously, that the good lady eagerly anticipated every visit on a Saturday night. Music is indeed the language of the human heart with a universal appeal. Chris willingly spread happiness wherever he went.

Again, I met two couples who had driven all the way from Barmera to express their solidarity on the day of his funeral. This meant a seven-hour return trip beginning at 6 in the morning. But they did it for Chris as a mark of their personal affection, esteem and gratitude. Music is indeed the language of the human heart with a universal appeal. Chris willingly spread happiness wherever he went.

His entire life and accomplishments can be aptly summarized in the words of a certain Andrew Grellet, who said: “I shall pass through this world but once. So, any good that I can do, any kindness that I can show, any service that I can render to anyone, I shall do it now and not defer it; for I shall not pass by this way again.”