“..and I do appreciate you being ‘round” – The Beatles, Atlanta, 1965
Eighteen months after they appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and virtually changed the world overnight, The Beatles made their way to Atlanta Stadium (it would later be changed to Fulton County Stadium) as part of their nine-city North American tour. When they emerged from the third base dugout a little after 9:30 p.m. more than 30,000 fans erupted into one, stadium-shaking scream. As flash bulbs lit up the night sky the Fab Four kicked off the show with a rousing rendition of “Twist and Shout,” followed by “She’s A Woman” and a bevy of other hits including their latest smash, “Help.” The screaming drowned out the music, first aid stations were packed with young girls who had fainted and police officers got a workout trying to keep rabid fans from jumping the railing to get a closer look.
It was August 18, 1965 and my sister-in-law, Cathy Mouledoux, was there. She was all of 12 years old. She wanted to see Paul, “the cute one,” and hear him sing her favorite song, “I’m Down.” The boys didn’t let her down. They closed the show with it….and just like that…they were gone, on their way to Houston for a 3:30 p.m. show the next day. Just like that…they were gone.
Most of you know all there is to know about The Beatles, so I want to tell you a little more about Cathy. You’ll never read about her in the tabloids or see her picture on the front page of the paper. She’s not a rock star, a movie star or anything other kind of star. She is just one of the finest human beings I have ever known. She could make a friend anywhere, talk to anyone about anything, and she would always listen intently to what you were saying so she could formulate a response. She has friends all over the world and she is generous and supportive beyond anyone’s imagination.
I will never forget Father’s Day, 1997. My father was really struggling. He had lost his job and his self-esteem and was a couple of months away from losing his house. He was putting on a brave face for everyone, but I knew deep down he was hurting. All of us kids gave him the usual stuff you give dads; socks, cologne and cigarettes. Then there was a card from Cathy. He opened it, looked inside, and turned pale. “What’s this?” he asked. It was a check for exactly what he needed to stay afloat. He was speechless and so were the rest of us. She said it was a gift and that she had it lying around and didn’t know what else to do with it. She could have done a million things with the money, but she chose to give it to my dad who really needed it. Nearly 13 years later, it’s still one of the most unbelievable random acts of kindness I have ever witnessed.
She has four daughters of her own and also assumed the role of mother to her sister and my wife, Maureen, after their parents died two years apart when Maureen was a teenager. She paid for all of us to visit her and her husband, Rene’, in Melbourne, Australia two years ago. She knew we couldn’t afford it, but she wanted us to see the beauty in a country that she loved so much. She was always willing to share her good fortune for the right reasons. She honestly wanted you to experience the joy she was feeling…no matter what it cost her in time or money.
After a brave battle against pancreatic cancer, Cathy passed away last night at the tender age of 57. It was peaceful with her husband and four girls around her. If anyone on this planet didn’t deserve this fate, it was her. However, through more 20 months of ups and downs I never heard her once complain or say “why me?” when she had every right to do so. Day after day, she just smiled her beautiful smile and worried about how everyone else was dealing with it and how they would get along after she was gone. She could barely speak at the end, but was able to tell those closest to her “I love you.” She was unbelievable to the end.
Cathy, I thank you for everything you did for me. I thank you for listening to me and supporting me. I thank you for coming out to see my band play on a Wednesday. I will miss you every day. You were more like a sister than a sister-in-law and I consider it a privilege to have known you. You will be in all of our hearts forever. We will never forget you.
As I say one last goodbye, I think of those words John Lennon sang on that hot, humid Atlanta night so long ago…
“Help me if you can I’m feeling down…and I do appreciate you being ‘round”
…they could not ring more true today. We will see each other again, and when we do, I’ll be expecting you to show me all the cool places….just like you always did. (This was written by George Kovacik)