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Mike Cross' Tribute

Gamble Rogers was not only one of America's most treasured performing artists, but also one of the most gracious souls I have ever had the pleasure to know. He was a wonderful musician who played the guitar with clarity and fire, and he wove words into tapestries that spoke to the heart and celebrated the human spirit. His songs and stories were not only joyful to hear but comfortable to listen to because whether they made us laugh with delight or reflect quietly, they always seemed to remind us that whoever we are, wherever we may be, we are all part of one big family.

To me, his shining message always seemed to be: "Rejoice, dear heart, you are not alone." From one who admired him and called him friend, today I send that message back to him.

- Mike Cross, 1991

"A Song for Gamble Rogers" by Mike Cross

He was a weaver;
A spinner of yarns,
A teller of tales with a light in his eyes;
And a dreamer
Whose heart never failed
His spirit set sail on an out-going tide

I can see him in the spotlight telling stories to the crowd
About people they had never met before
With a word and a wink they were laughing right out loud
And no one was a stranger anymore
He was kind as an angel to everyone he met
And he picked like the devil when he played
The applause and the laughter sounded like thunder
As he stormed around the stage


He traveled ‘round the country with his stories and his songs
About everyday people everywhere.
There were feed store philosophers who taught what he called,
“Oklawaha County Laissez-Faire”
There was Penrod, Elfrieda and “The Honey Dipper Tale”
A circus of the mind you could see.
There were bright eyes, sad smiles, renegades in jail
And “Habersham Mephistopheles”


His spirit is still with us in the stories that he told;
In the hearts and the mem’ries of his friends.
And when our time on earth is finally done I know
We’ll all get together once again
So when storm clouds roll over St. Augustine’s waters
And the rumble of thunder begins
That’s just applause and laughter coming down from heaven’s rafters
As he takes the stage once again

© 2006 Mike Cross

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