Babooners are music lovers – that’s how this blog got started. But many of the artists we appreciate work out beyond the edges of the very intense spotlight that shines on the mega-stars who will get all the attention on Sunday night’s Grammy broadcast. Today’s guest blog revolves around one of those hard working musicians.
It was written by Steve Grooms

In the winter of 1995, a southern singer made a northern tour to promote her first CD, arriving in Minneapolis in the middle of a heavy snowstorm. Kate Campbell was born in New Orleans in 1961. She grew up passionately interested in civil rights and all the changes she saw going on in the South. She began writing intelligent songs, folk songs with poetic elegance. Kate called her first CD “Songs From the Levee.”

To promote her evening gig, Kate dropped in on the Morning Show, hosted then by Dale Connelly and Tom Keith. She performed three numbers and said she’d be appearing that evening in a little café that used to sit kittycorner from Odegards’ bookstore, on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul.

In spite of the cold and snow, I decided to go. When I go to the restaurant I had to feel sorry for Kate. She was an obscure singer in an obscure venue, performing in the middle of the week during a snowstorm. Her audience consisted of three guys, counting myself. At times like that I don’t think about whether an entertainer is amusing me; I always worry that they won’t have a good impression of Minnesota, and I clap with abandon to show them that Minnesotans have big hearts.

Kate, of course, was gracious. She played guitar and sang her favorite songs as enthusiastically as if this had been a White House concert. Ira, her husband, Ira stood at the back of the room with a box of CDs, enjoying the concert.

Kate Campbell

When the concert was over I clapped enthusiastically and then approached Ira to buy a CD. He showed me what looked like two different CDs but explained that they were both “Songs From the Levee.” The difference was that there were two versions of the cover art. A little confused, I asked if it mattered which one I bought.

Ira thought, then brandished a CD whose cover featured a yellow watercolor scene. “This is the original cover art,” he said, “and you might as well get it. If Kate’s first CD becomes a collector’s item some day, this one will have more value.”

I was speechless and I looked at him closely to see if he had been kidding. This man had just watched his wife spend an evening serenading three Minnesotans in puffy coats and drippy noses. If he felt humiliated, it sure didn’t show. Instead, he was talking about her first album becoming a collector’s item! I bought the CD with the original art but was too distracted by Ira’s faith in his wife to ask Kate to autograph the jewel case.

On Grand Avenue outside café the snows whirled dreamily like a snow globe. As I stepped into the night I was thinking, “Oh, lady, I hope you love him like he loves you! That man believes in you absolutely. I don’t know what kind of career you are going to have, but I would bet tonight that your marriage is going to go the distance.”

The new company created by Kate and Ira just released her eleventh CD.

Has anyone ever believed in you at a time when you weren’t sure you even believed in yourself?

49 thoughts on “Faith”

  1. Morning all!

    My dad always had faith in me. Of course, as is typical with kids, I didn’t appreciate it until later in life. And his faith came out in quirky ways. Like the time he sent me information about opening a Church’s Fried Chicken franchise – when I had been a vegetarian for over 10 years. Or the time he gave me the phone number of a publisher he had met on the plane, saying I should send this publisher some of my school papers to show the publisher how well I write.

    But the faith that meant the most to me was his faith that adopting a child would be a good thing in my life. From the minute I thought about adoption, I knew China was where I wanted to go, but at that time China was actually closed to adoption (it had been open for a couple of years and was “temporarily” closed). My father arranged for me to meet a Chinese professor at the university in St. Louis to discuss it. (This poor professor was terrified… probably certain that my father and I were really planning on smuggling a baby out of China!) The day before I eventually left for China, a Saturday Fed Ex showed up at my house — a handheld portable translator with Chinese as one of it’s languages. My mother told me later that my dad had seen it on late night TV two nights earlier and had spent hours making long distance phone calls to find someone who had it who could overnight it to me in time. That’s faith!


    1. That’s really nice, VS. I’m sure that has helped you to become the wonderful, well-read and intelligent woman you are today.


  2. thanks, Steve for taking up the blog a second time! i’m sure you were a big help to Dale, but we also benefit from your lovely words and thoughts.
    i’d have to say that most of the time folks have more confidence in me than i do. except the goats – well, the Boys think everything i do is just peachy. but the Girls – the Girls are always second-guessing me. and usually they are right.
    and now i have to go out to face them in a lie. yesterday i told them that they had made it thru the last cold night. this morning it is minus 17. uffda.
    a gracious good morning to You All


  3. Mike Pengra . . . I didn’t know this blog was going to run today, but it gives you an obvious opening for musical selections. Any of Kate Campbell’s songs would be highly appropriate today. And with 11 albums, she has plenty to choose from!


  4. Rise and Shine Baboons:

    Steve, what a lovely story!

    I will answer the question later in the day–not quite there yet. The trip was fun, interesting, and distracting. I arrived home with a mighty potent respiratory something (these bugs really nail me) which waited to hit hard until I was home.

    Meanwhile, it is so nice to check in at the same time of day that all of you are experiencing.



  5. Great story steve, I will be driving home from Chicago and will be one handing my blog entries starting closer to noon( note capital letters) nice post vs.


  6. Hmm. Today my daughter has faith that I can be entertaining and educational at the same time for a group of first graders and also a kindergarten class. As my pal Steph tells me, I have nothing to worry about as I am one of them (six years old)…and they will recognize this. Teaching about keyboards without one to demonstrate with seems a little odd – but will make the kids be the keys and hammers (and sounds) for a piano and I think we’ll be fine.

    Will have to think on larger faiths that have been justified. So far the faith of my mom and other friends that I could write a fine book has not been proven out…


  7. I should try to answer my own question. I’ve indicated before that my junior high school years were messy. I can remember my former wife telling me not to tell Molly about how difficult I found those years, for she didn’t want to become a self-fulfilling prophecy for Molly.

    My dad and I were in the car one day. He reached out and patted my thigh, a truly rare gesture of intimacy from a guy who had been raised in a family where nobody ever showed affection for other family members. “You’re a great guy, Stever,” he said.

    I turned on him with hostility. “Why? What have I ever done that was good? I’m a terrible athlete. I got a D in geometry. I don’t have many friends. I don’t see any reason on earth anyone should care about me.”

    There was silence in the car. I felt smugly pleased, like I’d just proven to my dad that even my own parents couldn’t find a reason to like this messed-up, lonely kid.

    Dad said, “I’ve always believed in you, Steve. You have a good heart.”

    I was speechless. I’ve played those words over countless times over the years. I used them when my own daughter couldn’t respect herself. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much–to have “a good heart”–and maybe it is the best thing we can believe about ourselves.


      1. barb, you made a glancing reference to goat cheese 2-3 days ago by asking in context how far we are from Piscadero. It is really just over the mountains and down by the Pacific, but I did not say a word to my son. But yesterday he suggested we drive to Santa Cruz and the up the coast to Half Moon Bay, stopping in Piscadero at this great goat cheese shop there. So we did. Looked at the 120 all-female adult goats, the first three kids of the season, the milking parlor, the cheese-making room, and the wonderful hayloft room where they serve a banquet once a month for $150 a person at an amazing table. Sampled cheeses and bought goat cheese with chives, goat cheese with cranberry walnut, and goat cheese with honey and lavender. I wanted just goat cheese alone, but was alone in that.
        Want pictures, barb?


      2. oh. we are soooo envious, Clyde! one of my friends/Goat Lady and i have talked about Harley Farms and how $150/plate dinners would go over in Blackhoof🙂 probably not, but the farm tour is so appealing. i shouldn’t say “if only” but if only i were younger, i’d get licensed as a farmstead cheesery (and lose my pants, probably🙂
        YES! pictures, please! i sent you my email address via facebook (at least i think i did – i’m pretty lame at FB)
        Goat Ladies meet here on Sunday. i’ll tell them about your adventure. thanks so much!


  8. I do not think there was any such moment in my life, or any such dramatic moment. My parents’ attitude was not to say anything about what we should do in our lives and so would neither praise or disparage anything we did. I am not at all an outer-directed person, and maybe that’s why, but surely that is why no one has ever impacted me that way.


    1. My mother was that way, too – she was the Switzerland of parenting, carefully neutral about everything, but providing good health care.


    2. So, Clyde, you haven’t had a big moment when you had to make a difficult decision (like a change of career) and your wife was there to say she believed in you? That happened daily in my parents’ marriage. On the other hand, I can think of marriages where the daily message is “I do NOT believe in you.”


    1. In kindergarten, we moved twice, so I ended up with three different kindergarten teachers. The middle teacher, Mrs. Anderson, was unhappy when my mom told her we were moving out of town… she was concerned about my potential – that the next teacher might not push me enough since she wouldn’t know me well – and that I would get bored. So Mrs. Anderson and my mom kept in contact through the rest of the school year and summer. She sent my mom lots of worksheets for me.. I do remember doing them all that summer!


  9. My fourth grade teacher had faith in and encouraged my drawing, to the point of taking me and a friend out on Saturdays to draw outdoors.

    Thanks for helping me remember that…


  10. My experience with people having faith in me came from an institution, not a single person. So many people have had negative experiences with churches, but my childhood experience with a church was positive and supportive. There were so many people in that church community who gently supported me. My parents were Methodists who attended the “college church” in town (associated with a small Methodist college there), where many of the professors went. As a group these folks were supportive of me and my family as my dad struggled with MS and my mom struggled with life. Good Methodists of that congregation were very focused on living their faith–as Methodists were exhorted to do by their founder, John Wesley. I felt that many of them saw and believed in my potential.

    Many of these folks, including my High School Band teacher who I adored, went out of their way to be supportive and encouraging: ministers, Sunday School teachers, neighbors. It made a big difference in my life and I am so grateful for their presence in my childhood.


  11. Good morning to all,

    The amazing show of faith vby the pro-democracy people in Egypt has been rewarded a little while ago. Mubarak resigned.

    My parents always had faith in me. Another source inspiration, I guess you could say it was a show of faith, was may experiences working with Dick and Sharon Thompson when I did sustainable education work for the Rodale Institute. The Thompson were know as leaders in sustainable farming. They were very supportive of the work I did with them and had a strong faith in their own efforts to practice and promote sustainable farming.

    The Thompsons set a good example for me that kept me on track. The Thompson were always looking for some way to get out their message. Dick told me that he gave the first President Bush a receipe for cooking broccoli when he was invited to the White House to get an award.


  12. A vox populi change in the Middle East. The short story that’s been giving me fits is starting to gel. And, after two and a half years of struggling and temping, my wife just landed a full-time job again. It’s a good day.


  13. This is a corollary to yesterday’s folk dance story. About 6 months into my discovering it, I went to my first out of town workshop at U of M Duluth. At one point one of the teachers asked me how long I’d been dancing; he was surprised at my saying half a year, and said he’d have though much longer. That was just the boost I needed at that time, made me try even harder all weekend, and beyond.


  14. When I was in high school my parents always made me believe in myself with their encouragement and lack of expressed doubt in my abilities. I have since learned, though, that at the same time they were encouraging me to follow my dreams and plans, they were also talking to my teachers to get some reassurance that my plans were reasonable. I guess they were worried, but I’m glad they didn’t let me know that they there were worried.


  15. Yesterday’s trip made barb in Blackhoof and maybe Cynthia envious. Todays’ adventure will make many others envious. On a sort of lark we drove up to see if what we are seeing is Lick Observatory or something else. For me it was a terrifying 25-mile drive along very steep narrow road with sharp switchbacks and steep climbs. It is Lick, but what we got to do! Saw their two big telescopes, 36 inch refractive and 120 reflective. Amazing views and experience. Was worth the 2+ hours of the scary drive, well, for me scary.


  16. i tried to post yesterday but the iphone was very non cooperative. somethings are best left as they ought to be rather than transforming them into the most up to date technology.
    the faith you posted was an eye opening travel companion for me yesterday. the faith you father showed is the faith that all of us would like to feel and to provide from and for our families. it doesn’t matter if you are excellent, ok or poor at a task or a catagoriy of lifes challanges, as long as you do your best (jims dads message) thts all we can hope for. if you have a good heart you are doing what matters in this world. i have never lacked confidence or felt like the world was against me and have always been maybe a little too far the other way like wondering how in the world anyone could question my resolve and direction. what other way is there? i have been fortunat to come from a very supportive house and when i turn my back on a situation it is usually because of the back biting and political snakes in the grass in the equation. that is also why i take such solace in this blog. the good hearts that roost here are the reason that i always come away feeling better than when i came. always. ther eare no mean spirited vibes in this house. faith of a husband like the singers husband is another discussion. he is simply seeing the world through the only set of eyes he can. he was likely thinking how fortunate all three of you were to be there on such an exclusive occasion when the blizzard kept the masses huddled in their parlors. he no doubt had faith that his wife would beat the odds because he knew they would do what ever it takes to get there and to give it as long as it takes. with those parameters its tough to lose. i have faith that my steps every day ewill lea me closer to my goal no mater what the route and have confidence that everyone on this blog will get to their desired destination because we all have the correct set of rules and parameters to go through this life with. thanks to all of you for being so inspiring every day.


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