It was sometime in 2005 that I was invited to appear for a book talk plus playing a song or two on the violin at the main library in Titusville, Fl. The turnout was great, selling lots of books. When the program ended, a little lady named Ruth approached and asked, “Would you like to play music with my husband, Dr. Jay Barnhart, he’s also a pianist?”
Uhhh…I don’t think so., I said to myself. My first reaction was something like, “Fuhgetaboutit. I don’t play music well with other musicians. I ad lib too much.”
Dr. Davis was one of must admired people in the world, thought of with high esteem by every cop I ever knew. Any friend of Dr. Davis was a friend of mine. So I gandered over toward Dr. Barnhart, who seemed iffy about the whole idea. We were like two German Shepherds, sniffing each other.
We shook hands, and made a date to meet at his house. What the heck, I thought. We’ll know in two minutes if we are compatible musicians or not.
The following week, we met at his house in the music room. “I play a lot of songs by ear,” he said, feeling me out.
“Well, so do I. Wanna give it a try? Can you play Dark Eyes?”
Boy, could we play Dark Eyes. Before the hour was over we play a dozen songs by ear, i.e., Gypsy, Italian, French, Classical, Broadway, etc. Dr. Barnhart was a fabulous pianist. We were a match.
Jay’s brother, also a doctor, suggested we call ourselves, “The Dick-Doc Duo.” The name stuck, people loved it.
Thus began a fifteen year friendship, which included music, but not solely. Indeed, we became the best of friends. Strange that we had never met during our tenures working death investigations in Miami-Dade in the 1980s.
Dr. Barnhart has a music mind like a steel trap. Very often, we challenged anyone in the audience who could name a published song title…that he DID NOT know from memory. It was worth a prize, of one of my books, to anyone who could “Stump the Doc.” I gave very few book away.
Before the Barnharts finally decided to move to another state, to be near kids and grandkids, we enjoyed performing at scores of venues around Florida, mostly in the central region. He and I hit it off like two peas in a pod, not only musically, but as best friends. People enjoy our performances, not because we were so impressive, we were obviously having fun. We enjoyed seeing people enjoy our music. It all rubbed off.
Time marches on. Jay and I remain close friends to this day although the distance is daunting. It’s been an honor, not just to make music together, but to call him my friend.
(Here’s a little dose of “Dark Eyes.”)