June 20 • 11:20 AM

'Birthday girl' offers incredible gift

March 01, 2017
What a lovely thing to go to someone's birthday party and be given a gift.

Not just any gift—no. No trinkets or bouquets, boxes or bows. This kind of gift is intangible, but everlasting. The kind that swims its way right into the very heart of your soul and dances around between the light and shadows there. The kind of gift that makes you laugh and cry. That makes gratitude flow like honey, and the bittersweet reality of life lament its mournful tune.

It's my good friend Deb's 60th birthday party, and all of the guests are the receivers of this great gift.

The party is special in more ways than one. Of course, hitting the 60 milestone is big; having an opportunity to savor every single minute of it with family members and friends is even bigger. Through Deb and her husband Ron, we're all celebrating with a Mexican-themed potluck dinner, followed up by their gift to us guests, an appearance by Don White.

They've always been a huge fan of folk singer Don White, who also happens to be an exceptional standup comic.

His comedic skills are surpassed only by his writing prowess, which is the kind that makes other writers wish they could come remotely close to his skill level, much less surpass it. White's ability to make the words dip and dance, to jump off the page with joy and to stab into the heart with surgical precision is nothing short of amazing.

He weaves his stories from the frayed fabric of real life. The colorful tales are sprinkled with the kind of hilarity that comes from profound honesty, and the bravery it takes to be so honest. The words reflect both strength and vulnerability and from the lighthearted to the tear-jerkers, the way they're strung together is nothing short of stunning.

White, who makes his home in the Boston area, became well-known in the Great Lakes State when DJ Carrie Carlson played his tune 'Rascal' on the popular WCSX 'Sunday Morning Over Easy program several years ago. White's humorous, real-life reflections of the prospects of he and his wife facing life as new 'empty nesters' was an instant hit with listeners.

His songwriting prowess is also highlighted in hits like 'I Know What Love Is,' 'Project Girl' and 'The Shameful Ballad of Lijah.'

He's frequently a featured artist at The Ark in Ann Arbor, where Deb and Ron first caught his show.

White considers Michigan 'his second home,' and in 2002 he recorded a 'Live in Michigan' album at the Lafayette Grand Ballroom in Pontiac. On that CD, listeners are treated to some of his favorites, including 'Great Day' and 'Sense of Humor.' In my opinion, you should seek it out for White's hilarious and brutally honest 'Be Sixteen with Me,' where he discusses turning the tables on teenagers by behaving just as they do. The song was eventually covered by Catie Curtis.

Because it's too irresistible not to share, here are lyrics of White's 'Rascal,' the song that put him on the map here in Michigan.

Rascal is the dog and he ain't too bright.

Me and Rascal were sitting on the couch last night,

When my woman came in and she started to cry.

She looked at us with such terror in her eyes.

She says, 'I raised these children for eighteen years

And now they're both growing up and moving out of here,

And my big reward for all that I've been through,

Is this dog as dumb as mud,

This dog as dumb as mud,

This dog as dumb as mud and you..."

Okay, so maybe we ain't that smart, just a couple of mutts with a lot of heart.

No one could ever love you better or give you more loyalty,

Than this dog as dumb as mud, this dog as dumb as mud,

This dog as dumb as mud and me.

You just can't beat that kind of honest truth. And you can't get enough of Don White, once he's appeared before you. If you're curious for more, visit What a gift!

Email Catherine at

Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
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