It’s the love story we’ve all been waiting to hear. When Barbara Panter and Whit Connah met on New Year’s Eve of 1972 going into 1973, they never imagined they’d be married a little more than 10 years later. Barbara sat with me and shared their love story in early February 2020. We kicked things off with a conversation about their annual Valentine’s Day Treasure Hunt which Whit carried out for 35 years. It was a tradition he picked up from his father who did the same for his mother as long as he could remember.
Barbara and Whit were musical partners for more than 40 years and marriage partners for 33 of those years. They were in two Atlanta Bands – Hurt Dog and Hair of the Dog – and played venues across Atlanta and North Georgia, but also faraway places like Serbia, Ireland, and Wales. Whit and Barbara shared a rare love – the kind that most people dream of.
Barbara takes us through the ups and downs, highs and lows. You might think Whit’s illness would be the lowest of all points, but it was quite the opposite in many ways.
In the words of his daughter Jenny, “He brought light and laughter and pure joy into his circumstance. His answer was to live! And live he did. Even from his paralytic bed, he lived life to the fullest. It was a beautiful thing to behold.” Indeed, it was. He was able to live the last three months of his life from home, surrounded by his colorful art and the people he loved. The front door revolved continually, and the rollers on his hospital bed became his legs, as he moved into the main room to enjoy the stream of friends, neighbors and family visiting from near and far. There was always music, and people prepared the most wonderful meals. Even the caretakers felt like members of the family.
Episode 4 includes some priceless music and audio bits which provide an unforgettable listening experience! Music (in order of appearance):
Roving Rounder. (Intro) Written by Whit Connah. Performed by Whit & Michael Daves. Sound design by Dave Spencer. Host introduction by Kenneth Johnson.
Back Step Ellie (Background to Amy’s intro). Written by Barbara Panter-Connah. Performed by Barbara and Hair of the Dog on the band’s album, Mongrel.
Valse De Cercle De La Vie. (Throughout episode). Written by Barbara Panter-Connah. Performed by Barbara and Hair of the Dog on the band’s album, Mongrel.
Improv Cajun Musical Interludes. Performed by Hair of the Dog.
Improv Harmonica Interlude. Performed by Whit Connah and Hurt Dog.
Improv Musical Interlude. Performed by Whit Connah and Michael Daves.
Ponce De Leon Avenue. Written and performed by Whit Connah.
Dark Angels. Written by Whit Connah. Performed by Whit, Barbara and Michael Daves. Michael recorded this version of Whit’s song Dark Angels on his double album Orchids & Violence.
Below are some videos that compliment the stories Barbara shares:
Whit and Barbara sing one of their favorite songs in the hospital: Will There Be Sweethearts in Heaven.
More songs Whit and Barbara played when they shared the stage with musical Godson Michael Daves at Rockwood Music Hall in New York: