A Dad's Lesson To His Daughter About Risks: 'Never A Harm To Try Taking A Swing' Kate Quartfordt loved to sing the blues. When her father unexpectedly arranged for her to join a band on stage, she panicked at first. But that moment inspired her to be bold about taking chances.

A Dad's Lesson To His Daughter About Risks: 'Never A Harm To Try Taking A Swing'

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On StoryCorps today, a father's lesson about taking risks. Kevin Craw always encouraged his children to embrace the unexpected. His daughter Kate grew up with a love of singing. One night, when Kate was in high school, her father invited her to go see his friend's band play at a local bar.

KATE QUARFORDT: It was a school night. Yeah, I remember going and...

KEVIN CRAW: (Laughter).

QUARFORDT: ...Drinking my Shirley Temple, feeling very awkward. But I remember you got excited and asked if I could step in and sing with the band. You didn't ask me first. You just came back and said, oh, it's cool. You can do a number with the band.

CRAW: But I thought, well, hell, my daughter can do it because my daughter can do anything.

QUARFORDT: And I just remember being, like, flooded with panic. And I checked with the band. And I said, do you all know "Little Wing"? And, of course, they said, sure. And I get up there, and the band starts playing. And it's way in a super low key. The rhythm is different from what I know, and I'm not even on beat and realizing, like, OK, the train is off the track. And yet I'm going to just keep singing until the song ends.

CRAW: Yeah.

QUARFORDT: The only thing to do is just hold on and not die.

CRAW: It came off much better than you remember. I don't recall it ever as a - putting you under the gun, for which I apologize profusely.

QUARFORDT: No, no, no, no. I mean, looking back, there have been other moments of not being in control, not knowing where I was going, not knowing how it was going to end and kind of being able to go back to that moment of, like, yeah, sometimes, it doesn't feel so good. And you just kind of keep stepping.

CRAW: I think it's never harm to try taking a swing.

QUARFORDT: Just taking a shot, yeah. I do think that there were things that I watched you do that gave me a sense that I could do it. And I think a lot about - remember the Triumph?

CRAW: Yeah.

QUARFORDT: This rusted-out body of the car. There wasn't anything else in there. And I remember at one point going out to the garage and seeing you through the window. And there was just, like, a pile (laughter) of, like, multicolored electrical junk.

CRAW: Right.

QUARFORDT: And then you were just sort of sitting there, like, rocking, just looking at it, you know?

CRAW: Yeah.

QUARFORDT: Like, what is he doing (laughter), you know? And then asking you and just - like, the answer was so stunning to me. Just - I'm going to sit here. And I'm going to stare at this pile until it tells me what to do next.

CRAW: Right.

QUARFORDT: And so that sense of, like, only being able to see just enough in front of your nose to just know what the next step is. So it was interesting for me as a, you know, kind of not quite a kid, not quite a grown-up to kind of recognize that in you.

CRAW: The desire to protect the ones you love is never-ending. And that keeps me up at night. You're so invested in them. And you so want them to thrive, and you can't make it happen. They have to make it happen for themselves. If you make it happen for them, it won't be worth a damn. So you simply say, I guess I'm doing my best. I'm not sure.


CRAW: But if your heart is pure and your goal is right, you can't go wrong.


MARTIN: That was Kate Quarfordt, talking with her father, Kevin Craw. Their interview will be archived at the Library of Congress.


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