Life is short.

It certainly proved far too short for Evan Twitty, the 18-year-old finger-picking phenom who died in a traffic accident on U.S. 41 at Essex Road on the night of Feb. 7.

Depending on one's faith, there are all kinds of rationales for what happened, but none helps us understand why this happened to this particular young man at this time.

Someone so talented taken so soon.

For the gifted we want that long, productive life and feel cheated that with Evan Twitty's death coming far too early we won't get to enjoy his gift ever again, that his promising life was snatched away from us much too soon.

We are are, admittedly, selfish about this; we approach this tragedy from the position that we will now be missing out on many years of enjoyment that future Evan Twitty performances would no doubt have brought us.

We here at The Sun-Commercial took a special interest in him, as we had been with him from the beginning of his career. We could, in fact, lay claim to have launched his career as he had won the talent contest at one of the block parties we used to hold in the parking lot.

A first-grader at South Knox, he came that year dressed up in a cowboy costume clutching a guitar about the same size as he was. He sang the Johnny Cash song, “Jackson,” a curious choice for a 7 year old given the subject matter, and sort of strummed along on his guitar.

The contest winner was chosen by audience reaction, and though there were older, more-talented contestants, Evan Twitty won — how could he not win!

There are, it is true, a lot of cute kids, some who even have a little talent to spread across their cuteness.

Evan Twitty had talent as well as passion, and it served him well.

Over the years we watched him grow, from a boy into a man, from that cute kid into a truly accomplished musician. He seemed to be everywhere, playing and singing, singing and playing, getting better and better each time we heard him.

We would see him and wonder just how much longer he'd be around before would he finally leave for Nashville and the future that was undoubtedly his for the taking.

Then we'd realize he was only 12, 13, 14 years old, that there was yet time for us to still get to enjoy him before fame claimed him and whisked him away from us.

Now, looking back, maybe we were wrong about that.

He was a big kid with a big man's heart who just wanted to play and play and play the music he loved, and neither the size of the audience nor the venue seemed to matter to him.

We can't say what fortune had in store for him. “Life is unfair,” President Kennedy said, and maybe life would have ultimately been unfair to Evan Twitty.

We just wish he could have had the luxury of time in which to find out.

There is no gift of years guaranteed to any of us, nothing should be taken for granted, ever, and if there is a lesson here it is that we should make the music we want to hear with all our heart, today and every day, and play it with gusto.

Just like Evan Twitty did.

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