What started out as a father's expression of love for his son has now become much more.
Three years ago, Monroe Alfrey of Peru, Ind., began singing children songs to his newborn son. Not long after, Alfrey wrote three original songs just for Simon.
Urged by family and friends, and Simon's pleasure in the whimsical tunes, Alfrey, a full-time plumber for six years, recorded an album of family and children songs called "Simon's Pond."
"At first all I intended was for Simon to know that his dad wrote songs for him," said Alfrey, who has always had an interest in songwriting - even "performing" songs with his brother for the babysitter when he was just a kid. Soon Alfrey saw that Simon's songs could benefit other children as well.
Two years ago, Alfrey decided to give back some of the profits he received from the sales of his album to benefit Riley Hospital for Children, a major children's hospital for more than 70 years in Indiana. First he gave the hospital 100 copies of the album to give to the children. Since the first of this year, Alfrey has been setting aside at least $4 from each sale of "Simon's Pond" to benefit the hospital, which doesn't receive any direct state aid.
"Our goal is $10,000 or about 2,500 copies of the album," Alfrey said. The original goal date was for Father's Day 1999, but, according to Alfrey, he has "ways to go."
The album celebrates a child's imagination with songs like "The Monkey and the Lion" and "Whimsical Dr. Imsical." The song "Daddy's Tools" lets children become creative builders of fantasy.
The album is filled with original, sing-along style songs for the whole family, and Alfrey hopes that children can "just have a good time listening to it."
"It's something that any other guy can sing to his children," Alfrey said.
CDs are $17 each. For a copy of "Simon's Pond" or for information on sponsorship call Five Speed Productions at 800/445-9395 or write to "Simon's Pond" - Riley Fundraiser/FSP, P.O. Box 551, Peru, IN 46970.