Violet Cosgrove was getting ready to go to a party last May when country music lyrics began running through her head. Within 10 minutes, the 64-year-old Pasadena resident had written her first song, "Don't Wait Until Tomorrow."
Cosgrove said she wrote down the words of the song on a little piece of paper and took it to the party to show her friend Eleanor Wirtz. Wirtz suggested another friend, George Smalley, could put the lyrics to music.
Don't wait to say, "I love you."
Don't wait to say, "I care."
Don't wait until tomorrow, Tomorrow may not be there.
Don't think about the last time Your heart was in such pain.
Remember he is different, This may not be the same About half of Cosgrove's songs are about her husband, who died two years ago. Titles include "Red Heads Are a Pain in the Heart," "There Was Only One Jim" and "Those Irish Eyes Got Me."
"My husband, Jim, was a redhead. He had very blue eyes, and he was very Irish," Cosgrove said.
She said most, but not all, of her songs are about people she knows.
"Sometimes I'll hear a song on the radio or TV, and one or two words will give me ideas and I'll go from there," she said.
Wirtz, Smalley and Cosgrove met at the Pascal Senior Center in Glen Burnie. Smalley, 64, a retired passenger engineer for Chessie Systems, and Wirtz, 67, are members of the Country Rovers; Smalley plays guitar and electric bass, and Wirtz sings.
The band performs in nursing homes and senior centers all over Maryland.
As a child, Cosgrove said, she always wanted to write country songs. In the space of 12 hours -- by midnight May 31, 1989 -- she realized her dream, finishing nine songs besides "Don't Wait Until Tomorrow."
The following day, Smalley came up with the music. Wirtz first performed the song with the Country Rovers on June 30, 1989. The song has been sung publicly nine times to date.
Cosgrove and Wirtz said people who listen to the Country Rovers are beginning to know the song by name and request it.
Cosgrove has written more than 30 songs in a little over a year. She finished 19 songs within two weeks of her first inspiration.
"Don't Wait Until Tomorrow" already is copyrighted. This week, Cosgrove sent 25 of her songs to the Copyright Office in Washington in order to protect her lyrics. Once Smalley comes up with music for the rest of her lyrics, they also will be copyrighted.
Cosgrove writes her songs in unusual places. She took Wirtz to the hospital for a shot and, while waiting, wrote "I'm Leaving but I Don't Know Where I'm Going."
"I write in the car, while I'm driving," she said. She also wrote a song in the Pittsburgh airport when her plane was delayed two hours.
Although not originally how it was intended, when Wirtz sings "Don't Wait Until Tomorrow," she introduces it as a dedication to everyone in the Middle East.
"Our sons and daughters, husbands and wives are being sent overseas, and we may not see them for a long time and maybe never again," said Cosgrove, who is glad Wirtz introduces the song this way.
Cosgrove hopes her songs lead to an album and video. Once they are copyrighted, she intends to push her songs through local country stations.
"I intend to become a song promoter and maybe go to Nashville," she said.