Category Archives: jazz music

Joyful, Cheery Sounds

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On my way into work this morning, while there was frost on my

windshield and rear window, I blasted my heater and I was once

again, thankful for the warmth and the sound of the air coming

out with a whoosh! The radio was playing one of the most cheery

songs, with a country twang in her voice, Brenda Lee was singing,

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The radio announcer was

using a pleasant, vibrant sounding voice, “Good Morning and let’s

all say, ‘Happy 70th Birthday to . . . Brenda Lee!'”

The first recording of this rocking song was in 1958, written by

Johnny Marks, for Decca Records.

 

While driving behind the school bus, the air brakes squealing and

the door opening on London Road,  to admit busy and excited

high schoolers, (yes, I am up that early!) I felt the movement in

my feet tapping to the music on the radio and the emotions of

the students, too. I usually wish I weren’t ‘stuck’ behind a school

bus, since this means two stops on London Road, along with the

longer stop at the railroad where we ‘catch’ the train, having to

wait for it to pass by. The train whistle blew, the steam was puffing

out of the ‘chimney’ and I felt the rumbling of its approaching

and then listened to the rattling of the clickety-clack.  That is how I

would describe the repetition of the sound.

 

Once I got into my building, several people call out my name, some

who are going off to sleep, (third shifters) and those who are on my

own shift, greeting me. These are happy people since our bosses

had decided to pack our day with ‘heavy’ work and include our half

day’s worth of work we usually do on Friday and complete it today.

This means a three day weekend! Hurrah!

 

At first break, I told my two friends, Tammy and Karen, about Brenda

Lee’s birthday. We agreed the song was still a popular one, the way

it has a lot of joy and glee in its words. Then, Tammy told me she has

been enjoying listening to Harry Connick, Jr. and Lady Antebellum’s

Christmas albums. Karen stated she loves her older albums, now on

Cd’s which include those familiar voices which bring nostalgia into

her home and heart. She likes Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Burl

Ives.

I started making a list in my head, of the songs and people they were

talking about and decided to also, include some of my own personal

favorite songs and carols, along with some memorable sounds of the

holiday season. This is a compilation of some of my favorites, along

with some coworkers’ suggestions:

SONGS:

1. Harry Connick, Jr. singing, “Sleigh Ride,” which begins with the

words,

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,

Ring, ting tingling too…” (Thanks to my friend, Tammy.)

 

2. Dean Martin singing, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,”

which was written in 1951, by Meredith Wilson.

 

3. Bing Crosby singing, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” This

makes me sad, thinking of those who are in the armed services who

may not make it home for Christmas. The thought of the Bob Hope’s

USO holiday celebrations overseas for years and years, quickly cheers

me up again. This tradition carries on still through the help of the

USO.org. There was a lovely photograph of Idina Menzel with some

military families representing the USO. I hope the troops have a lot

of fun and the jokes make them laugh out loud, like Bob Hope would

wish this to go. “Thanks for the memories, Bob!”

Here is a short schedule of locations they are expected to be

entertaining the troops:

Dec. 7-16, 2014:  Japan, Guan and Hawaii, with the Dallas Cowboys

Cheerleaders.

Dec. 13- Clare Bowen (Hostess) at Tinker Air Force Base,  Oklahoma.

Dec. 16- Anthony Hamilton (Host) at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Jan. 3 – 9, 2015:  Robert Irvine (Host) at Japan and Okinawa.

(Thanks to my friend, Karen, for reminding me of both Bob Hope

and the USO, along with Bing Crosby and Dean Martin’s songs.)

 

3. Whitney Houston singing the hymnal carol, “Do You Hear What I

Hear?”

(Thank you to Melvin, my coworker, who suggested this version but

I enjoy Carrie Underwood’s ‘take’ on this lovely song also. )

Here is a bit of the history of the song:  It was written in 1962, by a

married couple who were moved by seeing children on the streets

of New York City (babies in strollers) and what the lamb might have

heard in the manger scene. This was on the cusp of the Cuban Missile

Crisis, which is why there are words imparting a message of Peace.

The lyrics were written by Noel Regney and the music was written by

his wife, Gloria Shayne Baker.

 

4. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Happy Xmas/War is Over,” which

begins with the words, “So This is Christmas.” It was written in 1971,

with tongue in cheek, by John and Yoko, in protest to the Viet Nam

War. It is also said they were thinking of their future children and

what children would ‘inherit’ in the world, with war still going on.

(Their son, Sean Lennon, was not born until 1975.)

When this song was produced, the voices of John, Yoko, the Plastic

Ono Band (with instrumentals) and the Harlem Community Choir

were beautifully blended together. The flip side of this single was

called, “Listen, the Snow is Falling.” The cover of this is ‘vintage’

looking in sepia brown and beige, with the children’s choir, ages 4-14,

included on it.

This song was also played a lot, after John Lennon was murdered on

December 8, 1980; 34 years ago this week.

*This is one of my own personal favorites.

 

5. Nat King Cole singing, “The Christmas Song,” also recognized as,

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” This lovely song was written

in 1944, by Bob Wells and Mel Torme.

*Another of my favorites, since my parents played this on their stereo.

 

6. Bruce Springsteen’s version of the old classic song, “Santa Claus Is

Coming to Town.” This is the 2nd oldest song on the list today. It was

written in 1934, by John F. Coats and Haven Gillespie. It was presented

for the first time on the Eddie Cantor’s Radio Show. Later, in 1935, it was

also recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Band. My parents listened to this

version on the stereo and radio.

*I love the way Bruce ‘rocks this one out!’

 

7. My friend Cheryl thought the carol, which to her sounds like it belongs

in a church with a choir, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” sung by

Julie Andrews, is her favorite song of all time.  This hymn was written

by a Unitarian minister, Edmund Sears, in 1849. He lived in Wayland,

Massachusetts. There are various versions of music to go with his

moving words.

Here are a few unusual ones to share with you:

Sergio Franchi sang this in 1965. He was an Italian opera tenor, who

died in Connecticut.

Eric Burdon and the Animals used the music from “The House of

the Rising Sun,” to accompany these lyrics.

Stefan Borsch, (Sweden) performed this in his native language.

The Lettermen performed and put this on a Christmas album in

1987.

Darryl Hall and John Oates included this in a Christmas album.

Anne Murray sang this in 2001, which I feel this would be simple

and beautifully done.

Josh Groban, who is known for singing operatic style, sang this in

2007. He does a fine performance of the song, “You Lift Me Up.”

 

Cheryl is feeling much better about her grandson’s recent death,

since she enlarged a favorite photograph of Christopher when he

was only 6 years old, with her mother, his great-grandmother. She

likes to say often, “Christopher is up in Heaven with my Mom.”

Last Christmas, you may have noticed, Cheryl had me write down a

short message/poem she had written in memorial of her mother’s

fifth anniversary of her death. We are close to one another in the way

we get emotional and are sentimental. She is my one coworker who

cried and held my hand, while we watched the first Inauguration of

President Barack Obama. If you did not read the one night I wrote,

“I have to go,” over and over on a post, you may not know that her

grandson died in his sleep, due to his weakened body, his having both

a combination of the flu and a cold. The autopsy of this fine 23 year

old graduate of Delaware High School and Columbus State student

will not be completed until after the first of the New Year. Cheryl takes

comfort that he had put up his Christmas tree the day of his death and

had also called her to tell her he was putting on some special family

ornaments she had given him when he turned 21.

 

Here are special sounds that are permanently etched into my own

memories:

1. A fire in a fireplace crackling. The logs making a ‘thump’ when they

fall into one another. There is peaceful serenity in listening to a fire.

2. A little child whispering in your ear. This almost makes the hairs

on my arms stand on end. It is magical, whatever words are told.

3. The ‘clink’ of a crystal or glass against another one, while a toast

is being given. The sound of the repeated ‘clinks’ at weddings, to get

the bride and groom to kiss, makes me smile.

4. Dogs bounding towards the door, barking or yipping loudly,

announcing the arrival of guests.

5. The door slammed. I imagine those who have little children saying

to themselves, “Oh, how annoying…” and following this with a lecture

to their children, “We never slam doors in our house.” Somehow, one

day it will come to this, you will wish to hear the door slamming with

the following sound of the words, “Mommy/Daddy. . . I’m home!”

Trust me on this.

6. Baby lambs in the country kitchen of my first babysitter, Mrs. Auble,

“Baa-ing” or ‘bleating’ for their milk bottles, followed by the slurping

noises of their drinking and pulling on the bottles, furiously tugging.

7. Hearty yells.  Across sledding hills, neighbors greeting each other

across streets and yards, and the one voice, that would bring you

running home for lunch (summer) and dinner (winter).

8. Leather boots or rubber boots crunching through the snow. The

sound of the crunch makes you stop talking and ponder in wonder.

9. Birds chirping and singing despite the weather. They always seem

to not be concerned with the cold, brisk air. Their songs echoing in the

early morning air. (Particularly, for me, the cardinal’s message.)

10. The sound of a familiar voice coming across the air waves, now

on cell phone. Back then, on a heavy, black rotary dial phone, of

loved ones (grandparents) far away.

 

Those are my carefully chosen Top Ten “sounds,” will you please let us

know what sounds make you happy, particularly around the holidays?

You may mention a song or a personal memory. . .

 

 

 

 

 

Cleveland R & R Hall of Fame: Musical Notes

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Oh, how my brothers and I wished we could have gone to the excellent musical

tribute to the Everly Brothers on October 25, 2014. It was called, “Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame’s 2014 Music Masters.” There were so many famous musicians and

music industry ‘captains’ there that it would have been so amazing to listen to

the tribute for this iconic sibling combination who inspired everyone that followed

them.

Revelry included a large group of musicians from the genres and roots of blue grass,

jazz, country and rock and roll legends. I will give you part of the ensemble list here.

Emmy Lou Harris who paired up with Alfred Lee (Everly’s lead guitarist) to sing the

trademark song which is recognizable across the world, with memories mentioned

by British icons and Irish singers, too: “Bye, Bye Love.”

What brought the audience to tears, Chuck Yarborough of the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

mentioned in his article and the evening news the next day also repeated, was Don

Everly, aged 77, coming up on stage to join them in harmony.

Who else was there, you may ask? Graham Nash, Keb’Mo’, Ledisi, Peter Asher, Waddy

Wachtel, Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer, Alison Krauss, J. D. Souther, Bonnie

“Prince” Billie and Dawn McCarthy.

The lovely song, “Lonely Island,” was given a special tribute from the Secret Sisters,

Laura and Lydia Rogers all the way from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. T-Bone Burnett,

musician and record producer had insisted they include this song in their most

recent record.

Keb’Mo’ and Ledisi performed, “Let It Be Me,” which meant adapting the vocals

to their unique talents.

Vince Gill and Graham Nash, (Nash started out in the duo, The Hollies but is more

known and recognized for his contribution in another ‘combination’ band, Crosby,

Stills, Nash and Young.) They sang a great duo together.

Rodney Crowell (musical director) and Keb’Mo’ sang “Wake Up, Little Susie,” which

is an Everly’s favorite. Keb’Mo’ has included this memorable song on one of his albums

and spoke about his affection for the warm and friendly Everly Brothers.

Greg Harris, Rock and Roll H. of Fame Pres. and CEO, mentioned when he toured in

Ireland in the 80’s everywhere he traveled, when a guitar was pulled out to play,

whether in a kitchen with a grandfather and grandson, along with Pubs, Everly Brothers

were being played.  He mentioned a tribute to Phil Everly who had passed away earlier

this year, just days before he would have celebrated his 75th birthday. It was a moment

of bittersweet memories, allowing the audience to again mourn the loss of a ‘brother.’

Emmy Lou Harris’ soprano voice joined Rodney Crowell’s in a poignant song, “Love

Hurts.”

The night of duets continued with Peter Asher (who had been formerly part of the duo

“Peter and Gordon,” which is still considered a great part of the British Invasion)

and Graham Nash soaring voices in harmony in “Hard, Hard Year” followed by

“Claudette.” Wow!

Peter Asher later paired with J.D. Souther in the song, “Crying in the Rain.”

Are you like me? Do you remember the continuous variety of the Everly Brothers’

song and playlist?

When Vince Gill joined Graham in Everly’s huge (most sold songs) “Cathy’s Clown,”

both using their natural tenor voices to blend into a beautiful tribute to the Everly’s

I would have loved to be there but I bet Youtube has captured this. I will hope to

find a disc of this fine duet.

Vince Gill and Allison Krauss performed together, “When Will I Be Loved?” The song

is one I could sing all the words to, since it is a classic and never to be forgotten. It

has been sung by musical artists everywhere, including a few of my college buddies.

 

This is the point I wish to make, there are few people who have not been moved,

touched and honored to have listened to an Everly Brothers song.

 

Just a side note:

Did you notice that Jack Bruce passed away over the weekend?

The days when ‘rock and roll were young’ include Cream band,

where Jack Bruce was ‘big time’ in the 60’s and 70’s in England

and the U.S.

Cream had its own sound, a psychedelic combination of blues,

rock and part of the “Flower Power” age.

Jack studied music while a child in Scotland, became a cellist

and symphonic musician before he turned to rock and roll.

Jack Bruce’s solo albums, after Cream ‘broke up’ were covered by

everyone from Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Ella Fitzgerald.

“Sunshine of Your Love,” is one of the many Cream and Jack Bruce

songs that come to my mind. On the album, it featured Eric Clapton

playing the guitar, while Jack Bruce played the bass and sang along

with Ginger Baker on drums. Worth checking out, if you were not

part of this generation, or worth listening to, just to have that

wonderful flooding of memories that may be associated with thie

period of music.

“Wheels of Fire” spent time on the Top Ten Best Songs for quite

some time, Cream sold 35 million albums in two years. It became

the World’s First Ever, Platinum disc! Wow!

 

As a soloist, Jack Bruce developed a combination of blending

jazz, rock and blues, with less of the psychedelic renderings.

He was successful and toured from the 80’s until 2005, when

Cream came back together to tour and help those who were

part of the generation of “Flower Power” to reminisce, dance

and sway along to the music.

 

One Cream song, “I Feel Free,” will be one that makes me smile,

since Jack Bruce, aged 71 succumbed to cancer, is probably part

of that Heavenly Band, feeling free of the pain he suffered in his

later life.

 

Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

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As adults, lack of sleep has been found to be detrimental to our health.

Today’s children aren’t getting enough sleep either. There are suggested

times and hours needed for each age group. I won’t bother to quote the

many more hours we all should rest and sleep. I try but can usually only

“sleep in” reaching a whopping seven total hours a night. I found a sweet

album to suggest listening to, for any age.

A new music CD,  released from a long-term collaboration of two friends who

became fathers in 1995, is called, “Precious Child– Love Songs & Lullabies.”

There are some happy parts of this collaboration but one really sad one, too.

The Jazz guitarist and composer named Joe Beck combined with the singer,

composer and pianist Darryl Tookes.

Joe and Darryl worked on this album since 1995, moved by their new venture

into fatherhood. The album had to be put on ‘hold’ due to Joe’s being diagnosed

with cancer. During his illness, their friendship strengthened, but he did not

feel up to working. Once he passed away, Darryl finished the CD in honor of his

friend and their families continuation of friendship.

Although this friendship is about the celebration of family and friendship, I started

to think of this plot as a possible movie. It truly reminds me of that sentimental and

tear producing story of Brian Piccolo and the movie, “Brian’s Song.”

When Darryl was a child, he had parents who believed in the Civil Rights movement.

He also became involved, tagging along on marches and sit-in’s. He aids environmental

causes and contributes to charities for children. When he was in college, Darryl studied

physics. He currently teaches college students music.

Joe’s story about his days in a jazz group when he was a teenager, sound like fun. Joe

got a lot of practice in during the period that Darryl’s family was participating in sit-in’s.

Once an adult, Joe Beck’s music was featured in movies and in television shows. His

work record was diverse, including a period of time working on a dairy farm. Joe raised

money for college music scholarships and one special project: water supply to Darfur,

Sudan. He also was like Darryl, believing in his life making a difference.

I have heard this beautiful music. The story alone pulled my heart strings. Two musical

individuals joined by music, love of their children and family. Both so giving to others. I

imagine their children growing up with such a creative force burning through them.

Check out this new CD. I hope you will find soothing music to share with any children

you may know. It may just be the “thing” to rock you gently, calming you to sleep!

 

You may already have favorite songs to sing or hum to your children. Ever since my own

were young, I have treasured this short list of songs, some from musicals.

1. “Edelweiss,” from “The Sound of Music.”

2. “Feed the Birds,” from “Mary Poppins.”

3. “Stay Awake,” from “Mary Poppins.”

4. “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean.”

5. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

6. “The Johnny Appleseed Song.”

7. A simple prayer, “I see the moon, the moon sees me. God bless the moon, God bless me.”

 

Here were three books suggested by for children:

1. “Zzz . . .” by Trudee Romanek.

2. “Sleep is for Everyone,” by Paul Showers.

3. “Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book,” by Dr. Seuss.

 

Of course, more than once we have mentioned in our unanimous love for the books,

“Goodnight, Moon” and “Runaway Bunny” both written by Margaret Wise Brown.

Oh, for controversial reasons, I must add, “In the Night Kitchen,” by Maurice Sendak.

Although this book has won a Caldecott Award, it also has a nude child in it, so it has

been ‘banned’ and edited by librarians across the land.

I enjoy a cup of Sleepytime Tea, (which has a nice combination of herbs, including

chamomile) by Celestial Seasonings Herbal Teas. I like to nibble on a cookie or a

biscotti. It goes back to my childhood, where milk and cookies were our bedtime

snack. If I have a small glass of wine, it also helps produce sleep, if I am in a prone

position. If I am out dancing or mingling, wine doesn’t do this, instead it makes me

want to be on the dance floor. Rain sure helps, on the roof of a house. . .

 

Please add if you have any suggested reading or your own ‘remedy’ to help us sleep.

If you like, tell us some kind of special routine with your children or grandchildren.

 

Celebrate Global Advocacy

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Today is World Humanitarian Day, declared by the United Nations in 2008, to give

tribute to ones who died in the 2003 bombing of the U.N. Headquarters in Baghdad.

On that day, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq was killed,

Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 others who were not in any military personnel duty,

but were public servants. These ‘voiceless victims” gave up their lives. This honors

all those who are negotiators, compromisers, and humanitarians who chose such lofty

goals as World Peace as part of their life’s purpose.

 

World Humanitarian Day, August 19th,  is a wonderful result of collaboration

between countries. The country where Sergio Vieira de Mello originated, Brazil,

along with Switzerland, France and Japan helped to steer, then ‘table’ the draft

of the resolution. International foundations worked tirelessly to promote this

and it came about six years ago.

 

Donations, to UNICEF, an organization that has Sudan at the top of their ‘needy’

countries’  list are welcome. They ask this to be done in honor of this celebration

for the victims of crimes against humanitarians and their families.

 

A meaningful expression that I found while looking this up was:

“Light up your map” by supporting and sending money to UNICEF, with “our global

advocates” in mind.

 

Humanitarian. What an inspiring and amazing kind of person.

 

I hope this post will encompass this theme, along with including my own

observations and something recently discussed among my grandchildren.

After we watched Fievel, in his original role in the animated children’s film

from 1986, my grandsons were talkative. Lots of subjects came out of this

movie, my introduction to the fact that they had immigrants in their family

tree, from my side of the family, (their mother’s side) from Germany, Sweden,

Scotland and England. Then, one of the two boys, has African as one fourth

of his blood, while the other boy has many overlapping countries from his

Daddy’s and Mommy’s sides, of the German, Swede, Scot and English tribes.

While we were happily going all over the subject, they mentioned that their

Mimi and Poppy had the song, “Somewhere Out There,” as part of their wedding

music. This is the theme song from the movie, “An American Tail.”

In my oldest grandson’s memory, he came up with “Coming to America,” as a

song he had learned from his music teacher at school. I was amazed, that he put

these two songs together. Since this song is also about immigration. I mentioned

that it is one of my all-time favorite songs, sung by Neil Diamond.

They, of course, said, “Who?”

I didn’t even try to get them to recall who he was, since that would mean a whole

other discussion.

Just for your information, this song came out before, “An American Tail,” the

children’s film about immigration. “Coming to America,” was on the soundtrack

for the movie and album, “The Jazz Singer” (1980). The album’s hit single, made it

to the top of the charts, in 1981, making Diamond’s sixth ‘hit single’ at the time.

The theme of the song is to embrace the history of immigration, starting from

the 1900’s up until today. Interestingly, one of the lyrics’ passages includes his

repeating, “They’re coming to America… Today! They’re coming to America…”

When Neil Diamond performs this song live, he substitutes this audience

participation phrase, “Stand up for America… Today! Stand up for America…”

 

When we talked about their own heritage, my oldest grandson asked why is it

that he had overheard this question while recently at the zoo,

“Why don’t people talk English? If they can’t talk English, they should go back

to where they came from!”

I was looking at him, hoping and praying he would not reveal that it was

anyone he knew that said these rather ‘hateful’ words.

The next thing Sky said surprised me. He had apparently been thinking for some time

about the comments. This was only two weeks’ ago, when his parents had taken both

boys for an employee appreciation day at Zoombezi Bay, part of the Columbus Zoo.

Skyler said, “If people feel more comfortable talking to each other, then it should

be okay to use their country’s language, don’t you think, Nana?”

I smiled and said,

“My Filipino friends talk English with their spouses and almost always with

their children, too. But you know Felda and her two children, Kridia Dawn

and Zachary?”

The boys looked serious and nodded.

The youngest one piped up,

“Maybe they like to hear their Mommy speak her language if she sings songs.”

(Felda does have a beautiful voice, they had heard it at one of their many parties,

because part of the ‘games’ is to sing karaoke, adults and children, too.)

“Exactly! Good job, Micah!” I exclaimed.

I continued to explain why my good Filipino friends use their ‘homeland’s

language:’

“Felda wants her kids to know what her language was, so they will recognize

some words, each time they travel back to see their grandmother there in the

Philippines.”

Skyler got pensive again, my ‘serious thinker!’

“I am so glad you live close to us. By speaking Filipino with their grandma,

this would make her so happy, wouldn’t it? Do they talk on the phone or

Skype with her?”

I think my grandkids are all so ‘tech-savvy’ I forget about this new ‘age’ stuff.

“Yes, I am sure they do. But I will ask about this, I have seen them Skype at

work, for Felda’s or Mary Jane’s mother’s birthday together. I don’t know why

they would not Skype with the children to see her and share with her, at home.”

I was winding down on this subject and added this comment,

“They sit separately at work, while eating lunch and on their breaks, to

chatter happily and quickly about their personal lives.”

Skyler mentioned that it would be ‘cool’ to be able to have a hidden spy code

language, to talk to your friends in.

I agreed,

“So, when people say these things, I think they may be misunderstanding why

the ones who are using another language are doing this. A different reason may

be,  they are overhearing visitors from another country or ‘foreigners.’ Just like

we like to travel, someday I hope you will go to another country. You may wish to

use the language of that country but you may look for someone who understands

English. When foreigners visit, they seek out our cultural places, like museums

and zoos. Sometimes, there is no one who knows their language but there are

special headphones and language tapes, to help them to understand what they

are seeing. ”

 

It was funny how Micah was taking this all in, which is unusual. He interrupted

my final statement to interject,

“What do you think about when people ask me if my Daddy is a terrorist? Are

they trying to be funny? It makes him so mad!”

Micah’s Daddy’s father is black. For some reason, even when he wears his hair

in an ‘afro’ or braids, people think he looks like someone from Iraq or Iran. I

tried not to smile because he’s made some jokes about trying to go to the airport

and being held back, if he were ever wishing to travel internationally. He will use

a Robert Kline kind of comment, “I just picture the guards taking me down, then

I am lying on the floor using my Ohio accent, telling them I was born here!” I know

he doesn’t think it is funny and under the comic words, he is hiding his pain.

“It is not meant as an insult. If anything, the best way to answer people about

this, is to say, “Of course not! That’s my Daddy!”

I also told Micah that being able to see humor in such things and make light of

them, will carry him far in life.

 

Skyler summed this all up in one fantastic phrase, which he admits may have

come from the children’s animated movie, “Tarzan:”

“They are part of us. We are part of them.”

 

Referring to the song Phil Collins wrote for “Tarzan” (1999):

“You’ll Be in My Heart.”

“Why can’t they understand the way we feel?”

(The gorilla mother singing to human baby, Tarzan)

“They just don’t trust what they can’t explain.

I know we’re different but deep inside us,

We’re not that different at all.”

 

 

As far as language, it is true that~

I wish my Grandmother Mattson had taught me some German.

I wish my Grandfather had taught me some Swedish.

I watch that one television show, “Welcome to Sweden,” just to learn a few phrases.

I know my Dad learned a little Scottish and used a few phrases that are more ‘slang’

than anything else.

 

Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God.”

 

Who do you consider a great humanitarian?

Do you feel we need to be more or less understanding to others, when it comes

to language barriers?

Be honest, we can learn from each other’s points of view.

 

 

 

Fire Stories

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I  chose to pick up my two grandsons to celebrate taking them to the movies.

My first ‘move’ was to get their bellies filled with vegetables and healthy

choices, so we headed to Subway. Micah and I split a whole wheat 12″ sub,

with turkey and provolone cheese, his sides included tomatoes, black olives,

banana peppers, pickles and lettuce, mine having some of those plus, spinach,

cucumbers and onions. We each asked for a squirt of the low fat mayo, plus

I have them add the spicy sauce, too. Skyler asked for the Black Forest ham

with provolone cheese, toasted and added many vegetables and two squirts of

the low fat mayonnaise. We sat and talked together about their week and I

found out that Skyler was very good at archery at his daycamp for Cub Scouts

at Camp Lazarus. He told me that the ‘rifle range’ wasn’t as good this year,

since the rifles (I am pretty sure these are B.B. guns, since this is after all,

Boy Scouts of America!) ‘were not calibrated well.’ I listened to this new boy,

who has been growing like a ‘weed,’ having done an excellent job in science

and math this year, heading into fourth grade.

Micah likes his ‘fantasy’ world, where he has been building a hotel, where

there is a glass elevator (like the one at Red Roof Inn, the weekend of my

niece’s wedding, where he and his brother stayed with their Mommy, my

oldest daughter.) He is sure that he is going to also build a mansion, the

newest development being that I will ‘occupy a completely private wing!’

He is five and heading off to Kindergarten in about a month.

We told the man who resembles someone who may have originated in India,

that we were heading to the Strand Theater to see “Fire and Rescue Planes.”

He asked the boys what this movie might have in the animation and they

were excited to tell him about the parts that they had seen in commercials.

This kind man who manages the closest Subway looks my age.  So, of course,

I had to show him my Strand Movie Bargain Card, for those over 55. It

entitles the holder with a movie ticket, medium drink and medium popcorn

$7. It has gone up 50 cents since I may have listed this great price!

I also, enthusiastically, told him that the movies are now digitally modernized

and the owners purchased more precise lenses, than they had about a year and

a half ago. Anyone who hasn’t tried one of the three screened theaters, needs to

come and check them out! He smiled and told me that he and his family live in

Dublin, Ohio. Where they go to a theater it costs him $8 for he and also, his wife,

for evening movies and $7 for daytime ones. He mentioned his children cost him

about $6 for tickets and he estimates for the 5 of them, $40 for snacks. I told

him about our kids’ (of any age) snack packs with a small popcorn, small drink

and a choice of a regular sized M & M’s, peanut ones, fruit snacks or Sweet Tarts

all for $3.50. The boys emphasized that the tray is filled with popcorn and it

tastes really good, too! (They use Promise ‘butter’ or margarine product.)

We explained that is why we did not order drinks nor Sun Chips, today. The

man, who does not wear a name tag, but has been across the street from my

apartment for the whole 8 years I have lived there, told us he had a surprise

for the boys. He went in the back of the shop, and came back with nice,

insulated bags. Micah got a Green Hornet one, Skyler got a Michael Phelps’

Olympic Medalist Swimmer one. It would hold a lunch in it and keep it cold!

We profusely thanked him before we sat down and later, as we left.

The movie we were going to had been chalked on the sidewalk in a professional

way, with the logo! A nice and colorful, “Fire and Rescue Planes” was there, so

I captured first Skyler who put on the plastic fireman’s hat, to pose and Micah,

who did not want to wear it. I sent these photos off to their Mom and Dad.

The theater had visiting, for the opening weekend, the Delaware Fire Department’s

Fire Truck. We had missed the once on Friday and twice on Saturday. We would

not be able to visit again, at the appointed Sunday time. Both boys, reassured

me, that they had seen the fire trucks in parades and more than once, through

school and scouting activities.

The plastic fire hats were sitting in a pile on the  iron table with chairs,

outside the theater.

We bought our tickets and sat in the fifth row, from the front of the theater,

where the boys like to be ‘up close and personal’ with their snacks sitting on their

laps,their drinks in the cup holders. I like to remind them of the heritage of the

theater, pointing out the gold filigreed ceiling and the ornate two clocks, one on

each side of the theater. I started nibbling my popcorn, they were saying they were

still ‘full’ from lunch meal that was really for me, my dinner. Their weekend meals

run ‘later’ than their weekday schedule.

We were all studying the organ from this front row area, one of them asking

“When would we go to a movie where the organ would be played?”

I know I should not stereotype their ages, but I told them they would appreciate

the silent, black and white movies more when they were over 12 years old.

(This gives Micah time to grow up, because he would be 7 when Skyler is 12.)

I reminded them these are shown in the winter months.

I told them it is quite exciting to see these, listening the organ adding

more drama to the experience. I will look forward to introducing them

to this, while it is something to save for when they are ‘grown up.’

The movie plot centers on an ‘older’ crop dusting plane, named “Dusty.”

Today, there was the mother from “Modern Family,” named Julie Bowen,

who plays a flirtatious plane in the movie, visiting Queen Latifah. I did not

get a chance to hear what she said nor see the clip they showed, since our

break time was ending, as she was announced.

has some controls and different technical problems, due to aging.

If he doesn’t stop going so fast, in his racing competitions,  he may wear out

his equipment and crash. This is devastating news for”Dusty” since he is also

set to be a part of the Corn Festival, where he has set some racing records.

A suggestion comes about due to the older plane terminal and the older fire

truck, that are not able to take care of fires in the area well. This is, that making

Dusty go to fire and rescue school might save the local terminal from being

shut down. By adding water pontoons, Dusty learns in time to appreciate his

new position. He makes mistakes, but as in all children’s movies, he learns

from them along the way.

Of course, there are rampant fires, which will make the movie become quite

exciting!

I liked the following fun aspects of the movie:

When they ‘call it a day’ the planes go to a barn like structure, where country

music plays. When a plane wants to treat the other plane to a ‘drink’ it is to

offer ‘to buy you a can of oil.’

Another clever way to anticipate the older grandparents who would recognize

this old television show, is to have them gather for a ‘secret screening,’ where

everyone needs to know the ‘password.’

Once inside, the raucous song bursts out, from the “C.H.I.P.’s” television show,

specifically showing the episode #37, and at the end of the motorcycles who are

named, aptly, “Nick Loopin’ Lopez” and “Blazing Blade” make the female planes

‘swoon’ and say, “Ooh, they’re so hot!”

When the awards for heroism are given, they are called “Piston Peak Hero Awards.”

When a man who is running the Corn Festival, that usually Dusty performs at, by

racing across the sky arrives, he is named Colonel (like Kernel) and his deputy is

called, “Niblet.”

When those planes are saving lives, somehow they manage to work into the film,

“V.I.P” = Very Important Plane!

A couple of older R.V.’s are on the road to one of the national parks, the female and

male voices, oh so familiar to this writer, who liked their comedy sketches on variety

shows in the 70’s and 80’s: Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller. (Known back then as, Stiller

and Meara.) They are having a campfire and talking about all the years they had been

traveling together. It was sweet and nice to have these special touches, warming my

heart…

I took the kids to Blue Limestone Park, where they enjoyed their very first time on the

new play equipment. I ‘fell’ for the sound of the ice cream truck, where I gave them

$2 apiece to have a basic treat. Skyler picked a rainbow sno cone and Micah picked

a Rocket popsicle. They were pleased when I took them home, to see their little six

year old bunny, (who had appeared to have a stroke, his head fixed to the side and his

legs kind of moving sideways) was much better after his 3 day stay at the Vet’s office.

They had diagnosed a bacterial infection that attacked his brain, their bunny is named

“Pinky” despite his masculine sex.

On Sunday, continuing the fire and emergency theme, I rashly agreeed to go to the

Columbus Jazz and Rib Festival, with an ex-boyfriend. Out of the blue, he called, and

I had no plans, so I said, “Yes!” We ate lunch at Wendy’s, with one of those inexpensive

half salads, (“mid-size”) for my meal and he had a double cheeseburger combination

meal. We talked about family, recent fishing places and catches he had made, and what

movies and music we had listened to lately. His long distant daughter, Abby, is going to

have a baby, his closer distance grandson would like the tools he is going to put together,

in a tool box, for him, now that he is a responsible teenager.

Once we arrived at the festival, we were able to resist food and headed towards the first

stage. After we had set up our chairs under a nice, shady tree, he went off to get some

beverages; a beer for him and a sweetened tea for me.

Of course, there would be ribs to be had, later for our dinner! We enjoyed the

Carolina Ribs booth, where he had a $16 half slab meal and I had an $8

“Teaser’s” meal.

The best music to be found on Sunday, we felt was on the Fox Channel 8 Stage,

in the late afternoon.

We had circled the festival, collected some samples of foods, including Dove ice

cream, slices of subs at a stand, brownies and cakes, mustard pretzel bites and

cornbread crackers. The vendors were all cheerful and generous in handfuls of

free gifts.

I had resisted the cinnamon-sugared elephant ears and the powdered sugar

funnel cakes. He had had another beer, as the hot afternoon passed by.

We had tapped our feet, nodded our head in unison, enjoying and listening to

four bands. One was childrenoriented, calling out to listeners to join in when

they played, “Camptown Ladies Sing This Song, Doo Dah…” People cheering

for the saxophones, the bass players, the guitars and drums, too.

We loved the way the riffs and improvisation was taking the group called,

“480 East.”

They told us they were from Canada, had picked up a player in Toronto.

Their CD’s could be purchased at a table set up along the stage. They had

contacted ahead, the Jazz Festival organizers, requesting for 3 ‘back up’

players to join in with them. They got a drummer, a bass and flute player

and a supporting guitarist. They had only met each other an hour prior!

We wondered aloud, how often other bands joined in these improvisational

musical events.  We raved at how they seemed to fit together, playing as one!

We liked their slower, rhythm and blues Sade-style song. They played three

lively ones that were called, “Roll On,” “Been Too Long,” and “Table for Two.”

The singer/announcer for each song, got audience to participate in a simple

song with some great jazzy music, when he would point to one side of the stage,

half of the people would shout or sing out:

“To the East!”

And then, he would point to the other side of the stage, where people playfully,

sang out:

“To the West!”

They were there for over an hour, when the next group was waiting in the

‘wings.’ They apologized for not being able to play an encore, too. Great

group: “480 East!”

As we left the Jazz and Rib Fest, I gave my old guy friend a hug, we got into

his big truck, where he asked, “Do you mind listening to Jonny Lang?”

We were silent, reminiscing on my part, as we drove back home. I had met

him at the Polaris Wendy’s and got out, smiling and waving goodbye. He

rolled down his window and asked a rather ‘tricky’ question,

“Are you okay?”

I nodded my head, thinking, “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

Adele passed through my mind, in her ranting song,

“Set Fire to the Rain.”

But I didn’t shed a tear. . .

 

The Week’s Winding Down…

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Although I think that we are almost all glad that it is coming

closer to the weekend, I do feel for those who work ‘weekend shifts’

and also, have to do second jobs, that begin on Friday. I thought I

would indulge you in another ‘play on words’ by using the words,

winding down. In this context and use of winding, the definition

almost means to ‘unwind.’ I won’t be able to carry on a long and

fun song list, like I did when I used two weeks’ of Monday’s to

incorporate the words, “rain,” “rainy,” and storms…

One song comes immediately to mind, “The Long and Winding Road,”

by the Beatles. I do so love that song!

On the subject of weather, it is a little S T R E T C H, but I would

like to have fun with songs with weather in them!

The first song with wind in it, of course would be Bob Dylan’s 1962

“Blowin’ in the Wind.” His distinctive voice lends a touch of character

and sensitivity to the song. Time does not change the remarkable lyrics,

that begin with the words,

“How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?”

It talks about doves who sleep in the sand and it gets to the impact

of guns and bombs…

“How many cannonballs must fly, before they are forever banned?”

And the chorus,

“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind…”

I think it became a peace anthem and anti-war one, too. I enjoy the

trio of Peter, Paul and Mary’s version, the best! Their blended

voices, in unison, form a perfect edition.

You may discover several famous artists who have performed this

song, over the years.

I heard the old song, “Windy,” on the radio station that plays out of

Mansfield, Ohio. I was driving on my way home from Mom’s over the

weekend. I could not help being taken back to a special memory far

in the depths of my brain… and long ago. Songs sure do take you

places!

The song, “Windy,” was recorded by a group called “The Association,”

and released in 1967. The song was sung various places, including

the Ravinia Festival. Ruthann Friedman wrote this ‘catchy’ little

popular song about a man. The groups who recorded it were all

male, so the character, “Windy,” became female.

Here are just the first two verses, you may remember the chorus,

by the time you start singing it!

“Who’s peekin’ out from under a stairway,

Calling a name that’s lighter than air?

Who’s bending down to give me a rainbow?

Everyone knows it’s Windy.

Who’s tripping down the streets of the city,

Smiling at everybody she sees?

Who’s reachin’ out to capture a moment,

Everyone knows it’s Windy…”

This song has played on Top 100 lists and is one that my dear

parents would sing along to, in the car on long road trips.

It has some pleasant memories attached to it for me, lying on a

stack of pillows and blankets, with my two sleeping brothers, in

the back of a station wagon. Mom said, “I love you, Bob,” when it

was finished.

Have you heard this song before? I wondered about its familiarity

and age, if young people will recognize it. Any romantic thoughts

attached to this song for you?

The song, “Windy,’ has been presented in different ways. It

was incorporated into a “Breaking Bad” episode, lending it a kind

of ‘creepy’ vibe for me, (2011). It is played in a January, 2014

television show called, “Mike and Molly.” It is when Molly goes to

see her stepfather at a warehouse.

It has been included in a long list of romantic songs, with the

likes of “Cherish” and “Along Comes Mary.” The singers who have

recorded this in their albums have been diverse. Andy Williams,

Barry Manilow and others. I remembered the group, Gary Lewis and

the Playboys, but had forgotten their rendition of the song, “Windy.”

It has also been recorded as an instrumental song, played more in a

jazzy way, than its original sensitive, ‘pop’ song style.

Another interesting fact is that the song is in a Charlie Chan movie,

(1930). A male character in the movie, whistles in a similar tune

and rhythm as the song, “Windy.” He is gazing at a mirror.

This is utilized as a sweet serenade, in that it has no purpose but

to create a carefree moment.

There is a deeper message in the “Colors of the Wind,” by Stephen

Schwarz and Alan Menken. The children’s animated film that featured

this song, was called “Pocahontas.” Judy Kuhn voiced the character,

but later Vanessa Williams sang the song. It won Best Original Song,

at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and at the Grammy’s in 1995, it

won Best Song Written for a Film. It is talking about Mother Nature,

Native Americans and our need to become careful inhabitants of the

earth and planet. I like the way the person singing it says, they

know every rock, tree and creature on the Earth. Each has a life,

a spirit and a name.

This is the chorus with wind included in it!

“Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon

Or the Eagle tell you where he’s been?

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?

Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?”

It is the same channel that featured the Rod Stewart “Classic”

called, “Maggie Mae.” I love his whiskey, gruff sounding voice,

that can give me chills with his emotional expressions.

It is almost May, which makes me happy that April is coming to

a close and excited about what is just around the corner.

I found a lovely quote by Helen Steiner Rice, who graces many

beautiful cards in Cracker Barrel, with her sweet messages.

The cards usually look like misty mornings, fiery sunsets or

floral arrangements. I like when they pair H. S. Rice’s words

with a country scene, possibly dandelions or daisies in an

overgrown grassy, dormant field. I like to picture dragonflies

and pretty butterflies, dancing in the warm, hazy sunshine.

“There’s Sunshine in a Smile”

Life is a mixture of sunshine and rain.

Laughter and pleasure, teardrops and pain.

All days can’t be bright, but it’s certainly true,

There was never a cloud the sun didn’t shine through~

So just keep on smiling whatever betide you.

Secure in the knowledge God (or your Higher Being) is always

beside you.

And you’ll find when you smile your day will be brighter

And all of your burdens will seem so much lighter~

For each time you smile you will find it is true

Somebody, somewhere will smile back at you,

And nothing on earth can make life more worthwhile

Thank the sunshine and warmth of a beautiful smile.”

Take a ‘bow,’ Helen Steiner Rice, nicely expressed!

Chop Suey

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I remember a bygone day of listening to musicals

on my parents’ stereo. There was a Chinese love

story, called “Flower Drum Song.” This was taken

from a book written in 1957, made into a musical

by the famed duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The

film version was done in 1961, with Gene Kelly

playing a stage director. Themes of assimilation of

Chinese immigrants into our American culture, a

teenager’s rebellion, and an intergenerational

family living in China Town was popular on Broadway.

As time passed, it left the stages of Broadway and off

Broadway, until it was rewritten and made into a newer

production in 2002.

The same songs were kept with ‘tweaks’ in the character

development. It has been awhile since I have heard this

musical but some of the songs were very enchanting!

I sometimes wonder, how this would hold up to the

test of time!

Does anyone remember “Flower Drum Song?”

The real recipe for a Chinese dish of Chop Suey may

include meat(s), eggs, a starchy sauce, with vegetables.

These can include thinly sliced carrots, celery, bean

sprouts and other Asian vegetables. I would like to

have a bowl of this right now!

Another musical I was captured by the story behind

the book,”Anna and the King of Siam.” On stage, it

became “The King and I.” Yul Brynner did a wonderful

acting job in this, as did Deborah Kerr, in the movie

version. This was based on the autobiographical story

about a nanny for the king, who does fall for her over

time. They never ‘consummate’ their relationship but

are friends, conversationalists and until he passes

away, the one woman the King admires for her ‘brains!’

Anyway, “Chop Suey” was a fun loving song in the first

musical that I listed. This is going to be a post that

includes the many ways ‘chop’ or ‘chopped’ can be used.

This began, on a winter’s night, while my two grandsons

were over visiting. I was watching on my tiny, old t.v.

(it has a VCR unit in it!)on one side of my apartment the

show, “American Idol.” I enjoy watching this more than

“The Voice,” “The Singing Bee,” and “America’s Got Talent.”

This year, with Harry Connick, Jr. playing a bit of the

‘tough judge’ role, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, is

going very well! I have seen at least three young singers

who I would choose, without further training or coaching,

to be my “next American Idol.” There is a lot of raw

talent out there in America (and the world, too!)

While watching this, my two grandsons were across the

room watching on my bigger flat screen television two

shows. They were alternating between Nick, Jr. (which

has some of the younger one’s favorites like “Diego,”

“Blue’s Clues,” and “Bob the Builder.”) He will honestly

watch other shows, like “Dora,” and the girly ones with

me, too. The older one is starting to like Disney’s

‘teen-oriented’ shows and will study how to date, how to

tip a bucket over a person’s head and she will still

like you. With other silly premises and pranks that

those shows have. I wish I could tell you that it is

above his head, but I do remember my brothers and I

watching, “Beach Blanket Bingo” and other Annette

Funicello with handsome actor, Frankie Avalon movies.

We seemed to enjoy the rather silly plotlines and the

innocent sexual innuendoes, along with the flirtatious

atmosphere of people barely clothed. (That was made back

in 1965!)

I exclaimed about one of the younger female singers

who had done an excellent performance of singing

Adele’s song, “Chasing Pavement.” I said,

“That young girl has some ‘chops’ on her!”

When Skyler came over to see what I was talking

about, he half kiddingly said, “I like pork ‘chops,’

but what are you talking about, Nana?”

I came back with,

“Well, in Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts

says, “‘Chop’ off her head!”

And Sky, teasingly went along with this word play,

joining in with more,

“My Mom ‘chops’ apples and my Dad ‘chops’ onions!”

Micah came over and noticed our voices being animated,

wondered,

“Do you mean that ‘chops’ can be for food? I thought

you were talking about karate ‘chops!'”

Skyler says, “I wish you could make us some ‘chopped’

steak and enjoy it with some ‘chopped’ peppers.

I replied,

“In the month of February, you will learn about George

Washington who was so honest he confessed he was the

one who ‘chopped’ down the cherry tree.”

He scoffed and shook his head,

“I already knew that, Nana!”

I thought a moment and said,

“I bet you didn’t know that a ‘chop shop’ was a

car garage that takes stolen auto parts and fixes

cars up to be resold for a profit!”

The all knowing Sky answered,

“Since you never play video games, you probably

don’t know about Grand Theft Auto!”

I came back with a feeble attempt, I was losing

this battle of words…

“When I used to want to get my hair cut, a botched

up job would make me say my hair got…” (pause)

and Sky finished the thought,

“‘Chopped!'”

I told Skyler since my show was back on, that the

only way I had heard of ‘chops’ in the musical

world was when someone really belted out a song,

gave it their all and it came out sounding wonderful.

That the use of ‘chops’ was a compliment. I promised

I would check Wikipedia to give him the root meaning

of how this word came about…

On Urban Dictionary, the slang term, ‘chops’ means good

singing ability or singing talent; he/ she can truly

sing. Here, I thought that there may be a little bit of

a reference to the fact that in the olden days, when

men grew their sideburns out, they were called, ‘mutton

chops.’ Thinking that almost went with the throat area

where belting a song out would come. I did find that

this did get included in the free online reference

dictionary where the jowls of a person are meant to

indicate the ability of a jazz artist or musician to

sing loudly and well. There was another reference to

Louis Armstrong, who could sing well and use his

musical ‘chops’ in playing the trumpet, too.

Lastly, as I will call my grandson tonight to tell

him my findings, I thought of my youngest brother

pecking away on the piano, practicing (you may have

guessed the ending!):

“‘Chop’ Sticks!”