Category Archives: soull music

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. . .

 

Musical Legend: Mavis Staples

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Wishing an early “Happy Birthday to Mavis Staples!” Her birthday will be

July 10, 1939. Wow! In her 75th year of singing a rich and still fresh

combination of blues, soul, folksong anthems, and Gospel music, she

just put out another album in 2013!

Way to go, Mavis Staples!

Mavis’ newest album is titled, “One True Vine.” I learned more about

her personal journey through her life and also, a definite proposal

and romance I had no idea existed! You may not guess which famous

singer asked her “Pop’s” for permission to have her hand in marriage!

Mavis’ “Pop” put together the family singing act called, “The Staple

Singers” long ago, while she was at the tender, young age of 8 years

old! While the Peace Movement and Civil Rights Movement were the

ones who ‘took her there,’ the popular song, “I’ll Take You There,” was

what got the group on the top of music charts!

Listening to the lyrics, knowing it was originally a gospel song that

was intended for the listener to believe in going to a place called

“Heaven,” makes it even more spiritual and inspiring.

During the sixties, being on stage with Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King,

Jr. made her inspired and gave her so much encouragement for the

world. Her life was spent traveling around to big cities, performing and

feeling the wave of love and hope rising amongst African Americans.

On an interview with CBS Saturday Morning, (5/17/14), Mavis said that

being around MLK, Jr. was to feel ‘unbelievable joy.’ To be in his ‘presence’

brought her so much meaning to her life.

During this timely period in the United States, there was another

young ‘mover and shaker’ in the music industry. Mavis spent a lot of

time with that curly haired, good looking Bob Dylan.

There came a time, Mavis recounted that,

“Bobby told my Pops, ‘I want to marry Mavis.'”

Pops responded,

“‘Don’t tell me, tell Mavis!'”

While grinning happily, telling the interviewer this love story,

he asked with some excitement,

“What did you say to Bob?”

She reflected, smiling and said,

Well, remember I was very young, so I told him, ‘Let’s wait awhile.'”

She went on to say (the essence of this moment being the real meaning

in her words, paraphrased here):

She wondered what changes her life would have had, how marrying Bob

Dylan would have impacted her life and then used a phrase that I will

tell you the interviewer had to ask her to repeat and explain.

Mavis wondered what it would have been like to make ‘chrome-crushers’

with Bobby.

The words meant, children or babies with him. She was pondering this

and looking happy, still. She felt that she had been attractive, I

forget if she called herself a ‘fox’ or what, but he was definitely

someone she had love for and a huge crush on, too!

Mavis says that her life was spent ‘coming at it with her heart.’

When Mavis Staples won her first Grammy, she remembered that her

Pops had said not to worry about that but they were (basically)

singing for the Lord and “to reach people.” It was a great piece

of philosophy, not to worry about your awards in life, just what

actions you do and how it effects people.

At the 55th Grammy Award ceremony in February, 2013, Mavis Staples

won the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, looking very

stunning and vibrant. If you punch in her name and Grammy 2013, you

will see her the way she still looks. So beautiful inside and out!

She performed, by the way, in a tribute to Levon Helm, with the ‘likes’

of Elton John, Zac Brown Band and Mumford and Sons that fantastic

evening show to remember!

Mavis laughed, saying that she did, “Buy a stand for that Grammy,”

though!

The upbeat tone in her speaking and singing voice wins you over,

despite her vocal range not being as wide as I am sure it was in her

‘heyday!’ She has two songs that were very special to me.

I have sometimes, like many people do, worried about my appearance

and this song, “I Like the Things About Me,” including her comments

in the song disparaging her hair and her lips. She uses this verse,

“I like the things about me, that I once despised…”

“There was a time I wished my hair was fine…”

“There was a time I wished my lips were thin…”

In the end, the message was similar to today’s artist, Lady Gaga’s.

Mavis’ lifetime of having racial hurdles to overcome, make her

simple songs even more powerful. And timeless…

“Love yourself.”

(The essence of the lyrics was she came to the point in her life,

when she could accept ‘the me that I am.’)

The lively and pretty song, “Freedom’s Highway,” still has a world

wide application. As she mentioned the children (girls who were

kidnapped in Nigeria) and ‘everywhere looking at America to see what

we will do.’

“March each and every day,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around.

There is just one thing,

I can’t understand, my friend.

Why some folk think freedom

Was not designed for all men,

Yes, I think I voted for the right man,

Said we would overcome.”

She repeated that ‘the whole world is wondering why America

is not stepping in to help those girls.’

Mavis Staples’ songs to look up on Youtube and listen to are:

“You Are Not Alone,” (2010)

“Eyes on the Prize,” (2007)

“One True Vine” (2013).

I was uplifted by Mavis’ energy and her loving nature shown in the

interview this Saturday morning. I needed only to see her face, to

remember that, not too long ago, Grammy Awards Show.

Where I had really listened to Mavis Staples’ singing and messages.

Adding to everyone’s loving voices raised in tribute to Levon Helm.

(If you were a fan of “The Band,” you were listening to his drumming

and percussion skills.)

Now go out, sing dance and march to the music!