The greatest voice of the rock era- that’s a loaded topic! I am (NO surprise) a HUGE fan of classic rock. For ME, “classic rock” means from 1974-1983…give or take a year here and there! I grew up the baby of the family (I suppose that means I am STILL the baby of the family! Some people would heartily agree with that!), and so I “cut my teeth” musically on what my siblings and parents listened to. Because of that, I have an incredibly varied taste in music. My parents listened to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Andy Williams, Perry Como, Julie Andrews, Jim Nabors, Frank Sinatra…like that. My siblings listened to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Iron Butterfly, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Three Dog Night, Joni Mitchell…you get the idea. I knew the extended drum solo from In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida before I knew my ABC’s!
Today is the birthday of an angel…my wife! I have now spent 34 birthdays with this awesome woman. In fact, out FIRST date was on her 16th birthday! I was in the high school production of Oliver! and opening night was…her birthday! I had been trying to get up the nerve to ask her out, and that seemed like a rather low-risk date! (Looking back- asking a girl out on a first date to an event where she has to A. sit by herself and B. watch YOU…may NOT be the best choice…but it worked!) I sent roses to her house that afternoon, so that they had already arrived when I came to pick her up. (I know…smooth…right?!) After the show, I changed out of my costume, scrubbed off the makeup (ALSO not something you would normally flaunt to a new girl on the first date!) and we headed to the restaurant at the local Ramada Inn. I had called ahead and ordered a birthday cake. (Again…smooth…right?!) We ordered sauteed mushrooms and shared them while we listened to the musical stylings of Mike Zichovich. He had two…count them…TWO…electronic keyboards that did EVERYTHING. (You know, guitar, bass, drums, piano…all coming out of two keyboards.) He covered Billy Joel and the like, and we gazed longingly into each others eyes. (At least I did- hers might have been less about me and more about a bit of nausea over the karaoke-like music we were listening to!) After we finished our sauteed mushrooms, I had them bring the cake. As it came out, it became apparent to me, 16-year old boy that I was, that “cake” may be a bit of a misnomer! It was round, about 2″ tall, about 6″ across, and stale as the day is long!! (I know…NOT smooth…right?!) BUT…she blew out the one candle (SURELY they knew she was older than that…didn’t they?!), we had a few bites of stale cake, and the die was cast.
A few days ago, we had dinner…backwards! Dairy Queen was having a sale- buy one Blizzard and get a second one for just a few cents. I ran to pick up my youngest son from school, and as I was leaving the house, my wife suggested I pick 2 Blizzards up…that we could split between the three of us. I did…and we did. So we had tasty ice cream treats at 3:30PM, and then dinner about 6:30PM. So we did it backwards…ate the dessert and THEN the meal. (My mom would be appalled!) And may I say…my son LOVED it! (Speaking personally, the Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzard is awesome!)
A new Goodwill store opened in town recently. Well, it wasn’t so much a new store opening, as much as it was an old store relocating…but you get the picture! To be honest, we never really liked the old Goodwill store, but LOVE the local Salvation Army store. (I do all of my fine suit buying there- $7 for a suit- hard to beat!) So we decided to give the new Goodwill a try. While we were there, I though about the fact that I wanted a new lamp to sit on my desk at work. So I went to the “lamp section” and found one. Simple, relatively unassuming, and $4- hard to beat. BUT…does it work? (Once bitten, twice shy…and all that rot!) So I carried it over to an outlet and plugged it in. It did NOT come on. So…I looked for a switch (NOTHING gets past me!) to turn it on. As I was looking, my 9-year old son came over. “Whatcha doin’?” “Trying to turn this lamp on!” “What’s the problem?” “Can’t find the switch!” “Maybe it’s one of those ‘touch’ ones?!” He reached out, touched the metal shade, and VIOLA…the lamp came on! He’s a genius! (Me…not so much!) So I said, “Let ME try that!” I reached out and touched the shade…NOTHING! He touched it again, it got brighter. I touched it again…NOTHING! He touched it again, it got brighter. I touched it again…NOTHING! He touched it again, it went off. I touched it again…NOTHING! I felt frustrated, foolish…but $4 for a perfectly good lamp was hard to beat, so I went ahead and got it, thinking at least we could put it in HIS room!
When I first moved here, I was asked if I knew about Abbeyfield. Now, I AM a Beatles fan, so I knew about Abbey ROAD…but NOT Abbeyfield. Now…I do! Abbeyfield is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to making the lives of older people easier and more fulfilling. Abbeyfield helps people live independently by providing a range of services, all of which are linked to the local community.Each Abbeyfield society is guided by the beliefs that older people have an important role to play among their families, friends and their communities and that overcoming loneliness and insecurity can make all the difference to an older person’s quality of life. People have an essential part to play in helping older people within their community, and the Abbeyfield team of volunteers and professional staff offer practical support and companionship to residents within the comfort of their own community. Residents enjoy an assisted independent lifestyle free from the hassles of running a household and the concerns of dealing with loneliness. Abbeyfield is, in short, a residential living center for the elderly that is specifically and intentionally built to be directly linked to the community in which it exists. Folks can move from their homes into this environment, but stay IN their own community and continue to be a vital part of that community, attending their home church, shopping at their home grocery store, etc.
What do you call it when a wife or husband makes bad coffee? Grounds for divorce! What Star Wars character drinks too much coffee? Java the Hut! A man goes to the doctor, “Every time I drink my coffee, I get a stabbing pain in my right eye. What should I do?” The doctor replies, “Try taking the spoon out of the cup!”
OK, let me admit RIGHT up front- I’m 49 years old, I out of shape, and I carry a bit more weight than would be ideal for my body and age! Having said those things (grudgingly…I might add!), last Saturday I paid rather dearly for those cold, hard facts! I tried to be…you guessed it…a weekend warrior! I have been sedentary ALL winter- my only real exercise was shoveling snow…and that wasn’t all that much! So here we are- Spring has sprung…and a middle-aged man’s fancy turns to…the great outdoors!
Today marks the END of Administrative Assistant’s Week. (If you’re currently thinking, “Oh…SNAP…I didn’t do anything for THEIR NAME HERE!”- it’s NOT too late! Run out and get something. Give them a card. Take them to lunch. Whatever.)
I have mentioned before that I used to work as an actor. I also have mentioned that I studied acting at a small Midwestern University. Part of my educational requirements was to learn and practice stage combat- mostly fencing and broadsword fighting. “Requirements”…yeah, right! I would have paid THEM to let me do that! It was fun…but not terribly practical. The truly practical aspect of stage combat came in the practical application!
Yesterday, I wrote about the Muddy Buddies. Today we will keep that “mud” theme going! At my last church, I took the Senior High kids on a retreat every fall. We would go to a United Methodist camp in Southern Illinois, where we would rent a big cabin for the weekend. It included 4 bedrooms, each with 5 bunk beds, 2 bathrooms, each with multiple showers, a kitchen, and a rather large “great room”, complete with a big stone fireplace. We would drive down after school on Friday, and come back on Sunday afternoon. During our time there, we went hiking in a nearby state park, played games, goofed around, ate, and worshiped. It was ALWAYS a great time.
I grew up as a gardener. Well…to be more precise- the son of a gardener! My mom had the greenest thumb you’ve ever seen! Our garden had apples trees, cherry trees, pear trees, peach trees, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions, radishes, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, turnips, green beans, sugar snap peas…I could go on…but I won’t! It was staggering how many different things we grew! It was also a TON of work! So is it any wonder that, as soon as I got out on my own, I did NOT have a garden?! Why in the WORLD would I want to continue that overwhelming amount of work…right?!
So, yesterday was my birthday. (NOT a shameless attempt at birthday greetings…just a set-up for today’s entry!) Here is what the day looked like:
What do you call a cow that has just given birth? De-calfinated!!! Abraham Lincoln said, “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.” Lady Astor once said to Winston Churchill, “If I were your wife, I would put poison in your coffee.” To which Churchill replied, “And if I were your husband, madam, I’d drink it.”
I have a drum student. Well, I have more than one drum student, but there is one in particular I’m talking about today. He has been my student for about 3 years, He is a REALLY talented drummer. And every year, he enters the county Music Contest. He is also a singer and pianist (like I said, talented kid!), and so he often enters in more than one category. But, of course, MY concern is his drum piece every year. He chooses a drum solo every year and brings it to our lessons, where we work on it. EVERY year he has received a rating of 1st. Well, this year’s contest was last weekend, and leading up to it, I was a bit concerned about how he would do this year. After our LAST lesson before he was to perform his piece at the contest, I went home and said to my wife, “Well, I hope he does well. I mean…he HAS to do well…I have a perfect record!”
Did you know that kids make noise? I KNOW it’s hard to believe…but they do! And, believe it or not, they EVEN make noise…GASP…in CHURCH! The NERVE of them!! Church is supposed to be quiet, peaceful, uninterrupted, and…well…QUIET! And yet, you let those pesky kids into the building, and it’s NOT peaceful, it’s NOT uninterrupted, and it’s CERTAINLY not quite! Perhaps we should simply ban all children from church…until they reach such an age where they can be QUIET!
Today is the anniversary of….the sinking of the Titanic. (Is is simply coincidence that the anniversary of one of the best-known tragedies in human history is ALSO Tax Day?) Here’s what happened. On April 10, 1912, the Titanic, the largest ship afloat at the time, left the harbor at Southampton, England to begin her maiden voyage to New York City. The White Star Line, owners of the vessel, had spared no expense in providing luxury. Her passengers on that voyage were a mixture of the world’s wealthiest and poor immigrants packed into steerage.
Does your lawn look like you’ve started a dandelion farm? Isn’t it amazing that your lawn can go from one day with NO dandelions to the next day with a sea of yellow? Have you ever known a flower with a more “muddied” reputation than the dandelion? When we were kids, we would go out into the yard and pick a handful of them and…wait for it…bring them in and give them to our moms, or some other woman in our lives. I think most people have had that experience. And mom would graciously accept them, get out a paper Dixie cup, put some water in it and put the flowers in, on display for the world to love on display. They never lasted long in that Dixie cup, but they ARE pretty flowers!
We have a saying at our house that we drag out anytime blame is about to be, or just was, assigned to someone- “let’s identify the guilty and praise the non-participants”! (It’s catchy, isn’t it?) Remember when you were a kid and your main reason for existence was to make sure that your brother or sister was blamed for everything that happened? It didn’t matter if they actually DID it or not (completely irrelevant)- it only matter that THEY were identified as guilty while YOU were identified as a non-participant. I remember standing by the front door for TWO HOURS one day, waiting for mom and dad to get home so I could get my story in first!! I also remember, in 1st Grade, a kid sitting next to me “had an accident” at their desk. The teacher walked over, looked at the puddle on the floor, and said, “What happened?” (That question, while scathing at the time, seems hilariously obvious now!) The kid looked at her, looked at the puddle, looked at ME, POINTED and said, “HE did it!” The We LOVE blame in this country…as long as it is squarely aimed at…someone else!
Growing up out in the country, we had a variety of animals- I’ve shared about some of them already. At one point, our chicken yard included…well…chickens, roosters, guinea fowl, and 2 turkeys- a BIG “traditionally colored” Tom and a slightly smaller pure white hen. They were interesting to have around- the hen turkey just kind of “went about her business”, flying under the radar as it were. The Tom turkey, on the other hand, LOVED attention. He would strut around that chicken yard, wings slightly out, chest puffed out, thinking he was all that AND a bag of chips! We had no intention of ever eating either of them (at least not that I knew)- we just liked having them around!
A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning. The wife said, “You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don’t have to wait as long to get our coffee.” The husband said, “You’re in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that’s your job.” The wife replies, “No, you should do it, and besides, it’s in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.” The husband replies, “I can’t believe that, show me.” So she fetched the Bible, and opened it to the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says: “HEBREWS”!