Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Libtard . . . Progressive . . .

          Someone recently referred to me as such.

          Me???  Wait just a New York minute . . .

          Hmmm. Let me think about this. Not very familiar with those terms; never thought of myself that way exactly . . . .

          So let's see  – my husband and I raised our kids to be respectful . . . and truthful . . . and responsible –

We taught them to be honest and dependable --
We taught them to clean up after themselves --
We taught them to finish what they start --
We taught them to be kind to others, and forgiving --
We taught them to study hard to get good grades –

          And being being part of a family means fun times AND responsibilities IN the family so --

          We assigned home chores for each of them from age 3-4 --

          When they were old enough for part-time jobs, we taught them it was important to show up on time 'ever' day and do a good job, that there is no “free lunch”. Work hard, do your job, you will be rewarded.

          Personally, like Elvis, I believe in “a little less talk, a little more action”so like Graham Nash once said when being interviewed by Tavis Smiley in 2011, “I’ve got to be the way I want the world to be” is a credo I strive to live by.

          And having been raised in a church that preached “we’re right and everyone else is wrong”, I have fought against that perspective my whole life – always attempting to find ‘common ground’ whenever/wherever possible with people of differing perspectives. Learning along the way, how often that results in finding much about which to agree.
          I believe what I believe because it works for me. Living in America, I recognize the same 'freedom of choice' applies to you and yours.

          Being a ‘free thinker’, I also believe what I think today may change depending on what I learn tomorrow.

          So here I am today – in this self-absorbed, anything goes, “ if it feels good, do it” world --

just now learning that all those things I taught and practice and still believe in makes me a “Libtard”, a “Progressive.”

          It’s GR-ATE to learn sumthin’ new ever day, is it not?

          Yeah, it is.

          This calls for a celebration. Yeah, it does.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Mystique of Music . . .

Passing thru the living room to feed the birds and make my coffee, I turn on Easy Listening, as usual.  Then I let Rocky out for his morning ritual.

Sitting down with my coffee, Rocky joins me momentarily, as the sounds of the theme from Schindler's List begin.

I pause as the melancholy melody fills my heart and soul with such poignant emotions.

How do they do it?  Composers, I mean.

Twelve notes produce such unimaginable combinations.  Well, I shouldn’t say unimaginable ‘cuz someone does.  Imagine them, I mean.

Listening to this music that is SO BEFITTING of the story . . . the sadness, the tragedy, the pain – it’s all there.  In the notes, the melody.

And then – think about this.  The difference in composing in a Minor Key – or a Major Key:

F Sharp – it’s the same note as G Flat.
C Sharp – it’s the same note as D Flat
and so on.

    Except (3) instances: There is no note identified as C Flat or E sharp or F Flat.

    So why . . . how come . . . if you compose in the Minor Key – instead of in the Major Key – it changes the SOUND, the EMOTION . . . EVERYTHING --.

– to produce music such as the theme from Schindler’s List – evoking sounds/emotions that are –

– melancholy, dismal, heartbroken. mournful. pessimistic. somber. sorrowful.

    Whereas, music in the Major Key makes you want to sing along, dance, jump for joy, or blissfully close your eyes and relax while your mind finds its Happy Place.

    How can this be?

    I can’t explain it but I sure can love it . . .

    The Mystique of Music . . . is a Blessing Beyond Measure.

* * * * * 
“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.”
—  Pablo Casals


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Good Stuff Happens; Yeah, It Does!. . .

What a Day! What a Guy! Son, John, that is.

Malfunctioning AC unit repaired and a NEW Water Heater installed.

What he thought would be a 2-3 hour job took all day. 'Course I stood By-The-Ready to "hold" the hammer or the screw driver -- and even became a "Ready-to-be-Certified" Welder. Yeah, I did. Well, maybe certification will come with a little more practice. ??

So here’s the deal –

In the summer, I keep the thermostat set at 76. It works well for Mary 'n me. Yesterday, for some reason, I walked thu the hall and "happened" to look at the thermostat and was surprised to see it was set at 76 but Temp was 77. I check it on occasion -- but not often -- and always the Set temp matches the actual Temp.

So this (the descrepancy) was odd. Hmmm . . .

A few minutes later, John called to say he was coming by to check on my water heater and to see if he could determine the source of the water leak; maybe it WAS the water heater. 

"Good," I thought; he can change the AC filters (2) and I will mention the 76/77 Temp descrepancy.

He had asked for and I had sent him info from the hot water tank a few days ago and he had now determined it was 20 years old. So when he came over and we looked at the water leak in the garage again, he told me he thought the water leak likely was the heater, esp. considering its age. Based on this and his recommendations, I decided to purchase a new one.

Then he checked the thermostat and the AC unit (outside) and came in to tell me "Mom, this is the 3rd AC unit I've seen in the last couple of weeks with this problem." Then he showed me "the problem." Two copper wires were touching and they caused a break and leagage/foaming at the break. Not an uncommon issue/problem, apparently.

So. "Every . . . thing . . . matters" -- once again, the quote of Andy Andrews proves itself. (Noticing that descrepancy in the Temp and the Setting (76/77) on the Thermostat 30 minutes before John called to say he was coming over was NOT accidental.)

So then we drove to Franklin -- Ferguson HVAC -- where I purchased a new water heater and the parts and pieces needed to fix the AC. Not exactly cheap but considerably better than if I had to call an unknown.

We returned with our purchases and John proceeded to fix the AC and pull out the old water heater and install the new one. Which was a few inches larger and barely fit in the space (but did, thank goodness) except it required going to Home Depot for some add'l parts to line up the pipes correctly (because of the larger size of the tank). GAH!

While he's busy fixing the AC unit and installing the water heater, I spent about 1-1/2 hours pulling weeds along the side of the house where the AC unit is -- a garden area completely overgrown with crab grass and weeds. Don't ask what happened when I tried to stand up! ACH! OOWW! My aching joints!


Thank you, dear John, STILL my Son-Shine boy! Hopefully you will have a restful evening and night.

As for me, I am enjoying a good dinner (Steak, fries, brocolai, corn, and strawberries dipped in brown sugar, a glass of Vino, and a small piece of choc. pudding cake for desert.).

AND at bedtime, a dose of Aspirin -- 500 mg for body aches and pains -- for my ACHING JOINTS!

Sons are Good! Life is Good! God is GOOD! 

Yeah, it is!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Who Was That Guy . . . Really.

Who was that guy, anyway . . . ???

You know . . .  he lived a long time ago . . . back in the ‘olden” old days.  

Walked and talked to folks, kinda like town meetins’, in a way.  I mean we’re talkin’ really LONG AGO and FAR AWAY . . . 

I ‘member sum of the things he said . . . like . . . 

Love your enemies.
Do good to them that despitefully use you.
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
Judge not, that ye not be judged.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
If you see someone without a coat and you have two, give him one.
Take care of widows and orphans.

Really????  C'mon, Guys! I mean . . . 

Sounds like sum kinda Commie Socialist ‘er sumthin’ . 

Oh, wait . . . now I ‘member.

It was . . . Himself!  The “Man”! . . . 

His name was Jesus.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Oh, What a Night It Was, it Really Was . . . (*)

Tonight -- what a surprise!

Last week Caryn invited me to come over on Saturday, my birthday. “We want to take you out for your birthday. Come around 3-4 p.m.; we’ll leave around 5 p.m.”

Got here around 3 p.m. She had advised me to wear something 'nice' 'cuz we were going to dinner. So I did. Now it's about 5 p.m. and we're on our way. We drive and drive and it appears we are heading to Nashville.

Me --So what restaurant are we going to, anyway?
CJ -- Who said we were going to a restaurant?

Me -- Well, that's usually where you go to eat.

CJ -- Well, it doesn't have to be a restaurant, you know.

Me -- Huh? OK, so now I'm really confused. Hmmm.

But she continues driving towards Nashville and then I see Charlotte Avenue -- Oh, ok; we’re on the west and north side of downtown. More "Hmmm". I am totally wondering where on earth we are going.

CJ's phone rings and we take turns talking to Lisa. Jeff and Lisa sing Happy birthday on speaker. We hang up.

CJ -- Oh, by the way, we're all coming to your house tomorrow. For dinner. We're bringing it..

Me -- WHAT???

CJ -- Well, we were going to surprise you but I thought we'd better tell you in case you had made some other plans (they know what a social butterfly I am!)

Me -- OHMYGOSH! You Guys! No, I have no other plans. This is so great!

So she drives some more. And then turns down a street and starts to drive into this B-I-G parking lot. With a B-I-G building next to it. I look up. There is a Logo across the top of the building.

I gasp as I blurt out -- WHAT????

The Logo says "CabaRay".

I nearly fall out of the car/faint! This is Ray Stevens' new Venue. I watch his 30 minute show every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. on PBS. I L-O-V-E this guy. Always have. He is a comedic musical genius.


This is ABSOLUTELY what you call a . . . C-A-P-R-I-S-E!!!(**)

So we go in and have an amazing delicious meal. And then, at 7:30 p.m. the show begins. Out comes Ray. Lookin’ and actin’ like he always did . . . and does.

And he sings and tells jokes and entertains us for close to 1-1-/2 hours. Of course, you KNOW what song he closed the show with, right? Right.

No? The Streak, of course . . .

The show is amazing . . . he is amazing . . . the energy . . . and musicality of his voice . . . at 79 years of age !!! . . . and flipping so perfectly into that perfect falsetto . . . (you remember Tarzan, the Guitar Man; right?)

I am in music/happy heaven. And he throws in a couple of love songs . . . and a couple of hymns before he’s done.

They told us when we arrived Ray would come into the bar area after the show to greet folks. So after the show we went there and waited. After about five minutes he walked in.

CJ took some pictures of me talking with him.

I told him he was a national treasure and that this had been a surprise dinner/concert for my 80th birthday because I was such a big fan. And I mentioned that my son John (***) had been in the music business for over 30 years and had been married to Jeannie C. Riley's daughter. (That because the venue had photos of Ray and so many musicians all over the walls and Jeannie's picture was up there with him in one of them).

And then we drove back home to Fairview.

WOW! Topping this would be hard.

(*) And this was one of the songs he sang, also (Johnnie Ray was my First Teen Hearthrob)
(**) What Tom called ‘surprise’ when he was little.
(***) John told me the next day that his sound company, Gopher It, had run sound for Ray at least once ‘back in the day’.
* * * * *
And now it's the next day – the second surprise.

Caryn told me last night all 'the kids' were coming over after church and bringing all the food. So I knew that.

MAN . . . This party just keeps on keepin’ on. (Well, that’s what I tried to teach ‘em; keep on keepin’ on, I mean. Guess it worked.)

But now I’m pulling into my driveway and I see this red truck settin’ on the side of my yard (I’m a corner lot). “Wonder why some neighbor picked THAT spot to park? Odd . . . But Tom has a red truck. And it’s a Chevy. Like that one. Maybe he came a little early . . . “

So I pull into the garage and enter the house via the pantry/laundry room that leads into the kitchen. And the french door from the dining area that leads to the back porch is o . . . . pen . . .

OHMYGOSH!! It’s Tom . . . and John . . . and they’re standing on a board on a divided ladder and they’re hanging/nailing screening.

It’s happening. It’s really happening. The screened-in porch is getting F-I-N-I-S-H-E-D!!!

And the Birthday Joy just keeps on keeping on . . .

Once they got the screens done, John and J-Man (his son, Jeremy) went to Home Depot – I tried to go with them and argued and pleaded and stamped my foot a couple of times. I knew they were going to get a new screen door (the first one got broke a couple years ago) and I have a credit card with Home Depot – and it has a zero balance! 'No way, Woman. You’re NOT goin’!"

Later, I found out J-Man paid for the door.

Luckily, we checked the status of the gas tank (for the gas grill I only use when kids are around for gatherings) and it was nearly empty so they bought another tank of gas, also. I presume John bought that.

In the meantime, the younger kids – grandsons and great-grand kids are out in the yard playin’ catch.

Us girls are yakking and getting the food ready; hamburger patties to grill, salads, etc. and CJ and Becky begin spearheading a plan for a “girls week escape’’ for later in the year on St. George Island at a house on the beach where Caryn and Randy and the boys . . . and me . . . spent a week a few years ago. It was awesome great. 4 BR, with pool under the carport and . . . fifty feet of beach ending at the ocean edge!

She checked prices and availability and called and MADE THE RESERVATION! And we paid the deposit!!!

Good Times Just Keep on Keeping On . . .

Did I mention how much I love these ‘guys’ and how very blessed I have been and continue to be . . . I am one LUCKY MOM/Grandma/Great-Grandma.

(This one will be hard to top!)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Glen and The Music . . . (10 01 2017)

     Ah, here it comes -- PBS 7 p.m. Special -- repeat from 2007 – Glen Campbell: Good Times Again. The Love of My Life -- entertainer-wise, I mean. And you should see the line-up of singers/entertainers on the show.

     Joy . . . Joy . . . JOY!!! Be still my heart.

     And here's Linda -- (Ronstadt, that is) – hair down to her waist! Beautiful. "Carolina in My Mind."

     And now it's Ray . . . "Cryin' Time".

     And Bobby Gentry? Didn't know he recorded an album with her. And they sing a duet . . . oh, no, it’s "Let it Be Me."  That was mine and Jer's song; it was playing in the car on the way home from one of our dates . . . the night we fell in love. . .

     And Ricky Nelson. . . and Cher.
     And Ann Murray . . . "Ain't No Use" . . .
     And Roger . . . "King of the Road."

     And then Glen, this time just him doing "By the I get to Phoenix" . . . another heart-wrencher.

     And here’s a clip of him meeting John Wayne . . . explaining how he got the role in True Grit. And now he sings it.

     And then he explains how "Raindrops," by B. J. Thomas, beat him out for Best Song that year. And then he and B. J. Sing it.  "Raindrops," I mean.
= = = =
     And I listen . . . and my heart swells with emotion and my eyes drip . . . from the beauty of it . . . and with what now seems like the "innocence" of it all . . . what??? innocence???

     Well, not really . . . unless it was mine, maybe??? Because of the safety and security of the life I was living at the time. . . being loved and needed by family and friends . . . and thinking that it would always be so. ??
= = = =
     And here comes Johnny -- no, not Carson. The One, the ONLY -- CASH! And listen to Glen do that guitar and voice solo. AND, then, of course, that signature "arm/guitar movement" of Johnny's as he plays that guitar.

     And now it's . . . who ?? I recognize the voice, but the SHORT hair??? OMG -- it's Willie . . . and he and Glen do "Lonely Walls." Had forgotten he ever looked like this.

     And now here comes "Gentle On My Mind" . . . with John Hartford . . . and the story behind it of how Glen 'fixed' the beat/timing of it. So awesome, so perfect.

     Oh . . . that's it? It's over?" . . . No.

     I will never erase this!

     Somewhere . . . somehow . . . the music lives on . . . and so do we.

     And don't ask me to explain that. I'm just the W.O.W.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

My Detroit Neighborhood -- Back In The Day (Originally Written in 2010)

Detroit Neighborhoods--Back In The Day
Boundary of Woodward/John R - 7 Mile/State Fair

My father lived at 492 Fernhill as a boy in the 1920s; I lived with him and my mom at 456 Fernhill as a child in the 1940s.

When I googled the neighborhood and rode the cyberspace arrow up and down the streets, I could not believe the destruction and neglect. At least half the houses on Fernhill are gone.

When I saw the empty lot where my house used to be, it broke my heart. How crazy is that! It was more than 60 years ago! My dad's house still standing was a wonderful surprise. In my mind's eye, I can see the street and the people as they were so long ago. I don't know why I care. Maybe it has something to do with being a writer.

On the North side of the street, it appears the house once owned by the Maynards, the Etheringtons, and the Hopps family (492) remain.

On the South side, across from where 456 used to be, the house owned by the Luscitch family in the 1940s is also still standing.

Time has not been kind to this little community but it was a wonderful and safe place to grow up in the 1940s.

From Fernhill we walked to the corner of Havannah, turned right one block, and there was our beautiful school, Grayling Elementary. What has happened to this school? The building remains but it is not listed as a Detroit elementary school.

From 456, my friends and I would walk two blocks to Beauman, turn left and pass a little convenience store on the right filled with penny candy or continue a few more short side blocks up to 7 Mile to Brown's Creamery, where my Grandma Hopps, the store manager, would give us delicious double-dip chocolate cones for TWELVE CENTS!

In the summer, my friends and I would walk the 2-1/2 blocks over to State Fair and spend the entire day at the Fairgrounds!

I remember the fire there in 1942. I was four and sat on my dad's shoulders as he and half the neighbors walked over to watch the horror and listen to the screaming horses.

We did not have a car then and my dad rode the bus to and from work. Sometimes I would walk to the other end of Fernhill, to Charleston, (remember when they built that manufacturing plant there?), turn left two short blocks and meet him at the top of the stone steps he walked up when he got off the bus by the viaduct at State Fair.

Or we could walk up Charleston to 7 Mile and turn left a block or two and be at Trinity Reformed Church, where my dad went to church as a boy and my grandma still attended in the 1940s.

Our next door neighbors, the Hoffmans, attended Epiphany Lutheran Church located across the street a little ways from the creamery. It was such a beautiful church, I wished I was Lutheran so I could go there. It is now known as Oasis of Hope Christian Church.

If you have memories or pictures you are willing to share of those "grand old days", please contact LibralLady@aol.com

Dawn Hopps Coyle Bohannon
AKA Sarah Barnes