Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Morning walk

The other day wifie and I took a walk in the unseasonably warm morning sunshine.

We noticed how tiny our little house looks compared with its neighbors.

Our mum is getting gold.

Roger the cat basked happily in the sun upon our return.

Great bumper sticker

Seen outside a Nashville bar on November 25, 2006.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thoughts of mortality

Yesterday in a rare idle moment I explored the calendar on my cell phone.

You can set reminders for future dates.

I wanted to see how far into the future the calendar would go,
so just for fun I set a reminder on my cell phone for my upcoming birthdays.

I'm 60 now.
I set reminders for my 80th,
and 100th birthdays.

Although I know in two years I'll trade this phone for a new one,
it was an interesting exercise.

Holding down the # key rapidly on my phone scrolls rapidly through the months,
and before you know it, a year flashes by,
and then another,
and another...

(Kind of like real life)

It got me to thinking,
thinking about the finiteness of life.

How many cell phones will I go through in my remaining years on this planet?

Even if I live to be 100,
I will have already lived more than half of my years.

This exercise started me thinking.

What is life about, anyway?

The early years seem simple if sometimes hard.

A person must learn;
might choose a mate;
might reproduce;
must earn a living for oneself and one's family;
and raise one's children.

Then comes this long stretch of years
before the end arrives.

One's marriage may crumble;
one's children grow up and make lives of their own,
perhaps giving one grandchildren.

One may remarry and begin a new life;
inheriting a new extended family far away.

One may move to a distant city far away to start anew;
beginning a new career, starting over again from the bottom as a novice,
scratching and clawing one's way slowly back into respect.

One's new spouse may die an untimely death from leukemia as did mine,
leaving one alone as never before.

One may then have the courage to begin a third new life;
inheriting yet a third new extended family in yet another new place;
the adventures seem unending,
and new challenges appear every day.

But one day
it will come to an end.

What is the moral of this story?

Is there any real purpose to life?

Is it just putting one foot in front of the other?

I think the answer lies in the accumulation of knowledge,
which one may pass on to one's descendants
and to all the others who will follow.

in the end
there will be
left of me
my thoughts.

Monday, November 06, 2006

High school bands 1

My high school years were 1960-64.
I began playing in bands in 1963.
The Beatles hit America in 1964.

I am sadly lacking pictures of most of the bands I played with during high school, but I'll share these few items, along with some history of those times and of my life in particular.

I had spent the summer of 1960 in Gordon, Nebraska with my granddad and his wife. Upon my return, my mom told me about a phone call I had gotten from the Youth Fellowship of my church (Dulin United Methodist of Falls Church, VA). They were putting on a play and needed a "combo" for one of the scenes.

[Back in those days, what we call "bands" today were known as "combos" "dance bands," or "dance orchestras." Most popular music of that day was still heavily influenced by the Big Band Era of WW II.]

After a great deal of reluctance (shyness, performance anxiety - you name it), I returned the call. They supplied me with sheet music for "Basin Street Blues." I learned my part and arrived at the church social hall for our first rehearsal. Also present was a stand-up bass, a sax and maybe a trombone. We had all learned our individual parts, so after tuning up, someone counted off "1 - 2 - 3," and off we went. I can't adequately describe the sensation I felt that day, hearing the sound of the small group, making music for the first time. It was my first time to play with a group of people. It was so beautiful that I remembered wanting to stop and listen. The play never was produced, and we never rehearsed again. But that experience had triggered something powerful inside me, something that would influence the direction of the rest of my life. I had awakened my Muse.

After that experience I was left hungry for more. And so I joined the newly-formed high school "dance band, "The Cavaliers," an offshoot of the school stage band, which was itself an offshoot of the marching band, lead by Morris Dubin. I'm sitting at the piano with Mr. Dubin behind me (ready to whack my fingers if I make a mistake).

"The Cavaliers" played one paying gig at the Sadie Hawkins dance for my high school, JEB Stuart. We made exactly $13.00 each that night, the first money I had ever made playing music. I felt like a real pro. I forget if the band disbanded after that, or if I just left. I know it was nerve-wracking for me to keep up with all the sheet music. I've never been much of a sight-reader. I would tape together all the pages of a particular song to avoid the necessity of page-turning in the middle of the song. A long song might therefore stretch from one end of the piano keyboard to the other.

Blogger has stopped allowing me to post pictures, so I'll continue my my story in a new post.

Nearest Book Meme

This is from Prairie Bluestem's blog, who got it from Sarabeth, who in turn got the idea from Fat Doctor:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
  5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!
The first book I picked up was a children's book, "Gus was a Friendly Ghost," that didn't have 123 pages.

The next was "Zen - Images, Texts and Teachings," which had the requisite number of pages, but page 123 didn't have five sentences.

Finally I picked up "10,000 Dreams Interpreted," and on page 123 I found five sentences, the fifth being:

"For a mother to carry fresh flowers to a cemetery, indicates that she may expect the continued good health of her family."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Cat in a box

Here's our cat Roger obviously enjoying himself in a big box full of styrofoam popcorn.

(Actually I put him in the box, but he didn't complain.) Posted by Picasa

Sushi for me part, 2 of 2

Now we're seated at Sam's. The wait was about 20 minutes, but the food was worth every second.

You write your order on an order form. I'm a long-time customer, so all I write is my name, and Sam knows what I like. Actually it's what he likes to fix, and I don't know one type of sushi from another, but it's always good.

Quite a bargain, huh?

Sam is apparently a big Shania Twain fan.

My bud Jer.

Sam behind the counter

A picture of Sam from a fishing trip. Sam has traveled the world.

We've just been served - about 35 minutes after arriving. The only problem is that I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture of my plate of food!

The crowd at Sam's; he directed us to a table where we can enjoy our lunch and watch others wait. That's bud Jer down the lower right corner making a funny. I took this pic from the very back of Sam's restaurant - so you get an idea of how tiny it is and why it's so crowded.

I stopped at the Arcade on my way back to the office. This is the oldest arcade of its type in the country - it's been here over 100 years.

The Peanut Shop is one of the oldest commercial establishments in Nashville..

Inside the shop.

Wifie's favorite.

A view of the AmSouth building on my way back to the office.

Sushi for me part, 1 of 2

A few months ago I posted a story (entitled, "No sushi for me") about my failed attempt to eat lunch at Sam's Sushi Bar in Nashville. By the time I arrived, it was too crowded. This time, we arrived at 11:10 a.m. Apparently it was a popular day for Sam, because the place was packed.

Here's the story of my lunchtime walk.

It's a sunny, cold Friday - perfect for a walk downtown to Sam's Sushi with a couple of work buddies.

Starting our walk up the sidewalk, following a homeless person by a safe margin.

This little tree is almost barren of leaves, but the way the sun is hitting it illuminates the few golden remnants.

A brilliant Bradford Pear tree meets our gaze.

Entrance to the Muni Auditorium. Notice the time.

I caught this backlit tree outside the AmSouth headquarters building.

Getting ready to cross 4th Avenue at Union.

Another juxtaposition of Nature and man.

The famous Printer's Alley, just off Church St. between 3rd and 4th.

Sam's was too crowded, so we put in our order and wandered down Printer's Alley. At nighttime it's jumpin'; during the day it's deserted.

Sam's sign.

To be continued...

(apparently Blogger only lets you post so many pictures to one blog entry.)