Monday, December 22, 2014

That was the Week (s) that was


Years back there was a TV show called something like:  That was the week that was - or This is the week that wuz - It was a 30 minute, prime time news show during which they would review all that happened that week.  We watched it.  Back then, I think we were living in Sudan at the time, we could only get 3 channels via our antenna - no cable.  People living a bit closer to Lubbock could pick up the Educ. channel, PBS??  
Drawing on that show concept, last week was a busy week - or it may have been the week before. Let's do one day at a time here.  I'll skip certain days for ease of reading.
Dec. 1, Monday - wife had a quilt guild meeting in the morning.  It was their Dec. Eating Festival - luncheon with drawings for gifts.  If you bring a jar of peanut butter, you get entered more - turns out that nobody bothered with that.  She won a $25 gift certificate to the local sewing store, expiring in 12 months.  Good deal.  She wins lots of things.
Dec. 2 - The CSO  (see previous email for translation) had a rehearsal.  This was not a "good time was had by all" since several didn't make the practice - Excuses abounded - 
Dec. 5, Friday - The Cors Swing Orch played at the Corsicana Christmas tree lighting.   The H.S. choir  sang for 30 minutes by the tree.  Then, a block away near the food truck, we played for about 45 minutes - all great Christmas songs. There was quite a crowd downtown, but not for us.
      After the tree was turned on, fireworks boomed overhead.  I must admit it was a really nice firework display considering all = I was quite impressed with the thought that went into this night by the city folks.  We had a good time playing even though it was not a full band.  Nobody knew it was not a full band but us.  Sounded good.  It is nice to have some of the Navarro College faculty and students joining us at times.  Nice.  And they play good too.
Dec. 6 -  My wife and I drove into town for the Corsicana Christmas parade.  In the past, this was just interesting.  This year, the parade was big and pretty good - even had horses at the end.  I was impressed with the number of floats and groups that participated.  Kudos to the parade organizers.
       The CHS band led the parade.  They are sounding good and looking good.  The streets are a bit narrow and the band was a bit stretched out making the woodwinds at the drag position seem to be a bit lost in the parade process (they probably didn't realize they were lost - many of us do this:  we put the brass up front to make noise and squander the woodwinds in the back rows).  There must be a solution to that other than widening the streets or shooting band members - (should not have written that - someone will think I am a terrorist).
       Along came the Navarro College band.  I remember seeing them in the past - a terrible band.  They marched - make that walked - down the street with loud drums and no marching rhythm.  They were terrible - not one of them wore the uniform with pride.  NOT ONE.  But this year - it was different.  They have a couple of young, new directors who turned things around in the first semester.  The band sounded good - the percussion matched the band - and it seemed that everyone wore the uniform with Pride.  I capitalize the word Pride here.
        I know that I am a bit strange.  I felt emotional when they marched by.  Their director left his position and came over to shake my hand.  I bragged on the band.  It makes one think that next year will be a major difference as they recruit.
Dec. 9, Tuesday - The wife and I traveled with the Ballews (see CSO boss) to Tyler to see Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Band.  It was first class all the way.  The band was excellent.  I had expected Wynton to stand out in front of the band  (fronting); but, he didn't.  He was located in the trumpet section and didn't hog the spotlight one bit.  Everyone in the band was featured.  All were way way above average.  They played a while - took a break - play a while and quit.  I figure they are all Union Musicians - when it is time to quit, they quit.  A young lady singer was featured.  I hate to admit that I cannot remember her name - She was fun and elegant.
          One more thing.  The Tyler hosts and a snack and punch line set up in the lobby.  It was impressive.  The treats were quite varied.  I have never been to a concert where refreshments are served for an hour before the concert begins.  Gorgeous.  That is what it was.  Gorgeous.  
Dec. 11, Thursday - The spouse and I traveled to the Dallas Arboretum and looked at the Christmas decorations.  These folks are first class too.  If you can, go see before they take 
Christmas down.
Dec. 12 - The local little theatre (Warehouse Theatre) had a performance.  Only 2 people were in the cast.  As always (usually always) it was an excellent performance - The announcer introduced the show saying it would be a "hoot."   He was right.  It was a Hoot.
       Corsicana got on the ball again this night.  They had set up an ice skating rink right downtown by the big Christmas Tree  (we played for to turn on last week).  The downtown area was covered with people:  kids, parents, stragglers, and old people like us who just came to see.   We enjoyed watching the crowd before moving into the theatre for the show.   And, yes, these folks fired off fireworks again for the ice skaters.   
Dec. 14, Sunday - Our church had their Christmas musical show.  The choir sang;  the bell choir rang; and the Flute Choir tooted their best.  I think it went rather well.
Dec. 15 - my oldest granddaughter Megan turned 15 today.  We called her;  she is such a nice young lady.
Dec. 16 - I think I have explained in a previous posting that my brother Jim's wife, Earline, had a heart transplant.   This was her first year anniversary.  She calls it her 2nd birthday.  That is sorta sweet.
Dec. 17 - 20th - Earline had to go into the hospital for her first year medical test.   We took in their dogs for the time.   Cody, Willie, Mason, and Black Jack came to visit.  They had a great time playing with our 4 dogs.  It nearly drove us crazy.   
Dec. 19, Friday - Our little Greta had a Vet visit.  She had been scooting her bottom a lot.  The doc helped her "Express" herself.  Greta is not our most active mutt.  One of her toe nails had made a complete circle and was almost digging back into her foot.  That is sorta sad.   
So, is that a week (s) that was?   When we retired, we expected to get several days off to just sit and look out the window at our lake drying up.  Things never slow down.  
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Concert

Christmas Quickie

A little plug for the Corsicana Swing Orchestra - 
Thursday night (6 pm) we played an hour concert for a local old folks-type home.   About 12 -20 of them showed up from their private rooms to listen.  Normally some will leave during the time we play; but, this time, all seemed to stay to the end sometimes singing along with our Christmas tunes.
Afterwards, the joint fed the band:  sandwiches - chips - tuna something - and plenty of mustard.  This is one of the free gigs we do every year.  I must say the audience seems to enjoy hearing the band play.  After the job several band members sat around and talk for almost an hour.  It was a good time had by all.  I suppose it would have been more fun if I had walked off with $100...that rarely happens.  Watching that little short lady on the front row sing along on a couple of songs (her short legs swinging under her chair), maybe that is good enough pay for now.
We all want credit for this when we reach the Pearly Gates.

Remention:   The CSO a website and we'll play for money.  Hit your search engine to find the site.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Brain Roam #1

This is my Brain Roam #1.
Sometimes I sits and thinks.  Sometimes I just sits.
When my daughter Christine comes to town, she says she wants to work.  She was here this past weekend / Thanksgiving holiday-type visit.  On this particular visit she wanted to work around the dock.  Keep in mind there is no water under the dock.  I haven't had the boat on the lake for almost 2 years.  The lake keeps going down and down and down.  As with most things that irritate me, I know this too shall pass.
I told my wife that we should put the house up for sale the moment the water comes back up. Y'never know when it will go back down.  Now, do ya?  I do love living out here with space for the dogs to run around even with the "hampered" view of no water.  We still have ducks and deer and coyote howls in the distance.
Christine and I climbed down on the shoreline and moved some big logs that had washed ashore.  I did this a while back too.  It is one of two things:  Either new logs have washed up when the water was being frisky - or - these were buried under the sand and came into view with recent rains.  I don't know.  
Some of these logs were big trees.  We'd get one end off the ground, plant our gloved hands around the tree, and pull it down the shore to the neighbors shore line.  The logic is that these logs will wash onto his beach instead of mine IF THE WATER ever comes up again.  All went well for a while.  As we let one tree return to its native soil, I forgot to let go with the left hand.  It stretched my left arm in such a way that my left arm/elbow is in pain.  The pain is better; but, still not back up to norm.
You'd think I would be old enough to know when to let go of a log.  We iced the elbow down after lunch.  I took 4000 Aleves.  Still I have pain.  It's not as bad as last Saturday.  I played my horn last night.  It hurt to hold the horn up.  If some kid had tried that excuse on me, Yelling I would do.
Last night (Tuesday) the Corsicana Swing Orchestra  (we have a website now - you should go visit) had a rehearsal.  We are playing for the Cors. tree lighting ceremony downtown Friday at 5:30.   Christmas music, you might guess.   The group is going to be very short handed.  Many of the regular members have other obligations  -  worthy obligations, I should add.  The Gig pays Zero, which is okay.  I understand there will be free food about 5 pm.....probably hotdogs whick is my favorite Christmas Ceremony meal.  No Chili, I am sure.  Bread and meat and Mustard (I pray).  
We have a couple of high school kids who have been playing with us lately.  They play okay; but, I really don't like kids being there.  I always feel like I have to be on my good behavior when they are around.  .  . set a good example and that sorta trashy thing.   The kids didn't make the practice last night.  Apparently there was confusion.  That happens when you use youngsters (I have never used the word Youngsters before in this setting - makes me feel old).
I was changing two light bulbs today when it triggered a memory from my childhood.  Things were different then.  Many times when I would go out and play in the dirt - play cars and life - that sorta thing - when I would do this, I'd create a little town with roads.  You take a small stick and drag it broadside through the dirt like a road grader.   Grass yards rarely existed where we lived.   Rocks could be houses.  One year for Christmas my parents bought me a large metal gas station.  It had a parking area on the roof with a hand operated car elevator on the back.  I played with that forever.  
An aside here.  We were visiting in Edmond, Ok that year - grandmother's house.  I never quite understood how Santa could find us when we traveled, but that gas station was in Edmond for the Santa Surprise bit.  I appreciated it.  It was a great present for me.  You may wonder what changing light bulbs has to do with this.  Or, you many not be wondering at all.  I'll tell you anyway.
One of my car playing toys would be an old light bulb.  Sometimes I would luck into one the size of a flood light.   You put the screw part into the ground, and voila!  you have a water tower for you town.
Nowadays folks would be concerned with the danger of playing with glass or potential mercury poisoning.  Not back then.  Speaking of mercury poisoning, our father would bring home samples of mercury from the gas plant.  We would play with the mercury for a long time.  Mercury is fascinating to mess with as a kid - maybe as an adult too.  Poison?  nonsense.   Only if you are a tuna do you have this problem.  That is because they eat the mercury instead of just playing with it.  
I can remember once in the 6th grade - I must have been a strange child - I explained to the entire class how mercury was mined.  I told them that a miner froze mercury in the ground.  Then, the miners could dig it out.  That made perfect sense to me.  Just the previous night, our Pop took us to the gas plant and showed us how they froze mercury with liquid oxygen.  Fascinating experiment (we didn't even wear goggles).  The 6th grade teacher just nodded and thanked me for passing that jewel on to the class.  I never thought this teacher had much compassion for us students.  Now that I look back, maybe she did.
My 6th grade teacher is the ONLY elementary teacher whose name has stayed with me all these years.  I remember ZERO other teacher's names from elementary grades.  Mrs. Phagley.    It was pronounced  Fay- Glee.  Today students would be all over that name like a duck takes to water.
Let's close this Brain Roaming session for now.  Y'all take care.
I need another Aleve.