3 Things … April 30th, 2020

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You Need to Do to Make a Stew

 

1. Find out what you’ve got. (Don’t forget the back of the refrigerator.)

 

2. Chop it all up.

 

3. Cook it in a pot with some salt and pepper.

Things I Learned from R. B. (March 22nd, 2020)


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Episode 8

The tour ended in a rather joyous splash.

Of the ten thousand original dollars offered by the investors, we were able to complete the entire project, travel all across the country and still return five thousand dollars to them.  It wasn’t great—but considering the industry of music and theater, not too bad at all.

The cast gave hugs, promised to write, took addresses, and in a matter of two hours, what began as a dream ended—leaving me with a deep sense of loneliness.

For me, it was not just the end of a tour. It was also the demise of the music group I had been traveling with for eight years. My partner from the inception had grown weary of pulling her makeup out of a suitcase and was going back to Ohio to begin the next chapter of her life. I didn’t have the heart to go on without her. Singing voices can be replaced, but memories and passion are rare and come at a premium.

On top of that, I was reunited with my two older sons, who were rather pissed because they had spent two months with their grandma—especially since the littlest one rattled on about stories from the road.

The rent was due, and the refrigerator needed to be filled. I had no money. Worse—I had no plan.

About five days after the tour disbanded, I was sitting in my small apartment in Nashville, musing my fate, when the phone rang.

It was R. B.

I had completely forgotten that he also lived in Nashville. He was calling to ask my advice on where to find a reasonably priced place to record some of the music he had written. This was back in the time when “reasonable” and “recording” were two words that couldn’t be used in the same sentence.

I was also a little needy to be needed.

So I offered to use my gear at church nearby, where the pastor and I were friends.  When we arrived, I asked R. B. to sing me his songs. There were six in all.

The problem with sitting and listening to a singer-songwriter is that he or she often feels the need to take ten minutes to explain the origin of their three-minute song. After about an hour-and-a-half, we finished, and R. B. asked me my opinion.

“There’s only one way you can tell if a song is any good,” I said. “Without hyping it, telling its story or sharing a tearful story, just play and sing it and see if people dig it—just for its own worth.”

R. B. frowned at me. Part of the frown was due to the fact that he didn’t know exactly what I meant, but most of it was caused by R. B. being very unfamiliar with criticism.

I listened to the songs individually one more time, and told him that of the six, there were two that people would enjoy hearing and other artists might like to sing.

That afternoon we recorded those two songs. I overlaid some piano, organ and vocals and did a quick mix on it over to cassette tape, so he could take it home and listen.

He was thrilled.

I must have gotten about seven calls in the next two days—R. B. pointing out things he had just discovered and expressing how grateful he was that I took the time to help him.

Meanwhile, I made a contact with a minister in Mobile, Alabama, who was just beside himself—overjoyed to have my wife, kids and myself come down and join the staff.

I had never done anything “churchy” before, but the opportunity came with a house, free utilities and a small salary. So I looked past my apprehensions.  I buried my dreams and made plans to move my entire entourage to Mobile, Alabama.

Shortly before we left, R. B. came to dinner and told us that he had just hired on with an electronics firm in Minnesota. We shook hands. I think he even mustered a hug.

As R. B. left, I remember thinking, “I’ll probably never see him again.”

 

3 Things … October 31st, 2019

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You Need for a Really Good Hotdog

 

1. A dog a little longer than the bun, and just as thick.

 

2. Four parts catsup, three parts mustard, two parts onion and one part sweet pickle relish.

 

3. Just a little shredded sharp cheddar cheese sprinkled on top (and make sure you hang around with people who don’t keep talking about what byproducts are used in making a hotdog).

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3 Things … October 24th, 2019

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You Can Do to Increase Your Stamina

 

1. On Monday and Friday, consume no sugar

 

2. Tuesday and Thursday, no extra table salt

 

3. Wednesday and Saturday, sixty extra fluid ounces of water each day

Sunday, rest and review.  Feel any stronger?

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

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Sitting Thirty-Three

Wednesday night in the desert, although the unforgiving wasteland knows no season or hour.

Iz and Pal sat and watched as the sun set behind the hill. A burgeoning, chilly breeze whizzed its way past their ears, tingling their spines, causing them to draw closer to one another. It was the night before the day when everything…

Well, it seemed that everything would happen.

Wednesday had been a glorious day, chock-full of soccer, food and laughter, wrestling with each other, and questions designed to “stump your friend.” It was an ongoing Olympian marathon, trying to outdo the other fellow—gleefully making fun of each other—short of humiliation.

They had come to terms with one realization. This would be their last night in the desert, one way or another. Tomorrow they would either be overtaken by the brute force of the interfering mob, forced to return to their homes, or they would select their final option of dying together in the sand.

Emotions were colliding—joy desperately trying to keep its head up as sadness was tugging away.

Iz suggested they take this last night to eat up all the remaining food. He posed a provocative question. “Is it possible to eat until you puke?” he asked Pal, sporting a grin, but trying to maintain a certain decorum of scientific intrigue.

Pal did not know.

So the two boys were on a mission. They ate and they ate. It was not long until they were full, stuffed to the top of their eyebrows. Further eating was becoming painful. Actually, the sight of food began to make them sick. But still—they pressed on.

They devoured.

At length their throats were reluctant to swallow so they drank until their bodies sloshed. Managing some huge burps, they tried to eat some more. There were cramps, and attempts at laughter, which quickly turned into moans of pain from stomachs that were bloated from overuse.

Food supplies were lessening, and they were down to cans of provisions which were unidentifiable or deemed distasteful. At this point, Iz dug into the pile, pulled out a can of sardines, peeled back the tin lid and held up one of the yellow, drippy fishies. Reading the can, Iz proclaimed, “This one is in mustard sauce!”

That’s all Pal required. The thought of a fish swimming around in mustard was enough to cause him to unleash the burden lurking in his entrails. He threw up, laughed, coughed, threw up again, giggled—and went for a third round as Iz dangled the nasty little fish in front of his nose.

Yet it was when Iz actually ate the sardine that Pal exploded with what would be his final deluge of urping. This prompted Iz—overcome by both the scene and the smell of the fish—to join in the party, uncapping his own barrage of bellowing bounty from below.

It was a sight that would cause a mother to weep, a priest to fast and pray, and anyone feeling the least little bit queasy to join up and join in.

But to Iz and Pal, the brothers in the desert, it was the greatest fun in the world.

Regaining their composure, they shoveled sand over the remains and lay down on the desert, trying to recover from the ache of regurgitation. Breathing heavily, staring at the night sky, they still managed an occasional giggle.

This was their moment. They were desperately grasping onto it with all their might.

 

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Published in: on August 18, 2019 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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3 Things … July 11th, 2019

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That Make a Great Meal

1. Prepare it with someone you love

 

2. Make it simple so that it’s always fun

 

3. Eat it with gratitude and laughter

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3 Things… July 26th, 2018

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That Make Great Pizza

 

1. Adding cheddar and swiss into the cheese blend

2. Not too much sauce (garlic and oregano)

3. No one talking about calories while eating it

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Published in: on July 26, 2018 at 2:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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