Month: May 2015

That One Song

A short post for me this Memorial Day weekend.

I often mention music in my posts and writing because music is something we all relate to. Songs remind us of a time in our lives, a person, or maybe a place.  Markers engrained in our minds.

When I was young, the small town I grew up in had dances for kids all the time. The schools had dances, the Y had dances, the church had dances, and local organizations held dances. For adults, there were weddings, anniversaries, and bars.  There was a song that played at most very event I ever attended and it was somewhat unique to the culture I grew up with.

I left that town when I was sixteen and moved to the city. I returned once in the late eighties to attend my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. That song played and I danced with my grandmother. It was the  only time I had ever danced with my grandmother.  Years later, my grandfather’s brother celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary in Tucson. I was married then so my wife attended with me. When that song played, I jumped up and pulled her to the dance floor. It was the first time she had ever heard it, but knew by the look in my eyes what it meant to me. It didn’t take her long to look around the club and see what it meant to all my relatives. It’s our song, part of our culture and now by being married to me, part of hers.  She loved it.

There is a famous guitar player most of you know: Carlos Santana. What most of you don’t know is he has a brother who is also a gifted musician: Jorge Santana. Jorge played in a band from California and recorded a song that probably is still being played today at dances and family gatherings across the Southwest.

How about you, what is that one song?  As for that one song that means so much to me –  I’ll share it with you.

Enjoy…

 

If We Were Having Coffee #6

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If we having coffee I would once again have a number of choices to offer you: a few different breakfast blends, a blueberry blend, a Columbian blend, a cappuccino, and that decaf breakfast blend that just won’t go away. I’m going with Seattle’s Best Breakfast Blend and Irish Cream creamer. I’ll have to venture to the Pacific Northwest someday.

I’ve been traveling a little bit more for work this last month. A few day trips, a conference near Pittsburgh, and a trip to Cincinnati. I have another trip to Houston coming up which I always enjoy. Great Mexican Food and Whataburger highlight my trips to Texas. They are also as close as I get to my home state of Arizona so I take advantage of the culture similarity. Traveling there is a teaser that makes me a little homesick.  I get that way every now and then.  Although I love my life in New York, and it is home now, Arizona will always be my first home.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we are busy planning all the things that go along with a senior graduating high school. June will be a busy month. I think we have most of the college details nailed down with the exception of some last minute local scholarships we know my son is getting but are unsure of the financial award yet. They all add up and thankfully will lessen the burden on my wife and me.

We are planning his graduation party for this summer and will most likely have it at a fire hall near my house.  It’s common to rent a fire hall up here. The cost is reasonable, and the money supports a volunteer based fire department.  We’ve never planned a party like this so we are treading on an unfamiliar path. It’s exciting.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that all of this college preparation and graduation planning is bittersweet.  I am proud of my son for all of his accomplishments and the opportunity he has earned in being accepted into a very selective program at the university he will be attending yet I am saddened by the fact that he will be gone.  I know this is part of parenting but it doesn’t lessen the sadness I am feeling. Maybe as that dorm move in date gets closer, the excitement will trump the sadness.  Maybe not.

All I can hope for is that my wife and I have prepared him properly for the journey he is about to take. It’s been a little tough on us because we could not speak to him from experience.  My education was done entirely through a combination of night school and online classes while my wife’s was done while working prior to our children’s birth then finished up once they were in school. Neither of us know what it would be like to live on campus. What we do know though is what the priority will be: school. We both have confidence in him.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there will come a morning in late August where my wife, my twelve year old, and I will wake up and start our day a little differently than we have every other morning. There will be something missing that morning and unselfishly, it will be a good thing.

A short two hour drive away, my son will be waking up in a dorm room and starting his day a little differently than he has every other morning.  I can only imagine the thoughts that will be going on in his head that morning. The excitement and nervousness that his first day of class is about to start will most likely be overwhelming.

And then, like every other school morning, his cell phone will ding or vibrate, and there will be a group message that either my wife or I start that will state: Love you all, have a great day!

And we will all respond like we always do and there will be some sense of normalcy returned to us for the remainder of the day.

I wonder what his morning coffee experience will be like that day.

Until next time…

Over 110 Million Copies in Print

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What writer wouldn’t want to see that blurb in their bio along with #1 New York Times Bestseller next to the title of their latest book? To the average writer, the reality check of this happening might rank up there with winning the lottery. But yet the writer continues to write.

I’m thinking about this because I just finished a book a few weeks ago by David Baldacci. On the back cover I happened to see the “over 110 million copies in print” comment.  Yet the following week, I found myself reading a book by a much lesser known author. There’s no mention of how many copies in print or #1 NYT Bestseller, yet I enjoyed it as much as Baldacci’s book.  Wait, did I say as much as?  To be honest, I enjoyed it more and left her a review that stated that.

For the last year, I have been reading a number of books by authors most people have never heard of. Some are indie authors while others are represented by smaller publishers. I have found most of these authors through social media and a few were found in the bargain books section at Barnes & Noble. In between reading popular authors such as Baldacci, Silva, Kellerman, Rollins, and Gardner, I have found authors like Dena Rogers, E.L. Wicker, Lori Lesko, J.S. Snow, Wendy Tyson, C.L. Pauwels, Mark Rubenstein, Brendan DuBoise, J.D. Ludwig, and the book I just finished reading last week by S.S. Lange.  As a reader, I’ve enjoyed reading every author I just mentioned. Famous or not.  As a writer, I am inspired by all. Famous or not.

I tend to use music, art, and sports analogies when trying to express my thoughts.  I might do that more than I should but those particular arenas are enjoyed by many and at some level, I would hope, familiar to most.  So my thoughts on music, art, and sports? Some of the best music I have ever listened to might have been in a bar or on a street corner. Some of the best art I have been privy to appreciate has only been seen by a few. Some of the greatest sports moments I have witnessed were at the amateur level or with participants just competing for the love of the sport.  To me, it’s always about passion and sincerity and that performance will always shine; a permanent marker in my mind.

I can say the same about the written word.  There are some amazing writers out there and I am grateful to have experienced their work whether they’ve sold 110 books or 110 million books.

So take in a good bar band, explore a starving artist fair, or watch an amateur sporting event. And while you are at it, discover a new author.

Congratulations to the following authors who have new releases out within the last few weeks:

  • Paige Randall (@ThePaigeRandall) who can be found HERE
  • Wendy Tyson (@WendyTyson) who can be found HERE
  • Lori Lesko (@LeskoLori) who can be found  HERE

Until next time…

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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