“Maybe thousands do not know your name, but you have the power to completely change the lives of those around you with love; and that, I’ve learned, is far more gratifying and important.” ~ Avery Rogers
For the second time in two weeks Crystal and I have worn the same t-shirts on Friday. Gail was kind enough to snap a pic of us, but not before I snapped a few hilarious Ko-style selfies, or as the Swedish say, “fortsätta oss själva,” which translates as ‘perpetuate ourselves.’ <snort> What better for perpetual memory than a gif? I can’t stop laughing. May we all enjoy an awesome Labor Day holiday weekend without laboring too hard, and may your perpetual selfies be as hilarious as ours.
“Don’t be too quick to interpret the moment. Just keep quiet. My encouragement would always be: never think anything is against you, everything is blessing. Why should it be different? Just be quiet. Let it all work itself out.” ~ Mooji
Stacy recently discovered the Japanese good fortune figurine Maneki-neko, translated as ‘beckoning cat.’ She was so enamored with hers that she gave me one, too. He’s solar powered which makes his little paw wave. He’s adorable. I took Maneki-neko to work today, and perhaps there is something to the folktale of Maneki-neko bringing good fortune. I’d only had him sitting on my shelf an hour when I got a phone call ordering photos. That might seem like a little thing, but for me, anytime someone likes my photos I feel lucky, but when they actually want to sell them for their gallery? That’s a big deal for me and I’m eternally grateful. Thank you, Stacy, for Maneki-Neko and his good fortune. Mission accomplished.
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” ~ Mark Twain
I didn’t hear a thing until Mama Heis said, “There’s someone calling your name,” as she pointed toward the wall. I didn’t have my glasses on, so it took me a second to hone in on the smile. I couldn’t believe it: Laverne Fallen Yates! We have been missing each other at this event and that for years. Laverne and I both hail from Morgan County with strong ties to Cannel City. We’ve not been hurting for things to talk about for sure. It’s not place or people that have made her special to me, but her sense of humor, her compassionate heart, and her level-headed attitude that have been endearing. She has been walking the outhouse journey with me since just about the beginning. That gives you some idea of how long it’s been that we’ve been missing each other at various events. In hindsight, I should have bought a lottery ticket after I finally saw her. In seriousness, lotto winnings or not, I feel awfully lucky to count Laverne as a friend, and I’m honored she has kept up with me all this time. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another seven years to run into each other.
I offer this photo not because it’s excellent, but because I’m still riding the high that was Friday night’s music extravaganza. I find myself thinking, “What album side will I choose to share at the next gathering?” I can’t think of anything better to occupy my thoughts than music. I’ve got some ideas.
“Make a list of things that make you happy.
Make a list of things you do every day.
Compare the lists.
I got home so late last night that I just didn’t have the energy to talk about the incredible evening I’d had. I posted my brief photo of Marlon Hurst at his stereo and a couple of folks speculated that I had been at rehearsal. That wasn’t true, but as you can see, there was much music and merry making involved just the same. A few weeks ago, Marlon asked a few of us if we’d be interested in listening to music, specifically music on vinyl LP. Naturally, we all said yes. Last night we did just that. I had not seen Marlon and Kathy’s new home, so I got the ten cent tour prior to a perfect pita pizza dinner. It set the tone for an evening of artistry and appreciation.
Marlon explained how he and his brother David used to sit and listen to records; really listen, without talking, to absorb the nuanced sounds and the art of compiling album sides. In our hurried digital world, (adulting forces us into some level of this) we don’t take/have the time to listen or perhaps appreciate what we hear. And with CDs and singles being all the rage now, the art of the album is all but lost except to those of us of a certain age or true audiophiles. This was our chance to revisit an act that we had all once embraced. An act that, for each of us, had became a life altering experience. I knew it was going to be a great night the second I walked in and David was playing Joan Osborne and Trigger Hippy, a band I’d never heard of. It set off a discussion about performers we’d seen before they hit it big, not coincidentally, like the time Michelle Shute and I saw Joan Osborne at Phoenix Hill Tavern in Louisville just before Relish hit the airwaves. She wasn’t even on the big stage at Phoenix Hill. She was on the small stage upstairs usually reserved for local bands, which wasn’t weird at the time considering she’s from just down the road in Anchorage, KY. I also don’t think it was coincidence that the last time I remember a deep music listening thing like last night was with Michelle Shute. She and I used to spend hours listening to music, and she’s been extremely influential in expanding my musical palette over the last 30 years. Anyway, if the rest of the evening had been a disaster, it would have been totally worth it just to get turned on to Trigger Hippy.
However, the evening was anything but a disaster. We sat with full bellies in comfortable silence before the killer Marantz stereo that instantly transported me back to Johnny Barker’s room a la 1980 where we listened endlessly to music through a similar set-up. What a great memory. For this night, we had each been tasked to choose one album side to share, and prior to its playing, we said why we chose it. We drew numbers to determine the night’s rotation. Stacy Yelton was supposed to be with us, but she fell ill (likely the same bug I’d had earlier in the week). Still, she sent along her album choice, and as fate would have it, she was #1. She may have also won the night with her selection of Pete Townsend and Ronnie Lane’s Rough Mix. Her original 1977 pressing was pristine, of course, and it was a recording that I don’t think any of us knew about, even David, a long-time Who fan. The music had only the faintest hint of The Who sensibilities but you could clearly hear the coming Townsend solo a la White City choreography. It was a brilliant first selection. David’s choice of Radiohead’s OK Computer followed. Its 180g soundscape expanded our senses with a compressed cacophony of flavors. I drew number three and my selection was 1983’s Synchronicity by The Police. It was this recoding that won me over as a devoted fan. They were at the peak of their craft as a band; their furiously fast paced sloppiness corralled into a masterpiece. Next up was Kathy. She went with Gregory Porter’s Liquid Spirit, which drew a gasp from me because, 1: I adore him, and 2: Marlon and Kathy had actually turned me on to him last year. Again, me thinks no coincidence. If you don’t appreciate just how good Porter and his band are, sit between the speakers, close your eyes, and just listen. You’ll come to understand his beauty before the first cut has ended. Andrew Perkins drew hurrahs from all of us when he revealed his fifth place selection; Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Apparently lifted from his mother’s broad collection, the LP was still wrapped in its original plastic sheath replete with $7.99 Walmart price tag and “Grammy Nominated” sticker. In case you don’t understand the significance of that, Thriller went on to win 8 Grammy’s and sell 60+ million worldwide. As Andrew said, “It’s the biggest selling greatest hits album that isn’t a greatest hits album.” We really came full circle with Marlon’s choice of Jefferson Airplane’s reissued mono recording of Surrealistic Pillow. Though I’d heard White Rabbit many, many times before, I’d never heard it in its intended state or in context of its album side. I came away with a whole new appreciate for Jefferson Airplane. You can’t imagine how good this record sounds for a 1967 release. It had no problem standing its ground beside the other, more modern selections. Interesting that Airplane’s Grace Slick was the only female representation of the evening. I don’t think that means anything except that we all noticed. That in itself is just another reason why I love my people. They pay attention.
Thank you, Marlon, for suggesting we slow down long enough to appreciate the music we love. Thank you and Kathy for opening your home and making me feel welcome. Thank you Andrew, David, Kathy, Marlon, and Melissa (David’s wife and late-comer to the party) for the songs and music and camaraderie. You are my people and I love every one of you from the bottom of my heart. Thanks for including me in your journey. If you’re reading this and you used to sit in your room with friends and listen to music for hours on end, I highly recommend you call those friends, invite them over, turn off the TV and computer, and turn on the stereo and just listen. It’s better than any drug you’ll ever swallow. Promise.
I’m too tired to go into what an incredible evening I’ve had. I’ll save it for tomorrow. For now, let this photo tease you a bit. It involves the Brothers Hurst, a lot of music, a lot of laughter, and more love than words can express. Squeeeeeeee.
“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” ~ Hans Selye
Well, our tiny heroine was back at the track this evening for the weenie dog race redux. I got sick yesterday and wasn’t sure I’d be there, but daggone it, I was determined. I should have maybe shared some of that determination with ‘Lil Bit. In her defense, this was her first race, and she’d been thrown off her game with the cancellation.
After a stall mid-field that seemed to linger, she finally figured out that running was the point. She was actually really fast, but since the winner had crossed the finish line 20 seconds prior, it was a bit late. To make matters worse for me, I arrived too late for on-the-rail seating, and every where I turned someone was in my way. Even the announcer blocked my view as Mayzie crossed the finish line. It was a bit like missing the kiss of a wedding. So, I was super bummed I couldn’t get better shots for Crystal, and super bummed that Mayzie didn’t qualify for the final race, but it was a beautiful evening with friends and that made me feel better. Now that Mayzie’s gotten the first race jitters over, next year will be her winning season.
“Here’s what I thought when I went out tonight to visit with the stars. I thought, I feel sad for those humans who live in a binary world, everything is either good or bad, right or wrong. Tonight, my outside world was misty, shaded and magical. As others have said before me, there is a great cloud of unknowing. I’m comfortable with that. That’s what I thought.” ~ Ken Bailey
Terri Brown is a gem. Not only does she work hard for UK Libraries, she is one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. As ours is a small world, I actually knew Terri’s sister Claudia Thomas first, many years ago when we both served on the Visual Arts Committee of the Lexington Art League with whom Claudia was employed. We bonded immediately, so years later, when Terri told me Claudia was her sister, I was not at all surprised that we, too, had become fast friends. The sisters are both creative, caring, soft hearted women that I’m so proud to call friends.