Previous month:
November 2018
Next month:
January 2019

Happy New Year 2019

Happy-New-Year-Copy

Wow. What a year 2018 has been for me – pretty much all drama, no routine. Here's the list, bare facts only – mostly:

January:
Six months after Whipple surgery in June 2017, I am declared cancer-free

Discovered my son via DNA testing service

April:
Internal bleed that drained massive amounts of blood from my body. It took five physicians three weeks to figure out a fix. It worked.

October:
Tests reveal that cancer has returned in one lung and peritoneum. There is no treatment, I am terminal. A chemo therapy might delay advancement of the cancers. It fails.

November:
New but much stronger chemo begins that is known, like the first one, to slow the advancement of cancer. We'll see how it goes.

December:
After a period of speaking regularly on the telephone, my son – Tom Wark, his wife Kathy and their four-year old, Henry George, visit for a day. We all fall in love with one another.

And through all this drama, I have been blessed with the best group of readers on the known internet. You are there every last day with love, support, smart observations and funny stories. I love you all.

[This post will stay up for the holiday tomorrow and the usual Tuesday Reader Story will appear on Wednesday.]

Now, tell us your about your 2018.




ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2018

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

I’m sorry if we missed anyone special to you this year, but for extended times, both Ronni’s and my computers went toes up themselves, thus we were off the air and some may have slipped by without our noticing them. There were other trying periods for both of us as well.

Montserrat Caballé

MONTSERRAT CABALLÉ was a Spanish soprano best known for singing bel canto roles – Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini. She was also known as one of the best interpreter of Verdi’s music. She made her debut in true fairy tale fashion, where she came on to sing the lead role after being an understudy to Marilyn Horne and was showered with accolades.

Montserrat was one of the finest singers of the 20yh century and performed in pretty much all the major opera houses of the world. She was also instrumental in introducing José Carreras to the world. From the Puccini opera Manon Lescaut, Montserrat performs the aria In Quelle Trine Morbide. (She was 85)

♫ Montserrat Caballé - Manon Lescaut ~ In Quelle Trine Morbide


RICHARD GILL was an Australian conductor of choral, operatic and orchestral works. He was also a musical educator and a great advocate for musical education for children. (76)

CHARLES NEVILLE was a member of the Neville Brothers, one of the best bands on the planet. He played saxophone in the group and he also had a separate career playing modern jazz. (79)

VINCE MARTIN was a singer, songwriter and guitarist who was popular during the folk music era of the sixties. He often played as a duo with Fred Neil, with whom he also recorded. (81)

DEAN WEBB was the mandolin player for The Dillards, a bluegrass band that expanded the repertoire of the genre by adding electric instruments and playing rock songs as well as traditional fair. (81)

Tony Joe White

TONY JOE WHITE was a singer/songwriter and guitarist of the first order. He was more a cult figure than someone in the mainstream but he had a few hits over the years. His biggest, Polk Salad Annie, came very early in his career. This song was covered by many, including a fine version by Elvis.

Other songs of his included Rainy Night in Georgia, also covered extensively, and Steamy Windows, a hit for Tina Turner. He kept performing and recording until the end, including a fine blues album released recently. Tony Joe performs High Sheriff of Calhoun Parrish, from early in his career. (75)

♫ Tony Joe White - High Sheriff of Calhoun Parrish


HENRY BUTLER was a jazz pianist and also an acclaimed photographer in spite of being blind since early childhood. He was yet another in the long list of great Louisiana pianists. (69)

DENNIS EDWARDS was an R&B and soul singer noted for joining the Temptations after their fine lead singer David Ruffin left. He later had a solo career as well as joining David and Eddie Kendricks, the other notable singer from the group. (74)

RANDY SCRUGGS was a guitarist, songwriter and record producer whose songs have been covered by many country stars. He also played guitar on even more artists’ records. He was the son of renowned blue grass player Earl Scruggs and helped to introduce modern sensibilities into Earl’s sound. (64)

ROY HARGROVE was a jazz trumpeter who incorporated elements of hip hop, soul, funk and gospel into his music. Besides leading his own group he performed with most of the best jazz performers over the years. (49)

Hugh Masekela

HUGH MASEKELA played the trumpet, and similar instruments, as well as singing and composing music. He was born in South Africa and became a vocal critic of the appalling Apartheid regime that ruled the country at the time.

He later studied classical music in London. He was mostly a jazz performer but ventured into pop music from time to time – he played with The Byrds on one of their albums. He sings and plays Alright from his album “No Borders”. (78)

♫ Hugh Masekela - Alright


ROBERT MANN was a violinist and the founder of the acclaimed Juilliard Quartet, one the foremost string quartets in the world. He was also a conductor and music teacher. (97)

VIC DAMONE was a crooner much influenced by Frank Sinatra and Perry Como. He had his own radio program and later on a TV show as well. He had a number of hits in the fifties and sixties. (89)

HARRY M MILLER was an Australian music promoter who first brought out Louis Armstrong, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and many others. He also staged the first productions of Hair and the Rocky Horror Show amongst others. (84)

Dominick RANDY SAFUTO was the lead singer for the Doowop group Randy and the Rainbows who had hits with Denise (later covered memorably by Blondie), Little Star and a few other similar songs. (71)

Charles Aznavour

CHARLES AZNAVOUR was a French singer, songwriter and diplomat whose songs spread far and wide, and have been translated into many different languages. During the war he and his family sheltered and rescued many people risking their own lives.

He started performing at a young age and it was when he opened the bill for Edith Piaf at the famous Moulin Rouge that his career began in earnest. His songs have been covered by most of the famous (and less so) performers over the years. From the more than 1,200 songs he wrote I have chosen La Boheme. (94)

♫ Charles Aznavour - La Boheme


BOB DOROUGH was a BeBop singer, songwriter and pianist. He performed with comedians, folk musicians and jazz legends, including adding a rare vocal to a Miles Davis composition. He also had a successful career creating educational songs for kids on maths, history and so on. (94)

NANETTE FABRAY was an actress, singer and dancer who started in Vaudeville and became musical theatre staple. She also appeared in several films. (97)

SONNY PAYNE was the long-time host of the radio program King Biscuit Time that introduced blues music to several generations of listeners. (92)

JIM RODFORD was a bass player for the groups The Kinks and The Zombies. He was also a founding member of Argent. (76)

Marty Balin

MARTY BALIN was co-founder and co-lead singer of the San Francisco based rock band Jefferson Airplane. The Airplane was the first group in the burgeoning scene in the mid sixties to make an impact outside the city. Marty’s and Grace Slick’s vocals wove in and out and around each other and their vocals added an element to the music missing from most of the other bands at the time.

Marty sings solo lead on the song Comin' Back to Me from their successful and ground breaking album “Surrealistic Pillow”. (76)

♫ Jefferson Airplane - Comin' Back to Me


EDWIN HAWKINS was a gospel singer who had a surprise hit with his song Oh Happy Day in 1969. His group toured widely and often appeared at music festivals around the world. (74)

TAB HUNTER was an actor and occasional singer, one of whose records my sister owned as a young girl. (86)

THOMAS’S MUSIC SHOP started out selling sheet music and musical instruments in Melbourne. They later added records and CDs. They were the go-to place for classical music. (96)

HARVEY SCHMIDT co-wrote the long running musical “The Fantasticks” (with Tom Jones, not the singer). The pair also created “I Do! I Do!” and other musicals. (88)

Nancy Wilson

NANCY WILSON was a jazz singer who had crossover pop hits, mainly in the sixties, but later on as well. She learned from the best – Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine and others were on the records her father brought home.

Nancy’s career began when, upon meeting Cannonball Adderley he suggested she move to New York where her style would be more appreciated. She took his advice and became an almost instant success. Her albums not only topped the jazz charts, but frequently the pop ones as well. She also appeared on all manner of TV shows.

From early in her career, indeed her first hit, is Guess Who I Saw Today. (81)

♫ Nancy Wilson - Guess Who I Saw Today


LORRIE COLLINS, who along with her brother Larry, formed the Collins Kids who were big rockabilly performers in the fifties. (76)

LAZY LESTER (Leslie Johnson) was a blues harmonica and guitar player as well as the writer of many songs that have been covered by just about everyone who plays the blues, as well as rock and country. (85)

BARBARA ALSTON was a founding member and lead singer for the vocal group The Crystals on their early records. She later became a support singer which she preferred due to her excessive shyness. (74)

RAY THOMAS was a singer and flute player and also a founding member of the progressive rock group The Moody Blues. He continued with the group until early this century. (76)

Terry Evans

TERRY EVANS was a soul, R&B and blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. He played with many people over the years, notably long stints with Bobby King and Ry Cooder. He also performed with Boz Scaggs, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Maria Muldaur and many others. He even found time to have a successful solo career.

Terry performs That's The Way Love Turned Out For Me from the album “Blues For Thought”. (90)

♫ Terry Evans - That's The Way Love Turned Out For Me


DONALD MCGUIRE was a singer with the fifties group The Hilltoppers. They had a couple of hits at the time, the most notable being Marianne. (86)

CONWAY SAVAGE was the long time pianist for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He also released solo albums, and was a member of several Australian groups in the eighties. (58)

RANDY WESTON was a jazz pianist and composer. He was influenced by the best – Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole. He made dozens of records, the last, earlier this year. (92)

GEORGE WALKER was a composer, concert pianist and teacher. His compositions included piano sonatas, symphonies, string quartets and many vocal works. (96)

Otis Rush

OTIS RUSH was a blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He played the guitar left handed but strung as a right hander which probably contributed to his distinctive sound much imitated by younger blues and rock guitarists. Like many, he moved to Chicago after hearing Muddy Waters play and made a name for himself playing in the clubs.

From the album “Right Place, Wrong Time” Otis sings and plays Tore Up. (83)

♫ Otis Rush - Tore Up


ED KING was a guitarist and songwriter notable for such diverse works as Incense and Peppermints and Sweet Home Alabama. (68)

SPENCER P JONES was a New Zealand born, Australian guitarist who was in several of the leading Australian groups of the last forty years. (61)

DON CHERRY was a singer in the Sinatra mould, who had a number of hits in the fifties. He was also a world ranked golfer. (94)

EDDIE WILLIS was a session guitarist, one of the “Funk Brothers”, who played behind just about every Motown hit. (82)

Colin Brumby

COLIN BRUMBY was an Australian composer and conductor. He studied in Spain and Britain before returning to Australia to become professor and composer in residence at Brisbane University.

He eventually tired of working in atonal music, and switched to tonal which led to many more commissions and greater acceptance by the public. He wrote operas, concertos for many diverse instruments, two symphonies, chamber works, and notably, a number of operas for children.

Here is the second movement of his Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. (84)

♫ Colin Brumby Trio for clarinet cello and piano (2)


GEOFF EMERICK was a recording engineer at Abbey Road studios who recorded the Beatles’ records from Sergeant Pepper onwards. He also recorded many other groups. (72)

CHAS HODGES was a singer, pianist and guitarist best known for being half of Chas and Dave. (74)

BIG JAY MCNEELY was an R&B saxophone player who helped to define the sound of early rock & roll. His outrageous onstage antics probably helped as well. (91)

ROY CLARK was a country singer and guitarist who is probably best known for his appearances on “Hee Haw”. I prefer to remember him as a superb guitar player. (85)

Aretha Franklin

ARETHA FRANKLIN, considered the “Queen of Soul”, started her musical career singing and playing organ and piano at her father’s church.

Her first foray into recorded music was unsuccessful as the record company didn’t really understand what she was about. When she found a sympathetic company (Atlantic) the sky was the limit. Her first singles shot to the top of the charts as did most of the following ones.

Besides her music, Aretha was a great champion of civil rights and donated millions to help the poor, the indigenous and many other such causes.

Rather than one of her big hits you’ve all heard many times, here is Crazy He Calls Me. (76)

♫ Aretha Franklin - Crazy He Calls Me




INTERESTING STUFF – 29 December 2018

A TALE OF MOTHERS AND PINOT NOIR

Remember earlier this month when I told you about meeting the son, Tom Wark, I gave up for adoption when he was born?

Now Tom has written about our meeting in a story he calls A Tale of Mothers and Pinot Noir. You can read it here. It is beautiful.

TEE HEE

Yes, Christmas has come and gone but I probably won't be here for it next year so let's enjoy this together now:

Forleasenavidad

Thank reader John Starbuck for the laugh.

BLACK ICE

Winter is settling in and that means dangerous ice. Or sometimes it's just funny.

Mental Floss has some good advice about how to walk in icy places.

NURSES MOST REVERED PROFESSION

For the 17th year in a row, nurses come in first – rated the most ethical and honest profession by 84 percent of Americans polled in a survey by Gallup.

GallupNurses

What group of people came in last? You can find out at the Gallup story.

JUSTICE GINSBURG HOME FROM HOSPITAL

Ruth-bader-ginsburg-9312041-1-402Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – the notorious RBG – is home from the hospital after successful surgery for lung cancer. It's her third bout with cancer and doctors are predicting a full recovery.

Read more here and here.

GLAMOUR SHOTS OF REPTILES

I first clicked on the link to this story because the headline, as above, is so deliciously incongruous. And guess what? It's not wrong. (Images from Tropical Herping.)

Reptile1

Snake

You can see more at Atlas Obscura.

ERIC CHIEN IPAD MAGIC

Thank Hank Berez for this amazing magician's iPad fun.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH ELEPHANT SEALS

As the husband of the woman in this video explains:

”It was while we were ashore in South Georgia on this huge gravel beach filled with King Penguins and elephant seals, that Jess laid down on the ground to get some cool low-angle shots of some passing King Penguins, when suddenly one of these huge baby elephant seals flopped over to investigate Jess, and was soon joined by another.

“Before she knew it, she was being squashed by several of these 100kg+ adorable animals, snuffling, burping and sniffing all over her.”

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog.




Observing the End of Life

”I count it as the greatest good fortune to have these few months so full of interest and instruction in the knowledge of my approaching death.”

- Alice James in a letter to her brother, William

Isn't it comforting, even thrilling sometimes, to learn that others who came before you, especially those for whom you have great respect, have thought or felt what you are thinking and feeling.

In the past, before the doctors told me my cancer is terminal, I thought the minutes surrounding the moment of death would be the last great adventure of life. I hoped to be alert and unencumbered with pain so to be able to know the experience as it happens.

As I have come to see now, my former vision of the end is puny. Too cramped. Too small. There is much more to dying than a single moment.

There is, if you are fortunate enough to be made aware of your coming demise, the entire third act of life - the one we, in much of the western world, ignore - the period of dying.

Another who came before me, the late Scottish novelist, Muriel Spark, speaks well to what I have come to believe:

”Death, when it approaches,” she wrote, “ought not to take one by surprise. It should be part of the full expectancy of life.”

However short or long my remaining days may be, it is a great gift I have received, knowing my death is near. It led to what I think is the most important question in the circumstance: what do you want to do with the time that remains?

I had asked that question before but my answer then was not adequate. It has become more complex now that my sensibility about death itself has changed. (More about that soon but not today.)

What I realize now is that I like my little life just as it is. No bucket list. No great unfinished tasks to rush to complete. Just to continue what I have been doing these past few years:

• Keep up this blog for as long as I can or want (my work)

• Spend time with the people who mean the most to me (my pleasure)

• And, do what I have always done when new and interesting things turn up in my life: find out what others know about them, observe and learn (my satisfaction)

In this case, what most engages me for the moment is the question of what living is like when you know you will soon die.

One way I have been working on that is, from time to time throughout a day, to move my consciousness off to one side of myself and watch. Allow myself to do whatever I'm inclined to do without directing it and to observe how I become different, or not. To become both the observer and the observed.

What I am curious about is how does this knowledge of impending death change me and my behavior? Am I frightened? How do I help make that better? What do I believe about life and death? Does it alter my relationships with the people I know? Do I do things differently or do I do different things?

And about a hundred other questions.

Then, sometimes, when I think what I have observed is interesting enough, I will tell you about it here.

For 15 years, the subtitle in the banner at the top of this page has been the topic of Time Goes By: “what it's really like to get old.”

Without my quite noticing for awhile, that changed in the past couple of months and now I've caught up with myself: the subject of the blog has morphed into what most interests me in these days: what is it like to die - to know I am going to die relatively soon and how I am navigating that knowledge?

There is no greater mystery to mankind than death. How, finding myself in this place, can I possibly ignore it.

So I suppose we could now call Time Goes By an end-of-life blog. That may be difficult for some readers and I understand if it is. But you can believe me that I am fascinated to be in this predicament and if you want to follow along, I will be pleased to have you here and to listen to what you have to say about it.

One more who came before me, the second secretary-general of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld:

”Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment.”

I'm working on it.




Twas the Day After Christmas

Just checking in. I'm home from my little trip and getting settled in again.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday, however you celebrate (or not), that there were plenty of friends and family to enjoy and lots of seasonal food to savor. This is not the time of year to worry about calories.

Soon, we'll be back on the good ship This End Up here at Time Goes By, moving into the brand new year.




A TGB READER STORY: You Want Me to Do What?

By Patricia Kelly

Years ago I had my vehicle in the shop for repairs and the only loaner available was a humongous van with several rows of bench seats and side opening doors.

I was not used to such a large vehicle and was a bit nervous about driving it. However, I did need to pick up my dry cleaning so I illegally parked in the fire lane to protect the loaner from crashing grocery carts and quickly ran into the cleaners.

I had the side doors open looking for a place to hang my cleaner bags when someone gently pushed me aside. Startled, I watched a little old lady climb into the van and sit down wearily.

Need to state here that at my age then, anyone around 60 was OLD. Today I look on 60 is a still a youngster. Back to the story.

My mouth was still hanging open when the next wave hit. One by one, five other seniors climbed into the van, using my shoulder as a hand rail.

"We missed the bus." an elderly gentleman informed me as he squeezed beside two ladies and looked for a place to put his cane. "You will take us home?" he partially questioned, but mostly stated.

I looked at my little group of passengers and tried to push thoughts of law suit out of my mind as I asked, "Uh, where do you live?

They were from Century Village which is a huge retirement village in Palm Beach County. The Village supplied bus service to grocery stores and shopping complexes.

This group had stayed too long and had been left on the curb. The last bus of the day was history.

Against my better judgment but not knowing how I could possibly throw six seniors back on the curb and still sleep at night, I made sure there were no more stragglers. I then told them to buckle up and headed for the Village which was several miles away.

I was curious why they had no shopping bags. Man-with-cane explained that they went a couple of times a week to the book store/coffee shop that was part of the strip mall, to read and sip while the rest of the bus load grocery shopped.

I asked where their books were and he explained that they never bought a book except as a gift. They just read inside the store while sipping coffee. They would then write down the stopping page on a piece of paper so they could pick up where they left off next time.

Being a book and coffee person myself, I could see where that might be the perfect day out for seniors. The price for their entertainment certainly fit into a retirement income.

Now Century Village has more than 2000 condos. It would have been nice if they all lived in the same unit but each one lived in a separate building. Kind of wondered how they all got together. Perhaps they met at Bingo.

At each stop, I got out to open the doors for the departing senior and was rewarded with a quarter and a sweet smile or nod for my efforts.

I tried to refuse the change but they almost got ugly insisting. I quickly learned that little old ladies will not hesitate to slap your arm with their bony hands if you don't agree with them. So I just took the money and shut up.

I was really getting tickled at the absurdity of the situation. However with each successful unload, I breathed a new sigh of relief. I was beginning to think that this might work out after all.

Man-with-cane was the last to depart. He demanded my name and address. He did NOT offer a quarter. I was tempted to give a false name but I wrote my real name and address on the piece of paper he offered.

Ah, I thought, here comes the law suit. Perhaps I had taken a turn to quickly and caused a whiplash. I was living by the creed at that time that no good deed goes unpunished.

I was delighted though in a few days for I got a lovely card from Man-with-cane. He thanked me very nicely and there were TWO quarters scotch taped to the card. No lawyers ever called.

Still today, 38 years later, that ranks as the strangest, scariest, yet coolest buck seventy five I ever earned.

EDITORIAL NOTE: You are a prolific bunch of writers and there is now a backlog of reader stories to carry us almost to summer. So for awhile, I am not accepting new stories until we work through some of the ones already on the list.




Merry Christmas 2018

Greetings a day early because I will be away for the next few days and offline. There will be a Reader Story tomorrow but I'm taking off the rest of the week.

It's been an amazing year for me navigating my way through this cancer stuff. Your support and love and care and concern mean everything to me and there are not words to thank you all for being here day in and day out.

And meeting the son I gave up for adoption 56 years ago, getting to know him and his family has been a magnificent surprise out of nowhere I could never have anticipated. The happiest event that has happened to me – perhaps ever.

And now for what has become a Time Goes By tradition, the seventh annual playback of Penelope Keith's marvelous reading – as Miss Cynthia Bracegirdle – of And Yet Another Partridge in a Pear Tree: A Cautionary Tale for Christmas Showing That it is Better to Give than to Receive.

It was originally broadcast on the BBC (Radio 4) on 25 December 1977 – and is wickedly funny.

Penelope Keith - And Yet Another Partridge in a Pear Tree

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, Ronni and Crabby Old Lady thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the fine community you create and sustain here all year every year and we wish you a big, fat, bright red

Happy-holiday680



ELDER MUSIC: Christmas 2018

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

Christmas Oz

Well it’s the time of the year when I go on my annual rant about snow, icicles, chestnuts roasting by an open fire, sleigh bells and all that other folderol that seems to infect Christmas songs.

That’s not Christmas where I live and the couple of times I’ve experienced Christmas like that it felt completely, totally, utterly wrong.

Christmas is long warm (or dare I say hot) days with chilled Champagne or cold white wine sipped in the shade with cold prawns, lobster, salads and such for the Christmas feast.

Anyway, that’s enough of my ranting, let’s play some jolly music.

DADDY COOL would certainly know of what I speak as they come from Melbourne too.

Daddy Cool

They were the biggest band in Australia in the early seventies until they split. They reformed and split several times over the years but alas, no more as only two of the group are still alive.

The song today is from one of their later reformations when they recorded an album called “The New Cool”. The song is The Christmas Bug.

♫ Daddy Cool - The Christmas Bug


JULIA LEE AND HER BOYFRIENDS seem to have some sort of Christmas Spirit.

Julia Lee

It’s not the spirit usually associated with Christmas because Santa can’t bring what she wants most. I’ll let her (and her friends) tell you about it.

♫ Julia Lee and Her Boyfriends - Christmas Spirit


KEITH JARRETT, GARY PEACOCK AND JACK DEJOHNETTE perform and record regularly together.

Keith Jarrett Gary Peacock Jack DeJohnette

Separately they are some of the best around on their various instruments, so together they play some of the finest jazz going these days. From one of their albums, “After the Fall” we find out that Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Well, we knew that already, but it’s good to hear what they make of that hoary old song.

♫ Keith Jarrett - Santa Claus Is Coming to Town


THE HOLLY TWINS want only one thing for Christmas.

Holly Twins

Before I tell you what that is, I’d like to say that I know very little about The Holly Twins. The only thing is that they are twins and their names are Jonell and Glenell McQuaig. They sing I Want Elvis for Christmas.

They have the help of Eddie Cochran on this song both playing guitar and impersonating Elvis in between verses. Eddie died in a car crash at age 21.

♫ Holly Twins - I Want Elvis For Christmas


I featured a live video of THE POGUES' song Fairytale of New York in the very first of these Christmas columns and I thought it was time for their original studio version.

Pogues

In the past I've also used a superior version of the song by Tex Perkins and Claire Bowditch who are also far better looking than SHANE MCGOWAN who sang the song. But then, I'm far better looking than Shane too.

Shane McGowan

That's Shane, not me. Singing with Shane is KIRSTY MCCOLL, daughter of singer/songwriter Ewan McColl.

Kirsty Maccoll

Kirsty died in a boating accident in 2000.

♫ Pogues - Fairytale of New York


RUFUS THOMAS is probably best known for his novelty songs, one of which, Walking the Dog, was a nice little earner for him when the Rolling Stones covered it.

Rufus Thomas

Naturally he doesn’t take the season too seriously when he tells his sweetie (or someone): I'll Be Your Santa Baby. He gives it a really funky feeling.

♫ Rufus Thomas - I'll Be Your Santa Baby


ESTHER PHILLIPS, also known as Little Esther, recorded a few songs with MEL WALKER, backed by the JOHNNY OTIS orchestra.

Esthe rMel & Johnny

Esther is disconsolate because her baby is so far away, but like all good Christmas wishes, everything comes good in the end. All this is revealed in Far Away Christmas Blues.

♫ Little Esther & Mel Walker with Johnny Otis Orchestra - Far Away Christmas Blues


This year we’ll have a couple of moments of couth to end proceedings.

First up is ARCANGELO CORELLI.

Corelli

Around his time the Concerto Grosso was top of the pops and he wrote a bunch of them (as did Handel and others). The one I’ve selected is the third movement of Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 8 because it’s also generally called Christmas Concerto, or if you want to be technically correct: Made for Christmas Night.

♫ Corelli - Concerto Grosso n.08 Op.6 (3)


J.S. BACH wrote cantatas for every Sunday of the year and all religious holidays.

Bach-JS10

He wrote several for the various days around Christmas and the one I’ve chosen is a chorale cantata for the first Sunday after Christmas which is close enough for me. It is the first movement of BWV 122, Das neugeborne Kindelein, or The new born child.

♫ Bach JS - Das neugeborne Kindelein BWV 122 ~ 1. Coro Das neugebornene Kindelein


Christmas Oz



INTERESTING STUFF – 22 December 2018

AN OLD-TIMEY VAUDEVILLE ACT

TGB reader Joan McMullin emailed that this has a terrific surprise ending and she's right.

BERKELEY THE BEAR PLAYING ON ICE

Berkley is a Kodiak brown bear cub who lives at Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail, Alberta, Canada, He's having a wonderful time on the ice.

THIS GIVES ME SOME HOPE FOR OUR COUNTRY

Thank my friend Jim Stone for sending this along earlier this week.

HOW TO CREATE A CROSSWORD PUZZLE

David Kwong, shows us how he makes a crossword puzzle – not just any crossword puzzzle, a New York Times crossword puzzle. This is a longer video that I usually post but I think it's interesting – at least for puzzle fans.

PEW'S 18 REMARKABLE FINDINGS OF 2018

Pew Research Center named 18 “remarkable” findings of 2018. One of them is about how younger people are better at telling the difference between factual statements and opinion statements. Take a look:

FactVOpinionPew

Well, I don't think there is that much difference between the two age groups. Neither one is all that good at it.

There are a bunch of other Pew 2018 findings at their website.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHEESE

My two favorite foods are cheese and ice cream. I had no idea that cheese making is thousands of years old:

JEANNE ROBERTSON AND THE CHRISTMAS BIKE

Here's one of our favorite comedians on a certain Christmas gift...

22 MUSICALS IN 12 MINUTES WITH LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA AND EMILY BLUNT

Thank Trudi Kappel for this musical collection.

It's James Corden with the stars of Mary Poppins Returns to perform a musical-inspired Role Call, featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt singing classics from 22 musicals covering Evita to The Wizard Of Oz. And Kermit the Frog stops by to help James with The Rainbow Connection.

MAYBE THE BEST, CHEAPEST SLEEPING PILL EVER

From TGB reader Mary Symmes. This may be the best idea for falling asleep I've ever heard. It runs for just over an hour. You can find the YouTube page here.

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog.




Christmas Eve Eve Eve

Did I get that headline right – three days before Christmas Day?

Maybe, maybe not. I'm really here to let you know that I'm taking some extra time off while the world gets ready for the big end-of-year holiday. And, I'll be away for a couple of days next week, but I'll tell you about that on Monday.

Meanwhile, all is as usual coming up: Interesting Stuff, Elder Music, Reader Story.

Feel free to talk among yourselves in the comments.




Anecdotes From the World of Chemotherapy

It's a rough day here on Tuesday as I write this – heavy fatigue from the new chemotherapy regimen I began last week has slowed me way down; I'm napping a lot.

In the past, I was lucky to need only about an hour's infusion; now it's five or six hours.

Actually, most of that time is taken up with infusions of medications to keep nausea and other side effects at bay. The chemo is only an hour or so at the end of the session.

But they thought up a new “treat” for me this time - wearing a chemo body pump at home for two days afterwards, like an across-the-chest pocketbook. It's about the size of a large cell phone plugged into the permanent port in my chest for an addition infusion.

Of course, I can't shower for two days – the pump must remain dry - so I try to keep my distance from people I run into because I'm probably kind of stinky for those days.

And it's just a joke getting in and out of clothes trying to keep that line from the pump to the port from getting twisted or yanked out while taking a sweater or nightgown off and on.

At one point I somehow got the line strung all the way through a sleeve and it took ten minutes to get that sorted out.

This is high-tech, modern medicine but sometimes you end up feeling like a three-year-old who doesn't know which shoe goes on which foot.

The thing is programmed to stop pumping after 46 hours after which I was scheduled to go to the clinic to have it removed.

Here's the fun part when that happened: So I'm working at the computer when the most ungodly loud alarm goes off. Truly screeching at me. The sound seemed to be coming from under the desk – you know, where that mess of cables that connects the computer and peripherals is plugged into the surge protector.

Clang, clang, clang, clang went the alarm like the loudest fire engine siren rattling my brain. Clang, clang, clang, clang. Fearing smoke or fire might erupt, I crawled under the desk with a flashlight and unplugged all the devices – all eight or ten plugs – while being careful not to bang into or lean on the pump, not an easy trick when you're mildly panicked.

Nothing. The screeching continued. Then I thought maybe it was coming from somewhere in the kitchen but nothing there was amiss. I stood around for a bit until dummy here (that's me) finally realized it must be the damned body pump.

Sure enough – I'd forgotten they told me it would “beep” when it was done. BEEP, you say? I'm still half deaf from it.

I finally managed to turn it off but if any of you know the difference between a Stop/Start button and an On/Off button, please do tell me. I punched both of them several times before the alarm finally stopped.

Or maybe it's just chemo brain that made my mind go too fuzzy to think straight.

I'm sure TGB readers who have themselves been through this and other unexpected complications of cancer treatment have your stories. As exhausted as we can be when these mishaps occur, the only useful way to deal with it is to just laugh at yourself, do the best you can and then go back to bed.




A TGB READER STORY: The Sunbonnet Crown

By Jannette Mountzouris

Our grandparents, known as Mim-Mim and Daddy Harry, lived on a ranch in Kerr County along Turtle Creek. Their modest home sat on a high bluff above the creek. Inside Mim-Mim focused on meals to be fixed, bread to be baked, firewood to be split for the cook stove, clothes to be washed and ironed and other somewhat mundane tasks.

However, outside she reigned as queen, wearing a sunbonnet as her crown while she cared for her flowers, maintained a garden, milked the cow and gathered eggs laid by her free range hens.

This was no ordinary jeweled crown for it was made of recycled feed sacks whose once vibrant colors were faded from many washings. Although our grandmother died more than 50 years ago, I can clearly see her in my mind’s eye – faded dress, old apron, and the sunbonnet on her head.

Her hoe became her scepter as she gently ruled her empire of flowers, garden, the barn, and all the nooks where the chickens laid their eggs. She carried the hoe not only to chop weeds but to address snakes that might cross her path. In the summer as she gathered eggs, Mim-Mim always had several visiting grandchildren in her entourage.

From the first frost-free mornings in early spring to the last golden days of autumn, Mim-Mim donned her crown and nurtured all things growing in her outside domain. I do believe she was happiest wearing her sunbonnet as she planted, weeded, and watered her flowers and the garden.

She loved flowers and it was evident they were happy in her hands with the green thumbs. They were pleased to show off along the fence or in any cranny where they were planted. There were no brightly colored fertilizer bags with instructions about where and how the plants were to be placed in the soil. Yet the zinnias, bachelor buttons, and shrimp plants along with others grew taller than any I have ever seen.

She always seemed to choose flowers that ethereal creatures like hummingbirds and butterflies loved. To my delight one summer morning, she pointed out a hummingbird nest in a huge oak tree which served as a canopy over a portion of the yard.

While I certainly don’t remember the names of all that she planted, I am sometimes amazed when I realize I know something about a particular plant I could only have learned from Mim-Mim.

Besides the flowers, there were the staples of the garden: squash, beans, onions, and of course, tomatoes and pole beans. At one end were little hills of cucumbers which would become crisp pickles during canning season. A spot was always saved for dill which released a piquant fragrance in the heat.

While others might complain about getting up at sunrise, Mim-Mim seemed to relish going out to water the flowers and vegetables before the sun advanced too far in its ascent.

Even after they moved to town for Daddy Harry’s failing health, Mim-Mim continued to don her crown as she cultivated a much smaller bounty of flowers and vegetables. It must have felt unnatural to be outside without the sunbonnet.

Our Aunt Dorothy told me that her memories of the sunbonnet centered on her mother always heavily starching the bonnet and ironing it. I was curious about why Mim-Mim took such meticulous care of it. Aunt Dorothy said the starching and ironing were done so that the brim would not sag over Mim-Mim’s eyes – the pragmatic memory of her daughter versus the sublime memory of her granddaughter.

Today when I hoe the good earth, recollections of Mim-Mim in her sunbonnet always come to mind – sacred recollections of the mind and heart.

* * *

EDITORIAL NOTE: You are a prolific bunch of writers and there is now a backlog of reader stories to carry us almost to summer. So for awhile, I am not accepting new stories until we work through some of the ones already on the list.




Crabby Old Lady on Honoring Cancer Survivors

Five year survival is the medical gold standard of a successful cancer cure and apparently there is a season of the year (December) to “honor” five-year cancer survivors as articles about several of these celebrations have recently dropped into Crabby Old Lady's email inbox.

Now, doing some light homework for this blog post, she has discovered that in June each year there is a National Cancer Survivors Day, “a celebration for those who have survived.”

Crabby would be ecstatic to be one of those people but her life hasn't turned out that way. Her two new cancers are incurable. And as you must have expected from the headline, here goes Crabby Old Lady again being a Grinch.

[Unpaid family and friend caregivers deserve respect too (not to mention some effective regulations about leave from work, etc.) but today is about professional caregivers.]

So. Honor the survivors? Give Crabby a break. It's fantastic when that five-year anniversary arrives and it should probably involve an over-the-top, joyous, hoot-and-hollerin' celebration with the survivor, along with his or her family and friends. But publicly “honoring” them?

When they should have been honored was during the months, maybe years of treatment. It's damned hard to be a cancer patient. Surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, things that go wrong like Crabby's internal bleeds that required two more surgeries, pain, fatigue like you've never experienced before, keeping track of all the medications and more.

Celebrations back then might have given patients encouragement when they most needed it as they wondered, too often, if they just should have skipped all the interim stuff and died sooner.

That's when the honoring of patients would mean something - for following all the instructions and doing it stoically. Well, for the most part. Sometimes you just need to have a good cry.

But the first people Crabby honors, above all the patients, are the professional cancer caregivers. All of them, from celebrated surgeons who get so much attention, through the RNs, CNAs, medical assistants, schedulers and coordinators and all the rest of them.

At the top levels, physicians, nurses and their assistants (the dozens Crabby Old Lady has spoken with about their careers during her 18 months of regular visits with them) CHOSE to make their careers with cancer patients.

Think of that: they made a conscious decision to spend their working life with people who, most of them, die in a relatively short period of time.

Patients and caregivers get to know one another over that time. They exchange personal information unrelated to cancer. They don't become friends exactly, but they do become friendly with warm feelings for one another: “Hey Sean,” Crabby might say to a medical assistant when she arrives, one who had been previously assigned to her. “How are you doing?” Or “Hi Nancy. Good to see you again.” High fives all around.

She gets the same in return from the caregivers as she walks by their desks. And by name. How many of us do they keep in mind?

Imagine what it is like for them when all too often and not unexpectedly, they get word that one of their patients has died. If you think it is hard for laymen like Crabby and you to grieve for loved ones, it doesn't happen but a fraction of the time it does for cancer caregivers.

And yet, they choose this work and they are universally wonderful people in all respects – different in their essence than other people.

As Crabby or Ronni has said before, every single one is smart, knowledgeable in their field, warm, comforting, friendly and as far as Crabby can tell, never has a bad day. They never, ever bring their personal problems to work – at least not with patients.

Yes, Crabby herself has worked hard following instructions to get through her treatment – sometimes awful stuff – questioning not infrequently if it isn't time to stop and let the disease take its course. But these men and women keep Crabby going as if it really matters to them – and it does, manifestly.

These are the people Crabby Old Lady honors first above herself and other patients. They are different in the best possible way from the rest of us. Maybe it's in their genes.




ELDER MUSIC: Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

With global warming we may or may not get more storms, but we will get far more powerful and ferocious ones. It’s probably too late to stop this happening. In the meantime, let’s have some songs about storms.

We’ll start proceedings with TOM RUSH and approximately the title of the column.

Tom Rush

The song is actually called Galveston Flood, but it has been recorded under the name Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm. Even Tom has done that.

♫ Tom Rush - Galveston Flood


There are two songs today where I found dozens of versions and you’d think it might be difficult to select one. As it turned out, the job was easy as the best one stood out in both. The first of these songs is Stormy Monday, and the standout is T-BONE WALKER.

T-Bone Walker

Just about every blues performer, and quite a few in other genres, has recorded the song. However, T-Bone did it first and did it best. He also wrote the song. He was one of the most influential guitarists of the twentieth century.

♫ T-Bone Walker - Stormy Monday


Goodness, it’s been a while since I had LINDA RONSTADT in a column. That will be rectified immediately.

Linda Ronstadt

Linda seems to have the help of the celestial choir on her song, Cry Like a Rainstorm.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Cry Like a Rainstorm


“Blood on the Tracks” was BOB DYLAN’s finest album from the seventies. It was also his “divorce album”, I don’t know if there’s a correlation there.

Bob Dylan

There were several vicious songs on the album. Okay, it’s not the only album where that occurred. The song Shelter from the Storm isn’t one of them. Well, it is a bit.

♫ Bob Dylan - Shelter From The Storm


TERRY EVANS and HANS THEESSINK also recorded Shelter from the Storm, but it’s a different song.

Terry Evans & Hans Theessink

Hans, a Dutch bluesman, wrote this one, but I can’t help thinking that he was very familiar with Bob’s song. Terry once sang backup on one of Hans’ records and after that they recorded and toured together. Terry died recently and his last record was with Hans.

♫ Terry Evans & Hans Theessink - Shelter From The Storm


BUDDY KNOX started his career on a radio program in Texas that also featured Roy Orbison.

Buddy Knox

Roy suggested that Buddy should go to Clovis, New Mexico, where Norman Petty was recording Buddy Holly. Buddy did just that and recorded his best known, and biggest selling song, Party Doll.

He also recorded Storm Clouds. He had another go at that song again later and it’s that version we have today.

♫ Buddy Knox - Storm Clouds


JOHN PRINE can write songs that will break your heart, others that will make you laugh and everything in between.

John Prine

Whatever category into which a song falls, his attention to details is immaculate. The song Storm Windows seems to be from the in between category, and it’s a bit rockier than most of his songs.

♫ John Prine - Storm Windows


The other song that I mentioned above with all the versions is Stormy Weather. I can hear you yelling your favorites but I’ve gone with LENA HORNE.

Lena Horne

The song was around before Lena had a go at it, but she sang it in a film of the same name and since then it’s mostly been associated with her.

♫ Lena Horne - Stormy Weather


BOZ SCAGGS went to school and university with Steve Miller. They were firm friends.

Boz Scaggs

After trying to make a go of it as a solo artist, Boz joined Steve in the Steve Miller Band for their first two albums as a guitarist and singer. After that he once again ventured out for a solo career recording the album “Boz Scaggs”, which in my opinion is his best.

However, it’s not that album that concerns us today, it’s a later one called “A Fool to Care”, from which we get There's a Storm a Comin'. Just setting the mood for the next track.

♫ Boz Scaggs - There's a Storm a Comin'


There’s only one way to finish the column and that is to ride out the storm. Quite a few of you are already saying THE DOORS.

The Doors

Riders on the Storm was the very last song that the original four members of The Doors recorded together. They went out with one of their great songs and so are we, at least for this week.

♫ The Doors - Riders On The Storm




INTERESTING STUFF – 15 December 2018

DOG FINDS WOOLLY MAMMOTH TOOTH

As the Mother Nature Network (MNN) website reports:

”When Scout, a young Labrador retriever puppy from Whidbey Island, Washington, went to work digging up a new hole in his backyard, his human owner Kirk Lacewell wasn't necessarily surprised to see him emerge victorious with something in his mouth...

“After taking a few photos of the object, he passed them along to experts at the University of Washington's Burke Museum. Their conclusion? Scout's find was no less than part of a tooth from a woolly mammoth estimated to be about 13,000 years old.

Here's the whole story from a local newscast:

You can read more detail at the MNN website.

IMPROBABLY CUTE HOWLING COYOTE PUP

This just might be the cutest baby animal you've ever seen:

Big Geek Daddy tells us:

”The coyote pup was found by this boy and his friends when they were camping. They soon realized that as cute as this coyote was they couldn’t keep it so they released it back into the area where they found it so it could reunite with the rest of the coyote pack.”

FAKE NET NEUTRALITY COMMENTS BEING INVESTIGATED

Remember earlier this year when we were fighting hard, sending emails, signing petitions, calling legislators to preserve net neutrality? We lost the battle.

Now there will be an investigation into the fact that almost half the millions of comments opposing net neutrality were faked:

”More than 20 million comments have since appeared on the site, with the New York attorney general’s office estimating that up to 9.5 million of those were filed in people’s names without their consent,” reports Buzzfeed News.

“As part of the New York attorney general’s previously announced investigation, the agency in October issued subpoenas to 14 organizations — 11 of which are either politically conservative or related to the telecommunications industry and opposed net neutrality, and three of which supported it.

“The offices of the attorneys general of both Massachusetts and Washington, DC, are supporting the New York investigation, and also issued subpoenas.”

The FCC has refused to honor a Freedom of Information records request that would shed light on the suspicious comments. Expect more to come and read more now at Buzzfeed News.

DYNASTIES – LION AND HYENAS

From the Dynasties series presented by BBC Earth, an amazing clip of Red the lion who finds himself surrounded by a pack of more than 20 hyenas. His ally Tatu rushes to help. An astonishingly intense scene of life in the wild.

NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN HOLIDAY TRAIN SHOW

A terrific exhibit that features 30 sets of moving trains and 150 New York landmarks made of plant parts.

WOODEN WATCH

One of the few positive things that can be said about having a terminal disease is that if you don't count daily requirements such as food and bathroom tissue, you don't need or want to spend money anymore.

Nowadays, I don't read advertisements and I've unsubscribed from all the shopping newsletters that used to arrive regularly in my email inbox.

But this caught my attention:

It's silly and I can't tell you why, but I am charmed by the idea of a wooden watch. I don't care about the whiskey barrel part – I don't even understand why that would matter and most of all, I cannot imagine how anyone even thought this up.

But it just seems so cool - a watch made of wood.

Now don't anyone go thinking you should buy this for me. I don't need it, I don't want it, I haven't even worn a watch in more than a decade. I just think this one is cool.

You can find out more about it at this website.

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE BRAVE DOG WHO SURVIVED THE WILDFIRE?

When Andrea Gaylord arrived back at her home off Merrill Drive in Paradise, [California], she was surprised and overjoyed to see her beloved dog, Madison, survived the fire and was waiting patiently for her to return home.

Lovely story of a beloved pet's loyalty.

Find out more about Madison and his survival at Laughing Squid.

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog
.




Quotation of the Year: “Truth Isn't Truth”

This seems to be happening a lot lately – that time gets away from me and I can't finish a proper post in time to publish. Mainly, it just takes longer for me to do everything these days than in the past so I get backed up.

I put this together quickly on Wednesday as I knew I would be gone all day on Thursday getting my new chemotherapy infusion – seven hours (!) of it at the chemo clinic.

It's hard to know if this list is funny or horribly worrisome.

* * *

Yep. That Rudolph Giuliani quotation took the top spot this year in Yale Law School librarian Fred Shapiro’s annual list.

A few of the others in the top ten should bring back some political memories from recent months:

“I liked beer. I still like beer.” — Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh

“While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” — Sanofi drug company

”(I am) not smart, but genius...and a very stable genius at that!” — President Donald Trump

Do you have any favorite quotations from these past 12 months you think should be included?

You can read the rest of Shapiro's picks for quotations of the year at Huffington Post and AP News.




A TGB READER STORY: First-Born

By Jeanne Parvin

My husband and I brought our new baby home to our little furnished apartment. We were inexperienced – how to lay her down in the crib, how to cover her properly. And she cried so loudly.

I paced with her in the middle of the night to keep her quiet so my husband could get the sleep he needed to get up and go to work the next day. The visiting nurse said she had strong, healthy lungs. (Loud!)

My mother-in-law came by to pick up the baby’s laundry and brought it back all clean and fresh. She loved folding those tiny garments. She loved her first grandchild.

Now my mother-in-law is dead. My husband is dead. My first-born daughter is in her 50s now. She gives me hugs on a regular basis to make sure I still feel loved.

* * *

EDITORIAL NOTE: You are a prolific bunch of writers and there is now a backlog of reader stories to carry us almost to summer. So for awhile, I am not accepting new stories until we work through some of the ones already on the list.




My Son, My Family

Take a look at this photograph – shot at my home on Saturday evening:

TomKathyHenry20181208E

Nearly 56 years ago when I was 21 years old, I gave birth to a boy whom I arranged to have adopted. On Saturday, I met Tom, his wife Kathy and their four-year-old son, Henry, in person for the first time.

[For readers just now catching up with this story, the background is here.]

They arrived at noon bearing food and gifts and we spent the next seven hours eating, drinking good wine (well, not Henry) and talking. Talking and talking and talking.

We told stories about ourselves and our families, we hugged a lot, we laughed, we grinned ourselves silly, with Henry's little boy voice tinkling in the background (he's a very well-behaved kid).

Henry brought me a gift he had made himself – this beautiful cup I'm using now for coffee as I write this post on Sunday morning, and will use every morning from now on as I answer email and read the news. Here it is among some of the detritus on my desk:

HenrysCup

In ways I cannot explain, I feel like I have always known these people, that they have always been a part of my life. We settled right in as soon as they arrived. Of course, there are thousands of details about their lives I don't know, but I know the essence of their being.

By the end of our day, they had made me feel part of their family and I hope they felt the same in return. But none of these words come anywhere close to the love I feel with them. And comfort with them.

When they left in the evening, I was happy and sad, too, sad that they don't live down the street or across the road from me. But they will be back. We made plans for that.

I have been teary in the best possible way since Saturday evening. How did I get so lucky that this happened. Just in time.

Look at these wonderful people, my son and my daughter-in-law.

KathyTom20181208B680




ELDER MUSIC: 1959 Yet Again

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

1959 was the year I was uprooted halfway through high school (and halfway through the year) from my small country town and deposited in a really big city (Melbourne).

That was for a couple of reasons: to keep the family together (my sister had already made that move), and to ensure a good education for the next kid (me) as my big sister really had to struggle to do that on her own – she was the only person in her year 12 class.

It was also a pretty good year for music.

It was with the group THE TEDDY BEARS that we first encountered Phil Spector. This was ostensibly a trio; the other two were Marshall Leib and Annette Kleinbard. There were others who came and went, most notably Sandy Nelson who had a later career as a drummer.

Teddy Bears

Phil wrote the song To Know Him is to Love Him for the group and particularly for Annette to sing the lead. It was their only hit. Annette later changed her name to Carol Connors and had a successful career as a songwriter.

♫ The Teddy Bears - To Know Him Is To Love Him


Does music from this year get any better than this? That’s a rhetorical question to which the answer is no. That’s because we have THE PLATTERS.

Platters

The only question really is which song to play. I decided on one of their best, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

♫ The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes


BILLY GRAMMER was both a singer a fine guitarist.

Billy Grammer

He was one of the few who had a signature guitar made and named for him. Not just that but the company changed its name to the Grammer Guitar Company. He had a few hits during his career, the biggest of which was Gotta Travel On.

♫ Billy Grammer - Gotta Travel On


COL JOYE was the second biggest rock & roller in Australia at the time.

Col Joye

He was the one the parents liked rather that the outrageous Johnny O’Keefe whom the kids liked. Sort of like Ricky Nelson and Elvis in that regard. Col’s contribution is Bye, Bye Baby Goodbye.

♫ Col Joye - Bye bye baby goodbye


By this year, FATS DOMINO had been making records for at least a decade, so he knew what he was doing by this stage.

Fats Domino

One of the things he did really well was the song, I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Some Day.

♫ Fats Domino - I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Some Day


Along with two or three others, GUY MITCHELL was a breath of fresh air in the early fifties. He, and they, showed this kid that there might be some interesting music out there amongst all the dross.

Guy Mitchell

Guy kept making good records as the decade went on, one of which is Heartaches by the Number.

♫ Guy Mitchell - Heartaches by the Number


FRANKIE FORD was another native of Louisiana who took up music at an early age.

Frankie Ford

After some minor success he was used as a backup vocalist. When he did this for Huey “Piano” Smith with Huey’s song, Sea Cruise, the record company decided to release Frankie’s version as Huey already had a couple of songs on the charts. Frankie did likewise with the song.

♫ Frankie Ford - Sea Cruise


You can be pretty certain that MARTY ROBBINS would be present this year.

Marty Robbins

Marty seems surprised that seventeen and eighteen year olds were getting together. Oh, Marty, Marty, Marty they’ve been doing that since we evolved into humans (and no doubt before that). She Was Only Seventeen.

♫ Marty Robbins - She Was Only Seventeen


By now anything the EVERLY BROTHERS recorded was guaranteed to top the charts.

Everly Brothers

This is a tale of woe that the lads don’t want Mary to know about; that is that they’re banged up in the clink. She might figure that something’s wrong when they don’t come home. Take a Message to Mary.

♫ Everly Brothers - Take A Message To Mary


PHIL PHILLIPS received a pittance from his recording of Sea of Love.

Phil Phillips

He wrote the song, recorded it and saw that it hit the top of the charts, selling more than a million. He recorded an album but refused to have it released due to the shonky deal the record company struck with him.

He’s still trying to get his due after all this time. It’s particularly galling as the song has been covered quite often and was used in the successful film of the same name.

♫ Phil Phillips - Sea Of Love