A Walk Around Town in 2015

I walked around town this morning since it was not too hot. I thought a lot while I walked. Forrest Gump said that’s what he did while he was running out and back across America. Thought about things.

I thought first about how lucky I am. I am luckier than 99% of the people in the world. I’ve never gone hungry or been homeless. I had good parents, I married a good woman and I have a good family. I’ve lived to almost 65 years now (thanks to modern medicine and some good heart surgeons) and most days have been good days. I’ve been free to read the books I wanted to read, and to get into my car and drive anywhere in the USA where I wanted to go. The creator of the Universe has given me the privilege and opportunity to live this physical life in this physical world, and the ability to experience all my human emotions. What a wondrous thing!

I thought about all of the bad things which have been taking place lately. My wife and I were discussing this just recently, and came to the conclusion that lack of respect for other people and their right to have their own opinions, lack of manners and politeness, and lack of love, are near the root cause of many of these bad things which are happening. Basic respect, which my parents taught me, and which I taught my children is sadly lacking nowadays. Respect for life, respect for beliefs, respect for different cultures, respect for personal space, respect for the opposite sex, respect for people’s property. On and on and on….

As Aretha Franklin sang: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!

I have a problem with people idolizing people who have no respect for others. When it comes to something such as say…politics…I would vote for a respectful candidate who I didn’t necessarily agree with over a disrespectful person who I agreed with 100%. Yes, I am at that point. Respect and manners are that important to me now. As I have mentioned before, the scene from “Lonesome Dove” where Captain Call runs down the Scout who had just hit his young son with a whip and nearly beats the Scout to death, only being stopped from doing it by Gus throwing a rope around him. “I hate rude behavior in a man” he sputters to Gus “I won’t tolerate it”.

I guess that’s where we come in. We need to be intolerant of rude behavior, ranging from saying the “f” word in public at the local gym in front of a group of people including women, all the way to the ultimate rudeness of murdering someone in cold blood, to everything in between. We do…not…have to tolerate it. We do not have to tolerate the rude behavior of any religion which causes hurt or death to other people. We do not have to tolerate behavior from people who are supposed to protect us, which leads to the harm or death of other humans. I submit that we have essentially the same right as Captain Call to protest this rudeness albeit hopefully in a less violent manner.

I cannot cover all the things I thought about. I wish sometimes I had a little tape recorder in my head. I’ve forgotten some arguments over the years that would persuade Clarence Darrow. I’ve let some of the most winning of song lyrics float off through the air. I’ve solved the problems of the world many a night in my hot bath (due to the great circulation hot water causes to the brain) but they have slipped away on the fluffy towel as I dry off.

Anyway, I am thankful for this day and revel in the life it provides. I want to continue with it a while longer in order to help as many people as I can. I hope everyone has a great afternoon.

When Music came with Cardboard Covers

Circa 1965-1968 When Music Came in Cardboard Covers

I had the record player on a table in my bedroom. Just a square boxy old thing, which had a latch on the front, and a handle on the other end. Portable record player they called it. It was a beige brown color and had one speaker across the front with this mesh looking stuff on the outside. You could stack about 5 of the 33’s on the spindle and you had to have a “converter” to play a goodly stack of 45’s.

There was nothing more exciting than bringing home a new record album. You went to the store…Redford’s 5 & 10 most of the time for me, and you would stand over the bin where the albums were stored and flip through them. Once, twice, three times. Only enough money for one, but which would it be? It was mid to late 60’s…perhaps 1967, and a cool cover of guys dressed in the Blue and Grey of the civil war caught my eye. It was a group called “The Buckinghams” and featured a song called Susan. I liked it, and bought it and took it back home. There was always a ritual of removing the clear cellophane and easing the white “dust jacket” out. Most of the time there were graphics and other photos on these too…and I always enjoyed just pouring over the pictures, looking at the names of all the songs, the credits, who wrote the songs. It took time, and if was fun.

I’d put it on the bottom of the stack and add a couple of my favorites on top…most of the time it was late afternoon in the Summer. The most gorgeous of times, with the sun coming in from my West facing window, and shining in filtered rays through the shafts of fine dust I had kicked up from my activity. I’d lay down on the rug in my room right next to the record player and for the next hour or two I would listen to the music, feel the music, and live the music. Right there in a three square foot space, I transcended the normality of the moment and exceeded any expectations I had for the future. Then the music stopped.

I got up and stretched and carefully took my albums off the portable record player, and carefully held them, carefully put them back in the dust jackets and stored them back in the cardboard covers. I put them in a box carefully and lovingly, knowing I would listen to them again in a day or two. Never longer than a day or two.

Those were tactile days. Days when music came in an enjoyable, holdable, seeable packages. Wonderful iconic images came from those days. Wonderful memorable music which I remember to this day and can still sing every word of every song.

Today, I mostly just pick a song off of iTunes and it’s downloaded on my phone. I don’t have time, or don’t take time to lay on the floor for an hour and listen to music. Mostly now, it plays in the background at night to soothe our sleep.

I really don’t get as much pleasure from new music as I used to…….and it’s hard for me to remember the words. Maybe because I’m in the late 60’s now, and the world has moved on to 2017 and left me behind.