Friday, December 14, 2018

We Lost A Legend

Nancy Wilson died.

That means so much to me. It reminds me of when her singing used to fill my house when I was young. Along with Sarah Vaughn, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, and more, she was the sound of my youth.

My father had her records playing all the time. First of all I always thought she was pretty as all get out plus I thought she could sing like an angel.

Years later she came on our show and I was beside myself.  Nancy Wilson was in the house. When she came in I fawned all over her and when I told her why she smiled a big smile.

I learned something that day and I'll pass it on to you. She told me that when she sang she put a piece of gum under her tongue to help keep her throat moist.  Who knew?

Ah, my youth. Oscar Peterson, the Duke, Satchmo. When I was real young we would go visit my mother's mother, Nana to me, in St. Albans, Queens. I tell you that because every summer Count Basie, a neighbor, used to open up his pool and let us kids swim in it.

And I didn't even know who he was! You better believe I know now.

I'll bet I'm the only person who has Sarah Vaughn on my IPhone next to Led Zeppelin. The song is "Broken Hearted Melody" and I can sing the whole thing. That's because of my Dad. It reminds me of him. If you listen to it also listen to the background singers. It's a trip you'll be happy you made.

Sam Moore and Dave Prater
A dear friend of mine, Bill Boggs, turned me on to a Duke Ellington/Louis Armstrong album.  On it is Satchmo singing and Duke playing and the song I love is, "It Don't Mean A Thing." Heaven. That, too, is on my IPhone.

My Mom was a bit different in that she would play her 45s when I was older. Things like "Hold On I'm Coming." That's right, Sam and Dave. I've been saying, "Coming to ya on a dusty road," for like forever because of my mother. And because of her they too are all over my music list.

Back to Nancy.

When she was done singing and we had hugged and said our goodbyes she left the studio and I thought, "There goes a legend." A legend I got to tell what she meant to my father and in turn to me.

Nancy Wilson died.

We lost a great one.

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Random Holiday Thoughts

How come no one starts a diet during the holidays?

I think it's safe to say that beginning at Thanksgiving there are land mines ahead.
Turkey, pumpkin pie, ham, cornbread casserole, brownies, mashed potatoes, fruit cake, mac and cheese...

That's a lot of land mines. And there's more.

My sister bakes these great cookies with Hershey Kisses in the middle of them. That's trouble right there. I've been known to eat way too many of them. Even been known to put some in my pockets as I'm leaving.  Plus don't forget office parties that have lots to eat and drink. I think that's why there are Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig ads all over the tube right after the first.

This is the time of year for reflection, well reflect on this. I've written about this before but I'm always amazed when I think it's 2018 because when I was in high school the year 2000 seemed so far off that you almost had to squint just to see it. Guess what? It's so far behind us now that you almost have to squint to see it.

This is also the time of year that we get to wear our sweaters and winter clothes the handful of times we get to. A little Florida secret, what is cold down here would be balmy up north. People here complain about the cold. I used to live in Chicago and I always think the same thing, "You guys don't know what cold is."

Christmas is different now that my twins are fifteen. When they were younger gifts were Thomas the Train sets and Sponge Bob stuff. Now? Video games and more important money.

Let's talk about another gift for fifteen year olds. They just got their driving permits so every time I head to the car I hear, "I'll drive, Dad." This is a great gift, the gift of driving. I have a question for all the parents out there, "How wide do your eyes get when you're teaching your kids how to drive and have you ever stifled a scream when they do?"

Just asking.

One of my sons hasn't learned yet to ease into the brakes so we kinda stop abruptly. While we're at it let's talk about a right turn on red. He knows it's legal what he didn't know was you have to stop at a red light before you make your turn. I learned the hard way that he hadn't yet grasped that concept.

That's where stifling a scream comes in.

My daughter was asked again to sing at her office holiday soiree.  They told her to choose a few songs and one of the ones she picked was O Holy Night. She had me listen to Martina McBride's version (which is great) and as the song got going I found myself in my bedroom, on my bed, alone, singing along at the top of my lungs. It dawned on me I've heard that song my whole life.

"Fall on your knees. O hear the angels' voices."

Good stuff.

You know how this ends.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

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