Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Concert: For Gordon

Gordon Norton from Lillian W. Shaw's Wilkerson Family album

I first posted this song two years ago. Today I repost it in memory of Gordon Norton, who loved good church music and whose funeral I will attend today. Gordon was my Dad's first cousin and spent a part of his childhood living as a brother to the Shaw boys with my grandparents in Milstead, Georgia. Gordon had a nice tenor voice and often sang solos at church and in weddings and funerals. He fit in well with his boistrous cousins -- Charles (my Daddy), James, Grady, Bill, and Jack, as well as his "real" brother, Reubin. How even my tough grandmother (Mama Shaw) survived all those jokers I can't imagine. But what a lot of joy, hilarity, and love congregated when they did. Only Grady and Reubin are left.

Take a look at the pics while you listen to the music.

Gordon and Reubin Norton from Lillian W. Shaw's Wilkerson Family album

Lewis, Ruby, Gordon, and Reubin Norton from Lillian W. Shaw's Wilkerson Family album

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
A Thanksgiving of American Hymns
Brigham Young University
Combined Choirs and Orchestra

Although Joseph Smith was crazy as a bessie bug his followers can make music. Sheila and I bought the CD and video of this wonderful concert years ago. It played on public TV year after year. I love all of the arrangements. We especially enjoy this one and "How Can I Keep From Singing".

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I smuggled my tiny reel-to-reel tape player into the huge old theater in downtown Cincinatti. Our seats were on the last row of the highest balcony. Mary and Paul and Peter ran into the spotlight on the faraway stage that evening in the late sixties and began one of their rousing songs. I ate it up. I sang fervently along when invited. And I left an even more devoted fan of this wonderful trio and especially the beautiful girl with the long straight blond hair that she occasionally threw back with an unabashed jerk of her head as she sang. I spent my adolescense with a mental pin-up of that gorgeous girl in my brain.

Mary Travers died today. Another little part of me is gone as well.

The last time we planned a vist to hear the trio at Chastain in Atlanta the concert had to be cancelled on account of Mary's health. That demon leukemia claimed her.
She was the one I first heard sing John Denver's song, "Follow Me". It was one of several songs we used in our wedding.

Later note: I've spent the last hour or so enjoying song after song of the trio on youTube. It breaks my heart that I won't hear and see them in person again. What a concert they gave. Thank heavens for the redeeming aspects of our often aggravating modern world: I can call up a miniature concert right here in my own house at any hour.
I'll be there when you're feeling down,
To kiss away the tears if you cry.
I'll share with you all the happiness I've found,
A reflection of the love in your eyes.
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go.
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
I'd sing out danger,
I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.
How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
You see I like to share my life with you
and show you things I've seen
Places where I'm going to, places where I've been
To have you there beside me and never be alone
And all the time that you're with me, then we will be at home

Click on the PP&M label to read other posts concerning Peter, Paul, and Mary.

And here is the PP&M website:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What I am Doing: Out On A Limb -- I Think This Should Be A Lot Of Fun

I think this should be a lot of fun. After too much dithering, I decided to seek election to the Kettering School Board. The board has five members and each serve a four year term. Every other year there is a school board election and, this year, three seats are open. The three incumbents of these board positions are seeking reelection and, I, and another candidate, a person with an unlikely name, James Brown, are the other candidates. At age 61.9 I am the youngest of the lot.

I’ve lived in Kettering now for almost 35 years. That fact seems impossible. And, I’m thinking, I should be a better citizen -- I have a lot to contribute to public education. If September 11 was a wake up call, shouldn’t we all be awake by now?

I need a lot of practice -- how to I summarize in some convincing way my thinking about this election -- so I asked my local Democratic Club (I’m the vice president) to practice in front of them. I had one member who agreed to, whenever in her estimation it was deserved, to hold up an “Applause Sign.”

I think a campaign as a Reality Show might be a great idea. I would go door to door in a community and inquire if anyone in the house might be interested in being part of a community movie. In the first movie, I could announce my candidacy as I wipe snowflakes from my brow and take tough questions from the press. I’ll keep you posted.

I’m thinking of making a video in my dahlia garden in the style of "My Dinner With Andre," sort of weaving together my views of everything while looking at the ineffable.

I’m still coming to Rome -- maybe shortly after the election. Maybe we can make a movie. I just bought the new mac system -- snow leopard -- $180 seemed a little steep, but it looks like it has a lot of great stuff. I made this video with the new system -- but didn’t take the time to learn how to use the feature that is suppose to stop the shaking. The new I-Movie has a lot a new features. I’m going to redo this you-tube tape and stop that camera shaking and also use some footage from a second camera that was also filming. I also want to conclude the tape with the same words with which the tape started.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Concert - Debbie Drake

When Mrs. Knight sent me to the office I got a surprise. I was in sixth grade at Ellijay Elementary and we had just gotten our new educational TVs for the school. I was more than a little taken aback to find our principal leaned back in his office chair being educated by the shapely Ms. Drake by way of this new technology.

Here she is:

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

He knows who he is.

President Barack Obama is grounded.

He knows who he is.
He knows what he believes.
He knows how he wants to lead America and why.

Yesterday I watched and listened as he talked with my students about their future and their responsibilities.

Tonight I watched and listened as he talked with their elders about their future and their responsibilities.

Tonight he demonstrated once again that he is the most dynamic, clear-headed, articulate, pragmatic but principled ... grounded... statesman to lead this country in my lifetime.

We are witnessing history.
We are witnessing a transformative Presidency.

I am proud to be an American tonight.

Our country is blessed with exactly the leader we need for today.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sunday Concert: Matthew

John Denver gave one of the best concerts I ever witnessed in person. Sheila and I saw him at the Omni in Atlanta sometime in the seventies. He sang from a revolving stage. He sang for a couple of hours with a brief break. When it was over there were no encores - I guess he didn't believe in 'em.
This song was a favorite of mine way back when. I used to sing it occasionally.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Folk Wisdom: Slopping Hogs

"The Lord won't feed the pigs, if you won't tote the slop bucket."
-Coach Nick Hyder c. 1965

Nick Hyder (L) and Wright Basemore (R)

Coach Hyder is legendary in Georgia. After coaching the mighty Chieftains of West Rome High, my alma mater, he was called down to the ultimate high school football town, Valdosta, Georgia. His career record in football was 302-48-5. He was the first coach in Georgia to reach 200 wins in 20 years and 300 wins in 30 years.
In 1996 Nick died suddenly of a heart attack in the cafeteria at Valdosta High School. He was buried in a custom casket - Wildcat Black and Gold - donated by the previous Valdosta legend, Coach Wright Basemore who had time before his own death several years later to have a second edition of the casket made.
I knew Coach Hyder as our baseball (124 wins-67 losses) coach in the mid sixties when I got to sit by him game after game and record the balls, strikes, hits, and other stats. Since I could figure batting averages and use complete English sentences to communicate with the sports editor of the local paper, and since I couldn't hit or catch, I settled for being the scorekeeper for Coach Hyder. I got to interact with him a lot during the games. I enjoyed that much more than the geometry class I took from Nick. He was a good teacher, as I recall, but I recall other stuff more than the geometry.

One thing that I admire about Hyder is that he refused to use foul language with the kids. Anyone who knows me knows that I too dislike crude language. I admire those who can express themselves more creatively than with repetitive scatalogical or profane words. He set high standards for himself and for his players and students.

An aside: A few years ago a friend cast me as a crazed murderer in an independent movie. In it I had to be... well, a crazed murderer. Those kinds of folks are generally very profane. The script was improvisational. I imagined my berserk character wildly and profanely berating the object of his hate. So I cussed. And we reshot the scene several times. I found the cussing easier each time. When I saw the scene on screen, I was appalled. My friend left little on the cutting room floor. The cussing went on and on. Coach Hyder would have had my hide, and my mother may if it ever gets shown publicly. I cussed more in that one day than I have during the total other days of my sixty-two years.

Another fellow has posted notes on a football speech Nick gave in the 80s. You can check that out here.

I wish I had a better memory or had been a disciplined journal keeper. The man had a way with words. My classmate (and West Rome's blazing little running back of the sixties) Dick Sapp posted the quote on a friend's Facebook wall recently and I stole it.

So this is the first of occasional postings of Folk Wisdom, the bits of good word choices, apt images, or sage advice that crop up in our every day interaction with other folk.