Thursday, September 6, 2012

Words of Wisdom

This is in response to the first "Ketchup with Us" link up hosted by two special ladies, Michele at and Mel at

  It asked us to tell  in 57 words or less the best advice you have ever received from someone older than you or that you admire. I would say it came from my Dad.

"Always treat people the way you would like to be treated"  and "Say Please and Thank You"  Good advice Pop. I know your Granddaughters were listening.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

They Grow Up Part 2: Knoxville 2009

This family has always loved listening to music. The kids went to concerts with us when they were pretty young. Amy saw America ("Horse with no Name") when she was probably 7. We took her and Jenn to The Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Newman, and James Taylor. As grown-ups, I have taken Amy to see John Prine, Arlo Guthrie, and Judy Collins, among others and Amy took me to see Steve Earle and Amos Lee. And, lest I forget, together the bunch of us, in different combinations, have seen Mandy Patinkin four or five times. Quite a range, don't you think? Then came Knoxville 2009.
Jenn, our youngest, started listening to the band Phish when she was mid-teens, around 1991 let's might have been earlier. (Chime in anytime Jenn.) I, of course, was unfamiliar with said Phish. "They're a Jam Band, you know, kind of like The Grateful Dead." Ok that helps a little, right? Jenn went to a few shows in the 90's.

Let's skip ahead to 1999 and know, The Millineum. Jenn was 22 and recently graduated  from college. We were Proud Parents. Phish was doing a three-day festival in the middle of the Everglades at Big Cypress Indian Reservation.  She and a bunch of her friends had tickets. Could we watch the dog? Sure.  Why not?

So off they go, the day before the festival starts. And the local news leads with, "Alligator Alley has traffic backed up for miles due to thousands of people crowding into Phish Festival in Everglades... 2 reported injured in multiple accidents," and "Highway gridlock halts Phish concert traffic; pedestrian killed."  Well shit! Maybe we'll just spend the Millineum worrying now. This is how it looked on the news.

It was still all over the 11 o clock news, they talked about how they had never seen that kind of traffic ever. Next day she called. Alive and well. Everything was great. In fact the whole experience was great, for her and all of those who were there with her.

Again we skip ahead. This time to August 2004. Guess that would make her 27 then.... Phish is retiring. One last festival in......Coventry Vermont. 3 days.  We are in Florida.  FUCKING  COVENTRY, VERMONT...ARE YOU KIDDING ME??  "And a bunch of us have tickets. Can you and Mom watch the dog?"
"How in the hell are you going to........?
"Well a and b are flying in first, then c,d,e,f,g, and h are flying in and renting another car and......and...and.....Andy and I are going to drive up. We can do it 2 days each way and we both got off work and it's the last one ever and...."
Get the picture? SHE IS PUMPED! Well why not? You're only young once, right?

Now she has had her new car for car maybe 3 month, so no real worry there, we hope.. Good. Kept us posted all the way up, all going well, everyone there and all together...en route to venue...on the expressway headed in...all well. Good.

    Skip ahead 24 hrs. "WE HAVE NOT MOVED IN 24 HOURS!" said the voice on the phone. It had rained for a week and the campgrounds and parking areas were flooded. They were towing cars in with tractors. Now what?  "They're telling people to turn around. Not sure what we're gonna do."

    24 hours later.  "We're fine. Still haven't moved. We going to start walking now. It starts in 5 hours." 
" And your new car???"  "We're gonna leave it here on the Interstate in the grass. They said we might get towed but Coventry only has 3 tow trucks, so I think we'll be ok. Don't worry!" 
"10-4, Sweetie.  No problemo."

Well of course Coventry was so much fun. And everyone who stayed (not all did, and that was a good choice, too, as it turned out) had a time to remember. And that was that for Phish, or so I thought. Not so fast, old chap.

Now let's move ahead one last time.  It's Summer 2009 and Phish is going back on tour. Playing Asheville, NC and Knoxville, TN and Bonnaroo, also in Tennessee all in the same week. Jenn has been living in Seattle for two or three years.   "And we have tickets and the boys want to go to Bonnaroo and I really don't.  And we might have an extra ticket for Knoxville. So what if after we go to Asheville we come back, and then you go with us to Phish in Knoxville, and then you and I can come back here, and that way I don't have to drive back here after midnight by myself? It'll be fun." At the time the wife and I were living about an hour from Asheville and three from Knoxville so, "Ok, I guess, it might be," ... and maybe I won't have to go after all.

They loved the Asheville show, small venue maybe 6,000 people. Then it was time for Knoxville. Thompson Boling Arena, home of Pat Summitt and the  Tennessee Lady many national championship banners in the rafters. Almost 30,000 capacity. Yep, I was going with Jenn. About half- way there she began to point out other cars going to the show. "Look there's another Phish sticker!" Well the parking lot was a real eye-opener. Oh,my! So many smiling Phish Phans. And there seems to be no one my age. Look harder. Not so much. Nope. No One. Shouldn't be surprised I guess. A girl had a little griddle and was selling grilled cheese sandwiches for $1.00.  I was told I really should try one. Yep. Had two. YUMMY ! Maybe it was the cheese, maybe it was the real butter, maybe it was the bread. I don't know. But those suckers were damn good!

After going through 2 security(?) checkpoints we found our seats and sat down.  "You might want these," Jenn said and handed me some earplugs. "Thanks, but I brought some cotton balls. And I don't think I'll need them anyway," I replied. All was well. Everyone was in their seats and you could feel the anticipation building.

Then the lights went out.

I couldn't get the damn cotton balls out of my pockets fast enough.  The pain in my ear was staggering.And not from the music. From my youngest screaming to my left. I hadn't heard her scream like that since she was 2. Then the music started. LOUD! Really loud! REALLY, REALLY LOUD!! The cotton had been a good idea. And the whole arena was up and boogieing (Is that a word?). ENERGY LIKE I HAD NOT FELT IN YEARS. MAYBE EVER!  Not mine so much but the whole damn crowd's. They never sat down again until setbreak, One and A Half Hours Later!  And then kept it up for the One and A Half Hour second set and encore. And never stopped dancing. It was awesome! And cell phone cameras were everywhere. People were recording it! Had never seen that before. And so many lighters. And....

Phish was amazing. The first thing I tried to tell Jenn was, " I get it now."  I'll never forget that smile on her face. And I got it. I was even able to take the cotton out for a while. Until the song stopped. And the screaming recurred.

If you don't know, Phish is four guys. Been playing together since college. 1985. Probably now in their forties. Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Lead guitar, and drums. Four incredible musicians. And energy. They grabbed that crowd and never let go. Here's a taste from other shows. They might suprise you.

or if bluegrass is more to your taste
                                                              or even the theme from 2001

It was a good night. Damn good. Got home at 3:45 AM. Awesome. Thanks, Jenn. I get it. And my ears rang for 2 whole days. Thanks for that, too!

Monday, September 3, 2012

They Grow Up Part 1 : NewOrleans 1988


"How good of an actress are you?" That's what I asked Amy on our first night in New Orleans. We were in trouble, I thought. "Don't let them see you're afraid, especially when it comes to your 17-year-old daughter," I thought.  We had come to NOLA for college auditions drama and theater. Just the two of us. And now we were lost. On foot.  First night.  And Daddy was sweating bullets.

     We had eaten in the French Quarter near where we were staying and were walking it off, seeing what things were like.  Except we kinda went a little to far.  Oops.  Bad area to be on a stroll. Getting nervous. Show no fear.  Riiiggghhhtt..  "How good of an actress are you?  Put on your sunglasses and take my arm. Maybe they will feel sorry for the man and his blind girl and not fool with us. Oh, and there's a curb coming up. Step"

     We were a little loud so everyone could kind of hear us when curbs and crossings came up. Or bumps or anything else that would trip a blind girl. But it was like the Red Sea parting....people couldn't get out of the way fast enough.  It was like we had the plague. And nobody fucked with us.  So I guess the answer was "Good enough, Daddy!" She sure was that first night. And it was just getting dark.

     Every one goes to Bourbon Street, right! Ok. We hear some killer blues coming out the door of The Old Absynthe House. Lets go in. "Act like you're 21," was all I said to her.  Since she's 17, ok almost 18, and has been introduced to adult beverages and been very responsible regarding such,  and we have 4 days here, and she will be leaving for college in the fall, wonder what if....WTF..why not... "Two drafts please," I tell the waitress. I mean whats the worst  that could happen?

     Nothing thats what. Zip. Nada. For 4 days. They never asked us for ID anywhere. Ever. Now I don't know what the drinking age was in New Orleans in 1988, but it seems the parameters for this trip had  been, shall we say, broadened.

     Marva Wright. Oh my God can that woman sing a song! We went to Old Absynthe House for at least a while the next three nights. It was AWESOME. I wonder if she's still around.

     The auditions were an anticlimax. The kids had like 5 minutes to do a monologue as I recall, and they were there from everywhere.  But we were in NOLA. Loose in the Big Easy.

     Another bar also caught our ear as well. I wish I could remember its name (help me out Amy).

     Rock and Roll. They had a band that rocked Freebird and such. (c'mon please). And rock they did. I returned from the restroom to find her not at the table where I had left her but dancing with a middle aged man with a Russian accent who said when he asked her to dance "You would like to enjoy?"

     Not that she would ever flirt with anyone, but by the time we were ready to come home three days later, she had a poster signed by the band, had been asked out by the drummer, (yeah, not gonna happen honey but nice try), had at least got the OK for said drummer walk her back to where we were staying,(I offered to walk on the other side of the street ....."thanks Dad." problem).

   We had our first father/daughter trip. It was so special. We talked. We laughed. We had fun. We sucked some crawfish...yeah not so much...maybe it was the Hurricanes that night.  We closed the Rock and Roll bar a couple of times. Eight months later she left for college. If you dads out there ever have the chance before they leave, take a trip with your girls. Just ya'll. You won't regret it.

But this would only be the first such trip....there have been a couple of's one by the girl herself:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Only One Month

It's Amazing .... Only One Month




Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Two more days. Still
Aidan, our grandson, is coming to Tampa. Six months old somehow. I can't wait to meet him. It will be my first time.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

There's a reason for this my first blog entry and this is it......Trifecta

On to the weekend prompt.  This week at Trifecta
we're revisiting an early Trifextra prompt: retelling.  This time, we're asking 
you to retell your favorite book.  In 33 words.  Nothing like a challenge.  We 
are sure you're up to it.


 The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe


How far can you push the envelope?
Too far, you die.
Do anything to me. Just choose me.
Please God don't let me fuck up.
Light this candle.
Space travel.