Apr 29, 2010

New Arrival...

On Monday, I'll be picking out one of these little critters as a companion for Sheila. Let the fun begin!

Apr 27, 2010

Too Moving a Story to Pass Up...

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently, I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky back-country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and being a typical man I didn't stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man. And as I played 'Amazing Grace' the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together.

When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full. As I was opening the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Apr 12, 2010

An Ed Sullivan Moment...

Today I received some mail that had an Ed Sullivan stamp.  I was reminded of a Sunday night in 1960, April 17th to be precise, when I appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show as part of the University of Rochester Glee Club.

During that time, one of the major sponsors of the Sullivan show was the Eastman Kodak Company.  They were also major supporters of the University of Rochester.  I suspect there was some connection between those two relationships that resulted in our glee club being invited to appear on that Easter Sunday evening.

We traveled to New York by bus.  Videotaping technology was young, but the show was actually half live and half videotaped.  We performed around 2:00 PM in front of a full house at the Ed Sullivan theater.  This is the same theater that is now used for the David Letterman Show.  Mahalia Jackson also was videotaped in the afternoon, so we got to meet her as well as Wayne & Shuster, a Canadian comedy team.

As the show was broadcast on Sunday evenings, they would intersperse the live sections with the videotaped segments, allowing them to change sets in the theater.  It really isn't a very big stage and could never accommodate multiple acts.  The result was that by the time the show was on, we were back in our hotel rooms enjoying the performance.  We were directed by Dr. Ward Woodbury, who was a wonderful choral director and a real perfectionist.  He went on in retirement to be director of the Florida Bach Festival for many, many years.

We all had to join the musician's union for one day in order to legally perform.  We got paid by Ed Sullivan Productions in the amount of $86.00.  It was a big deal to me and I recall holding onto the check for a long time before I deposited it.

Apr 4, 2010

He is risen!

This day has always been extra special -- the Feast of the Risen Christ! Once more, we're given the blessing of celebrating the Greatest of all gifts.

Mary Ann and I are staying home and will celebrate quietly. I baked challah bread this morning, a traditional Jewish sabbath bread. Mine doesn't look quite as pretty as the one pictured in the cookbook, but it will do just fine. It smelled wonderful as it was baking.

Mary Ann has been working very hard in her store. I don't think most people can possibly appreciate the enormous amount of work that goes into a one-person retail operation. She is the buyer, inventory manager, shipping and receiving chief, manager, interior decorator, receptionist, cashier, advertising manager, publicist, chief cook and bottle washer. The store reflects her hard work. Yesterday, I heard several people comment on how much they love to shop at Ebabe's.

So today, on this special feast, she may not be able to rest completely, but we will have a nice meal of roast pork, sweet potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, and some condiments.

And we'll take time to thank our Creator for the Greatest Gift of all.