Monday, December 31, 2007

boots and shoes

I loved surfing the Internet. I enjoy finding family links when I've got some spare time (not much these days). Today I was looking for my great grandfather on my father's side. His name was Murdoch Uriah Finlayson. I know that he had a Dry Goods store in Cheraw, SC (Chesterfield). He's buried at the old St. David's church on the edge of town. It's a beautiful little cemetery. He moved from Wilmington, NC when my grandfather Burruss was very young. Burruss grew up in the dry goods business as well.

Several years back my aunt gave me M.U. Finlayson's civil war dog-tags. Dog tags in those days were not issued by the Northern or Southern armies. Soldiers would take coins and such to blacksmiths or jewelers and pay to have them made...with hopes that if fallen from sickness or in battle...could be identified.

Both advertisements were found in the 1871 edition of Haddock's Wilmington, N.C., Directory,and General Advertiser, Containing a General and Business Directory of the City,Historical Sketch, State, County, City Government, etc. If you read, you'll see my great grandfather mentioned there. "We have secured the services of Mr. M. U. FINLAYSON, who will be pleased to see his old friends and customers."
By the way, 8 North Front Street in Wilmington, NC is now the location for a restaurant called Circa 1922. The building there is more than likely NOT the actual building where my great grandfather Mudoch once had his dry goods business, it is the plot of land where our forefather once toiled. The image below is a picture of the East Side of North Street. This should give you a taste of our Murdoch Uriah's surroundings way back when. Some of the images and text for today's blog was reprinted so I need to give these generous folks credit:
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Light

The Finlayson side had our Christmas gathering just this past Saturday. Our basement was crowded with Finlaysons, Elrods, Brooks, Rakestraws and Noojins (as well as boyfriends and girlfriends). I made a huge pot of chili. I also reheated some delicious corn chowder than Gina had made earlier in the week. Everybody brought something. We had so much food.

Gina had been working on a project for this gathering since the first of December. She'd come home from work and start pulling together scripture. So when the moment came, Brook led in singing some Christmas carols that led into chain reaction scripture reading by candlelight. Gina had compiled scriptures all pertaining to light. So each would take turn reading select verses of light that Gina had printed out prior to the event. There were some songs sung in between scripture.

The lights of course had been turned off during the reading and it was difficult for one to read what was asked of them with just their one candle. I watched as people around the table would share their light to enable the one sitting next to them to read. It wasn't planned but I found meaning in the spontaneous gestures.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pembroke Finlayson

Years ago, when I was just a lad growing up, Brook and I had a picture next to our bed. One of the photos was of Brooks baseball team picture (Kiwanis) and the other a framed clipping from an old Cheraw newspaper. The photo on the newspaper was of an old Cheraw team that my grandfather played as well as his uncle Pembroke Finlayson. The photo on this blog isn't from that little hometown team photo but one taken as he rose to fame in the major leagues (Brooklyn Superbas).
I know very little of him until just the other week...not by a family telling but from another blog online, Ron Schuler's Parlour Tricks (July 31, 2007 entry). If you are a family member, I do believe it will be of some interest to you. It's a wonderful read. You can also Google Pembroke Finlayson and read his stats at numerous sports. Go ahead and Google him for yourself Sib's. This Ron Schuler is the most information I've read about him. All the family names measure up to our family tree info.
My dad loved baseball. He'd organize teams when he was a kid growing up in Cheraw. He'd tell me how he'd go to bat (while on crutches) as a kid and have friends run the bases for him. I don't recall him watching much football but did love America's favorite pass time. He enjoyed pulling for the Atlanta Braves. I guess having a father that played on the local team as well as having a famous major leaguer uncle made an impression. Westbrook's kids have memories of Dad sitting on a stool at 2624 Scenic hitting balls to his kids on a Sunday afternoon. I never really cared about watching a game on TV but always enjoyed playing catch with Dad or better yet, a family game in the backyard.

Friday, December 28, 2007

AAA forgiven

I just deleted my post about Gina getting stranded and AAA taking forever to come to her rescue. I got a letter from the ERS Field Rep for South Alabama requesting that I give him a call. I did. I figured maybe I was going to get either a big BS excuse or a grand apology. Well-I got the later. He also gave me his 24/7 cell number and asked that my wife and I could use it anytime we needed. AAA is forgiven and I appreciate the way the guy handled this matter. No, we can't go back in time and fix things but he instructed me on ways to handle future situations that would speed along the process and reduce the possibilities of this kind incident from happening again.

To put it in a nutshell. The AAA dispatchers are out of Texas and they of course don't know the area. The Alabama AAA member knows the area better and can instruct the dispatchers which city is closer. The Rep told me that sometimes the dispatchers are lazy and shouldn't be depending solely on their computers in front of them. If the dispatcher isn't helpful, insist on their Supervisor. The other day, December 7th, the dispatcher told Gina that she wasn't sending the Rainbow Exxon but the one from Jacksonville. The AAA Rep told me that there is nothing wrong if the member decides to call the AAA tow service directly. They prefer us to go through the proper channels, but if the proper channel doesn't work, make the call yourself. If all else fails, the Alabama Rep said he sleeps with his cell phone right by his bed.

That being generously offered. I am satisfied.

Monday, December 24, 2007

more Narnia

I built a nice fire in the fireplace and called Katie down to the basement. We pulled the two wing-back chairs before the open fireplace and read the rest of Dawn Treader. I had my feet on the ledge in front of the fire and my socks got toasty, as did the book jacket facing the fire.

I enjoying doing dramatic reads.

We took a break before reading the last chapter and had a snack of milk and gingerbread cookies. It's a very nice kind of Christmas Eve experience. As we ended the book, Aslan told Lucy and Edmund that they would not be returning. I glanced over to Katie and her eyes were rimmed red ready for a tear. I smiled, "How about we start the next book?" She smiled and ran up stairs to fetch The Silver Chair.

Gina came home about 2:00ish with a handful of groceries. She decided to cook a Christmas hen for dinner. That's nice, I feel as if I have been eating soup and sandwiches for the past week. By jove - I do believe that I have.

cast off to Christmas

During this holiday season I've been reading Katie C.S. Lewis' VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER. It's been at least thirty years since I've read it. Every Christmas season I have a reading. Mother and Kelsey have had their minds elsewhere and this reading has been for Katie. I've been averaging two chapters per night and we are only two or three chapters from completion.

This morning, Christmas Eve, Katie woke up very excited. She had a very vivid Narnian dream where she had an adventure and made a queen of Narnia. What a fantastic dream for a little girl to have.

I woke up this morning and Gina was gone. As it turns out, she has patients everyday this week except Christmas. She's arranged it for most days to be back around 1:00. I still feel a little sorry that has to spent what time she is spending away from family. Jose' was down there with her this morning. He came to the rescue to fix a leak Friday and down there today to finish up the job.

I have done nothing productive so far. It's heading toward eleven and I've been up since eight thirty. I've been reading a book I picked up at the Dollar Tree a year ago called LIVE FROM NEW YORK. It's about Saturday Night Live. It's a pretty good book. It's basically interviews with the producers, actors, writers, past and present. It's a nice read.

Kelsey woke up around 11:00. My kids got a great night sleep. I was downstairs on the couch reading the SNL book and she climbed on top of me and we talked a little and I tickled her a little. It was a nice way to begin Christmas Eve. Katie woke up shortly after Kelsey and I came upstairs. She was all excited and telling me about the Narnia dream.

I've been reading the Lewis book at night before bedtime but I think we'll go downstairs in a little while and finish off the journey. Who knows, maybe we'll pick up another chronicle to read the rest of the holiday season.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. Love on your kids, your grand kids...tickle them and blow on their belly...that is unless they are in their twenties...that would be kind of creepy.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

happy politically correct holidays


To All My Democrat Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit,my best wishes for an environmentally conscious,socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive,gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice,or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color,age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jennie Wait Foster Finlayson


This is my grandmother on my father's side. She's a very beautiful woman. My oldest sister Jennie looks a lot like her. John Wrisley, who is an old neighbor and dear friend of my aunt Jennie Llew Guyton emailed me this photo of grandmother. I don't recall ever seeing it before. He's been downloading the images I've posted of my dad and mailing them to Jennie Llew, Murdock, and Pat. He emailed me this photo a few days ago. What a treat to see her again. The only question I have about this photograph is why she is wearing shoulder pads. Either she enjoyed a rough game of Sunday afternoon backyard football or she had to wear some kind of for rearing those seven kids of hers. Then again, football shoulder pads might have been in fashion in those days...probably the later.

My grandmother died October 24, 1969. My mom told me of her passing. I had just returned from playing with my friend Dan Parrish. His dad had just died of cancer and his mother had decided to leave town. My guess is that she moved to be closer to the love and support of family. The big moving van shadowed the small yard in front of the Parrish home. Dan and I sat on the stoop playing with his G.I. Joes until it was time for them to leave. I remember riding my bike home and walking into the kitchen from the side door. Mom told me that Grandmother had died. It was a very sad day.

Being a kid, I don't remember much about her. I do remember her sweet smile on that beautiful old face. I remember her last visit to Gadsden, she complained that her shoulders were hurting her. I believe dad had recommended that I help because I massaged his poor legs frequently. So she sat on the edge of my bed and let me massage her shoulders. I remember her being very appreciative of my help. That's the last memory I have of her.

Christmas on the road


Late last week, amid making these orchestra posts, I asked Mom if she had anything else of Dad's earlier years. I told her that I had posted an invitation at the Finlayson Family Forum, for my siblings to share any stories that Dad might have told them (apparently not).  Mother asked if I recalled Westbrook's Christmas with the band. I told her that I hadn't. She said that Westbrook had written it down somewhere but that she couldn't find it. She's got a lot of stuff stored in the crannies of that little house of hers. Mother said that his telling was better and gave me an abbreviated version of it.

There was a Christmas Eve when Dad and his band were trying to make it back home for Christmas and couldn't. Dad said they found a church along the road and pulled off the road.  They stood at the edge of the church lawn and sang carrols. 

So instantly I pictured them in my mind, a little white chaple with the steeple with thirteen young musicians standing shoulder to shoulder in the brisk Winter evening  - singing about the birth of Jesus. You know that it had to sound good and that even though they weren't home, they shared something very special together.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Westbrook After Dark"

Here's a request from a critic...Will you please play "WHO"


Ward Morehouse was a famous American theatre critic, newspaper columnist, playwright, and author. At least that's what wikipedia says. By the way Jennie - wikipedia states that Morehouse is buried in Statesboro, GA. Dad had some pretty interesting people in the audience.

The frustrating thing is that I don't know any of these songs. I have a scrapbook filled with photos but no sound recording. I once asked Dad years ago if he recorded anything. He said he did and I believe I once saw an unlabeled LP floating around the house growing up that wasn't the format of a regular LP. I never got to hear it. Dad said that he made a recording but it wasn't the best ensemble...the orchestra got better in time. I believe my Uncle Pat once told me (decades ago) that he had a wire recording of the orchestra. Old or new ensemble, I'd still like to hear him singing some of his songs.
"Acclaimed as one of the most distinctive dance bands in the South, HENRY WESTBROOK and his Band feature a choice of versatile and accomplished musicians. From the extremes of College and Prep School Proms to sophisticated night clubs and exclusive resorts, they have been heralded by members of both young and older society. Smart music, smart appearance, and smart presentation have given this talented group of young musicians an enviable position in the world of modern music."
-flyer copy

Digress warning:
Back in 1993 I recorded a CD. The primary reason for recording it was to have a record of songs that I'd written. God took the project in a completely direction once I got underway. Gina and I had STAND produced primarily to have some of my original work burned to CD. The original work wasn't intended to as message driven as it turned out to be. The original title was going to be PRIMARY COLORS and would have songs about life, love, and faith. It didn't happen. Once I got underway with recording, new songs came and replaced the old ones. The only song originally intended for Primary Colors is FOR DAD...the song I wrote just prior to Dad's death back in July of 1990.

I'm going to be heading over to J. Holland's studio tomorrow night to master some live recordings made over the course of the last year entitled PICKS. It's getting mighty close to Christmas and I gave him an Santa escape Clause...meaning...he can drop me at a moments notice if his day gets too hectic. Anyway, I am crossing my fingers and hoping to get something done. Gina had asked me a few months back to please record more of my music...as a Christmas present to her. So far, I think I've got almost twelve songs.

I am driven by thoughts of not having music of my Dad. Yes Michael, I do want pass down music for my kids...like I wish I had from my Father. I would also like Brook to finish his work. He's working toward it and I know it will happen one day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

new blog in town

I've created a new blogger to use as an E-portfolio at http://dfinlayson.blogspot.com/. It's a site for potential clients to review past work. My official website is at www.finlaysonconcept.com.

of ledgers & memories

Mom brought a ledger to me this morning of the ledger dad used to keep track of his bookings and payment for the orchestra. Something I didn't know, but inside the front cover of the ledger scrawled in dad's handwriting is the name Henry Westrook and his Carolinians. He also wrote 12 piece band beneath it. I wonder how long he kept that name until changing it to the H Westbrook Orchestra. This ledger ran from 1937 to 1941. The ledger is chock full of gig dates. He really kept his orchestra booked. The first portion of the book has musician names and how much they were paid. It's interesting to flip through.
I believe that this is some of the material that dad brought with him from that South Carolina trip dad and I made almost 30 years ago. My uncle Murdock had been keeping dad's old trunk of orchestra related papers. I put the trunk on the walkway at the foot of the steps so dad could position his wheelchair next to and inspect the dusty-musty contents. I remember sitting on the front steps of Uncle Murdock's house one sunny winter morning rummaging through it with dad. We had a garbage can next to the trunk and Dad threw most of it away and kept only a small portion of it.
I remember the trip well. It was the first time that Mom and Dad had been apart for a period of time. My mother's father, Fred Davidson, was ill and she wanted to fly out to California to see before he passed. Dad and I dropped Mom off at the Atlanta airport and then drive to Columbia for the week. It was a nice trip...my aunts Florence, Rutha and uncle Wofford were still alive then. We spent the week with Dad's siblings which also include Murdock, Jennie Llew, and Pat. Trips to Columbia have always been pleasant ventures. It's been at least seven years since I've been back.

I remember when the family would pile into the station-wagon (family of eight mind you) during the Christmas holidays and drive out to Columbia. That's when grandmother was still living and what a spread we'd have for breakfast - on the best china. It is like a Rockwell painting forever hanging in my memory.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

one of the Rockefeller boys

Henry Westbrook- Just to say thanks for the swell job you did for the 1st Platoon of "H" Company, 305th.
- Winthrop Rockfeller C.O.

Lieutenant
United States Army

I Googled to see which Rockefeller gave dad this compliment. As it turns out, Winthrop Rockefeller is the one that later became Governor of Arkansas. His biography is an interesting read. It does mention his service in the 305.

There's some photos of military brass hanging on the wall behind the band. Maybe this is the gig that Lieutenant Rockefeller was in the audience.

Monday, December 17, 2007

H. Westbrook Orchestra BIO (post war)

Henry Westbrook
It was back in the early part of 1943 that a Columbia-organized swing band tooted it’s last notes in Ausable Chasm, New York, packed its instruments and music, and, for the most part, went marching away to war.

Now, three years and two V-days later, the band is back together again, with a few new faces, a lot of old ones, and a great number of overseas service ribbons and decorations, And its leader, Henry Westbrook, is once more set to give forth with ‘music in the night” at South Carolina locations.

Two of the Westbrook musicians who exchanged their tuxedos for uniforms were: Julius Wald, first trumpet man who’s muted, sweet-riding, close-to-the-mic style made him a favorite with the public; and “Piggy” Lamoy, a Camden boy who holds down the third trumpet spot.

Arranger in New York
The arranger, Matt Wingard, served as director of the 178th Field Artillery band. He is now a student at the New York University School of Music, and is setting the style of the South Carolina orchestra from his desk in the musician’s Mecca.

Incidentally, the way he works out arrangements is a little bit unusual, but, so far, has proven very successful. Westbrook writes in full the developments, talents, and needs of his crew, airmails them to Wingard in New York, who in turn, writes the arrangements to fit the band. Every note is set down with the particular players and Westbrook’s instruction in mind. Such a plan gives the big-city flavor to the orchestra.

When the roll was called in the band after the conclusion of the war, one familiar face was found to be absent. He was “Bucky” Adams, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Grover Adams of Sumter, SC. A little fellow with a big smile and heart full of music, he swore he wouldn’t fight the war with a horn, and didn’t. The army tried to put him in a band, but he talked his way out of it. As a first lieutenant in the infantry he fell three times to enemy fire, three times returned to fight again, and was finally killed in action on September 26, 1944.

College Boys
Seven members of the Westbrook aggregation, all veterans, are enrolled either in the University of South Carolina or business college.; They are: G.D. Mizzell, “Chick” Domminick, Joe Belk, Ray Williams, Jack Downs, Piggy Lamoy, and Clyde bates.

Big, amiable Bob Livingston, versatile second trumpeter, is again on his old job. A talented pianist-arranger, he is currently working on vocal quartet arrangements n addition to his regular work in the brass section. Ben Gardner, Harold Lohr, Bill Well, Burke Owens, and Woody Deaton are newcomers to the band; Lohr, Owens, and Wells being recently discharged from the army.
Henry Westbrook, the Pee Dee boy who was adopted by Columbia, has been in the music business a long time. A native of Cheraw, he was only sixteen years old when he composed the song that was officially adopted as his high school’s alma mater.

When he enrolled at the University of South Carolina in the fall of 1934, he organized a dance orchestra to help pay his way through school. The band suffered growing pains in the rehearsal room of Flynn Hall, but it proved so profitable through following years that the young leader made it a full-time profession.

Music & Education

Since that time, the band has been instrumental in helping more than a score of talented musicians over the financial hurdles of a college education; Westbrook made it a standing rule to fill as many vacancies as possible from the ranks of deserving youths who needed the work to put themselves through school.

A few months ago the orchestra was re-0organized and has been rehearsing ever since. Besides the mellow voice of the maestro on vocals, a comely addition to the singing department is Miss Doris Boris of Charleston, who sings’em sweet or hot as the occasion demands. Burk Owens also manages to wander to the mike sporadically to do a little crooning.

The band is still using its original theme song, “Good Night,” composed by Westbrook many years ago.

The new crew claims the old superlatives “bigger and better,” but is youthful baton-yielder says that the most important thing remains unchanged—his style. “Now, as before the war,” he declares, “our policy will be to give the dancers the music they want the way they want it played.”

-end of BIO

This photo, I can only assume is Miss Doris Boris from the write-up mentioned above (You remember...the one "who sings’em sweet or hot as the occasion demands") It's apparent that her parents had a healthy sense of humor to tag her with a name like that at birth. I can only pray that she didn't marry Horace Morris the Florist.

Friday, December 14, 2007

New York gig


I once asked dad a question and I don't remember the question - but I do remember a story he told me following the question.

He said this fellow who owned a big resort up in New York had asked him to bring his orchestra up and play for two weeks. Dad said that he turned the man down because his band had just come off the road after an extensive tour. The resort owner told Westbrook that he'd double the pay if he'd call his band back. Dad again turned him down. Dad said that all the members had their fill of touring and he just didn't see that happening. After Dad's explanation, the man offered the same price if Dad would just travel up to his resort and front their band. Dad of course took the offer.

So Dad goes up there for two weeks and leads (and sings) for the resorts orchestra. I remember asking dad how much he got paid. If memory serves, the price was $2000.00. I remember remarking about that being a lot of money back in those days. It was, but he told me that he didn't keep it all. What followed next kind of revealed something about the good character of my father. He said, "I came back home and contacted all the members and told them to come and pick up their pay." I then asked dad why he would pay band members when he did all the work. He said that "they were members of my band and I felt it necessary to give them their share of it."
There's an old photograph among this pile of old band photos. It's of a fellow that was one of dad's musicians. At the bottom of the picture it reads, "To the best boss I've ever had." I can understand why.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

H. Westbrook Orchestra

I asked mom to let me borrow dad's old band photos. I wanted to hang a few in my office. I went ahead and scanned most of them.

Dad once told me that his orchestra was always changing. In the records I found last night, he had over 50 musicians/members through out the run of the H. Westbrook Orchestra. Dad didn't use his last name because Jimmy Dorsey once told him that Finlayson would probably be hard for folks to pronounce - let alone remember.
The H. Westbrook Orchestra played primarily in the Columbia, SC area. They toured a good bit though. Dad used to talk about a few times he played up in New York. He didn't talk a lot about it. I remember a trip almost thirty years (1979 or 80) ago that Dad and I made to see his siblings in Columbia. I asked him about his old orchestra and he told me the whole story. I wish that I had had a tape recorder. I also remember a few times we'd be watching an old movie together and some chic would start singing. He'd say, "She sang with me once." I would have loved to have heard his orchestra. Maybe one day I will...I bet he's got a good worship/swing orchestra going on right now.
My niece Liz Wood, got to sing a few jazz/blues numbers with the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra a few months back at the Mort Glosser Amphitheatre here in town. I think her grand dad would have been proud of her. I know that I am. She's a wonderful person with a wonderful talent. You can hear some of her music on myspace...The Liz Wood Project.
I've got some songs that I'd love to hear recorded with a swing band. Years ago I wrote a song for Gina called SPECIAL TO ME. It's got a real nice feel to it...kind of Nat King Cole-ish. I also have a lullabye I wrote for my eldest daughter when she was but an infant. It's called KATIE DID. Katie, now 11, still likes for me to sing it to her before she goes to bed. Dad wrote a song for mom in the eighties. It's called WHEN WINTER COMES AGAIN. It has such a nice melody and I catch myself singing from time to time. That would be a wonderful song to record with a big band. Maybe one day I will.
I'll post more images later. I also ran across an old bio of dad (for his orchestra). I'll transcribe it to Word and post it sometime in the near future.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

this and that

About a month ago Gina left my 2GB jump drive in her pants pocket before washing. Darryl B. suggested that I let it air out for a while before giving up on it. He was right. I let it sit for several weeks and tried it out yesterday. The jump drive works and the information on it is retrievable. Thanks Darryl!
Christmas. I have discovered it a good thing to avoid a lot of the holiday events in order to maintain a good attitude through out Christmas. It's too easy for me to get Christmased-out. One definite activity to keep on the to do list is to load up the thermos with hot chocolate and drive the wife and kids around town looking at lights. I don't want to go to too many parties or go to many Christmas specials. Gina has learned to go get her fix of such productions alone (or with the kids), and let me stay home by the fire.

I got to talk to my old pal Mychael J. T. last week. He's working on a new worship album. I'd like to get him down at Vineyard when he's finished with it. Years ago he used to come to Skylight (Christian Brothers Assoc.) and play. Back then he'd come and play for love offering and GIVE away cassettes of his music. He asked me last week if I had - or knew anybody that had the cassette WAR & PEACE. If there is anyone out there who still has it = let me know. Mychael would like to revisit that work and re-record much of it.

I'll be spending a little more time at home as Christmas approaches. Gina asked that I stay home and clean-clean-clean. We're having a few family parties at our house and our house looks bombed out. I spent an hour in the kitchen last night cleaning...still needs more work. I am trying to clean house in the evenings but not able to get much done.

Still trying to get PICKS mastered. Hopefully before Christmas so I can burn a copy for Gina. It was something that she wanted as a gift.

Has anyone had a Firehouse meatball sub yet? I've never been a big fan of meatball subs. Subway's sub is so-so and so is Arby's new meatball sub. Firehouse subs are pretty darn good, I don't go there often because I avoid driving down East Meighan as often as possible. Say, does anyone out there remember SUBS UNLIMITED? They made really great subs. I used to get their Italian cold cut and have them toast it. I sure wish they were still around.

Last Saturday Gina and I spent all day together. The kids stayed overnight with Grandma and we got some shopping down while in Trussville. We don't get much alone time and we enjoyed our time together. That evening we made our way down to Pelham to celebrate Lyn's Birthday. I don't get to see Paul & Lyn since leading worship at the Bessemer Vineyard. The party was fun. Jerry and Adria C. were there and so was Richard M. Good times.

from the lighter side of theology

This isn't original, my sister, Florrie, just E-mailed this to me. This is an excellent example of how some of the best humor is closely tied to real life. -David


CHANGING A LIGHT BULB THE CHRISTIAN WAY
How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?
Charismatic: Only 1 - Hands are already in the air.
Pentecostal: 10 - One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.
Presbyterians: None - Lights will go on and off at predestined times.
Roman Catholic: None - Candles only.
Baptists: At least 15 - One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.
Episcopalians: 3 - One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.
Mormons: 5 - One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.
Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, you are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
Methodists: Undetermined - Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Bring a bulb of your choice to the Sunday lighting service and a covered dish to pass.
Nazarene: 6 - One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy
Lutherans: None - Lutherans don't believe in change.
Amish: What's a light bulb?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

toosday

I have a cold. It's not a bad cold, just enough to make life a little uncomfortable. I've had it a few days now. I take a ton of herbs and vitamins these days. Maybe taking them have helped keep the illness at bay. I do have a mild sore throat and my voice is kind of iffy. I am going to lead worship tomorrow night and hope that it holds up. I don't feel great but I'm not miserable.

I finished my Christmas/worship song this evening. I am very happy with it. It's called Season of Joy. I enjoyed writing it because it is so much fun to sing. I wanted to finish it before leading worship tomorrow. I am taking it with me.

While working on this particular song I realized that I enjoy writing music more than drawing. My illustration wander like scribbles but my songs usually take on a solid direction after only a line or two. Most artwork that I deem successful are those that please clients. In my sketchbooks, I draw for myself. I don't know where my lines will take me...a constant exploration. I rarely use pencil or tools to perfect illustration (unless working for a client). Songwriting on the other hand, I find great pleasure in composing something structured, meaningful and pleasing. For decades I have wondered what skill/talent I enjoy the more. I can pack a drawing/doodle away and never give it a second thought. Songs however, I want to revisit, pull off the shelf and sing into any interested ear.

Another thing. My music almost always points upward, like a leaf unfolds to the sun. I had a fellow ask me a few months ago (while singing at The Grind) if all my songs were faith based. I thought about it for a moment and said, "Yes, I suppose they are." I used to write a lot more loves songs than I do now. But even my best love song, the one I wrote for Gina, still points heavenward. I can't help it.

I have become quite good creating solid graphic design. Never made much of a living at it mind you, but proud of the work I've created down through the years. I wonder if I'd enjoy writing songs if I had to make a living at it? It's nice to have talent, but wouldn't it be nice to have a talent that could bring home a little more bacon?

I have yet to get with J to master Picks. It's possible that we'll do it within the week.

Mychael J. T. called and left message while I was out. He wanted me to call him. He's working on a new worship CD. We've talked more in the past three months than we have in the last ten years. Nice that we've reconnected. Great to have him as a friend.

God bless my friends.

p.s. Like my doodles...my blogs don't have much in structure or meaning.

Monday, December 3, 2007

productive weekend

I spent most of the day Saturday in my studio. The wainscoting looked great after I got the final coat of sanding sealer on. I decided to re designate an old desk we had upstairs for my office until I can find one that will work better. I sat down in my little cave and immediately had an idea for a Christmas song.

I was tired by Sunday and decided to rest. I usually was clothes all day but I didn't feel like it. I built a nice fire, watched TV and piddled about. I can't tell you how many times I'd pear into my new little studio. It's a space like I've always wanted. I sat in there Sunday some more and wrote some more lyrics to my Christmas song. While doing so, I had an idea for another song called Walk Down That Highway. I don't write many country songs because I'm not a big fan of country. I do have an appreciation for the genre. Every now and then I have a solid idea that I flesh out. This new song, like Unrighteous Man, has a very nice feel to it and I'll enjoy performing it. Like Unrighteous Man, this song has a Johnny Cash kind of feel to it. I hear harmonies as I sing it. Can't wait to sing it with The Guise.

I've got a mild cold. I been feeling it come on the past few days. I've been taking tons of herbs as of late and hopefully the illness will continue to be mild. The girls are really looking forward to the Christmas Parade tonight. I am not sure that I should go. If Gina can't take them, I will do it. We always have a lot of fun hanging out around Vineyard. Free Hot Coco and lots of banter among my church family.

Jose'....THANK YOU - THANK YOU - THANK YOU! I appreciate your help so very much.

I am going to try to get by Colours today and talk to them about some blinds. I also need to pick up a gallon of black satin paint. The work doesn't seem to end but I finally feel as if I'm getting somewhere. The basement as a whole is looking more like a home rather than a huge undertaking with no end in sight. Thanks to Jose'...there is an end in sight.

By the way, Richard asked me to lead worship Wednesday night. I know that Michael and Jose' read this blog so...if either of you would like to join...I'd love to have you.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

closer to the end...THANK YOU JOSE'!

Big day today...a really big day for me. I took off from the office. I dropped Katie off at school and then took Kelsey to to Huddle House and split a breakfast platter with her. She's a wonderful little girl and like her big sister - loves clowning around with her silly daddy. I am blessed.

We then hooked up with Jose' who set aside his day to help me finish up my studio in the basement. We got a lot of work done and the basement is so close to finish. Thank you Jose' for giving me the best Christmas ever...and it isn't even Christmas. All the trim is hung and my studio is looking very handsome these days. I haven't had use of that room in almost three years. My nephew (via Gina's kin) helped with the electrical a few weeks ago. Still need to figure out the telephone lines. Almost there!!!!

Now that Jose' has finished up with the trim, I've got to get in there and set countless nails and puddy all the little holes. I'll then give the wood a final coat of sanding sealer. Gina is wanting to take the girls to some kind of holiday community event Saturday which will leave me home alone. Perfect time to focus on finishing up in the studio.

I can't tell you how excited I am. It's not just getting my studio back (after all this time) but having my dream studio. A few years ago I sold most of my old graphic design furniture. For years now I have been using a computer, aka desktop publishing applications, to do my design work. I didn't need the aircraft-carrier size steel drawing desk. I didn't need all the tools that I used from day to day, before everything went digital. I do 90% of my design on computer and what I do by hand, I end up scanning and sweetening in Photo Shop. I'm getting away from that industrial look, I'm getting my very own retr0-40's office thing going on!

Back in the late eighties, Brook and I were working together as Finlayson Design. We rented a little office up over Snellgrove Drugs. We had a nice little view of Broad Street. We were trying to take the office in that direction, we had a room that Bogart himself would have kicked back and rested his gum shoes. It was a nice place to work, and it was nice working with Brook for that short time.

My studio is also going to be a place I can recordmusic. I've never had a little cave to call my own...at least not one this nice. This is such a nice looking area that I want to make sure I've got plenty of sitting for friends to play guitar or have conversation. It's also good to have the sitting area because I've often had to do design work (Finlayson Concept & Design) with clients in the room looking over my shoulder. I can't count the times J and I have pulled all nighters working on campaigns together. It's going to be nice having a studio that is adapted to the way I will work and play.

I've already cleaned up the room and moved what little furniture I have into it. I pulled my old Yamaha FG-180 off the wall and played for a little while in my little empty room. I've still got to finish work in there but I already love the atmosphere. Maybe I'll have my work finished by the end of next week. I have a lead on a used desk...so maybe I'll have a desk by the end of the week. One thing I would like is a love seat or perhaps a decent couch. I don't have the money for one right now. I have the perfect spot for it. I also need some wooden blinds. I think that will be a nice finishing touch.

I'll post some pictures of my studio when I finish up with the sanding sealer. Can you tell that I am excited? I am excited.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday & Sunday

I made a big breakfast for the girls Saturday morning. They offered to help set up the P.A. at the cafe' in the morning. I've been setting up prior to the performance because it usually wipes me out to set up and then jump into singing. It was nice to have their help. We took off from the cafe' and I thought it would be nice if we could catch a movie. We watched B MOVIE and it was pretty good. I think the girls liked the nacho cheese more than the movie. We also shopped at Sears for Kelsey some pants. She's outgrown almost every pair in her closet. We were in two vehicles so I left them at there shopping after about an hour or so and headed over the the cafe' to hang for a while.

Saturday evening went well. Wes E. (my nephew) walked in to the cafe' with his acoustic and I plugged him in. Gina joined in with d'jembe. Foster (the artist formerly known as Emily, my niece) came in with her banjo and her song book. My mother and sisters showed up in the audience. We had a pretty good crowd considering it the big game night. Alas, Don and Brook didn't show but we still had a good time. I thought I saw my Dan and Florrie (my brother in-law and youngest sister) as the bar but they must not have stayed long.

Once I got started, I never got a chance to leave the stage. It seemed like every time I even thought of taking a break, someone with an instrument would join in. I met a new friend last night. A fellow by the name of Douglas A. sat up at a table with a big grin on his face as we sang. During a pause between the music, he asked if he could join in...he had his guitar in the car. We had a nice full sound coming from the stage last night. Douglas later told me that he knew Michael and Jim. He's a member of Mercy Hill and knew my pal Shane A. over there. It was nice making a friend and playing with him last night.

Tiffany H. appeared last night too. We invited her to play and she left to get her violin. Things took on another dynamic when she started. Really nice stuff. Gina had two d'jembes which allowed AJ join in. Rachael and Cherie have been singing with me for the past several months. It's always a treat to have them sing along with their intertwining angelic voices. It was so much fun. I can't wait to get hold of my Santa present so I can record these juicy moments.

Today, Sunday, I slept late. I was achy all over from the night before. Gina called me to breakfast (omelets, bacon, and toast) and I made it all disappear. Bad boy that I am, I went back to bed and rested my achy body between the warm flannel sheets. I can't express how good it felt. Gina let me sleep a few more hours. I then got up and started washing clothes, drug out the dreaded Christmas tree and lights. We all assembled it this time around and it didn't take as long as years before. The house was a mess and I've been cleaning and cleaning and cleaning.

My pal J. came over tonight. He was needed to print out some scripts. We are going to get together next weekend to pull together the CD tracks that I want to use for the PICKS project. He helped record My Desire last year...the track that's currently at my Myspace page. I like all the cuts I've chosen but have no clue as to the order as of yet. Maybe he can listen to these songs with fresh ears and give me some ideas.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

o boy


I know what I'm getting for Christmas. Santa was B.S.ing all this time because I haven't been a good boy in a long time. This here is a Zoom H2. It's got four built in mics and it's made for doing live recordings. It will also come in handy when I'm writing songs. Santa ordered a 4GB card for it so it will hold lots and lots of music. Hopefully, this will enable me to record all my stuff in the future. It's a little two track recorder to boot. I can record and then dump into studio software and sweeten all I want. How cool is that?
The girls (Gina, Katie & Kelsey) are getting ready to go out for the day. I am going to go down to the coffee shop and set up the equipment so I don't have to do everything tonight. Gina said she wanted to help. They'll head out shopping. Kelsey is in dire need of clothes...pants in particular.
Gina also wanted to put up the tree today. It's my least favorite holiday task, live or faux, I don't like putting up or trimming the tree. I am a dad so I put on my fake Chevy Chase smile and have it. "Come on kids...let's put up the Christmas Tree!" Time to pull out all the boxes filled with Christmas decorations. The tree always looks nice once we get it up and twinkling. The next thing to dread is when it's time to take it down...then on with the fake Chevy Chase smile again. "Come on kids...let's take down the old tree!"
It's been cold enough to start a fire in the fireplace. Jose' fixed me up with plenty of wood last year. I've still got a pile out there ready to light. I might fire one up this weekend, who knows.
Last night Katie and I sat up late and watched an old Jimmy Stewart movie called Pot Of Gold. It was a sappy movie but both Katie and I enjoyed it. I don't get TMC and I wish I did. I don't see anything on my Dish Network but Seinfeld and Frazier reruns. Let's not forget all those crappy reality shows. I went to Fred's Discount last week and found a DVD of three movies on one DVD for $5.00. Fred Astaire, Jimmy Stewart (Pot of God) , and Orson Wells (The Stranger). Anyway, Katie really enjoyed watching Jimmy. I need to show her Harvey (the one with the invisible Rabbit).

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving

Great day. Gina and I hurried with food prep as we got ourselves and the kids ready for the day. We dropped some food by Brook and Jennifer's place before heading up to the mountain to celebrate Thanksgiving with Gina's side of the family. It was wall to wall food and people. I found a place next to my father in law Walter Hale during all the commotion. After eating and meeting, I went outside for a while where some of the men-folk had gone out and were talking about this and that. The children had made their way out into the cold to run and play.

We left around 2:30 to head back to Southside where everyone had gathered for the Finlayson's side of Thanksgiving. Everyone had just gotten there and had started eating. I was full from the Hale side gathering. I did chomp on an incredible salad that Brook had made. I am not a big salad fan but that salad was simply out of this world. There were three turkeys cooked three different ways. I had a sampling through out the night. Simply too much food to try it all. It all looked good though.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is getting together with family and song. Mom told me after we finished that we had played three solid hours. Gina said she had counted ten guitars around the room. As the family expands, so does the Thanksgiving jam session. Wes Elrod and West Finlayson both played some stuff they were working on. They are quickly becoming pretty darn good guitarists. Emily (aka Foster) had her banjo and played some of her songs along with fellow Moonpies band member and beau Phillip (on bass). Gina took her djembe and my girls took all the jingle things from the house. We made a lot of noise and had a lot of fun.

As I mentioned earlier, I will be playing at the Coffee Vine Cafe' tomorrow night around 7:00. I hope that the Alabama/Auburn game won't stop too many of my family from showing up with their instruments. We'll see. I remember how game nights put a hole in the audience back in the Christian Brother's Skylight days.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

this is my dad

This is my favorite picture of my dad. I took this picture while the family sat around the table. There were some great shots on that roll. I just sat there and took pictures while everyone carried on -
a table full of Finlaysons, Noojins, Rakestraws and Elrods. It was always a very loud table when we got together...and we got together often in those days.

This is the only photo of my dad smiling the smile that I remember.

This was my father. I have lots of photos of him but this is the one that stands out. It captures his spirit. I've been thinking of my dad today. It's probably because the family is getting together tomorrow and he won't be there. It's been seventeen years and this picture is the only way I'll get to see his smile for a very long time. He never got to see my girls, never rode them on his lap. They never got to see that smile.
Dear God, thank you for all of my family. Thank you for Gina, Katie and Kelsey. Thank you for all my extended family and those loved ones that I call friends. I am a blessed man because of all the sweet people you've surrounded my life with. Thank you for this life.
P.S. Say hi to dad next time you see him.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

something cool this way comes

I won't be singing at Coffee Vine Cafe' Friday evening but will be there Saturday evening with family members. Don and Jennie will be in town and said that they were going to try to make it. Brook told me that he was planning to be there. I hope they all bring their songbooks. Jennie has been writing some nice songs over the past year or so. I hope she'll bring her tunes as well as sing some of her songs. Brook said that he wrote a new song a few weeks ago. There are a good many singer songwriters in my family. I hope they all show up and all step up to the microphone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

odds & sodds post

Michael's back at his old weird movies page http://www.mikesbmovies.blogspot.com/. Go check it out and bookmark it. A most recent post reminded me of the old WTCG (later to become Ted Turner's TBS Superstaion -the first super station ever). Back in the early seventies, Ted Turner was just stirring things up and television never got any better. Bill Tush doing a late night news. Real news mind you, but the guy delivering was a nut. I seem to remember a particular night when Bill was giving the news and some of the crew throwing a Frisbee back and forth behind his head. To think that these are the people that later brought you CNN (The Clinton News Network) and HNN.

Any who, WTCG used to have this show called Friday Night Frights with Dead Ernest. Old Dead was this guy that rose from a coffin and introduced a campy old horror flick. Dressed like a vampire who seemed to have found his wardrobe from the Hannah Home Drop Box, and vampire teeth that were too big for his mouth, Dead Ernest just wasn't very scary. He was funny...that is...if you could make out what he was saying with those huge faux teeth jutting out of his face. Great show!

Changing the subject, I sat downstairs watching Glenn Beck while going through old cassettes. I had headphones on and couldn't hear a thing Glenn was talking about. Gina was talking too but I was busy pushing play-forward-stop-eject-play-forward-and so on. Last Saturday night before recording at Vineyard, I realized that I had misplaced my lyrics to JERUSALEM. Anyone that knows me knows that I can't remember lyrics...not even my own. I looked everywhere and couldn't find them. It then struck me last night that I might have it on tape. All I had to do was listen to any tape made from 1989 on. I was fortunate to have found it on the second side of the second tape I listened to. I am going to try to record it with Jennie while she's in town for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

I have invited family to come to The Coffee Vine Cafe' the Saturday after Thanksgiving (24th) and join me on stage. Brook said that he planned on making it. Jennie emailed me a few days ago and said that she and Don were planning on being there. I am going to try to get as many of my singing and playing kin to play as possible.

Jose' is coming tomorrow to work on the basement. I am really looking forward to it. It's great to work with him and will be great to have my studio back.

I washed clothes last night. I heard something clanking in the dryer. Gina has a bad habit of not emptying her pockets before throwing dirty clothes into the hamper. Usually I get to launder and keep the cash I find. Last night I pulled out a fountain pen that she forgot about. The clanking persisted in the dryer. A few days ago I had let Gina borrow my 2gig flash drive for a PowerPoint presentation she was going to give. I guess I'll have to buy me another one.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

eleventy-eleven

Today is November 11, 2007...11/11/07. The girls spent Saturday night with their grandfather. Gina and I got to sleep late. I woke up and made a big breakfast for the two of us. I ventured back to our bedroom afterward and glanced at the clock. Yep, it read 11:11. It's become a common occurrence in my life. So much in fact that I know to just keep an eye out and try to be sensitive to the spiritual. Eleven to me means Revelation or eleventh hour. I believe the numbers mean double revelation, to be on watch.

Nothing much happened today and nothing much revealed. Still though, I am going to keep my eyes open this week. I am not a follower of numerology but do believe that God uses different means to converse with us individually. Seeing 11:11 has become more of a tap on the shoulder, a spiritual heads up.

This 11:11 thing has been going on with me for the past five years or so. There was one point where I was seeing the number everywhere. It was during a time of hard change and much personal revelation in my life. Jose' told me at the time that he was seeing 11:11 everywhere too and told me that it was in fact a phenomenon going on. I believe it to be a God thing but that in the secular world, people don't know what to take of it. You can find a lot of mystics out there on the web giving their voodoo spin to it. I don't have answers mind you, I just take it as God wanting to wake up and smell the revelation. Today being the eleventh day of the eleventh month has made me kind of sensitive through out the day.

I didn't leave the house. I took this Sunday to rest from all the work that took place during the previous week. I was tired, sore and achy. Did I miss anything out in the world today while I was resting? Who knows. After breakfast I talked with Gina for a little while and then went back to bed and slept for hours on end. It wasn't a nap. It was a deep long sleep. My body needed it. I woke up as Gina came back home with Katie and Kelsey. I felt so refreshed.

I hope you all had a great day today. Enjoyed the fellowship, worship, or just stayed home to heal a little.
Oh-by the way, is the 11:11 thing happening to you too?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

picks

I've been in the process of picking and compiling songs from various events that I've played over the past year for a CD. It's been a very long time since I've produced anything (1993) and I needed something current. Most of the songs are from different occasions at the Gadsden Vineyard. Though most of these live cuts are not perfect per se, I am very happy with the over all sound and dynamic.

Some of these songs are pulled for worship services lead by The Guise. Brook, Michael, LeNola, and Gina backed were on the team that I did Brooks old song Looking at the Future and my song Unrighteous Man. It was those two songs that initially gave me the idea for this CD project.


As I mentioned last week, I was on Bruce's team last week. Richard handed me the CD of worship last Sunday morning at You Are My God and Come Holy Spirit. I am very happy with how those two songs sounded and am going to include these two songs as well.


Last year Alan Rhodes and J. Holland helped me record My Desire in my basement. That song can be heard on MySpace profile page. It's the only multichannel recording I'll be adding to the project.

A few weeks ago I asked Richard M. to help me record some songs. I cleared the Vineyard building with Debbie H for tonight (Saturday). I asked Brook, Liz and LeNola to come bring their instruments and they were gracious to come and help out. I went in with five songs and hoped to maybe get three songs songs out of the process. We went through each song once so everyone could get a feel, then I told Richard to record. Most of the songs only took one take. Each take sounded great but it was nice to have two takes of I Want To Be and Cowboy Christmas. I can not express how happy I am to get these songs down, how good they sound and how quick we did it. Brook had a great guitar part for Deep Blue and Liz added a sweet harmony to the chorus. Very moving piece. She also added a nice vocal presence to Cowboy Christmas. I love LeNola. Anytime she's around me with her bass she goes into the Hold On riff. I wasn't going to record it without her. Brook added a Neil Young-ish guitar part to Living Water which made the song.

I walked away tonight feeling like I had something. I am thinking about asking J. to help me mix down a master. I don't know the order of the songs but I am happy with all the songs. I don't know how Cowboy Christmas will fit into the mix but I do recall Mark Heard throwing in Happy Cornbread Anniversary into one of his albums.

There are some other songs that I would like to add. I would love to record Jerusalem but wrote it with my sister Jennie singing it with me in mind when I wrote it. I will one day make that a reality and might have to put it on another like production. I've written so many songs in my lifetime and Gina has been wanting me to get them all down one way or another. I am going to do what ever it takes to record as many outings as possible. She wanted a recording of my songs as a Christmas present and I have written so many. As of tonight, I have enough to make a CD and am one happy dude tonight. The working title is PICKS.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

into the closet deep


Last night I dug into my old cassette archive, old concerts, old recordings with family and friends. I pulled out about five tapes and skipped around and listened to some old memories. Most were recorded at Christian Brother's SKYLIGHT. One night (1985?) Brooky, Doug Moore and I swapped songs on stage. I was terrible, Brook and Doug shined. Brook was funny that night. Anything I said between songs, he had a nice put-down/comeback. Despite my lousiness...it sounded as if we and the audience had a jolly good time wot.

I listened to a couple of The Guise tapes (circa 1990). Brook, Michael, and I did some really nice stuff back then. We were pretty much the stage band for CBA in the late eighties. We would sing our original songs as well as songs of friends. Michael sang Pat Terry's song IN MY DREAM and I'd sing Malcom & Alwyn's FOOL'S WISDOM. The three of us did a nice version of AMAZING GRACE. I loved singing with The Guise and still jump at the chance to sing with Brook and Michael. We've led worship as The Guise a handful of times at Vineyard over the course of the last few years. I think we sound better now than we did back then. The recordings I have at Vineyard are a lot better than the old cassette recordings from SKYLIGHT. Still though, I am glad to have them.

Some songs The Guise sang:

Amazing Grace
Taking The Time
Where Are You Now
Insane Man
Sugar Blues
How Could You Be So Good
Jesus Knows All About It
Guilty
My marriage and move to Bowling Green in 1990 ended The Guise as the stage band. I would drive down every now and again for some reunion gigs at Skylight. As Brook and Michael got more involved with Permanent Wave (while I was away), a great worship band. They sounded great too. I've got a cassette I need to dig out of the closet of them, the night Larry and Pearl Brick came to town. Permanent Wave was a different animal all together than what The Guise had been. I will admit that I really felt outside of a good thing back then. I would have loved to have been a part of that band but alack and alas. By then, I had recorded STAND and was playing a good bit around where I was living. That time playing solo did me a great deal of good but still, I missed playing with friends.

I laid down on the couch late last night with the headphones on listening to a tape that Brook, Dan, and I made back in 1995. Brook gave me a call while I was still living in Bowling Green. He asked if I would have a Saturday next time I was in town and play around with him and Dan. We met at Brook's house and he pretty much turned on his little portable four track recorder and just kept it running. I don't think we did much that day that sounded great but we had the best time. Last night I laughed at all our dialogue between the songs. That was the day Dan started improvising the song PULL THE CORN COB OUT. Maybe most people would think all that banter and small talk silly but I'll treasure that day.

I've got so many tapes filled with a million memories.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

and then there's Barak

That presidential candidate who doesn't really go for that silly thing
American citizens do during the National Anthem.
Here's to that fresh face politician with all the new ideas!
Lead the way Obama!

Monday, November 5, 2007

liars lie...

My old pal Doug Moore sent this my way. I think it's post-worthy...seeing how major media don't like to uncover Clinton dirt.

DICK MORRIS' ANALYSIS OF BILL CLINTON'S BIO ABOUT HILLARY...

BILL CLINTON LEAVES TRUTH OUT OF HILLARY'S BIOGRAPHY

Check out Bill Clinton's syrupy five minute ad for Hillary. He introduces the commercial by saying that he wants to share some things we may not know about Hillary's background. Bill's version of her biography is about as reliable as if it appeared in Bravda! So, since I, Dick Morris, was there for most of Bill's presidency and know them better than just about anyone, I need to make a few corrections;

Bill says: Hillary never wanted to run for public office, but she did want to work at public service. The facts are: When Clinton was considering not running for another term as Governor of Arkansas in 1990, Hillary said she would run if he didn't. She and Bill even had me take two surveys to assess her chances of winning. The conclusion was that she couldn't win because people would just see her as a seat warmer for when Bill came back licking his wounds after losing for president. So she didn't run. Bill did and won. There is no question she had her eye on public office, as opposed to service, long ago.

Bill says: In law school Hillary worked on legal services for the poor. The facts are: Hillary's main extra-curricular activity in law school was helping the Black Panthers, on trial in Connecticut for torturing and killing a federal agent. She went to court every day as part of a law student monitoring committee trying to spot civil rights violations and develop grounds for appeal.

Bill says: Hillary spent a year after graduation working on a children's rights project for poor kids. The facts are: Hillary interned with Bob Truehaft, the head of the California Communist Party. She met Bob when he represented the Panthers and traveled all the way to San Francisco to take an internship with him.

Bill says: Hillary could have written her own job ticket, but she turned down all the lucrative job offers. The facts are: She flunked the DC bar exam and only passed the Arkansas bar. She had no job offers in Arkansas and only got hired by the University of Arkansas Law School at Fayetteville because Bill was already teaching there. She only joined the prestigious Rose Law Firm after Bill became Attorney General and made partner only after he was elected governor.

Bill says: President Carter appointed Hillary to the Legal Services Board of Directors and she became its chairman. The facts are: The appointment was in exchange for Bill's support for Carter in his 1980 primary against Ted Kennedy. Hillary became chairman in a coup in which she won a majority away from Carter's choice to be chairman.

Bill says: She served on the board of the Arkansas Children's Hospital. The facts are: Yes she did. But her main board activity, not mentioned by Bill, was to sit on the Wal-mart board of directors, for a substantial fee. She was silent about their labor and health care practices as a Wal-Mart board member.

Bill says: Hillary didn't succeed at getting health care for all Americans in 1994, but she kept working at it and helped to create the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that provides five million children with health insurance. The facts are: Hillary had nothing to do with creating CHIP. It was included in the budget deal between Clinton and Republican Majority Leader Senator Trent Lott. I, Bill Morris, helped to negotiate the deal. The money came half from the budget deal and half from the Attorney Generals' tobacco settlement. Hillary had nothing to do with either source of funds.

Bill says: Hillary was the face of America all over the world. The facts are: Her visits were part of a program to get her out of town so that Bill would not appear weak by feeding stories that Hillary was running the White House. Her visits abroad were entirely touristic and symbolic and there was no substantive diplomacy on any of them.

Bill says: Hillary was an excellent Senator who kept fighting for children's and women's issues. The facts are: Other than totally meaningless legislation like changing the names on courthouses and post offices, she has passed only four substantive pieces of legislation. One, set up a national park in Puerto Rico . A second provided respite care for family members helping their relatives through Alzheimer's or other conditions. And two were routine bills to aid 9-11 victims and responders which were sponsored by the entire NY delegation. Here is what bothers me more than anything else about Hillary Clinton. She has done everything possible to weaken the President and our country (that's you and me!) when it comes to the war on terror.

1. She wants to close GITMO & move the combatants to the USA where they would have access to our legal system.
2. She wants to eliminate the monitoring of suspected Al Qeada phone calls to/from the USA .
3. She wants to grant constitutional rights to enemy combatants captured on the battlefield.
4. She wants to eliminate the monitoring of money transfers between suspected Al Qeada cells & supporters in the USA .
5. She wants to eliminate the type of interrogation tactics used by the military & CIA where coercion might be used when questioning known terrorists, even though such tactics might save American lives. I can't think of a single bill Hillary has introduced or a single comment she has made that would tend to strengthen our country in the War on Terror. But, I can think of a lot of comments she has made that weakens our country & makes it a more dangerous situation for all of us........She goes hand in hand with the ACLU on far too many issues where common sense is abandoned. She is a disaster for all Americans

Sunday, November 4, 2007

cream chip beef gravy day

I reminded Gina of the time change last night. I asked her to please help me wake up (the alarm is on her side of the bed) a little earlier Sunday morning. Bruce had asked me to help him lead worship. Gina ended waking me up earlier than I wanted to. It doesn't take me two and a half hours to get dressed and get to church. It might take a woman that long but not me. I laid there for about fifteen minutes and then regretfully rolled out of bed. It only took me about thirty minutes to be out the door. I had decided to go sit down somewhere for a hot breakfast. I don't go to Ryan's that much anymore because they are so expensive. I had water with breakfast and still can't get over that it cost me nine buck to do so. Anyway, I had a good breakfast. They serve cream chip beef on toast and I don't know why I love that stuff. It's something that my mom used to make for us kids way back when and I rarely get it these days.

There are some foods that mom used to make that were simply heaven on earth:
Butter dips: Thin biscuits baked after dough is thoroughly dipped in melted butter.
Hot Browns: It's basically an open face turkey sandwich. You toast the bread, top with sliced turkey, two bacon strips, white grave, and then place in oven to melt the shredded melted cheese that you heaped on lastly. It's a recipe that Dad brought back from a business trip in which he stayed at The Brown hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. You can get hot browns all over Kentucky but everyone has their own version of it. Most offer brown gravy and a tomato slice on top...feh...I like my dad's version the best.
I don't know why cream chip beef makes my favorites list but it does.

I still had time before church so I stopped by the office and checked my email, Myspace, and BlogNet friends. I then drove over and met up with Brook F. (who was doing sound) and Bruce C. (who was leading worship). Jim H. came in shortly afterwards to man the drums and Lenola B. came in around 10:00 with her bass (she had to work). We had a great time. I have a worship song that I wrote about 12 years ago called COME HOLY SPIRIT. It's a song that I don't sing that much because it's not always easy for me to sing. Bruce had called Saturday and asked me to select two songs to sing. I selected two of mine. I had second thoughts that I might be choosing my songs for reasons for the wrong reason (the other song I took was YOU ARE MY GOD). Still though, I took two other worship songs that I did not write just in case. When I got to the church, Bruce asked me what two songs I brought and I showed him. He smiled and held up his lyric/tab sheet for COME HOLY SPIRIT. The song was on his heart too! I was immediatley assured that I was hearing right the night before. It was a great time of worship. It was great hearing the congregation singing. They caught onto the songs. I know it's probably better to lead with standards that people are familiar with. He's been wanting me to sing my songs and appreciated Him wanting me to do so this morning.

After church, Mikey and Rachael invited my family to eat lunch with them at Cracker Barrel. We had to wait almost an hour to get a table. The crowd was almost unbearable. I was surrounded my people-people-people and too many tacky loud Christmas novelty thingies. I really don't need to go to Cracker Barrel much if I want to enjoy the Christmas holidays. We finally got our table and we enjoyed each other's company. I don't get to talk to Mikey much.

We came home and I crashed on the couch for a little while. The house is a mess and I am afraid I won't be able to whip things into shape by next weekend. We are going to have Kelsey's party downstairs next Saturday afternoon. I am going to get the old Christian Brother's popcorn popper going and make a huge batch of chili. Anyone who wants to come by and wish my child a happy fifth and have a bowl of chili is more than welcome. By the way, I make go00od chili.

Today I finished up some staining that I started Saturday. I finished stripping my office window and was later able to stain it. I have my office door stained now but haven't varnished anything that I stained as of yet. I hope to get that done during the course of the week. Jose' said he was going to try to come over sometime Friday and help me finish up some trim work. Much of the office is down and I can't wait to finally move in. We'll see. Jose' has been so busy these days. I don't get to see him as often as I would like. It was nice having lunch with him Friday afternoon.

Mom is doing well. She's had a pretty rough time of it as of late. She had her gall bladder removed this week. She was up and around the next day. She asked if I would drive her around town so she could do some errands. It's nice that she's feeling better than she has been. I had my gall bladder removed about seven years ago. It was amazing how little stomachs I suffer from since I had the procedure. I had severe stomach aches over the course of thirty years...needless pain. There is a down side to having a gall bladder removed. I won't bother you with the details.

MUSIC: I will not be playing much during the course of the holidays. I will be leading worship with Brook and Tommy P. on the eighteenth (Vineyard). Richard M. asked that we do an acoustic set. November the 24th, I'll be at The Coffee Vine Cafe' with family and friends. I am skipping December because there is so much to do Christmas-wise. Donnette (Coffee Vine) has asked me to play set nights come the new year. I told her that I would be glad to play the first Friday and Saturday night of each month. So come January...first weekends...you'll know where to find me.

God bless you all. I think I've rambled enough.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween

I spent Halloween taking my kids to a few church fall festivals in the neighborhood. They enjoyed doing the trunk-or-treat thing. I filled up on some hot-dogs.




Trunk-or-Treat isn't the same thing as going door to door. These days the Christian community is fearful of Halloween. Back in my youth we dressed ourselves up in scary costumes and raided as many of the Noccalula mountain homes that we could. We brought home tons of candy. I enjoyed roaming around dimly lit neighborhoods with my all my sibs. My last venture as a kid in costume was as Dracula. I would do my own make-up by that time. I believe I fixed my little sister Cindy's face up as a clown. Brook owned an old powder blue MG convertible. He drove us all around the mountain until our bags were full and it was too late to ring anymore door bells.

Do you remember Halloween Carnivals? Do you remember cake walks? I mean CAKE walks - not the cup cake walks they have today. R.A. Mitchell used to have a great Halloween Carnival. There was something going on from one end of that school to another. They also had a haunted walk behind the stage in the lunch room. For years, if a child happened to venture behind the stage, he/she would find a casket back there...creepy. A former teacher recently told me that the school owned the casket for well over twenty years.

I remember my childhood friend Billy Daughette had a weather balloon he'd ordered from the back of a magazine. Somehow he got hold of a bunch of leftover balloons from the R.A. Mitchell Halloween Carnival. He filled up that weather balloon and a bunch of us kids sat in a circle on his front lawn taking turns inhaling helium from that huge weather balloon of his. We'd each take a deep breath, try to talk, and then die laughing at the results. I surprised one of us didn't float away or bust a lung.

No, Halloween never bothered me. I never understood why Christian's got their panties in such a wad about it. It is nice at least that they offer alternatives. The fall festival alternatives are fun for the kids but just not the same. I came home last night and watched the recent remake of War Of The Worlds. I was determined to watch something a little on the spooky side on Halloween night. Mom had the girls upstairs going through all the their candy. It made me think of my youth...dumping my bag year after year on the living room floor.

By the way...it seems to me that teaching kids that it's okay to accept candy from strangers from the trunk of cars isn't a very wise thing to do either.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

i miss my friends

Not long after Gina and I got married and moved to Bowling Green KY, we made Fountain Square Free Methodist our home church. It was during that time that we met Donnie & Cheri Obermiller. Donnie told me of a house for sale up on Robinhood Trail - just a few houses down from where they lived. We shared birthdays, meals, and walks together. During those few years we were neighbors, we became dear friends.

Gina and I don't get to see them much these days and we miss them. It would be nice to take off one weekend with the kids and visit. The last time we drove out to Germantown to see them, Katie was just a little thing and Kelsey wasn't around. It would be nice to see them again, get the coffee going, and catch up on life.

Anyway, I am thinking about my old neighbors. I miss the Obermillers.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

worship

i see a big contrast

within the every day

we speak of worship

that part of worship that is music

pointing to the ones that lead

of great talent

and gifting

but

there are a few

out on the streets

out in the field

doing the very work

that Jesus commanded us

not very glamorous

not elevated

upon the stage

amid the lights

but rather

those out there

in the unsafe places

feeding the hungry

clothing the naked

offering hope to the addicted

visiting those in prison

showing a stranger

the redeemed man standing before them

saying i was blind but now i see

yet

we buy the latest worship cds

read the relevant books

talk about being culturally relevant

speaking all the right words

proclaiming our love for God

yet not do the common things

that love requires

to truly love the least of these

that is how you love Me

that is how you glorify Me

that is how you worship Me

increasing the kingdom

by loving those outside our comfort

going that extra mile

becoming the aroma of Christ

becoming His hands on earth

worship in the deeper

and every day

worship with our every being

outside the walls

in every thing

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

All Hail American International Pictures


I grew up at a good time. Everyone who knows me knows that I love going to the drive-in. I haven't been that much this summer...mostly because of the heat. There also hasn't been much worth watching. Still, nevertheless, I've missed it. I nearly went last Sunday night, just to go for going sake....all by myself. I ended up not doing it because I like having company along.

It's Fall...October to be exact...Halloween time. Growing up, my brother Brooky would frequently hit the drive-ins with Jamie Moore. I was a little kid then and always appreciated it when Brook would ask me to come along with him. Halloween meant the all night spook fest at The Rebel Drive-In in Attalla. The spook fest would go from dusk till dawn...horror movies back to back. My favorites were The the horror films of American International. Sinister beings such as Peter Lorre, Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing. It was American international that I last watched Peter, Vincent and Boris and the first time I ever saw Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Great stuff.

I remember seeing Bucket of Blood, The Island of Dr. Moreau (Burt Lancaster), Madhouse, The Thing with Two Heads (funny), The Oblong Box, Comedy of Terrors, X- The Man with X-Ray Eyes, Tales of Terror. I also enjoyed their Edgar Allen Poe takes, The Fall of The House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Raven.

Good times!