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.


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 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 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 It's a site for potential clients to review past work. My official website is at

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 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.

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

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


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 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 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 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.