I opened my father’s gift of song this morning


Thoughts of my dad keep bubbling up this morning. First on NPR and then CBS Sunday Morning.

Not thoughts, actually. Musical notes. Humming.

That Bing Crosby parum-pa-pa-pum that feels like a warm blanket.

The NPR story was about a home for the elderly. I just caught the end. An old man was asked to sing “White Christmas” at Christmas morning breakfast. His voice sounded so much like my father’s voice, that I cried as I drove home from spin class.

Warm and true and not quite hitting the high notes. Instead of going home, I drove around until the story ended. I thought that was my message from the cosmos – a reminder of song that once was almost a daily part of my life.

Then I got home and turned on the TV to catch the last half hour of my favorite program – CBS Sunday Morning. That’s when I realized the cosmos was not done with me. The story was about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir – little stories about the singers and their love of music.

Again, I was in tears. My earliest memories of my father was his singing – whether in the choir or sitting in the pew with us. Driving in the car. Working in the basement.

As my siblings and I got older, and it was harder to get us out of bed in the morning, he would put a record on the stereo turntable and crank up the sound and sing along to wake us up.

And my last memories of him are of singing, too. My mother died a few years before my father, so he lived in the house in town for about two years before he moved in with my sister and then to the nursing home.

When I visited, I woke in the morning to his singing in the basement, where he took his shower. He would put an audio tape into his old cassette player and sing along, and the sound worked its way through the whole house. It always made me smile.

So, the old man’s voice on the radio this morning instantly brought me back there. It was a gift wrapped inside the songs of the past.

“… Just like the ones I used to know.”

Thank you, cosmos. Thank you, Dad.

Weekly photo challenge: Unexpected

IMG_2917We tried several Southern specialties when we were in Charleston — waffles and chicken, a lowcountry boil, raw oysters and locally brewed beer. We also were snookered into trying these nitrotinis. The liquid nitrogen makes the drink look cool for all of 60 seconds — about the same amount of time it takes to realize you could have had two martinis for the price of one nitrotini. At least we enjoyed talking to the bartender, who was from Mass., and had tickets to the next Pats game against Carolina. Cheers!

Weekly photo challenge: Eerie


I found this spot on the tidal pools on Narragansett Bay several years ago. When I first came here, this overlook was rotted and broken, and this past year it was completely redone. I’ve never seen anyone else here in all the times I’ve been here. I like to think it’s mine alone, but someone takes care of it for me.

Once early on a Sunday morning I lay on the decking and looked hard at the sky above. Way high overhead I could see seabirds wheeling and spinning on the waves of air. They were so high up there that they looked like flies. Across the way is the East Bay Bike Path, so I can see people walking and riding their bikes, but they don’t notice me.

It is a secret place, maybe not eerie, but definitely otherworldly. Now that the weather is getting colder, this was probably the last day I will be there in awhile. Thank you to our caretaker.

Weekly photo challenge: Saturated

Some favorite photos dripping with color.

Reading the newspaper

Marcus High School Class of 1975 on Main Street

Marcus High School Class of 1975 on Main Street

Reading the Files from the Past in the Marcus News

110 Years Ago — 1899

Mrs. Scott Zink, 21, died Wednesday, July 19, in the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Richards. She had contracted typhoid fever on her way to visit them.

90 Years Ago – 1919
John Baertling departed for New York City, New York, where he will sail on a Norwegian liner, the Slavangenfjord, for Sweden. It will be his 14th trip across the briny deep.

70 Years Ago – 1939
Grasshoppers are unusually thick in some places, especially south and east of Marcus.

Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Daubendiek of West Bend recently spent eleven weeks in Germany. They report that the people are very happy and contented with no employment. They enjoy five good meals daily. Mr. Daubendiek feels there will be no war unless someone attacks them.

65 Years Ago – 1944
Donald W. Hendrickson, USMM of Marcus, is another Marcus boy who participated in the invasion of France on D Day.

Weekly photo challenge: from lines to patterns


Interesting lines from Provincetown, MA, to Charleston, SC


Weekly photo challenge: Unusual Point of View #2


Weekly photo challenge: Unusual Point of View #2

Love this alley shot of the back side of a great little coffee shop in Des Moines, Iowa.

Weekly photo challenge: An unusual POV

Our trees haven’t turned yet, so these photos were taken last year in October. I am hoping our fall will be as beautiful and vibrant as last year’s. Not that unusual, but interesting, I think. For one, I stood next to the tree and shot straight up, and I took photos of the turning leaves on the surface of a small pond in the other.