The road ends, but the journey continues...

Category: Agrodolce Vita (Page 1 of 6)

yes, life is bittersweet

Finding Home (Poem)

Finding Home
by Laura Bruno Lilly
© 2020

I’ll know.

When it feels right.

Deep down in the dark moonlight

filled with desert delight

and

mountain might.

Finding Home.

Where past meets now and future hopes crystallize.

Where how and why are captured

kept as secret gardens – growing spirit – with a side of fruit.

A slice of juicy watermelon slaking my thirst.

I belong.


inspired by Gavin Luke’s piece…thank you poetic muse

Memorial Day 2020

Please Honor Memorial Day

Find the cost of freedom,
Buried in the ground.
Mother earth will swallow you,
Lay your body down.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Memorial

I humbly believe this tribute does not take away from the honoring of our Veterans – My Dad, 2 Uncles and Father-in-Law served in WWII, hubby & 2 cousins during Vietnam and various nephews served during and since the Gulf War. My Sister-in-Law, 5 cousins and a niece are essential health-care providers during this war against COVID-19 – thankfully our family has not suffered any casualties.

NYT-front-page-05-24-20-COVID-19

RIP David Olney

David: I didn’t know your songs until you passed away and I watched a CNN short video in tribute to your life and contributions to the musical world.

Dying while doing what one loves most is a blessing, but still hurtful for those left behind.
…Wish I had ‘known’ you sooner…

RIP David Olney: March 23, 1948 – January 18, 2020

About ‘Death Will Not Divide Us’

David often draws inspiration for his music from classic poetry and literature as well as The Greatest Story Ever Told a/k/a The Bible. A true troubadour, many of his tunes touch on social issues of the day. This track is one of ten on his album, “This Side or The Other.” While not a concept album, David alludes to several recurrent themes. One of which is the frequent reference to walls.
His essay, “Taking Sides and Building Walls” begins, “The Wall is in the news.Trump’s Wall.”
Then David continues to touch on various other walls, “…the infamous Berlin Wall…the Great Wall of China…Hadrian’s Wall…In the Middle Ages, cities built walls around Jewish ghettos. The rationale on the part of the State was that the walls helped protect the Jews. The Holocaust put an end to that particular line of logic.”
‘DEATH WILL NOT DIVIDE US’ was co-written with Abbie Gardner (of Red Molly). David says, “I wanted to catch the spirit of Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 8, Verses 38 and 39*. I love Abbie’s line, ‘There’s a moment of decision when the ground comes up to meet us.’” The new music video echoes our ever-changing world with one constant, opening with a young girl joyfully dancing as she leads a parade of the past into the future. Her movements are whimsical, flowing and childlike while she dons a jester hat. Others follow her “blindly” dancing through town, wandering through historic sites and Romanesque buildings, trusting their fearless leader.
Personal Note: the bookstore in the video is a landmark in Nashville – McKay’s Used Books. A really cool place!

* Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ice Cream and Remembering Dad

So, this evening, after a fine dinner of Lemon Baked Spicy Salmon, rice, beets and peppers, I indulged in the last of the Tillamook Coffee Almond Fudge ice cream.

After my second helping – there was just a little bit left in the carton – I thought at first my prolonged craving was induced by the Chardonnay that accompanied the previously mentioned fine dinner.

But a nagging suspicion that there was more to it than that persisted.

Of course.

Today marks the third anniversary of Dad’s passing.

He loved ice cream.

Stories & family jokes abound about his doling out tiny ‘balls’ of the stuff for others while heaping mounds of frozen lusciousness into his own bowl…

Plus, when he was thrust into the role of widower and had nothing much to eat in the house – he always had a freezer full of ice cream. He prided himself in eating his milk in the morning via a bowl of ice cream for breakfast.

I miss you, Dad.

Hurricane Dorian, continued – South Carolina installment

Note: Marty of snakesinthegrass posted a 4-day diary of experiences toughing it out in his St. Augustine, FL home as Hurricane Dorian passed. I decided to continue where he and Dorian left off…overlapping on Wednesday’s entry.

For context, Florence, SC is an evacuation city – a destination for those temporarily displaced during a hurricane. Only 60 miles inland from Myrtle Beach, we also feel the effects of weather encountered along the Atlantic coast, sometimes more acutely and in the form of water-storm surges that can last for days after the actual hurricane has passed.

 Wednesday, September 4th:
After yesterday’s gorgeously sunny, though highly humid day, I woke up to a more ‘beginning to look like a storm may be coming’ type of morning.
Just kind of waiting – not wanting the storm at all – but wanting it to pass, to be done with, come what may.
So much depends upon spontaneous trajectory changes during the course of a hurricane. All it takes is a deviance of a few miles in one direction or another to determine the level of devastation it leaves in its wake. Dorian already has a destructive track record so this isn’t something to be taken lightly.
South Carolina’s mandatory evacuation of Charleston and coastal communities has been in effect since Monday with accompanying highway lane reversals and will end this afternoon.
Here in FloTown, it amazes me how polite everyone is, no panicked motorists or freaked out customers in Walmart getting supplies. Just everyone doing what needs to be done. Oh, there are shopping carts piled high with packs of bottled water, cartons of saltines, jars of peanut butter and such, but the crowds move along in an orderly and even convivial manner.
Dorian is expected to arrive in Myrtle Beach sometime tomorrow, with the beginnings of the increased rainfall and wind starting around 7AM.
Thursday, September 5, 2019:
Dorian is on its way – albeit slower than expected – we’re as ready as we know how…including trusting the Lord in all that will come to pass.
This will be the first time for us to experience a hurricane from start to finish.
Last year’s Florence occurred while we were back in Colorado getting Ma & Dad’s house ready to sell and then finalizing that sale.  We delayed our drive back to South Carolina due to the extent of time needed for local and statewide clean up after the hurricane.
Then there’s Matthew. In 2016, towards the end of my Summer of Dad, I was in Colorado awaiting hubby to drive out and join me after Dad passed away and for the funeral. Hurricane Matthew began bearing down on Florence earlier than projected causing hubby to scramble in the middle of the night to leave ASAP – well before his scheduled time. He literally drove through a hurricane to come to me in my time of need.
Joaquin in 2015 and Irma in 2017 we were also out of town.
In all instances, we came back to food gone bad in the refrigerator and blinking clocks – both of which were easily dealt with and remedied. In all instances, our little rental was still standing, surrounded by those huge long needled pine trees native to this area, unscathed and without a trace of flooding.
In all instances, we were immensely grateful to find things pretty much the same as when we left. In all instances, we never took it for granted we’d have anything to come back to…
Friday, September 6, 2019:
Dorian came through our section of South Carolina – Myrtle Beach/Grand Strand area – on the bestcase scenario path. Totally unexpected change in intensity, and totally welcome for those of us here. Dorian arrived then flew the coup without leaving much in the way of a mess. Yes, there is damage, but everyone knows we got off easy. And none of us around here takes that for granted.
Wilmington, North Carolina took a huge hit for the second year in a row. The Outer Banks are ravaged.
This is the height of hurricane season. There are Dorian buddies queuing up all along the Atlantic – any one of them a potential surreal powerhouse destructo-machine.
Lord have mercy – enable the helpers to help. Please comfort the Survivors in the wake of their loss and give them hope and strength to reconstruct their lives.

Keeping you in my heart for awhile…

Note: Something triggered this nostalgic moment and while more on the rough draft side, I thought I’d use it for day three of my “6 years on WP.org” posts.

Denver Mandolin Orchestra Laura Bruno Lilly, Paul Drury, others

Detail of Denver Mandolin Orchestra group photo (circa 1999?) Laura Bruno Lilly (me) – kneeling in front, Paul Drury – tall one in the back


One of the joys of being a performing member of the Denver Mandolin Orchestra was the sense of generational genesis. The turn of the 20th to the 21st century marked my introduction and induction into this motley crew of musicians. A group ranging from violin virtuoso Thereza Stephan doubling on mando; mando greats Eli Karasek, Charlie Provenza, Drew Horton; to mother-daughter and father-son mandolinists sharing music stands during rehearsals and consequent performances. And then there were us guitarists headed by Ron Grosswiler whose collection of historical American classical guitar scores along with Mandolin Orchestra Repertoire from then till now was legendary and not fully revealed until after his death in 2010.
Peppered throughout the DMO’s 23+ musicians, amateurs and professionals alike, we all contributed to the awareness of this largely unknown type of accessible American music. Plus, those like myself who just wanted to play in an ‘orchestra’ with instruments not normally associated with conventional orchestras.
But what I remember most vividly is the memorial service Swallow Hill hosted for one of its own volunteers, and for one of our very own DMO members, Paul Drury, sometime in 2004 (?).
Living within modest means, and one who knew hardship as well as gritty challenges, Paul cared for others. He made sure everyday people got to enjoy simple pleasures – like music. Often, he’d pass on Swallow Hill concert tickets he purchased himself to people he knew marginally (often a little lost in life) – just so they could bask in the healing that is music.
One evening, he died suddenly due to an unperceived advancement in symptoms of diabetic shock…
I hadn’t been a part of the DMO for several years, but was contacted about the jam-session memorial to be held in his honor…an invite to bring my instrument and pluck some of the corny rep we played as a group. And yes, he had a proper musical tribute played by a smaller version of the DMO.
However, it wasn’t until the first strums of Warren Zevon’s Keep Me In Your Heart drifted through the auditorium sound system that the crowd got silent…Paul’s wish for all, sung for the one we had all come to honor that night.

Giving Voice: Gaelynn Lea, Violinist

Friday, July 26th was the 29th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. It was also the day I first learned of a remarkable musician on the PBS Newshour – Gaelynn Lea, Violinist.

Notable quotes from her interview:

“Adaptive music is not as common (as adaptive sports) but I hope that it becomes more common.”

on playing the violin:

“I realize that you probably don’t know unless you have a disability that you spend every day modifying everything. I’m not concerned with doing it the way everyone does it, because I can’t really do anything the way other people do it. So, for me, finding a way to play violin was just a matter of time.”

The final set of lyrics to her newest release, “I Wait” written in defense of the Affordable Care Act, protecting those with preexisting conditions:

“We need a seat now at the table, so please invite us.
Or
Don’t pretend to care.”

Yeah, it's a hot summer…

"Luscious Lavender," poem by Annika Perry

“Luscious Lavender,” poem by Annika Perry


A sight for sore eyes, no? Thank you, Annika for giving me permission to share this as part of my little oasis offering to my readers – not that any of it will actually cool us down or offer any solutions to the state of our Global Warming Reality…but, well, we’re all entitled to a break.
While my forays into the medicinal properties of lavender are legendary, pushing the boundaries of application (remember my ‘loaded brownie’ recipe confession?), there is also the purple presence of this flowering herb to consider.
Mary Lou Mawicke Bruno headstone, Ft. Logan

A shortened stem leaning against Ma’s headstone before Dad passed away.


I love purple, it’s refreshing and mysterious all at the same time. It’s also a shared favorite color with my late Ma…
This color has a history with my family, interwoven into the fabric of our lives. Some of those threads include what I named early on as being Bruno’s Purple Giants – irises that were originally planted in our Boulder garden the first spring after we moved there (Fall 1969) and have been in the family ever since. Transplanted clumps bought from the local farm down the road, Long’s Gardens, they took to the earth and exploded into tall stems loaded with hugely fragrant, deeply lavender-purple gems.
As me and my bro grew up, married and moved into homes of our own, tubers were dug, shared and planted with each successive garden.
my flower child michelle

My flower child Michelle (notice unflattened iris stem to right of hat)


One such bed lined the front walk to our first home during our kids’ growing up years where specimens routinely grew taller than a kindergartener. Notice Michelle’s purple slicker? It rained that day back in 1992.
When she came home from school (kindergarten), the normally taller Bruno’s Purple Giants irises were slightly flattened by the intense spring storm…except one battered stem.
My flower child, Michelle, surrounded by a walkway of towering purple delights – yummy memories – and an image oasis for this mom to savor.
Last summer, while finishing the distribution of Dad’s estate and getting Ma & Dad’s house ready to sell, I angsted over a nagging reluctance to give up the remnants of the family tubers which had been growing in a corner of their neglected garden. Because hubby and I have not owned property since selling our home in 2009, it wasn’t in the best interest of those tubers to be dug up and then not transplanted. As much as I wanted to keep with tradition, it just wasn’t feasible.
Wouldn’t you know, my flower child Michelle, now all grown up, came up with a plan. At the end of her trip to meet with us to celebrate Joe’s b-day and help with the cleaning of the house and such, we dug a few up, packed them dry in brown paper bags and buried ‘em in her suitcase. Her thinking being, she could at least plant them at her (and her husband David’s) place in MI to get established there. Given the fact that those poor tubers were disrupted from their normal growth cycle, it was dicey, but worth a try. Imagine, those Bruno’s Purple Giants replanted in yet another family garden and available for us to dig a few for whenever hubby and I do settle into a home of our own with a place to garden.
Someday.
And that’s another oasis for me to think on – hope is as refreshing as a drink of cool lemonade on a hot summer’s day.

~~

On another note – yes a little pun – please enjoy this classic and appropriate to the theme of this post video, Summer in the City by one of my fav groups* back in the day. It brings back memories of summers in Chicago as a kid growing up before we moved to Boulder…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=158&v=U5bUmx-hk-c

*for a cool – pun intended – interview with John Sebastian, click here

Giving Voice: The Eagle Cried

The Eagle Cried, written and recorded by US Army Major J Billington (Iraqi & Afghanistan vet)

This song was written in honor of the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans, who did not receive the hero’s welcome that they deserved when they came home from the fight. This song was written for and performed at the 13th Combat Aviation Battalion Reunion at Fort Rucker, Alabama, held on May 15, 2010. To the Vietnam veterans that may find and watch this video, please accept my humble:
“Thank you for your service, and welcome home!” J Billington May 19, 2010

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