The road ends, but the journey continues...

Category: Home Sweet Homeless People (Page 1 of 4)

Thanksgiving 2019

– A mini spur of the moment gratitude list –

T – Terry, the love of my life.
H – Home. Wherever we alight if we’re together, it’s home.
A – All Creatures Great and Small, the Lord God Loves Them All.
N – (Finding) Neverland – childhood is precious.
K – Kindness. A little goes a long way but why be chintzy?
S – Snow. On Thanksgiving. The best.
G – Grumpy family. It’s okay to get grumpy sometimes, that’s when the Family gets to show you (me) love when you’re (I’m) the grump.
I – Interest/engagement in the world outside (y)our personal realm makes for a fuller life.
V – Vistas. The views from the peak of our Family’s mountain are the ultimate 360-degree surround sound/visual. Thank you Ma & Dad for preserving its wildness.
I – Inspiration. Found in such vistas and meant to be shared via our (he)art.
N – (Mister Rogers’) Neighborhood – childhood is precious.
G – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

— How about you? Please feel free to add to this mini gratitude list below —

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: Homelessness due to housing crisis

Fact: In Ireland, the number of families made newly homeless rose from 39 in January 2017 to 113 in August. A total of 1,698 families are now estimated to be living in emergency accommodation across the country, the vast majority of which were either evicted by private landlords or were unable to afford a rent rise.

Released in October of 2018, the film Rosie “tells the story of a young couple and their four children forced out of their home when their landlord decides to sell the property. Over 36 hours, we see Rosie glued to her phone, juggling normal family life while trying to find a room to sleep in.”
Based upon real life accounts, Irish novelist, dramatist and screenwriter Roddy Doyle put pen to paper giving voice to the increasing number of everyday lower/middle class families being squeezed out of their rental homes into homelessness.

“The potency of the film lies in showing us that the “homeless” are not a caste or tribe whose condition has been ordained at birth, and their situation is not a cosmic punishment for laziness – they are people like everyone else whose situation has been created by economic forces.” From review by Peter Bradshaw

Oh Happy Day – It's a Done Deal!

On Monday, September 17th, my bro and I signed over our folks’ house to a buyer who said, “I fell in love with this house the minute I set foot into it.”
In celebration of this event, I bring you a jam session of a favorite gospel tune, Oh Happy Day, in the spirit of my JazzMan Dad
(jump to 3:05 if you’re not a musician interested in the creative process)

Context of this piece is as follows:

Original youth group recording

This is track 5 from the 1968 album “Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord”. Lead by Dorothy Morrison-Combs Written by Philip Doddridge Arranged by Edwin Hawkins. Edwin Hawkins was a pianist at Ephesian Church of God in Christ in Berkeley, California when he came up with the popular Latin/Soul version of the song “Oh Happy Day” in 1968. In an October 23, 2009 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he explained that “Oh Happy Day” was one of eight arrangements he put together for the Northern California State Youth Choir, which was made up of 46 singers ages 17 to 25, and the plan was to sell an album of the songs to finance a trip to a church youth conference in Washington, D.C. The tracks were quickly recorded live in church on a two-track tape machine (industry standard at the time was eight-track), but the records weren’t pressed in time for the trip. They did attend the conference, and the choir placed second in a singing competition, where they performed 2 of Hawkins’ arrangements, but not “Oh Happy Day,” which Hawkins said was “Not our favorite song.”

Me: the bassline beginning at 2:40 through to the end is fantastic! – this is a stellar example of the vibrancy of live performances regardless of the limitations of available recording equipment…wow!

And the performance you might be more familiar with:


Me: this one is a vocal improv that is relatable to the Jam.

Oh happy day (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
He washed my sins away (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)

He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray
And live rejoicing every, everyday

Oh happy day…

Two years ago on the 17th, I was scheduled to fly back to SC after a Summer of Dad visit. He, instead, changed my plans the day before by having a mini stroke. Hubby quickly cancelled that flight and rescheduled for another flight for the following week.

Dad passed away Sept 22…

September 17th, 2018 we closed on Ma & Dad’s house. Two nights before that, hubby and I slept in Ma & Dad’s empty house for the last time on our faithful air mattress.

A different sort of closing…

Ramblings in the manner of a NaNoWriMo word war

Been back from CO since Saturday the 4th
My folks’ house got listed Thursday the 2nd, then officially on the market on Friday the 3rd  with a Saturday the 4th Open House which yielded lots of foot traffic and 2 possible offers leading to an all cash offer on its 8th day on the market!
On the phone with my cousin a few days before returning to SC, I mentioned I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed…and then when we finally rolled into town a little after midnight, we discovered mice had been at play while we were away – leaving calling cards in that very bed…AIEEEEE!
All this after admitting to my baby cousin that ‘Home is where your bed is!’ (a major positive affirmation to where we are currently sojourning)…talk about a humbling re-entry into life back in the swamplands.

MamaCass & Naomi on our front porch

MamaCass & Naomi on our front porch


Previously, leaving our little rental house in SC for any length of time, MamaCass stood guard on the porch; grabbing the critters, both rodent and insect, for snacks before they could saunter inside. Now that our beloved porch cat has a permanent home on the other side of town with a proper cat lady, we came home to an empty porch ‘non-greeting’.
And, with our little rental’s insides newly discovered by resident rodents.
Since our return, we’ve been busy de-mousing the premises and trying hard to not skimp on those necessary procedures even if we’re tired, sleepy and needing to clean and dry clothes/bedding/rags with a non-functioning dryer no less. Read: wash at the house then take it all to the laundromat to dry (new dryer installed Wednesday the 8th).
Really things are okay, just that this place that never ever felt like home is even less so without MamaCass on so many levels.
And on so many levels her life reflects our own since moving here:

  • Up and out after our 3 years between homes; her life of producing litters of kitties after kitties – rescued and put on a more healthy life path.
  • Trusting that where we are is where the Lord wants us regardless of it not being the best fit for our true needs/desires/way of life; her trusting us to give her a place of refuge on our porch, even though she wanted to come inside – a time of healing and reconnection, regrouping for what is next.
  • Giving support and caring for each other as a ‘purpose’ during the interim – our commitment to moving on only when our newest responsibility had a real home (our landlord forbids pets, so we could never formally adopt MamaCass, even though we captured her and got her snipped after her second litter appeared on our porch). She is a true South Carolina MamaCat and would not have done well moving with us across country when the opportunities for us opened up.

The fact that she’s finally got a forever home and moved on in her life gives me hope we are close to moving on with our own lives, too.
God’s speed, MamaCass – wish us luck!

“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” Proverbs 12:10 NIV

All in a Lady's Life

My cousin Dennis taking us for a boat ride on Lake Waco, TX

My cousin Dennis taking us for a boat ride on Lake Waco, TX


 
As hubby alluded to in the last post, we went to Colorado via the ‘long way’ earlier this May. First driving for 17 hours straight through to Waco, TX to visit my baby cousin and his family (and to do some business with a colleague in Houston).
Then off to Las Cruces, NM (a breezy 10 hour drive) – land of hubby’s adolescence, our newlywed life and ‘the compound’.
 
A favorite spot to wander the desert in Las Cruces, NM

A favorite spot to wander the desert in Las Cruces, NM

LCNM revisited (thoughts)

Sometimes ya gotta be away before ya can come back…or at the very least appreciate what ya left (for whatever reason).

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this place known as Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Town where we moved for hubby to finish his degree at NMSU after we first got married; place filled with his side of the family or in other words: my in-laws.  Not inherently a bad thing, just harder to make one’s mark on a new marriage when there are lots of others hovering overhead.  Plus life in married student housing was fun except for the crash course in the myriad varieties of roaches and ants harbored and lurking within the requisite 300 square foot cinderblock walls…

Our first-born was indeed born there, in fact, she was the first baby born for the New Year that year (1982). Cool. We couldn’t wait for all the diapers and other baby items everyone said the city would be bestowing upon us because of that incident of nature; we really needed the help with that kind of stuff being poor students and all…except the year before, the city made such a big deal over Baby New Year that it backfired on them since there were some shady relatives, legal circumstances and secrets now publicly revealed surrounding the family that innocent baby was born into.

So, no freebies for us, though we did get a great write up in the local newspaper and enthusiastic announcements on several of the local radio stations.

Oh well, didn’t matter much since we left for the Bay area soon after hubby graduated – within the first month of our Havilah’s life – to pursue his new job at HP (Hewlett/Packard) as a little family without either side of our families too near. And that’s when we grew the most as a three-some; and when our hearts yearned to be closer to both our families…go figure!

After a few days we were back on the road. The familiar I-25 trail took us to Colorado in the usual 9-10 hour time frame. Also, since we know that route by heart, it is less stressful in terms of placement of rest stops and timing on the one gas fill-up necessary to complete the journey.

Bruno's Purple Giants - Irises in the family and transplanted in our various gardens for almost 50 years

Bruno’s Purple Giants – Irises in the family and transplanted in our various gardens for almost 50 years (last vestiges shown here in a corner of Ma&Dad’s neglected garden)


Once at Ma & Dad’s place, the dominoes aligned into classic form, readying for that one touch to start the tumbling of items needed to get their estate settled.
For good.
Now that most of the sorting and sifting of the stuff of lives has been completed, I still have much to do to get the house ready for listing, but as a professional real estate agent told me: “You’re on the right path…almost there.”
After a mere 10 days back here in SC for already-on-the-calendar doctor’s appointments/tests and other commitments, we’ll be heading out again to Colorado, land of my (he)art, gearing up and plowing through to the finish line to ‘git ‘er done*’ with all things related to selling the house.
The housing market is rich with possibilities, wish us luck.
* thank you Anna for lending me this phrase
On the day before this year’s Summer Solstice, I’m leaving you with a bit of Manc Music in honor of the turning of seasons. Here are Mancunian native sons, the Courteeners, with Summer.

40 years and counting

Terry’s take on these 40 years…

June 17, 1978 – June 17, 2018

Many months ago I was rooting around on the internet looking into some music. I happened to come across a young jazz saxophonist named Grace Kelly and was watching her Livestream studio session. I started watching the video and really enjoyed her enthusiasm and music. I thought of our son Joe who is a jazz saxophonist also, but I decided not to send him a link to it as he was off touring New Zealand/Fiji/Australia at that time and wasn’t sure how good his internet was. I also thought of my late father-in-law who had died less than a year and a half before. He also was a jazz saxophonist who played with Benny Goodman and other greats in Chicago and who up to nearly the time that he died was always looking for new trends/music.
On the third song of the Livestream, Grace started explaining how she had come to write the song she was about to play. What she said, and more importantly what she played and sang touched a chord in me. I knew then that the song she wrote was a song that described how I felt about Laura and that that song was going to be our 40th anniversary theme song (not just our 40th but our lifelong song). Our anniversary was still many months away, so I tucked this song away so I could share it with Laura during our anniversary.
I started researching Grace Kelly a little more and it turned out that she was going to be playing in Las Cruces, New Mexico on May 27th. It just so happened that I lived in Las Cruces during high school, went off to serve in the Navy and after the Navy came back to Las Cruces to go to college.  While in college on a co-op assignment for NOAA in Boulder, Colorado I met and married Laura and we moved back to Cruces to finish my college education before moving on.
We were planning a trip to Colorado to take care of business in early May and I wanted to go to New Mexico to both see Grace Kelly and to visit my parents’ graves. The timing seemed to be aligning to be able to spring on Laura this song at a Grace Kelly concert. Las Cruces is not a tremendously large town so I even hoped to run into Grace somewhere around town so that I could request that she play the song for Laura (not like trying to find Mr. T on Mulholland Drive or in Bel-Air or Hollywood – inside family story).
Unfortunately, our plans changed and we needed to go to Texas for business purposes before we went to Colorado which meant that we would end up in Las Cruces weeks before Grace Kelly was going to play. Knowing this I sat down with Laura before we left, told her that what she was going to see was the way I felt about her and that it was our anniversary song. I put the Livestream on our TV and jumped to 19:03 for the beginning of the story and the song.  We sat there and watched the song (multiple times) trying to hold back the tears of our love for each other.
There are some songs that have a special meaning to me about Laura, like Leon Russell’s “A Song For You” and now Grace Kelly’s “Feels Like Home”.
Our anniversary this year falls on Father’s day and I can’t think of a better Father’s day gift than sharing this song which beautifully expresses the way I feel about Laura.
Laura shortly after found the song (sans Grace’s explanation) which is shown below. The full video is here, start at 19:03 for story before song.
Thank you Grace for this beautiful song and thank you Laura for a lifetime of “Feels Like Home”.

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