Sunday, August 29, 2021

Music Of My Youth

The music of my youth was rock-a-billy, doo wop, early rock and roll, some crossover country, Motown, skiffle, and the British invasion. I love all sorts of music but those are my music.

Now I am not young. I recently celebrated my 74th birthday. Many of the performers of my music were older than me so it is not surprising that some have died. With the death of Don Everly I began to think about that. It is not surprising since people my age are often confronted with our own mortality.

Elvis... gone. He is THE biggest star of that group. On August 16, 1977, the world was shocked to learn of his death.

Bill Haley ... gone. He died in 1981 at the age of 55.

Ricky Nelson... gone. In 1985 the plane he was on crashed as it attempted to make an emergency landing because of a fire caused by a faulty heater.

Pat Boone... still with us. He is 87 years old and living in Florida.

Buddy Holly... gone. Died in a plane crash. Also on that charter plane were The Big Bopper and Richie Valens who also died. It is referred to as the day the music died.

Eddie Cochrane... gone. He was not driving the car that was going too fast when it crashed. He was expelled from the car and subsequently died of the injuries.

Jimi Hendrix... gone. I was not a huge fan but he could play that guitar. In 1970 he died from asphyxia due to an overdose of barbiturates.

Gene Vincent... gone. He died in 1971 of multiple internal causes in 1971.

Bobby Vee... gone. He died in 2016 of complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was both lucky and unlucky to be known as the one who filled in for Buddy Holly after the plane crash.

Billy "Crash" Craddock... still with us. The 82 year old lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Dion DiMucci... still with us. He is 82 and still active in the music business.

Big Mama Thornton... gone. She died in 1984. She was the first to record Hound Dog. She had such a raunchy sexy voice.

Herman's Hermits... all alive except Derek Leckenby who died of mom-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1994. Peter Noone, Keith Hopwood, Barry Whiwam, and Karl Green still perform although not necessarily together.

The Everly Brothers... both gone. The Everlys never made a bad song. Phil died in 2014 and Don died in 2021.

Chuck Willis... gone. He first recorded C.C. Ryder. Died in 1958 of peritonitis during surgery.

Della Reese... gone. She died in 2017. So many have forgotten she began as a singer.

The Beatles... mixed. John Lennon was assassinated in front of the building where he lived in 1980. George Harrison died after a long battle with cancer in 2001. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr both still perform.

Conway Twitty... gone. Yes he began as a rock-a-billy singer. In 1993 he died after collapsing onstage. The cause was an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

LaVerne Baker... gone. The second female inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame died of cardiovascular disease in 1997.

The Rolling Stones... mixed. Charlie Watts died in 2021. No cause of death has been issued but he was known to have problems with his heart. Brian Jones drowned in 1969. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Bill Wyman still perform.

Kenny Rogers... gone. He began by singing any kind of music he could perform. He suffered from bladder cancer and died in 2020.

Bobby Rydell... still with us. And still performing.

Fabian... still with us and still performing.

Frankie Avalon... still with us and still performing.

Janice Joplin... gone. She would belt out a song like few others could. She died in 1970 of a heroin overdose.

Jerry Lee Lewis... still with us. He suffered a stroke in 2019  and is not performing.

Sam Cooke... gone. Was there ever a smoother sexier voice? A disputed version of his death is that he was kidnapped and left with no clothes at a motel by a prostitute. As he angrily asked for assistance from the motel manager she says she shot him to death in self defense. It happened in 1964.

Aretha Franklin... gone. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. She died of a malignant pancreatic tumor in 2018.

Roy Orbison... gone. He survived many tragedies in his life. He died of a heart attack in 1988.

The Bee Gees... mixed. They are mostly known for their disco music but began in rock and roll. The first to die was not actually a member of the BeeGees. Andy Gibb died of an inflammatory heart virus brought on by drug use in 1988. Maurice Gibb died from complications caused by a twisted intestine in 2003. In 2012 his twin brother Robin died of kidney failure after a lengthy bout with cancer. The oldest of the brothers is Barry. He still performs.

Carl Perkins... gone. After suffering a series of minor strokes he died in 1998 of throat cancer. He wrote and was the first to perform Blue Suede Shoes.

I have not mentioned so many. If you have a favorite to add I will be happy.


Monday, August 23, 2021

Death Of A Rabbit

This is a re-post. I wrote it a few years ago and it is true... every single word. A post from thecompemplativecat reminded me of it. Her story is just as funny so take a look.


My daughter and I took her children for a walk. My grandson was 6 or 7 and my granddaughter was 4 or 5. We walked through their neighborhood looking at flowers and watching for animals and birds.

As we usually did, when we returned to their house we made a tour of the back yard. In the spring we watched as the flowers came up through the soil then grew and bloomed. We smelled all smells and tried to identify where they came from.

On this day it was autumn. The leaves were falling from the trees at a record pace. The flower beds and the grass were covered with fallen leaves. Sometimes we would startle a rabbit back there but we did not see any that day.

Until my grandson went, "Oooooh" in a sympathetic tone. My daughter and I realized at the same time that he was starting to reach for an animal. We both yelled at him to stop. He looked at us, startled.

We quickly went over to him. There lying in a flower bed was a dead rabbit.

We explained to him that whether the animal was sick or dead we did not know what was causing the problem. You cannot just touch any animal you do not know because it could cause injury or illness to you. He seemed to undeerstand.

My daughter did not want to leave it lying there. I told her to go get a shovel and we would dispose of it. She was worried about my grandson being upset. I told her that was why we always held a funeral for animals when she was growing up. It is a way to say goodbye and it showed the finality of the animal being gone.

My grandson loved the idea of a funeral. He went and found an old shoebox. When we asked where we should bury the rabbit he chose a spot under the bushes right in front of the house. He wanted to conduct the ceremony so we let him.

We dug a hole and my grandson placed the box containing the rabbit carefully into the hole. We covered the box with dirt and tamped it gently down. Then my grandson started to speak.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to say goodbye to our friend, the rabbit." I stood in total shock. He had never been to a funeral so I could not understand where these words were coming from. My daighter and I looked at each other in amazed amusement.

He continued with his little tribute about how we did not know the bunny but we felt bad that he was dead. Then he knelt to say a prayer. I started to choke a bit with laughter. He looked like such a little angel with his hands pressed together looking toward the sky imploring that this little bunny rabbit be taken to a better place. Finally there was an "Amen".

My daughter and I started to go inside. I was actually halfway up the steps. Then my grandson stood at attention and put his hand to his forehead in a salute. His other hand formed into a loose fist and was placed at his mouth. Through that hand we heard, "Phtt, phtt, Phhhhhttt...". He was playing Taps!

I was choking trying to keep from opening my mouth and laughing out loud. Tears were running down my face. I did not dare look at my daughter because I knew I would not be able to contain myself. So I stood there not able to breathe with tears all over my face, turning red.

At the end of Taps, my grandson sweetly said a soft goodbye. "Goodbye, little bunny rabbit." It was over.

I jerked myself into the house so I could breathe and laugh without hurting his feelings. When my daughter came in shortly after she was laughing almost as hard as I was while berating me for leaving her out there all alone.

Bugs Bunny was the culprit. My grandson had seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon in which a funeral was held. He had practically memorized the whole thing. Thanks a lot, Bugs!

Saturday, August 14, 2021


 My daughter called me Monday. She finally decided to tell me she had found a lump in her breast. 

A biopsy was done and she was going to the doctor for the results. It is cancer.

She has been in for tests most of the week. First was an MRI. They found more cancerous tissue. So far it is all in one breast.

Then they did a bone scan to make sure it had not spread to any bones in her chest. There have been other tests but I cannot remember what they are.

The doctors are going to consult and then let her know what they believe to be the best course of treatment. Naturally she is scared.

As soon as something is decided I am going up to the big city. I will not be able to stay forever but I am hoping a couple of weeks will help.

As we are dealing with this my brother-in-law is in the hospital. He is her favorite uncle. So far we have not told her about him because she has enough on her plate. 

He is suffering some sort of dementia episode. They do not know if it is permanent or not. So far they do not know the cause.

My father-in-law (his father ) had Alzheimer's disease. Or there may be another cause.

So I will be renting a car and driving there. I considered other forms of travel and decided this is the safest. The airlines have people on so many flights who cause problems. The nearest train station is about 100 miles from here. Too far. I have traveled this route on the bus before. There is a layover in Chicago and a change of buses. A 2 hour layover is not my idea of fun.

Either way I will be packed in with a bunch of people who may or may not be vaccinated.  I will drive.

I will probably take my laptop with me. It depends. I my write a post or not. It depends.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Better? I Think Not

 I have no problem with anyone who thinks they are better than me. No they are not. They can be as good but they are not better. 

I remember a few. Examples are in order.

One town I lived in was also home to the chiropractor and his wife. They were better of financially than most members of the community. The wife wore expensive clothes and often wore a fur stole just to show off. 

She may have been a nice person. I did not know her. She was a short round woman who wore too much make-up. She had perfectly round very red rouge on her cheeks. Her eyebrows had been shaved or plucked completely off. It looked as if she painted eyebrows in their place.

She bowled in the women's bowling league. I usually was the pinsetter those nights. She would waddle up to the foul line and set her ball down. The slight slope of the lane would allow her ball to roll slowly toward the pins. It seemed like it took forever.

More than once the pins would stop the ball. Then I would have to carefully crawl out of the pits by way of the gutter,retrieve the ball, slide back through the gutter with the ball, and send the ball back to her.

As I said she may have been a nice person. She thought because her money could allow her to have nice things she was better than most folks in town. She was not better.

In another town lived a large woman. By large I mean tall and heavy...not fat just big. She fancied herself to be the social matron of the town. My sweet mother who rarely said an unkind word about anyone called her 'an old battle-ax'.

This woman reminded me of those society matrons in the old Three Stooges movies. She believed she was above everyone else and felt she should be the center of attention at all times.

Once at some social function she sauntered up to the buffet table. Of all the goodies at the table her eyes landed on the pickled crab apples. She picked one up by its stem and held it high in the air loudly (so everyone could hear) "Ah. Pickled crab apples!" 

She threw back her head to receive the delectable treat. The apple fell off the stem into her more than ample cleavage. Everyone noticed.

As you can see she was not better. Perhaps as good. I do not know.

My point is that everyone has good points and bad points. We are human. No better, no worse than the next guy.