How’s About A Little ‘Jingle’ …

Ok….so, I already told you all I purchased a book of “writing prompts” to try to claw my way back up out of my writing ‘funk’. So, I came across one today that I initially ignored and kept looking. However, this crazy thing just kept calling my name. So, having a little bit of a wild and crazy streak in me, albeit rather “dormant”  most of the time…I decided to just go for it and give it my best shot….no matter how embarrassed I may end up being in the end! I will say, no matter how ridiculous this turns out to be, I have had a lot of fun creating it and then trying to figure out how to get my technological devices to deliver what I was after.  You will see this is by no means a flawless “product” but I hope you will get a good belly laugh out of it…..I sure did! Not to mention the fact that it got the old gray matter firing as to some unconventional types of writing that might be just as fun as what I usually do.

The prompt instructed writers to create a little “jingle” for a plumbing service. Well, anyone who knows me knows how much I love music and therefore I just couldn’t do the words alone. I felt it only proper to combine my words with a song who’s lyrics could be creatively “borrowed” to reflect the issues germane to a plumbing service. The Beetle’s “Hello, Goodbye” seemed the perfect fit if you consider one of the “voices” to be the contents of one’s drain.  I have never done such a thing before and especially the technical aspects of trying to merge an audio clip with my own voice over…….no surprise to anyone who hears this I’m sure.

Here are the words to the “advertisement” followed by the whole clip itself:

“When the crap in your drain keeps coming back to say “Hello” and your attempt at “Goodbye” doesn’t seem to be working, you need the professionals at “Pipe Wipers”.  They’ll clear your pipes once and for all to avoid that inevitable pungent “encore” performance! Don’t delay, call Pipe Wipers today!”



More Than Just A Dove …

There’s something about the soft gentle cooing of a mourning dove that calms me and brings back a flood of wonderful memories from my childhood.

I was so very fortunate to have grown up in the same little village that both of my grandparents lived in as well.  Once in a great while, I would get to spend the night with my mom’s mom, who lived alone since my grandpa had died when my mom was only 13.   I loved staying at Grandma’s. I remember sitting at her big round lace-covered oak table to do my homework or to draw my little ‘masterpieces’.  When I wasn’t at the table I could likely be found over in her easy chair by the front door. This spot was by a window and always cooler than the rest of the room. I loved to curl up in that chair and look at the National Geographic magazines and marvel at all the fascinating images of exotic places …and naked bodies.

Grandma’s bathroom had no heat except for a small gas heater that she was always fussing over for some reason.  Her bathroom sink had 2 faucets – one for cold water and one for hot …strange to think back on that now …no such thing as “warm” water at that sink!  And you would only find a green bar of Palmolive soap there as well.  To this day, if I run across a rare bar of that, it immediately transports me back in time.

Grandma didn’t have much income so she saved anything and everything.  Pantyhose were not much on the scene yet for her age group and she wore “stockings” that came in a flat cellophane package with a piece of white stiff paper supporting them.  She saved each and every one of those for my sister and I to draw and color on.  She had an old tin box of old Crayola crayons … ones with names like “maize” and “cornflower blue”. And so began my love affair with “art” and all its’ accoutrements .

On the north wall of her living room, Grandma had an old, old upright piano that had survived something like 10 moves over the course of being in her family.  It was so old and worn out that it had a very ‘twangy’, old-timey-TV western-saloon-type sound to it.  But it was still loved and played daily.  During the course of the 5 years I took piano lessons just down the street from her house, I fondly recall Grandma helping me practice my lessons and then sometimes we would sit side by side on the bench and play duets together…ultimately ending up in giggles over our boo boos……..just like when my mom and I played duets. Such sweet sweet memories.

The highlight, though, of staying overnight at Grandma’s was getting to sleep in my mother’s old bed.  If I close my eyes I can see the whole room just as it was all those many years ago.  A simple dresser on one wall with an old antique hairbrush and mirror set and a little matching glass container that held my mother’s hairpins.

The cotton sheets were always cool and smelled like a sunny summer day, as Grandma always hung her sheets outside on the clothesline to dry.  In the summer, the window next to the bed would be open and I would always wake to the sound of mourning doves cooing ….always.  What a sweet sound that I grew to cherish.

Amazing isn’t it how something so simple can trigger a waterfall of precious old memories.


I slid between the sheets so cool

where Mother once laid too,

And dreamed the dreams that come with youth

and woke to your soft coo.”

One-Liner Wednesday: “Rut Roh …I May Need A Hearing Aide”

When it’s the Red Cross bloodmobile day at your workplace and the sweet and funny gay guy from the office next door pops in and starts talking to a couple other gals in the room and you just happen to hear him say, “Oh they don’t want my type ‘gay’ blood”, to which you roll out of your cubicle on your chair and into the aisle like a flash and respond enthusiastically, “that’s the same type I have!!”, as everyone looks at you with shock, followed quickly with side-splitting  laughter ….because you THOUGHT he said “type A blood”.



This was in response to the writing prompt: One-Liner Wednesday.

I Bought A Book . . .

I recently bought a book. WoW ….stop the presses! Earth-shattering news!  Not.  One of hundreds I’ve purchased in my lifetime, as I always have and always will love them dearly.  So, what’s so special about this one?  It’s a book of writing prompts to help me put pencil to paper, seeing as how I’ve been in a funk and have had a struggle with finding suitable topics lately.  It’s called “642 Things To Write About” .  Seems like a weird and arbitrary number to me.

I can tell you right now, I will not be making use of all 642 because, quite frankly, some are totally ridiculous. For instance, the prompt,  ” You are an astronaut. Describe your perfect day.”, would only conjure up a couple thoughts for me at best.  Number one, I’ve never had an interest in nor any particular curiosity about space or other planets, as there is more than enough here on earth to fascinate me.  Not to mention the fact that I have precisely ZERO desire to don a restrictive Michelin man suit, get strapped into a metal cylinder and be hurtled at light-breaking speed into the ‘wild blue yonder’.  Nope. Not me. Not ever.  Nothing more to say. My “perfect day as an astronaut” would have been finally waking up from the apparent nightmare wherein I inexplicably found myself in precisely that scenario.

Another prompt you will never see me writing about is the following: “Write a short story that is set in Argentina in 1932, in which a teacup plays a crucial role”.  What!?  Seriously?!  The only teacup ever playing a crucial role that I’m aware of was “Chip” in Beauty and the Beast and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t even a glimmer in his animator’s eye way back in 1932.  And furthermore, what do I know about 1932!?  Neither of my parents had even been born yet.  I know even less about Argentina. Just between you and me, being  geographically challenged as I am, I had to look it up just to see exactly where it is!  It’s a good thing too, because now I can rest easy if I ever end up on Jeopardy and they ask me any Argentina questions. I know it’s “down there” in the neighborhood of Brazil…..way south of Florida….AND… also happens to be the 9th largest producer of tea (thank you Google)……a drink that I enjoy with jam and bread. And if you happen to get that last sneaky movie reference, you’re “my people”, and I’ll love you forever…..kindred spirits we are!

Last but certainly not least is another prompt you will NOT see me writing about,..”Write two descriptions of yourself for an online dating service. First, be the kind of girl who’d be taken home to meet the mother. Then, try a hot, sexy version.”  Nope. Not happening.  Been there, done that.   “Fairy Princess Still Seeks White Knight”… how it all started back in ’87 in “The Columbus Single Scene” and we all know how that ended 24 years later.   The now old White Knight, tarnished armor and all, with the help of a stool… back on his now old White Steed and rode off in search of greener pastures.  That “version” was everything you could ever want in regards to “taking her home to Mother”.  On second thought, maybe I should give it another go but with the “hot, sexy version” this time.  This, of course, would be fiction in its’ purest form …. or maybe not … only those brave enough to respond would ever know for sure. As they say, “still water runs deep”…….and some of the wildest, most fascinating books have very nondescript covers.

So, there you have it.  I’m hoping this book will help me in my search for things to write about.

It would appear it’s already working.

Restaurant Review: The Warehouse Steak & Stein

If you’re in the mood for some good food and a relaxing pub-type atmosphere, you might like to add a stop at The Warehouse Steak & Stein to your travel itinerary.  Located at 400 N. Whitewoman St. in quaint little Roscoe Village, an 1830’s restored canal town in Coshocton, Ohio, The Warehouse is one of several unique businesses to explore in this charming little hamlet.

Once inside, you will take note of the “old-timey” design and decor, the comfy booths against the wall, and the darkened lighting which makes for a more relaxed, conversation-friendly vibe.



The menu is generously varied with lots of mouth-watering selections and the prices are reasonable.  I happen to love a good reuben and have tried them far and wide with  varying results.  In my experience, there are many things that can go wrong with the building of this classic sandwich….the corned beef is sometimes quite tough and difficult to chew, too dry or tasteless or sometimes there’s way too much meat in proportion to the other ingredients. Too much or too little kraut or dressing or using an inferior quality of bread can also produce a flop in my humble opinion. I am delighted to say, however, that here at the Warehouse the reuben was delicious and all components were in pleasing proportions. The corned beef was tender and tasty and the rye bread was lightly toasted. The fries were very similar to “fair fries” and the portion was quite generous as well as delicious.  The other two at our table ordered the pulled pork sandwich, which was raved about and a cheeseburger which received high marks as well. The wait staff was friendly, the meal delivered in good time and the restrooms were very clean.


All in all a lovely first trip to this particular eating spot for me but hopefully not the last.  The Warehouse would make the perfect place for a Friday night after work or a casual Saturday date night.  Whenever you go, a good time is almost surely to be had by all.

Dream Jobs …

via Daily Prompt: Insist

Is there a job that you would absolutely love to have but that doesn’t even truly exist?  I can think of several that are really a bit “out there” but would be total ‘nirvana’, nonetheless.

Perhaps an independent “taste tester”, whose razor sharp taste buds are so sought after that she can choose EXACTLY which products she will and will not put in her million-dollar-a-year-mouth.  “Hello, Ms. Miller, this is Ben Cohen.  My buddy Jerry and I got to talking after we saw you on the cover of TIME last week and we were wondering if you would ever be interested in signing on to test our new line of specialty ice creams?  As part of our organization, we would INSIST upon providing you with the sports car of your choosing, a vacation chalet in the Swiss alps, and a $500,000.00 sign-on bonus in addition to your 7 figure salary. So … what do you say….wanna come eat ice cream everyday?   Does a bear poop in the woods?  Do chickens lay eggs?

Only slightly more realistic yet definitely more “worthy” would be the position of “National Hiring Czar”.  I could see it unfolding something like this … “Hello…Ms. Miller, this is Don.  For some reason, “my people” haven’t been able to get past “your people” and I couldn’t find a Twitter account for you, so I decided to give you a call myself. I hear you’re the ultimate expert on making sure we don’t have any cold, unfriendly sourpusses in jobs that involve interacting with the public.  Can you tell me a little bit of your background and how you came to be the most sought-after consultant in this field?”  “Why, yes, Don, I’d be happy to. You see, I’ve been in “front-line” positions with the public from the very start of my 35 year career in the medical field.  During the training for said career, I had the great fortune of some psychology courses that helped me to further understand the workings of the human mind.  I was also blessed with an extra bit of sensitivity and intuitiveness when it comes to looking at my ‘fellow man’ and trying to see what might really be in his heart and what he’s really needing or seeking down deep.  However, probably more important than any of that, Don, is the fact that I myself have been a patient in the medical world for even longer.  My abrupt and involuntary ‘patient life’ began in late high school and continues to this very day.  I learned early on how to be a “good patient” despite fear and/or pain and how to most effectively deal with medical personnel.  More importantly, I learned what qualities are essential in the ‘front-line’ folks, from a patient viewpoint … and likewise what qualities are abhorrent.  These critical qualities may seem so simplistic and common sense … and they are, to those of us who were raised to appreciate the value of kindness and compassion, even in the face of someone else being nasty.  Here’s a prime example of what I’m talking about, Don.

I spent most of yesterday at my first visit in the offices of a prominent specialist in a large city.  Unbeknownst to anyone in this office, I have a long and rather traumatic medical history.  I have been through many, many procedures and some surgeries, some extremely painful, some which made me miserably sick and even almost killed me at one point.  Throughout all of this I have always put on a “brave face” and a smile no matter how many times someone couldn’t get their needle in the right place or didn’t really listen to my symptoms and then further delayed proper treatment.  Even though I am a nurse and very familiar with both sides of the medical world, I have acquired such a case of “white coat syndrome” as a result of all this history, that my level of anxiety at times like yesterday reaches a fever pitch.  Oh you would probably never notice this because I still smile and crack jokes. But inside I’m a fragile mess and basically just need those folks taking care of me to smile and be nice and to help me feel like everything’s going to be OK. My level of tolerance for anything less is becoming lower and lower and I find myself less willing to put up with shoddy or mediocre treatment.  My pen has become my “sword” and I find myself much more willing to wield it the older I get.

So, here I am at the specialist’s office. The front desk receptionist was very friendly. The next gal — the insurance/registration/co-pay lady was nice — the impersonal, “fake” kind of nice but still pleasant.  It was the third gal — the one who did the bulk of the work-up in preparation for the doctor — the one who was gathering and measuring the most important information and therefore the one who needs to be the most friendly, charismatic and welcoming in order to put the patient at ease to help insure the accuracy of said data, etc.  This is the kind of employee whose hiring I would veto if, in fact, I were your National Hiring Czar, Don.  This gal was so cold, unfriendly and mechanical that I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an On/Off switch on the back of her neck. As I tried time and again to lighten the mood and smile at her, I was met with absolutely nothing but disdain. This only increased my anxiety and made me feel very insignificant.  Insignificant is not the word I would use to describe the importance of “customer service” in today’s very competitive field of medicine. Hospitals and doctors are competing worldwide for the ever-shrinking dollar and therefore it is critically important for all staff to be trained in the art of hospitality and common courtesy.

In my dream job as National Hiring Czar, I would never allow such people to interact directly with the public, because it certainly appears that they have no desire to nor skills for such.  No, these folks would be kept behind the scenes shuffling papers..or paperclips..or other inanimate objects.  I would INSIST, had I the position, that all those working with the public would, first of all, open that hole beneath their nose and SMILE, would be kind, sensitive and very welcoming. It may sound piddly to you Don, but this is serious business….and I know business is your ‘gig’.  As National Hiring Czar, I would also like to travel the country giving inservices to all kinds of corporations, big and small, educating their HR departments on who to hire and who to NOT for any of their front-line positions. So, that’s what I’m all about Don and pretty much how it all came to be. ”

I doubt very much that this position will ever find its’ way into existence any more than the fantastically unrealistic ice cream job, but ….. a girl can dream, can’t she!


This post was done in response to the “Daily Prompt” requiring the use of the word “insist”.


It’s not difficult to find posts and humorous articles about the increase in aging-related trips down the ever-increasing “bunny trails” as we skip through the forest of life. In other words, some of us seem to become more easily distracted by the “side trips”…….the pretty flowers a few feet off the path …. and less interested or less able to maintain, at the forefront of our brains, the “original focus or destination” of our “trip” through the “forest”.

Although it may endanger my reputation as a card-carrying member of the “sane” community, I will attempt to share a personal example with you… give you a “window” into the utter incredulity of this “phenomenon “. I typically get up very early every weekday morning to set about accomplishing a well-honed list of tasks before I leave for work. The main GOALS:

1) Take your Synthroid, Woman… it is a non-negotiable, life-sustaining med, especially for “lucky” folks like you who no longer have a thyroid gland. But remember old girl……take it on an empty stomach and NOTHING else….not even your tea for at least 30 – 60 minutes!

2) Make your 2 jugs of fresh lemon juice and stevia water and put them in the freezer to get cold before you take them with you to drink on all day. Pack your lunch too, to avoid the fast food temptations.

3) Feed those 2 furry creatures with the long tails who call you ‘mama’.

4) Get your big old caboose downstairs onto that treadmill and get it going for at least 30 minutes

5) Breakfast….which is now actually supper, after reading that if you don’t eat anything after 2pm, the weight will just drop off. Yeah right…….we’ll see how that works. In the meantime, going to bed hungry….albeit it voluntarily….. and with a true hurting belly makes me feel much more empathy for the plight of the homeless.

6) Prayer & Devotions

7) Emails, Online newspapers, Facebook, WordPress

8) Shower

9) Hair, Makeup, Dressing

10) 35 – 40 minute commute to work

Seems pretty straightforward. Add to the above mix that my daughter often calls for an early morning chat —-which I love and would never NOT want —-somewhere between #6 – #8.  Perhaps you can see why I often feel like I need a nap by the time I get to work.

As I’m taking my Synthroid, I happen to notice that for some crazy reason, I must have brought my “bathroom glasses”…you know, those one-of-a-million-pair-of-readers I have laying all over my house…out into the kitchen. Well, knowing me as I do, I know that if I DO NOT take them back to the bathroom RIGHT NOW, I will forget and then the next time I’m doing my all-important bathroom “reading”, I won’t be able to see diddly squat when I NEED to. So, instead of grabbing a lemon out of the fridge to make my daily ration of lemon water, I head back to the bathroom with said glasses. As I’m leaving the bathroom I notice that there is an empty shampoo bottle in the trash can….odd.  Oh yes…..that is my signal to put a replacement into the shower. So, I delay my trip back to the kitchen to go to the linen closet to fetch a new bottle of shampoo and put it in the shower so that the next time I’m in there sudsing up, I don’t have to run back out in my old, dripping wet birthday suit, creating puddles on my hard wood floor, to get a new bottle. Mission accomplished! As I’m FINALLY heading back to the kitchen through the living room, I happen to notice that yet again, I have inadvertently left my phone charger plugged in…..against the advice of my nephew who told me it is a common fire hazard. So, I bend down to unplug that to make sure my house doesn’t burn down while I’m at work. While down there close to the floor, I see a pen that I haven’t seen for awhile. This immediately brings to mind the pair of “living room glasses” that I have been doggedly searching for for weeks, after they vanished into thin air overnight. Apparently vision-impaired aliens liked the pretty blue color and decided to abscond with them…because I have turned my house upside down looking everywhere to no avail!!  Not because I don’t have 15 other pairs I can wear, but because I like THOSE for when I sit in my recliner and read. So, I decide to move the recliner forwards and backwards while looking underneath…… blue glasses…….but there has sure been a lot of apparent “humping” going on under there because the “dust bunnies” have multiplied like crazy! Boy….gotta remember to get under there with the dust mop….but not now, as I MUST get back to the kitchen to make my lemon water! A few minutes later that mission is finally accomplished. Onward to the cats and the treadmill!  While feeding the two fur balls, I notice that my washer lid across the room is closed instead of open. Poo. That must mean I forgot to put that load of clothes into the dryer. So, I stop to do that while the cats are happily crunching away on their kibble.

Finally, I’m on the treadmill. My “treadmill playlist” is vibrating the basement walls as I’m treading away…..but I’m thinking of a million other things instead of the tunes……”what am I going to wear today?…….Is this an office-all-day kind of day or am I out doing home visits today?……Who do I need to see?……Did I return all 10 of those voicemails yesterday?……Why is Winston sitting across the room in the sink staring at me like that?……wonder what he’s thinking…..wish he could talk…….hey buddy, are there anymore bats in this basement anywhere?…….I sure hope there aren’t any of those hideous wolf spiders above my head right now…….I could die on this thing and no one would know for days……..speaking of which, those furry turds must have taken the little bottle of chewable baby aspirin I put on the shelf by the treadmill just in case I start to have chest pain while slogging away on this stupid thing…….of course, if you would start to have a heart attack while you’re walking on here, do you honestly think you’d be able to get the damn child-proof lid off the aspirin in time anyway……silly woman……kids are probably the only ones who CAN get those stupid lids off……oh well……you need to remember to get some new duds to wear for this morning drudgery , just in case those young squad guys would ever have to break in and find your sorry butt draped awkwardly over this still-churning belt……in these ratty old spandex shorts and this more-holey-than-not T-shirt………bra-less…and with “bed hair”, no less…….

I will spare you the rest of this “stream of consciousness” but I think you probably get the gist of it all.  It actually makes me tired just reliving and writing it!  It’s a wonder I get to work on time!  This, however, is why I sometimes never get a lot accomplished on the weekends… thing leads to another…..and another…….ad infinitum.

As you can see, I did NOT write about the train that derailed just up the road from my house this morning. No, this is an entirely different kind of “derailment”. One that seems to affect our “train trips” more and more the older we get. Here’s wishing your “derailments” today become pleasant little side trips that bring you humor along your daily journey.


This post is part of SoCS: Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Derailments…..

Would You?

A fellow WordPress blogger wrote a hysterically funny piece on the French “Nutella War” recently in the news and it got me to thinking.  For those of you who might not have heard this most ridiculous report, apparently some grocery store over in France put their Nutella (that high-calorie chocolatey hazelnut spread) on sale at 70% off and the shoppers were quite literally beating each other up to get to it before the supply ran out.  This fellow blogger asked the question, “So, what item(s) would you start a “Nutella War” for?

Well, I put my thinking cap on and pondered that thought for awhile.  What I WOULD HAVE fought for and what I’d fight for now are vastly different things, seeing as how I’m now trying so hard to eat healthier.  I WOULD HAVE maybe fought for peanut M&M’s or those soft and ever-so-moist Archway strawberry-filled cookies.  What would I fight for now …. Hojicha green tea.  WHAT?!!  I don’t even LIKE green tea!  At the first sip, my taste buds, normally very pacifistic from years of enduring nothing but pleasurable food and drink, stand up and “present arms”.  What is this green ‘swill’ that tastes like an unhappy marriage of seaweed and spinach?!  Oh, but the reported “health benefits” of this vile drink.  Yeah .. so they say.  In marches Hojicha green tea.  Still technically a ‘green tea’ but the leaves were “roasted” first which apparently scared the spinach/seaweed flavor molecules right outa ‘dodge’ and replaced them with pleasant nutty-tasting counterparts.  This, with a healthy shot of stevia has become the first sip to pass my lips every morning and I’ve grown to love it.  Would I ‘fight’ for it?  Perhaps, if I could do it with “the pen” — which is often mightier than “the sword”.

In reality, I can’t see myself PHYSICALLY fighting for anything other than my kids, my family or my faith … definitely not any kind of food item … and definitely not for Nutella.

Business Review: The Mansfield Art Center

I tend to be pretty stingy with my free time, seeing as how it’s very limited.  I’m especially ‘tightfisted’ with my lunch hours and choose to spend most of them reading while eating during the first half and sleeping the second half.  This past Thursday, however, I decided to change it up a bit and make the short drive from my office to check out the current watercolor exhibit at The Mansfield Art Center at 700 Marion Ave. in Mansfield, Ohio.  As a huge lover of art and “artsy pursuits”, I am embarrassed to admit this was only my third time in the building.  I was there many years ago for something specific in the gift shop and then again last spring when I took a class on silver ring making, which I absolutely loved.

I subscribe to the Center’s email notifications and when the recent one announcing the watercolor exhibit came thru I was especially interested. I dabble in watercolors now and then and am always eager to see other peoples’ techniques.  I was not disappointed.  When I arrived, there were no other patrons, making it all very peaceful and relaxing; a welcome break from phones ringing non-stop and computer screens glaring.

Knowing first-hand what a difficult medium it is to work with, I was so in awe of the wide range of techniques, subjects and the ways in which the many different artists expressed themselves.  I generally lean towards realism rather than abstract or impressionistic styles and am happy to report there was a very nice representation of all.  When I look at watercolor paintings, I first like to get real up close and personal …did they sketch it out first or not?…did they use pencil or ink?….how do the lines contribute to the painting as a whole? ….how did they use light?….etc. Then I like to back up several feet and look at it from more of a distance.  The very roomy gallery at the Art Center made this very easy.  There are many large windows throughout the uniquely designed building which make for an abundance of natural light and a very sunny and pleasing atmosphere.  I also couldn’t help but notice the cool mobile hanging from the ceiling, which reminds one that the Center is home to many types of art besides paintings.

After my leisurely stroll around the upstairs gallery, I came down and explored all the handmade treasures in the gift shop.  What a beautiful variety ranging from hand carved wooden bowls, ceramics, handmade soap and paintings to stunning jewelry of all kinds and materials.  Of course I felt it my duty to support such a worthy cause by bringing home yet another pair of beautiful sterling silver earrings and some handmade soap with some mighty clever packaging that reminded me of my own such products years ago. The gentleman manning the gift shop could not have been any nicer or more helpful.  He was also very appreciative and thanked me several times for stopping by.

I left better than when I arrived … more relaxed and a bit more culturally enhanced. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing”.  And that, my friends is my overwhelming consensus of the Mansfield Art Center …it’s a very good thing.  I look forward to visiting again and I regularly scan their offerings of classes that appeal to me and fit into my schedule.

A wonderful community resource for the artistically inclined as well as those who just appreciate art and all it encompasses. I encourage you to check it out.

Index To A Life

As I’ve mentioned many times throughout this blog, I have always had a deep and abiding love for music.   So much so that it serves as an “index” of sorts for my almost 57 years of living.  Specific songs produce immediate memories and visual images in my mind’s eye of a particular time and place.  A ‘rolodex’ of my memories, if you will.

My earliest memories were of ‘church songs’; songs we sang in Sunday School at our Lutheran church in the mid to late 60’s.  “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Fast forward from elementary grade Sunday school to “Luther League”.  Just as my physical body was growing and changing, so too were my musical tastes, as they met with the songs of that era. To this day, as soon as I hear the first few stanzas of “Magic” by Pilot, there is an image that pops up on my “screen” that seems as real as if it were yesterday and yet light years ago….simultaneously, somehow.  I’m sitting on a log on a fall day with my good friend Jayne and several others. We’re at a remote location up the road from what is now the Pleasant Hill Outdoor Camp.  It’s the Luther League “initiation” event and we are excitedly chatting about that and other things. The “other things” including the fact that one of the “older” Luther Leaguers who was to be initiating us is someone I happen to have had a huge crush on over the span of several of my teen years.  Of course, being the total socially inept wallflower that I was, Mr. L.F. never even had a clue that I scanned the congregation for his blonde locks every Sunday from my perch in the choir and watched with my heart doing flip flops as he came down the center aisle on his Sundays to help usher. I think someone had a transistor radio there that day and this song played during that time there on the log, hence the permanent ‘DVD’ it created in my brain.

In that same general time frame of my early teens, I discovered the one and only Elton John, John Denver, and The Carpenters…and so it is that songs like “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, Take Me Home Country Roads”, “Rainy Days & Mondays” and “If” by Bread bring on images of me lolling around in my bedroom, staring off into space. A bedroom filled with posters of John Denver and my then sexy ballet dancer idol – Mikhail Baryshnikov, where I listened to music for hours while wrestling with teenage hormone-driven melancholia and introspection. Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen” was also a regular on my turntable at that time.

Late junior high/early high school I happened to be the piano accompanist to the church junior choir.  Our church back then housed “interns” … young college-aged men studying to become Lutheran ministers, each for a year or so.  The one during this particular time period caught my silly teen eye … a totally one-sided situation (mine) I assure you, as I barely even spoke to him for the entire duration of his internship.  However, as the choir practiced immediately after school and I was not driving quite yet, he nicely offered to come pick me up at the high school in order to get me to practice in a timely manner.  Oh be still my heart! For a shy teen who was so totally inexperienced with even talking to guys, let alone never even dating any, this was the pinnacle of my existence at that moment in time!  For the first time in my life, I felt like “hot stuff”, walking out amongst my high school peers to get in the car of an “older man” after school once a week.  Just writing that sentence makes me laugh, even after all these years!!  I was so clueless.  I remember these car rides vividly along with some of the songs playing on the radio at the time.  Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You” and “Three Times A Lady” by The Commodores are the standouts in my mind.

As high school progressed, I stopped playing piano for the choir but I never stopped loving the music of the day.  “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas and “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin were among many of note back then.

From high school it was on to college where not only did I blossom and expand my world in so many ways but, so too my musical tastes.  Heretofore, I was mostly into folk, ballads, and soft rock.  My new world found instant pleasure as well with pop tunes like “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, a song that to this very day just makes me feel good whenever I hear it’s fast lively beat.  It transports me immediately back to those college days that were some of the best in my life.  “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics and “Centerfold” by the J.Geils Band evoke similar feelings of positivity and rejuvenation.

My sophomore year was a pivotal one for many reasons.  For starters, this was when my friends and I discovered a place out on the far west side of Columbus called The Dixie Electric Company … and I discovered how much I loved to dance.  We went at least once a week. As soon as I hear the first few bars of “Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy, the song they opened with every night, I can see the dance floor in the darkened room, strobe lights flitting around like lightning bugs in the summer.  This was also the time and place I met my first and only long-term boyfriend.  He asked me to dance. I used to remember the song that we first danced to…and if I heard it again I probably still would but right now the name eludes me. I was in awe of his 6’4″, Tom Selleck-like good looks, dark mustache and all.  He was a smooth operator … too smooth for this inexperienced small-town girl.  He told me he drove a “German sports car”…..which turned out to be a yellow and black VW Karmann Ghia, a bit of a trick for his tall self.  He was full of self confidence and charm … enough to sell sand to the Arabs if he wanted to. Well I fell … hook, line, and sinker…. for this older looking smooth dude who made me feel like a million bucks.  Imagine my surprise a few weeks later when he revealed that not only was the ID he used to buy us wine a fake, but he was actually 2 years YOUNGER than me!! I was in shock but ended up going to his high school graduation at the end of that year and many other events throughout the three years we dated.

Many many songs mark this time period for me.  Abba was and still is one of my all-time favorites bands, as was and is ELO. In fact, “Take A Chance On Me” was the song that sparked the idea for this very post, when my iMusic “mixer” included it in a recent playlist for me. It instantly evoked such a feeling of happiness and pleasure that I felt I needed to further explore this whole idea of “music-ignited memories”.

After college, life started to get real serious real quick. My first job was on a very stressful, fast-paced pediatric unit where my roommate and fellow OSU classmate also worked.  She and my boyfriend were both chain smokers and soon I began the nasty habit as well.  We worked long and hard hours on the floor and then stayed way past our shift smoking and charting in the nurse’s lounge. Can you imagine!?  Stupid fools we were!  I had even given a speech in high school about the health-related ‘evils’ of smoking! This became my James Taylor phase, as his smooth and silky “You’ve Got A Friend , Sweet Baby James” and so many others were what I listened to in an effort to balance the hectic work life.  Even though I thankfully have not had a cigarette in my mouth for over 30 years now, as soon as I hear his voice, I STILL think about lighting up.  The brain is a strange and powerful thing indeed.

In June of 1987, four years out of college, I met my future husband and we married 7 months later.  From here life got REALLY serious REALLY fast … a move from the city back to small town life, the birth of our daughter, life threatening illnesses for both of us – in the same year no less, job losses, financial struggles and much much more.  During these 24 years there was not a lot of extra thought given to music per se’.  There wasn’t time.  Then in 2011, a month before our daughter was to graduate from college, things fell apart .  The bottom fell out of my life completely.  Back came the music … in a VERY big way.  I was totally heartsick and broken.  The songs of Selah — “Rescue Me”,Press On”, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” and many many more spoke to my wounded heart and helped to pull me through the trauma of that first year after he left.  As much as I love those songs, I have a hard time listening to them now, without choking up and tears, as they transport me back in time to those very, very dark days.

Almost 7 years later and my music is front and center again and I enjoy so many different artists and genre’s.  Music touches me so deeply, more so than just about anything else.  It has the power to make me deliriously happy or very ‘gray’ and melancholy.  But no matter the mood evoked, it brings images to my mind …. truly an “index” to my life.

How about you? What makes your memories come alive? What place does music have in your life?