I guess this is my week for TV frustration. Why? Last night, in a desperate attempt to find something worth watching on the “boob” tube, I resigned myself to accepting the fact that the most intellectual thing I could find was the NHL hockey playoffs on the sports channel. Watching grown men try to commit murder and mayhem on each other over a little rubber disc was preferable to watching anything the anchors on the news channels wanted us to swallow!In desperation I turned off the TV and fired up my computer. As I noodled around on Google, I started looking at some stats of the impact Sequestration is having on older folks and those less fortunate across the nation. Not only cuts to “Meals on Wheels” for seniors, but “Head Start” programs for poor kids in poorer neighborhoods. In addition to that, our peerless political leaders have now come up with a 20.5 billion dollar across the board reduction in Food Stamp programs (why is it none of them look very hungry?) for seniors and poor folks as well. A picture immediately fills my mind of a roomful of seniors I played for this very afternoon at Innovage Johnson Adult Day Care.An adult day care facility is just that. It’s a place where seniors who are no longer capable of looking after themselves 24/7 can come and have supervised care and a warm meal throughout the day that otherwise might not happen. They’re not well off and sometimes their care is a little spotty to say the least. One lady I met made a special impression on me as she came and sat in the front row. She was wearing a big foppy hat and had a great smile and it was easy to see that she had been quite a beauty in her day. “Do you know any old songs?” she asked. “All my songs are old.” I replied. “Do you know any Stan Kenton?” she asked, and before I could answer she said, ” I sang for him in 1951.” I tried to pick myself up off the floor.For those readers who may not know, Stan Kenton, back in the good old days, was thought of as one of the most avant garde big band leaders of all time. Kind of like the Frank Zappa of his day. He wasn’t afraid of exotic harmonies, in fact he sought them out and added extra horns in his band just so those harmonies could be reached! People who went to his concerts came away shaking their heads as though they weren’t quite sure of what they’d just experienced. All they were really sure of, was nothing else like that was going to be coming down the road again any time soon!
So there I was, feeling a little guilty and wondering how an ex singer with the Stan Kenton orchestra was going to accept my solo guitar version of “How much is that Doggy in the Window, ” or another real screamer like “Blue Moon?!”
Not to worry! It turned out that my brand new lady friend and former Stan Kenton singer was celebrating her birthday! (I believe she’s 91!) We also found out her name was Gerti and she had baked a huge plate of cookies for everyone in the room to share! So, for that afternoon at least, we forgot all about the important work our politicians are doing like chopping “Meals on Wheels” programs and making sure they’re going to be able to fly to their next golf outing. We sang with gusto and gave “Happy Birthday” everything we had! So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY GERTI I hope you had a great day!
As usual, send me your comments and suggestions. I’ll read them all and use them if I can.