My Forrest Gump Moment!

ForrestmomentThey’re not unique and they’re not unusual. I believe that everyone who lives a normal life from time to time, gets to have what I like to call….a Forrest Gump moment!

My most recent one of these happened recently at the Denver Veterans Hospital where I was playing my guitar and trying to bring a little musical joy to the Vets over there. As best as I can recall, it goes something like this;

My usual routine is to park my body at the nurse’s station at 9:00am and play a few tunes to warm up before heading down the hallway to the patient’s rooms. The head nurse sits me right beside her because she says she likes to hear me play but I think she does it so that I won’t get run over by all the traffic in the hallway!

This week, as I’m sitting there noodling along, a fellow rolls up to me in a wheelchair. He’s kind of rough cut with one leg amputated at the knee and the other at the ankle. He’s wearing a truck driver hat that says “Gilley’s,” and when he smiled, some of his teeth were missing. I distinctly remember thinking how this fellow reminded me of Cap’n Dan from the movie “Forrest Gump” and then realizing, “If he’s Cap’n Dan, then that would make me Forrest wouldn’t it?”wheelchair

He rolled up to me real close for a minute, squinted his eyes and said, “Ya know any Merle Haggard?” Nothing in my CMP studies had prepared me for this, and since I’d never given much thought to the therapeutic healing values of “Okie from Muskogee,” I lied, and said something like “not right now.” He just continued to give me that hard stare and said, “Ya better learn some or I might have to whup me some ass!” I wasn’t too worried. Even as old and slow as I am, I can probably still outrun a guy in a wheelchair! He then turned his attention to the head nurse who seemed like she might have dealt with him before, and announced to her that someone had stolen his cell phone and if he ever caught the so-and-so that did it, there was going to be hell to pay!

The head nurse immediately showed the proper amount of concern and asked all the right questions. “Did you check the night stand?” or “Did you look in the bathroom?” etc. He came back negative on all those questions and his voice level was raising along with the color of his vocabulary. Finally, a young orderly who was working at the station asked the gentleman what his phone number was and when he dialed it up on his own phone, suddenly there was a muffled ringing from the seat of the wheelchair and our friend in the “Gilley’s” hat realized that he’d been sitting on his phone all along! He looked like he’d been stuck with a hot poker and I think you could probably hear the laughter half way to Castle Rock!

On a more solemn note, yesterday was the opening day of professional football season. It was also the day that Pat Bowlen, owner of the Denver Broncos, announced that due to the fact that he was battling Alzheimer’s disease, and had been for two years, was relinquishing control of the franchise and turning over the reins to others within the organization.

This brings reality home to everyone on this planet. You always hear excuses for the causes of this disease like, improper lifestyle, improper diet, not enough exercise etc., all the things people come up with to deny the truth. Alzheimer’s doesn’t play favorites. It goes wherever it wants to and attacks whomever it feels like. So far, the only thing we’re capable of doing is to care for these folks in the best possible manner we know of and to my knowledge, there is no known cure for this one yet.

In my music travels, I get to play for plenty of folks with Alzheimer’s. It’s sad to see people who were once active, functioning members of society be reduced to someone who needs constant care and attention but, sad to say, that’s the way Alzheimer’s works. Pray for a cure.

Thanks again for your donations. Please send your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.

Thanks and have a great week everybody.

Rod

 

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YOU HAVE A FRIEND AT SENIOR ASSISTANCE CENTER!!

I have known CJ101_1361 Johnson since long before she ever took over the wheel at Senior Assistance Center, I knew her as a person who was capable of taking charge of any situation she was introduced to, but the direction she’s taken lately has built a whole new level of respect inside me and I know it’s a sign of good things to come at the  Senior Assistance Center at 2839 W. 44th Ave. right here in beautiful downtown Denver Colorado!

For years, CJ and I have maintained our friendship and  been able to take time to go out to lunch occasionally to tell each other our war stories about how we’re plotting and planning to get ahead in the world, but her latest story beats anything I’ve heard so far!

I’ve always known Senior Assistance Center to be a local food bank where folks without means could come by and pick up good quality food to help you gain a little more month at the end of the money. Now, on top of all her food bank duties at the 44th ave. location, she has devised a plan for reaching out to neighborhood disadvantaged people in a way I hadn’t heard of, and she calls it feeding the “Hidden Hungry.”

By way of explanation, the term “Hidden Hungry” pertains to those who live in public housing and for whatever reason don’t have the means to get to a food bank and quite often find themselves confined to their apartments with no means of getting to where the food is. CJ has countered this by taking the food to where the people are, and it has turned out to be a real blessing for those very needy folks. The following paragraphs are CJ Johnson explaining the need in her own words;

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Our Road to the Hidden Hungry Campaign Goal is to raise 75,000 by September 30,2014non-profit3-back.jpg
On January 1, 2014 we started a mobile food bank to transport food to seniors who live in affordable housing developments in the Denver Metro Area. This is a pilot program. Our intention is to make this a permanent program to reach out to the hidden hungry by supplying food to seniors in our community. In addition to our weekly food bank located at our office and our 2 mobile food banks we serve over 300 seniors per week and we hope with the support of the community we can increase that number to 500 per week.
Every donation we receive and every act of kindness we perform has a huge and immediate impact. It doesn”t take a lot to make a huge difference and we rely on your support to ensure no senior goes without the necessities of life, including food, shelter and public services.

Every donation we receive and every act of kindness we perform has a huge and immediate impact. It doesn”t take a lot to make a huge difference and we rely on your support to ensure no senior goes without the necessities of life, including food, shelter and public services.

Donate now !

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Senior Assistance Center

2839 W. 44th Ave Denver, Co 80211
303-455-9642 http://www.seniorassistancecenter.org

So that’s it boys and girls. I know there’s been very few of us who couldn’t use a helping hand from time to time and this lady is one who is doing her best to see to it that folks in need get a hand up. If you can help a little, I know that I for one would sure appreciate it!

Send me your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and if I can use them, I surely will.

Thanks again, and have a great week everybody.

Rod

 

 

A little time with NSCWC

Lavolunteerstely, I seem to have had ample opportunity to write about things on the negative side of the fence. I don’t know if that’s just me, or if it’s because there are just so many negative things to write about, my cup runneth over!

This week, I’m vowing to change things a little, and that’s in part because of a group I got to play for at the Applewood Country Club recently. It’s a women’s volunteer group called “North Suburban Christian Women’s Connection” or NSCWC for short.

To begin with, the lady who invited me to play is also the lady who recently sold my condo. Her name is Amy Simon and not only did she sell my property in a short time but she sold it at the right kind of price in a tough market! I did not hesitate to put her name on my, “good person to know” list and renamed her “Famous Amos”. To top that off, when the sale was complete, she bought me a gallon of maple syrup (because she knew I was from Canada!) Now…if she could just find me someone to make the pancakes…!!

My first eye opener with NSCWC was that I was supposed to begin playing “background” music at 12:00pm as that’s when seating would begin, and whaddaya know? That’s what they did! Then, different speakers got up and spoke while the others listened voland I sat and made it my fondest wish that our political leaders and congress could just once, come and listen to  people actually listening while someone else is speaking! What a concept! These ladies accomplished more in 30 minutes than our congress has been able to accomplish in the last two years!

I know that sounds corny but it’s true! The main goal of NSCWC is to HELP and I can’t understand why that seems to be such a tough goal to accomplish for everyone but them! Back in Ohio these days, you have two men who seem to make the news no matter what else is going on. One guy’s name is LeBron James, star professional athlete and team leader who is returning to his home town to give back and help his people succeed. The other guy’s name is John Boehner, speaker of the house, professional politician, and a man dedicated to the idea of preventing as many people as possible from being able to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act! Wouldn’t it be nice if these guys could switch places for a couple of days or maybe come out to Denver to learn how to HELP, or just watch how the ladies at NSCWC do it! I wish we could all aspire to that!

Speaking of helping, I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of you who have been so generous and contributed money to my little fund in order to help me play some music and try to make things a little better for the Vets down at the VA hospital and other hospital locations as well. It’s kind of funny, but I believe a lot of these guys might have been “pickers” before they got into the military and consequently ended up here. Everywhere you go, somebody on crutches or in a wheelchair is always asking, “Hey man, you know any Jimi Hendrix” or “Hey man, you know any Clapton?” No matter what, even if you butcher a tune (which I’ve been known to do from time to time), they still tell you how great it was and how much they appreciate you playing for them.

If I live to be 150, I will never get over just how great if feels to play a little music for some of these guys (and sometimes girls) and feel the honest to God emotion that comes straight from their heart to mine. I know that it doesn’t come easily and it’s not something you want to just pass off and ignore. So….Thanks again folks. You’re helping a good cause!

Send me your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.

Thanks again and have a great week everybody!

Rod

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Tsunami !!

3-immigration-policy-selective-perceptionRoughly one hundred and fifty years ago, somewhere in the 1860’s, there was a day when an old Indian scout, out hunting food, looked across the plains and saw a wagon train loaded with white settlers slowly making it’s way across the vast prairies with all their belongings tied to the wagons. Their families and livestock walked along behind the wagons mindlessly taking their direction from the lead wagon and secure in the idea that what they were heading toward was better than what they were leaving behind!

The old scout watched with misgivings in his heart because he knew that what he was watching would change his life. More and more of these strange white skinned people with their big, high wheeled wagons and strange clothing would come until they were as thick as the grass on the prairie and the buffalo and all his hunting ground would be gone! He knew he should return to his village, round up a war party of young braves who hated the settlers and return to wipe them out. Sadly he realized it would be like fighting the wind because more would come to replace them and he was sad and afraid.

The old scout had every reason to be afraid because what he was watching was the oncoming death of his way of life as he knew it. Indeed, soon there would be many more odd looking white people with their pale white skin and blond hair, choosing to live in one place in a sod hut or group of sod huts rather than moving with the buffalo as he had done all his life. He couldn’t understand why anyone would want to scar the land with their plows just to grow things to eat when everything you really needed was already growing in plenty. Nor could he understand why they killed buffalo and other wild animals just for the fun of killing, when they already had more meat than they needed.mextsunami

What the old scout didn’t know was that many miles further south from where he sat, a territorial battle had taken place about fifteen years earlier between other pale skinned warriors and the brown skinned Mexicans. The fight was later to be called by some the Mexican-American war where the US drove out most of the Mexicans and took over their territories of California and New Mexico after paying the Mexican government 15 million dollars. As an afterthought, the US assumed 3.25 million the Mexican government owed US citizens and Mexico threw Texas into the deal as a sweetener. This whole thing took place in about a year and a half. Suddenly, the Rio Grande river separated our countries, and just as suddenly we had immigration of both kinds, legal and illegal. It’s been going on ever since and it’s no closer to being solved than the day it began.

For years, the main export from Mexico to the US besides cheap labor was marijuana. The game was, that the sellers worked diligently to figure out more sophisticated ways of avoiding customs and getting product into our country by land, sea, and air. On the other end, our government worked just as diligently to figure out ways to catch them, and the game went on. After a period of time we figured out ways to grow a pretty good product of our own and some places even legalized it. It didn’t take long for the drug lords and coyotes to diversify and find a new source of income and soon the game changed. Almost overnight the gangs in the southernmost Central American countries jumped into a new and much more deadly export game. The export is children.

In the past year, a tsunami of children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have risked life and limb in order to land on our border. Some say to be rescued. Some say to avoid certain death in their homeland. Some say to find a distant relative or maybe their parents who have already found work here. Who knows all the reasons? There are almost as many as there are homeless children but one thing is for sure, this is about as cold and sadistic a game of life and death as anyone has ever seen.

I realize the “not in my town” response to this from those who see it as a threat to their way of life solves nothing. Neither does the blatant “non response” of our cardboard christian congress. Frankly, our own political indifference to this situation questions our  humanity to its very core. More to follow…..

Please send your comments and critiques. I’ll make sure to read them all and use them if I can.

Thanks again everybody,

Rod

 

 

 

It Ain’t Easy Bein Sleazy!!

Maybe it’s a sigWE Coyoten of the times or maybe it’s a sign of my aging warped sense of humor, but my new “funniest stuff of all time” these days consists of watching the political shenanigans of our Congress on the TV news.  It’s funnier than anything else on TV and cheaper than going to the movies! If you’d like to join me and indulge yourself in these little flights of fantasy , first, you have to concede that our Congress is broken, permanently and irretrievably.

Secondly, you have allow yourself to visualize everything you see in the context of an “Abbot and Costello meets The Three Stooges” movie and then wrap that up in a Road Runner cartoon surrounded by a Soap Opera. Third you have to come to grips with the fact that this is as good as it’s gonna get and you’re paying out around $174,000 annual salary 435 times in order for this little fracas to take place!  Fourth, it helps if you give some of your main characters pet names. I have names like “Moonpie” and “Bubba,” Eric Cantor was going to be “Pooder” until a couple of weeks ago. Certain characters will always have their own special names that can’t change. As a for instance, Sarah Palin has always been known as “Moma Grizzly” and shall be for all time. Following the Mississippi Republican primary, the wrong side won (according to Sarah) and we can only imagine her taking a little Thad Cochran doll back to her Moma Grizzly cave where she promptly chewed it’s head off! Lastly, we need a “special” personality to announce the evening news. My vote would have gone to Richard Pryor if he was still around. My alternatives would be someone like Dave Chappelle or Chris Rock. Then my political home entertainment cartoon would be complete!

Obviously, youpoliticians must have someone to play the main characters in your little mental movie. I’vRRe chosen Barack Obama to play the part of the road runner since he seems well suited to the part. He’s skinny, fast, smart and always manages to be one step in front of the slightly bleary eyed (and possibly hung over,) ever scheming Wile E. Coyote. By cunning and skill of his own he always manages to outsmart Wile E. in the nick of time just when Wile E. thinks he finally has him cornered. Finally for the coups de gras you have to have a special person with a special personality to play the part of Wile E. Coyote. That character can only be played by one person, Speaker of the House, John Boehner! He’s perfectly suited for the part.

Now, this kind of scenario wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for all the outside factors in Wile E.’s (Boehner’s) life that keep him off kilter and slightly out of  balance, never absolutely sure whether today, he gets to be the hammer or boehner1the nail, and never too sure of what’s in front of him or who’s sneaking up on him from behind. The picture above shows Wile E. (Boehner) at a recent event holding hands with Harry Reed While singing Kum Ba Yah. I can only imagine he would have preferred to take a bullet than be caught holding hands and singing songs with Harry Reed! No kidding folks, Las Vegas has nothing that can top this!

Recently, the Congress has broken down like an old clunker and come to a complete halt in the middle of the road. They refuse to act on any of the proposals the President has made and Boehner says it’s because they don’t trust him. To me, that sounds something like Saddam Hussein saying he doesn’t trust Mother Teresa! Just to put a little icing on the cake, he is filing a lawsuit against the President for not doing his duties the way Boehner thinks he ought to. (Cue the laugh track!)

I could go on and on with all this but it’s almost time for the evening news and I need to get situated in my recliner with my iced tea and a box of Kleenex. Life’s good when you’re having fun!

Please send me your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.

Thanks again and Happy 4th of July everybody!

Rod