January, 2010 - January is a good month for making new beginnings regarding old habits or
readdressing old projects that have almost died for lack of attention. I think consider these things
and make plans, but before I have a lot of time to take action, it is time for the University to begin
classes again. This always brings new challenges with regard to scheduling students for their music
therapy practicum experiences. It is a task that I always hate in the beginning stages, but when
everyone is scheduled, I feel a sense of accomplishment.
Linda McKechnie staged a gathering in Houston called "Handbells Are For Everyone" (a title that
does not adequately describe her mission). I had planned to attend, but my efforts to do that were
ignored - not sure why, nor do I really care. I was concerned that the Guild was promoting
something that was, according to my experience, not available to all members. A letter was drafted
to bring this to their attention, but after some careful thought, I decided against sending it. The work
that Linda is doing is good - even though she seems to have no interest in methods such as the one
I use that is designed to include all persons, regardless of disability.
Former Bell Band member Fred Crane passed away this month. Fred was a nice fellow. He was
cheerful much of the time, but his need to have his own way at other times sometimes caused a little
friction. He had been confined to a nursing home for almost a year. When I visited with him in the
nursing home, he was not doing well, and I am not sure that he recognized me. The impact of going
from his friends in a small group home to a larger nursing facility where everyone was a stranger
was having its effect.
The other members of the Bell Band seem to accept death as a natural part of life, and although
they will talk about Fred, they don't seem do a lot of grieving. Only a few functioning at higher levels
get very emotional at this time. It seems that it should be the other way around - that those lower
functioning, having less connection with "worries of the world", would be more emotional, but
evidently the mind develops that capability only after it has finished making the cognitive
connections that are necessary for survival.
The animals don't seem to do a lot of grieving - or do they? We had two dogs at one time. They
were both female and spent many years together. There was a large rock - like a giant hamburger
patty at least three feet in diameter - in the corner of the back yard. The younger dog died, and we
found her by the rock. For the next three days (and nights) the other dog lay on top of the rock - as if
in a vigil for the departed friend. I have never again seen such a display of grief.
January, 1973 - People who conduct polls to determine the guilt of innocence of the President
should go a step farther and conduct a poll to find out what people think about polls in general. Are
they impartial? Are they valid? Are they guilty of manipulating public opinion and denying a man his
day in court and the due process guaranteed by our Constitution - the same Constitution that
protects the pollsters?
I keep a little card with notes about things I want to include in this column. Getting dressed in the
dark this morning I must have misplaced it somewhere. Little Joe asks, "Why to we go to nursery
school in the dark?" I reply, "I'm not sure why we do it, but I guess we'll just have to follow
instructions for now." We must be saving energy somewhere, but I haven't figured out just where. It
seems to me that "daylight savings" should be concurrent with energy saving, but only when we are
able to make effective use of daylight hours. I'll be very honest to admit that I'm confused about the
whole thing. I somehow feel that it is a classic case of "blind leading the blind" (in the dark).
One of our readers wants to dedicate the old song "After The Ball (game) Is Over" to all of the
football widows who have patiently endured the season. After "Super Sunday" they can celebrate a
much deserved T.V. (temporary victory).
For any of you who may be out of work, I am happy to report that there are plenty of jobs available;
but after personally investigating some of these fantastic (unbelievable) opportunities, I can begin to
understand why some prefer to live on their unemployment compensation. The remuneration
offered by some employers hardly makes it worthwhile to work at all.
Looking into an early morning paper route offered locally, I figured that the pay would average about
a dollar an hour plus gasoline and wear and tear on your automobile. The employer had the gall to
use the term "good pay" in his advertisement.
A firm in Dallas is looking for a responsible, bondable person to take road show movies to various
locations for one week runs and to remain with the film to see that the theatre handled all proceeds
correctly offered the following: Expenses - $10.00 a day. In explaining this figure the man pointed
out that any of this left over was mine to keep, tax free. Salary - $15.00 a day. That's almost
minimum wage - not bad for being a responsible person in a strange place away from family and
friends. I can understand now why they wanted the employee to be bondable. With wages like that
he'd be constantly tempted to run away with the cash box.
(NOTE: There was no poem attached to this one. Not sure why, but I do know that I was looking
very hard for employment to support the family - as is noted by the last two entries above. It was not
a happy time for me, but I received good advice from my father, and we survived. I am proud to say
that I have never had to collect unemployment compensation from Uncle Sam.