|May, 2010: In the last installment I forgot to mention the BP oil spill that occurred on April 20. It
occurred to me to mention it now, because the problem continues to grow each hour. No claims
of terrorist activity have surfaced with regard to this explosion, but you can bet that the terrorist
community is watching this unfold with great interest. This is the kind of disaster that "keeps on
giving" and is not soon forgotten. What a mess!! Chances are there were some preventative
regulations discussed that fell victim to deals under the table and the general consensus that we
need more oil at any cost. I don't know what to say, except that, like other disasters, we will
somehow find a way to survive this one also.
As an older guy (going on 73) I don't worry too much about our running out of oil, because it is
not likely to happen in my lifetime. My grandchildren may be affected, but there is always the
promise of new technology that might alleviate some of these concerns. There is certainly
adequate energy in the universe to more than meet the needs of our small planet, but harnessing
these reserves may cost more than the value of the power that is available.
May was a good month for me musically. The Bell Band tour (May 18,19, 20) was successful. If
you don't know about the Bell Band, go to www.bellband.org and learn about what we do. I am so
grateful that I have somehow been allowed to be a part of this thing that has brought a lot of joy to
a lot of folks through the years. The ringers love to get together for a rehearsal or a performance,
and this love is multiplied for many of us who have known one another for over thirty years. We
are like family. They enjoy the trips to other parts of Texas, because, for many of them, this is their
only opportunity to travel. Our audiences are mainly those less served by most musical groups,
i.e., residents of nursing homes and special schools. It is my hope that before I have to conclude
my involvement I will have found a way to secure funding to allow others to continue this work.
There is no shortage of younger people who are willing to keep it going, but finding the money
(and it is not a great amount) will be critical.
The second musical joy in May was hearing my student, Erik Carrillo, perform at the spring
concert of the Lewisville High School Choirs. Erik is blind from birth, but he has perfect pitch and
large hands, so learning to play the piano has not been too difficult for him. His speech has been
developing nicely, and on this occasion he accompanied himself at the piano as he sang John
Lennon's Imagine. The entire audience came to their feet and applauded his performance.
Finally, I attended the annual Dylanfest that features Tex Zimmerman (aka Mike Steinel) and his
all star band. What a wonderful performance. Money raised for this event goes to purchase
musical instruments for children in Haiti and other countries where the needs are great.
May, 1980: I often wonder how professional writers and journalists, faced with a deadline, ever
manage to come up with the words necessary to fill the pages of our newspapers. A more critical
reading of some of the "fill" leaves one with the impression that many persons write, whether they
have anything to say or not.
I seldom pursue this subject, because I am not one to be overly critical of our nation's press. The
laws of this land would be less effective were it not for a vigilant corps of dedicated newsmen and
women who know how to tell it like it is and are not afraid to do so; nevertheless, when I go well
beyond my own self-imposed deadline, which is several days ahead of publication, and still have
nothing in the old idea bank, I usually begin writing about just anything that comes to mind.
Naturally, the thing uppermost in my thoughts right now is the fact that I have nothing to write
about. At least you will have to give me credit for being honest about it. I could just as easily
paraphrase some story I'd read, hoping that you hadn't read the same; or I could look up some
interesting fact in the almanac like the name of the state flower of the Commonwealth of Virginia
(or maybe it's the "commonwealth flower") - but not I. I will simply lay it on the line. I have nothing
to write about. Now that I have finished writing to tell you that, I will move on to the part of this
column that usually says more with less words than what precedes. With this installment, this is
RHYME FOR OUR TIME:
"Illegal aliens", we say, fleeing by night and by day.
Sailing, flying, swimming, dying -
People oppressed seeking rest from near and far away.
Come in and "park it", flood the job market.
Working, saving, begging, slaving -
Finding freedom at last, but still a moving target.
Target of gossip and greed - disregarding the need.
Butt of the jokes and prejudiced pokes
up and down the town with most unusual speed.
Our nation may stumble, foul up and fumble -
but must never cease to give freedom's peace
to all who would flee the dictator's jungle.