October, 2010 - The semester is underway, and I am already behind.  I still
have a passion to keep this thing going, and if that pleases me at no expense
to anyone else, I will continue.
 The students sang "Happy Birthday" and presented me with some "goodies"
on the 6th - number 73.  I feel good and hope for many more, but I understand
that we live moment by moment - breath by breath.
 Birthdays are a strange phenomenon.  As youngsters we can't wait to get
older - as seniors most seem to hate to get older.  Old age brings a certain
amount of wisdom that is comforting, but beyond a certain number we
probably have all of the wisdom that we are going to acquire.  I think that is
true in practical matters like family and friendships, but I am quite sure that I
have learned as much or more about music in the last ten years than I did in a
lot of the years that preceded.  Of course this may very well mean that (1) I
am a slow learner, (2) I never practiced before, or (3) I used to know all of
this stuff but have forgotten and am having to relearn.  For whatever reason I
look forward to learning much more in that area.
 I often wonder how our lives would be if we didn't count the years.  If I didn't
know that I'm 73, would I feel any younger?  Maybe not knowing would leave
doubts in the mind like "Maybe I'm already one hundred."
 My friend Annie Chang, a young woman from Taiwan, went back home this
month.  She is a trained counselor who has very good music skills, and we
enjoyed several sessions together exploring various musical mediums, talking
about her family, and discussing her aspirations for the future.  Annie
volunteered as an assistant director for the Bell Band, and we certainly
appreciate all that she did for us.  She returns very reluctantly to probably
assume a position in her father's corporation - not a career she wanted but
one that she will most likely embrace because of her love for her father.
 Played keyboard at the annual Octoberfest at the home of Fritz Schwalm, a
retired professor from T.W.U.  We had some good musicians this year, and it
was a lot of fun.
 Bell Band played at the Asbury Methodist Church on October 31.  This
church is one of the few in town that still welcomes us.  I'm not sure what it is
about the group that leaves us with few invitations.  Our music is not
sophisticated but it is organized and listenable.  Our members are functioning
in various stages of mental retardation, but they are generally well behaved.  I
think most of the churches want to see a perfect world - at least when they
meet to worship.  I am not offended by this attitude but certainly disappointed.

October, 1979 - I applaud the courage of certain political and religious
leaders whose gestures bring new hope that world war and chaos may be
averted awhile longer.  Pope John Paul II visited ghettos and areas where I'm
very sure his advisors warned him not to go; however, traveling this "extra
mile" probably had greater impact on people, rich and poor, than most of his
major speeches in more dignified settings.  
   President Carter also showed great courage when he chose to take the
most peaceful and sane approach toward the presence of Soviet combat
troops in Cuba.  With U.S. and/or NATO troops and nuclear warheads poised
on the very border of the Soviet Union it is really inconceivable that we should
get uptight about a comparative handful of foreign troops in a part of the world
which, despite national pride and the tradition of the Monroe Doctrine, we do
not own or control.  Carter's decision is most likely the less popular position
politically, and therefore took personal courage on his part.

RHYME FOR OUR TIME:

Ice cream in a carton is tricky, like sardines that come in a tin;
but if what's inside is fattening, you can bet I'll find a way in.

I've learned to twist off bottle caps and pull pop-tops with ease.
I've learned to crack Brazil nuts, and banana peeling's a breeze.

But there's one thing around the house which I can never do:
I hate those child-proof medicine tops.  They simply won't unscrew.

So when my head is throbbing, and I'm feeling down and out;
I don't pace and panic or get upset and pout.

I call our resident five year old; she likes to make me happy.
"Get some aspirin for Daddy, please: and darlin', make it snappy."