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."