December, 2009 - December is a good time to reflect on the year that is coming to a conclusion
- a time away from school when I can try to finish some projects that have been lingering since last
summer.  I have been writing a piece for band - originally entitled "Tiger Tango" - thinking about
some possible references to "Tiger Rag" - and thinking about a piece for my hometown high
school band (the Clarksville Tigers in Clarksville, Texas); however, after all of the "stuff" surfaced
about Tiger Woods, I am thinking that no one wants to play a tune with that title.
 With regard to Woods, every man who is really
honest with himself knows that, given the same
amount of money and the same opportunities, he would probably have made the same choices -
perhaps with a little more discretion, but still the
same choices.
 Enough about the TIGER - back to my band piece.  During December I have waffled back and
fourth about its construction - thinking one minute that it is piece of junk and the next that someone
might really enjoy playing it.  These are the kind of decisions that should never enter the mind of a
composer or arranger.  JUST GET IT DONE!!  Let the cards fall where they may.  It is probably
not genius (nowhere close), but it is ME and what I am writing at this moment.  It has validity that is
not associated with its quality, its name, or its eventual place in the world of music.
  On December 28, Betty Young passed away.  She was 96.  I didn't know Betty personally, but
we "connected" for almost ten years during the music therapy sessions that I conducted at the
nursing home where she was a resident.  Betty liked to joke, she liked to challenge - in short, she
loved life.  She would always let me know when I needed a haircut, and her authority was well
established, because she always presented herself with good dress and grooming - even during
the final weeks of her life.  Many times when I would arrive, she would have a frown on her face,
and she might say something like "What?  You again?  What are you doing here?"  But it was all
an act that she had developed to get my attention and to demand the best that I had to offer.  
Before our group session was over she was always smiling and joining in whatever we may have
been doing.  She had many friends, and her funeral was well-attended.  The obituary said it
correctly: "she will be greatly missed by all who knew her".

December, 1979 - Christmas is for children; most folks agree on that.  What they probably mean
is that Santa Claus is for children.  Christmas is for everyone.
  I recall as a child wanting a certain toy and feeling that upon receipt of that item, all of my
problems would be instantly solved, and I would live happily ever after.  Such fantasy is harmless
in the minds of children; but I wonder how many adults we have in our society whose contentment
and self-esteem are dependent upon a new toy for Christmas?
  A stroll through the average department store makes it quite clear that a large majority of the
"toys" are for grown-ups.  The gadgets have become so sophisticated and in some cases so
luxurious that it is obvious no one really needs them, but chances are this year's sales figures will
exceed last year's.
  "When I was a child, I spoke like a  child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I
became a man, I gave up childish ways."
  What if we stopped naming streets for birds, trees and famous persons, and began "telling it
like it is".  Have you ever been on Pollution Parkway?  How about Radar Road?  Gasoline Alley?  
(no, that's bygone days).
  On my way home each week I travel north on Looney Lane (where everyone drives like a
maniac), left on River Road (where you have to ford the creek in rainy weather), right on Backhoe
Boulevard (where everyone's work equipment is parked on the street), and finally another left on
Childcare Circle, where we live (two of those playing in the street belong to me).

SONG FOR THE SEASON:

  The Lord comes in morning light; the Lord comes in dark of night.
  He comes wherever we may be - with love for you and me.

  The Lord comes in wind and rain; the Lord comes in joy and pain.
  He comes wherever we may be - with love for you and me.

  The Lord comes in word and deed; the Lord comes in time of need.
  He comes in work and play - with blessings on our way.

  The Lord comes in silent prayer; the Lord comes in those who care.
  He comes wherever we may be - with love for you and me.