Music makes everything better First posted on May 5, 2012

Tricias thirty day challenge day 9

Happy Birthday to My Son. His name is Bill.

When my son was a child (he’s a grandfather now), he and I enjoyed taking long, evening walks together during the summer months. When we began this tradition we found we had little to say to each other. Remarkably, we stuck it out, eventually discovering some very creative ways of entertaining ourselves and each other. One evening as we walked, Bill picked up a stick along the way. The discarded piece of lumber was as long as he was tall, (smaller than a one by four and larger than a one by two); I don’t remember how tall he was but he was six or seven years old. We had just arrived in Phoenix from Oklahoma City and everything we did, Bill and I and his sisters Mary and Dixie and his mother, was an adventure of the best kind.

As we approached a metal light pole, Bill raised his stick like a bat and creeping up as if to attack an unsuspecting animal standing there waiting to become dinner, Bill swung the stick and with a resounding ring, the vibration of which traveled back up the stick and through the bones in his small body, landed him squarely on the sidewalk. The greatest stress to my boy was the surprise of an inanimate object fighting back. The second was to the ulna of his right arm with considerable pain centering in the wrist. I removed my shirt and then my tee-shirt, put the outer layer back on, cut and tore the tee into three-inch wide strips using a 200-year old knife that had lived in the pockets of several generations of Broom men, wrapping the resulting field bandage around his wrist. When I picked up the stick, Bill told me in a very firm tone that I should give it to him and I obeyed.

We walked on. He hit the next pole more gently; we listened to the musical tone that resulted from the blow and I reproduce the musical note with my vocal chords. By the time we returned home Bill’s wrist was swollen and we had arrived singing a melody made of the notes that had erupted from the vibrating light poles that my pole playing son had produced with his pole bat.

On the next walk we sang that melody until memorized and eventually created a silly set of lyrics; no need for ASCAP membership yet but it was a lot of fun.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Memories. Tagged humongous, learning, love, mind, Phoenix.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FRANK AND NAKO

Lee in Paradise

At the peak of my ten-K days I had two jogging buddies who accompanied me on evening runs though usually I ran alone at dawn. Those early runs were five to ten miles long, depending on my schedule. I didn’t want to place that kind of burden on my small companions.

These pals of mine were Frank and Nako.

Frank, a black toy poodle who never had to worry about getting a sissy-cut, was named after St Francis of Assisi. He was stoically silent when I rescued him from the pound and completely unaware of my presence. This curly-headed little critter seemed to be much more interested in the huge, dark, big-dog stool near the back of his cell. It had apparently been contributed by a previous tenant. I was informed by the doggie warden that when this little guy was first discovered running the streets of Phoenix, he was wearing a mute collar. He was arrested and interred and sentenced to death in a gas chamber unless someone adopted him before his ninety day appointment with the county canine killer arrived.  

“If you don’t mind” I implored, “would you bring him around and introduce us, please?”

Instant friends, I took Frank home to present as a birthday present to Terri. When introduced to Terri and Nako the family kitty Nako was ready for war. Terri picked her up and held her in her left atm, and at her request I placed Francis in her right arm. The hissing continued. Terri wasn’t at all impressed and established a routine of taking the mismatched family members for a walk each evening, one in each arm until the hissing stopped; eventually Frank and Nako became inseparable.

One evening as Frank and Terri and I started across a busy intersection we heard a strange cat sound from about a hundred feet to our rear.  Meow ow ow ow, Meow ow ow ow. It was Nako (Japanese for cat). Nako was Terri’s pet. Offensively independent, this strange animal and I were becoming very attached to each other.  The three of us turned to investigate. Each long meow which sounded more like a howl was interrupted every time one of Nako’s paws hit the pavement. Meow ow ow ow.

She was apparently stating her refusal to be left behind and demanding to be part of the team. Very assertive, this kitty; she never experienced the tethered restraint but she would soon demonstrate that she knew exactly what to do.  We waited for her to join us.

A year or so later we sold our Phoenix home and moved to Scottsdale. On our first evening in our new environment, Terri and I left Frank and Nako locked in the back yard after having jogged next to us daily for more than two years. This was our first evening in our new home and Terry had resumed our evening habit. Being in a strange neighborhood and respectful of the new pet control rules contained in the CC & R’s we decided to go it alone this first evening. Five minutes from home we heard this heart-rending doggie howl that just had to be Frank. We ran back home and opened the gate and in one and three-quarter seconds I had a wiggly armful of doggie as Frank leaped through the air like a refugee from an acrobatic dog act with a weekend Gypsy Circus. Nako greeted Terri by rubbing against her legs, purring like a buzz saw and we all enjoyed a brief reunion. Frank was no longer mute. His voiced approval and disapproval of every family event took some getting used to.

A year later Nako and Frank and I were jogging on the Scottsdale Country Club golf course, late at night; Terri who was no longer part of the team and homesick for a previous way of life had returned to familiar climes.

As we ran, geysers suddenly erupted and Nako was blasted by the full force of a stream of water meant to arc over a twenty-foot span. Nako was only a foot from the sprinkler head when it struck and was knocked five feet through the air. She hit the ground running and disappeared, never to return. Or so I thought.

Some months later I was entertaining former  team-member Terri, who was asking me about our Big City Kitty. As I was telling her the story we heard a familiar sound.

Meow ow ow ow, Meow ow ow ow. Nako looked as though she hadn’t eaten in a month. Our returning family member went to the three of us individually, purring like a buzz saw. For a minute or so as Teri and I smiled at the two pets began to communicate with their noses and poses and purring and soft little doggie barks.

I miss them. I really do. I live in a condo; . I jog on a treadmill. Maybe someday, I’ll buy an iguana.

 

THE LINE

 

THE LINE

It was a lovely spring day. The sun was warm, the birds were singing, and the wispy clouds added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

Sleepy-eyed Abner rose early that morning perplexed as usual (the man had many questions) having just awakened with a REM time voice in his head still demanding, “Go stand in line”.

“Who said that?” inquired Curious Abner.

“Go stand in line.”

Befuddled Abner rose from his state of confused repose, made his bed and his breakfast as the memory of the command “Go stand in line” continued to bounce around in his head.

After his bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of honey mixed with six heaping teaspoons of steel-cut oats and a half cup of spring water heated for 90 seconds, Abner said to his still sleepy self “What a lovely spring day. The sun is warm, the birds are singing, and the wispy clouds add a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day. I’m gonna go look for that line and stand in it.”

And he did; he went for a walk, that is.

Inquisitive Abner looked everywhere for the line.

“Where is that line?” Abner inquired; there was nobody there to answer his question.

“Excuse me” said Ab to the first person he met. “Do you know where the line starts?

“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.

“Thank you” said Abner and the stranger went on her way.

Obedient Abner stood in line.

Eventually Abner began to fidget. Standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day even though the sun was warm, the birds were singing and the clouds though wispy, added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

Impatient and needing to do something, anything at all with his hurried, inquisitive self (Abner was a man with questions ya know) he decided to return to his lovely spring day walk. While strolling down the long sidewalk stretched before him Abner thought to himself, “You know, I probably received the wrong information from that stranger. Perhaps that was not the line, after all. It must be somewhere else. If I hurry to find the right place I may very well be the first person in that line; that would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?” He asked this question even though there was no one there to answer.

Eventually however, someone did come along.

“Excuse me” inquired Abner. “Do you know where the line starts?”

“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.

“Thank you” said Ab and the stranger went on his way.

And once again, Obedient Abner stood in line.

And as before, Ab eventually began to squirm. He observed once again that standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day; what with the sun so warm, the birds asinging and the clouds though wispy, adding a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

And Stubborn Abner stood his ground.

Standing in line Abner wondered to himself, “If this is the line where are the rest of the people?”

Time went on. It was beginning to feel as though he had been standing in line forever.

Eventually however, another stranger approached.

 

“Excuse me” asked Abner. “Do you know where the line starts?”

“I believe it starts right here,” came the reply.

Abner thought to himself that perhaps he should invite this person to join him. That way there really would be a line.

“Would you like to stand in line?’ asked Sorta Social Abner.

“Thank you for asking” replied the stranger; “But this line is much too long” and continued on his way; “Have a nice day”.

Surprised at the stranger’s remark, Curious Abner turned around. Behind him was a line of people that seemed to wend its way into Eternity. All were waiting patiently, no one was talking to anyone. “After all” observed  Abner (the man with questions) “who wants to talk to the back of someone’s head?”

But as soon as formed the words, Abner realized that he was looking into someone’s face, someone who until seconds ago had been looking at the back of Curious Abner’s head.

“Hi my name is Abner; what’s your name?”

“Betty” she replied and began to introduce him to several other people behind her. There was John, there was her sister Jeanie and her centenarian grandmother had come along; Grandmother’s name was Albina Mary.

Albina Mary had more stories in her old head than Abner had questions. (And as we know, Curious Abner was after all, a man with many questions).

Within minutes this part of the line was starting to look more like a party. And others further back, noticing that the restraints previously defined by the unspoken rules of Linedom had now been broken, began to emulate the conversational opportunities now being made available to them.

As the line evaporated into groups of animated conversationalists, everyone involved gradually migrated to a nearby park.

By the end of this lovely spring day, the sun still warm, the birds no longer singing and the once wispy clouds having surrendered their touch of pastel pleasantness to the gathering cloak of darkness, Weary Abner decided to return home, a practical decision (a part of himself with whom he was not very well acquainted wanted to stay and talk with his new friends) and he did just that; went home, that is.

As Abner crawled between Egyptian cotton 400 thread-count, crisp, clean sheets and sank into the thousand or so individually pocketed coils in his eighteen inch thick mattress he thought about the day now departing and smiled.

The next morning Optimistic Abner crawled out of bed, ate a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of honey mixed with six heaping teaspoons of steel-cut oats and a half cup of spring water heated for 90 seconds and went out to greet another lovely spring day; the sun was warm, the birds were singing and the clouds though wispy, added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

Curious Abner (the man with many questions who now had some answers) thought to himself “I think I shall go stand in line.”

And he did.

NO ONE KNOWS THE FUTURE – EVERYONE CREATES IT

I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.
—Isaac Asimov[1]

 

No one knows the future; everyone creates it.

Every action begins with an idea.

Every idea, when repeated grows stronger.

Affirmations really do come true.

Affirmations become reality whether spoken alone or as a group.

Affirming the destruction  of Planet Earth is a popular idea.

HOWEVER…

Popularity is not a good reason for choosing Fear.

We must love the vengeful insiders.

The salvation of us all will  come not from doing battle but by experiencing Love.

Smile; our only hope is to Accept the Gift of Love and to Pass it on.

Revenge and punishment are the smug expression of weak egos and bad dreams.

This is the Sermon of the Bully Pulpit.

The angry parent who spanks their child while stating “I’m doing this for your own good” is a liar.

Ignore the Fear.

Accept the Love.

Pass It On.

Please.

PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE

bathroom 1 014

“The human brain is an unstoppable piece of machinery that from birth to death whirrs out text and imagery at unfathomable rates of speed. Perhaps the Creative among us are not Truly Creative at all.

Those of us who are blessed with a thoughtful, interested audience may only possess  the ability to quickly spot and recognize a new idea, to focus on that idea and with brush or pen, to create an original expression of that idea.”

My first retail store was located in Scottsdale AZ,  a DYS picture frame shop. For the first few years this store was the only such business in North Scottsdale. It was a fun way to earn a few bucks.

There was an artist, a bit of a late bloomer, who often arrived as our doors opened,  paintings in hand, her painted canvasses from the art classes she was taking at Scottsdale Community College.

Her work was horrible. She couldn’t  draw a straight line with a yard stick.

At first she tried framing her own work but her uncooperative thumbs (ten as I recall) helped her to decide that a more professional craftsman would know the best solutions.

I and my team framed many of her works  over the years;  her work improved and we adapted to her enthusiastic, wolfish tenacity..

I gave her a biography one day, of Pablo Picasso. The first chapter described little Pablo, who, acting on his father’s advice, went to the garden, chose a flower and drew it.

He  drew that floral beauty dozens of times until his hand seemed to have a mind of its own. He had begun with the expectation of becoming a slave to perfection, learning instead that the appearance of the finished work depended upon purpose and he developed the practice of rendering several very different impressions of his subject.

Having been influenced by that same chapter during my own childhood I had successfully practiced the same technique and wondered if this might be of some help to our friend.   She gratefully emulated Picasso’s example on a daily basis and the quality of her work seemed to grow .

She told me one day that a major gallery in New York City wanted to manage her career; She was moving to The Big Apple;  within a few years I began to see her work turn up on the walls of homes gracing the pages of Architectural Digest and American Artist.

Like the lady I just described and like many artists, I was not born with the ability to draw or sing or play the piano. I arrived with curiosity. I was born with questions afloat in my head. My earliest infantile experiments were well under way as I rose for my first step and fell again to my knees.

Whenever I hear someone describe themselves as lacking creativity, I become instantly sad. I mourn because I recognize the pain that this kind of affirmation causes.

Daily descriptions of what we perceive as our limitations, render these ideas into nightmares and the nightmares into shame, blame and often violence.

I have a few standard quips for those who regularly repeat such ideas about themselves but being a part of my memorized repertoire these  “standard” retorts seem to lack credibility.

As for myself, it has been awhile since waking at 2:00 AM with the dream-words spilling from my lips, “Lee you dumb-shit-you did it again.”


Lee Broom

 

HOW NOW BROWN TAO

 

WHAT IS BETTER THAN PROGRESS?

PROGRESS  IS A MEASURE OF PERFECTION, IS IT NOT?

IT IS SAID BY SOME THAT DESIRE IS OKAY BUT THAT DESIRE  FOR PERFECTION MAKES SAUSAGE OF  AN OTHERWISE HEALTHY EGO.

BEEN THERE, HAVE YOU?

CAN WE BE DARING WITHOUT AN EYE FOR PERFECTION?

WHAT HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO DO?

OR…

HOW HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE?

AWARE?

OR WARY?

SAFE?

NOT SO SAFE?

DESIRE IS OKAY ISN’T IT?

HOW ABOUT WILLINGNESS?

THESE APPEAR TO BE SOME RATHER DARING TRAITS, WOULDN’T YOU SAY?

SAFE?

NOT THERE YET?

WHAT ARE THE TRAITS OF A HEALTHY EGO?

IS IT OKAY TO TRY SOMETHING NEW?

CAN WE, MAY WE, (DO WE DESIRE TO) ACCEPT THE LOVE AND PASS IT ON?

LET’S DO IT.

OKAY?

ACCEPT?

ACCEPT THE LOVE?

ARE YOU SMILING?

AND PASSING IT ON?

 

 

HE OFFERED TO PLANT ME A GARDEN

lee_broom

Recently a friend said to me…

“When I was young I beat my chest about “giving back”; today I give anonymously.

I once voiced group opinion as my own; today my own is my own.

As a young man I learned WHAT to think; today I am more concerned with HOW.

As a young man I jogged, I went to the gym and I rode a bike. I still do those things.

As a young man  I lived within my means; I still do that as well.”

I asked him to lend me some grocery money. He offered to plant me a garden.

And he showed me how to tighten the cable on  my bicycle.

Singin' the bleus.