Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Farewell to Ellwood...

I'll never forget the day you found me.  You were sitting at the base of an old elm tree mewling at the top of your lung, "hey mister, look down here, I need some help".  You were dressed in your best mud coat, too grimy to tell much more than you were a kitten.  I picked you up and took you home.

It was never the intent to keep you.  Lucky and Lucy were already members of the family, surely someone else would love to have a cute little marmalade kitten.  But that's not the way it went, now is it?  The first mistake I made was picking you up in the first place, the second was naming you-- Ellwood, after the park you found me in.

It wasn't long until you'd wormed your way into our hearts just as Lucky and Lucy had done.  the two of them were equal opportunity lap hogs and not at all welcoming.  What had been two were now three.  Soon it became quite evident that you were to be a mama's boy.

That was years ago, 10 or 12, in some sense a long time but miles and miles of purrs and plaintive cries to go "out" have brought us to this day.  It's been some months since Lucy left us and an even shorter time since your surgery for the tumor in your mouth.

The day we dreaded, the day we knew was coming came today.  Right or not we opted not to do chemo.  Watching your decline has been hard. It's been tough to witness your struggle. Obviously you felt like s*** but through it all you soldiered on, demanding to be let outside to lay in the sun, monopolizing your mom's lap for hours on end, keeping on, but at a snails pace.

I've resisted the idea of  "putting you to sleep". I wasn't ready. Selfishly, I wanted just one more day with you in our lives. Last night when I saw you fall off the couch I knew the time was near. This morning when I saw you lose your balance and fall off the kitchen table, then struggle bravely to right yourself, I knew the day was today.  You've suffered enough, buddy.

Holding you in our lap in the vet clinic one last time, stroking your emaciated frame, feeling you push head into my touch, hearing you purr, in pleasure or pain- who knows-- that awful moment has arrived.  We had time for a last goodbye but truth be told we've been saying goodbye for weeks.  Still, it's a sad day for us. Your memory will be with us always.  We're gonna miss your Mr. Ellwood! Be at peace.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

long time no post...

we made a flying trip down O'Donnell way this past weekend.  my sister and cousin made the trip up from down south to check on our aunt lu,  the way i figure it, any time my sis is that close I should make the effort to meet her.  in truth, i've  been needing to get down there to check on lu for a while but needing to and going are 153 miles apart.

the deal is, we worry about our aunt who lives alone in a town whose population was 831 at the last census. that number dropped by 6 or 8 in the last two months. no grocery store, one cafĂ©, one service station and an allsup's, a beauty shop, a few cotton gins (in season), the school store open for lunch and??-- you get the idea.  there's not much going on in little o-town.

her closest relative, another niece,  lives almost an hour away.  to her credit, she does check on lu often, at least by phone, but face to face response to a crisis is gonna take time. we've provided a life alert but, personally, I have my doubts as to whether she would actually push the button if the need arose.  she locked herself out of the house this past summer for four hours in 90+ degree heat.  did she push the button to at least ask if it was something they could help with?  that would be a-- NO!!

we've been after her for years to make a move somewhere--  anywhere.  a number of options have been met with the same response. "i'm not ready".   i get how hard it is to contemplate giving up ones home of umpteen years, of surrendering ones independence.  but is she really independent?  not so much, having to depend on friends to take her to the grocery store, etc.  stubborn, does not even begin to describe her.

i truly believe lu's current situation is a disaster waiting to happen. but what can we, her nieces and nephews, do?  when it was my mom in a similar situation, i simply gave her no choice.  we made a move.  she didn't like it at first but it was the right thing for her well being and her last years were happy.

i don't see an ultimatum as an option with lu.    surely she knows we love her but as it is telling her she has to do anything is not gonna happen.  thinking of her in her current situation is more than worrisome.  what can we do short of calling adult protective services--  which, i'm a bit ashamed to say, is a thought that has crossed my mind.

waiting for her to make up her mind or for the phone call to tell me it's too late is torture.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

In honor of Eddie Melin...

For a time our daughter worked in the ASO offices. She, as were most of the folks who've been associated with the symphony over the years or who knew Eddie Melin through some other connection, was especially fond of him.  He would often come into the office after one of his tennis sessions and continued even after he was forced to give up the game he loved.  K would greet him, "Eddie, baby!" and he in return would greet her, "K****, baby!"

K was deeply saddened when she learned that Eddie has passed at last at the ripe old age of 102. Seeing as how there was no way she could come from NOLA for his memorial she asked that we attend the service in her stead.  Which we did. The Rev. Dr. Murray Gossett, Paul Matney,
Dr. Dale Roller  and others did Eddie proud, summing up an outstanding life in under and hour. Nice, but...

Tonight, was the last concert of the symphony season.  After intermission Maestro Bairos spoke eloquently of what Eddie meant to him personally, to the ASO and the arts community and to the community as a whole.  He referred to Eddie as a common man who lead an extraordinary life.  In 2015-16 the ASO will honor Eddie throughout its 91st season.

But tonight the symphony honored Eddie with Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for a Common Man".  The link below is to the New York Philharmonic's rendition. It does not come close to what I heard  tonight from Eddie's beloved ASO, in the hall he was so proud of, a fitting tribute from our maestro and players who poured every bit of the love, honor and respect they had for Eddie into every note.  I had tears streaming down my face as I listened, as I do now as I write this .  My guess is Eddie did too. As Laura Street so aptly noted.  "He is here! He's in the sound booth, sitting on a stair or in the seat next to you.  He will always be here."


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year, y'all!!


                                    As the second hand swept to midnight the last page of 2014 turned.  in the next tick of the clock a new year was born, the pages blank, its story waiting to be revealed.

It is my fondest wish that 2015 will treat you well, that good health and good fortune will find you, that all you imagine for the coming year will come to pass. May the dawning of this new year open your heart and mind to the infinite possibility of what is yet to be.  Take up your pen.  364 more blank pages are yet to be written, the story of your 2015 yet to be told.

Happy 2015, y'all! May the new year be your best ever.


Thursday, September 25, 2014


the Jim Setapen tenure seems forever ago. with his departure Kimbo Ishii-Eto was named  conductor for our ASO.  his era was one of insight and ingenuity in which we witnessed an escalation of the quality of programming and general excitement about the symphony as a whole. not that i would have liked for him to have had as many years at the baton as Jim but i would not have been disappointed had he extended his stay beyond the five years of his contract.  maybe five years of little a-town was all he could take. maybe kimbo made a mistake in leaving when he did but the fact is he is gone.

we are now into the second season with our new maestro, Jacomo Rafael Bairos.  from where I sit he has the baton well in hand.  in my mind there was no drop-off in any aspect upon his ascension to the rostrum. he continues to amaze. my enjoyment of the concerts continues to rise. i appreciate that his programming has a high degree of cohesion, that he is exposing me to American composers and other composers who have not been moldering in the grave for centuries.  not that there is anything wrong with Bach, Beethoven et al, there certainly is not, but i truly appreciate the variety of his programming.

i do not pretend to know one damn thing about classical music. i don't. what i do know is that i am keenly anticipating whatever Maestro Bairos and our ASO have for us in the coming season(s).  His energy and enthusiasm are infectious. come on people, jump on the Jacomo/ASO bandwagon, we're in for the ride of a lifetime.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014


i have two programs that i use to track visitors to kidsdonegone. bravenet shows me how many hits each day and from where they originated. it reflects the ip address of the person wandering on to the site. it's usually the same 8 or 10 family and friends but occasionally someone stumbles on to the blog using the "next blog" feature on any BlogSpot page.  bravenet also features a world map which shows where any hit is physically located.

I've been posting regularly over these last few days. last night I was checking hits when i noticed on the map feature a visitor from across the pond. referring back to the ip address list i saw one that was unusual.

curious to see where in the world the hit had originated from i entered the ip address into the tracker.  imagine my surprise when the tracker indicated the hit was from Moscow City, Moscow in the Russian Federation.  kinda neat, i've  not had many hits from outside the country.

the tracker puts a bullet point indicating the location of the hit. I about crapped my pants! are you ready for this? beneath the bp read-- "the Moscow Kremlin"! the Kremlin! as in the official residence of the president of the Russian Federation. as in where THAT guy-- what's his name?-- lives. oh yeah, that's right-- Vladimir Putin!

i don't for one second believed that Vladimir Putin viewed my blog, but wouldn't it be neat if he did!)  from all indications someone from the Kremlin stumbled across it. probably it was some mousey little secretary who was surfing the web instead of tending to business; probably didn't even read English.

then again, who knows? maybe the big red horde is tracking drivel originating in little a-town. are the Russians watching kidsdonegone? you don't suppose, do you? nah! surely not, do you think? nah!

it is intriguing to consider that someone halfway around the world laid eyes on my blog, if only for a second. now, if i could just find a few more and different followers a bit closer to home.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chris Rogerson...

to be a composer in residence at the tender young age of 25 is  amazing!  The piece he has composed in honor of ASO's 90th season is beautiful. 

if you think about it, the greatest composers of all time were all 25 at some point.  90% of an iceberg is lurking out of sight  just below the surface.  i believe that chris has only just begun to fulfill his potential, that like an iceberg we are yet see all there is to be seen, and heard, from him.

based on what? by report he has been composing since he was a youngster. and "the way through" was pretty damned good!  what wondrous pieces will he have gifted to the world in his lifetime?

it excites me that I might have been in the presence of, potentially, one of this centuries great composers.  will symphonies 200-300 years from now be playing bach, beethoven, rachmaninoff et al?  probably.  but, in my script at least, symphonies will also be playing concertos from the brilliant mind of chris rogerson as well.

i hope to live long enough to see chris realize his promise.  i can't wait to hear the next piece(s) he'll be writing for ASO.  an old fart like me has to take what he can get.