In my day…

February 24, 2013 § 15 Comments

Horse-and-BuggyThis was my grandfather’s perennial opening to a litany of all that was wrong with this modern world.

As a kid I wondered about his yearning for what no longer was and his disdain for what it had become after it escaped his grasp.

I lived in the teeming now. What could be more exciting?

I understand better now.

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Baby face.

February 15, 2013 § 4 Comments

Baby Face NelsonIt turns out I am not related to this man who was once the top target of the FBI.

Public Enemy Number One.

Although Nelson is a Scandinavian surname, like Fogelin, it was a pseudonym. Baby face Nelson was born Lester Joseph Gillis. And it seems certain, given that his career played out in Indiana and points west, that he never holed up in my grandparent’s house in Congers, New York.

And yet, I remember the story of a gangster knocking on the door, claiming kinship and asking for asylum, even throwing a ball on the lawn with my dad when it became clear no one was going to look for him there.

I was sure Baby Face Nelson was the gangster-Swede in question.

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This is an old dog dozing on a sofa cushion.

February 8, 2013 § 13 Comments

Moo.This is also the companion who restored my father’s voice during the six months he spent alone in New Jersey each year.

Before Moo, when we called, his voice was rusty with disuse. After our daughter found her at the shelter and tricked him into adopting a dog his voice not only worked, it sounded happy.

This is also the grieving dog who helped us survive my father’s death by living out the loss with us.

This is also the good dog who, despite the nighttime trash knockdowns and a taste for cat turds has earned the irrevocable title of best-dog-ever. « Read the rest of this entry »

Finding the four leaf clover.

February 3, 2013 § 6 Comments

We were sitting on the lawn when my mother leaned back on her arms and said, “I have never found a four leaf clover.” Then she looked down, and a four leaf clover was sticking up between her fingers.

Four leaf clover.For me, song writing  begins with just such a luck-struck moment. Like my mother I let the universe know that it holds something I’ve never found but sure would like to.

To invite the universe to show me what it’s got I begin singing randomly, sometimes with my guitar in hand, sometimes with nothing but my voice—I write lots of songs in the car.

I recognize the four leaf clover as soon as I find it—an irresistible snatch of lyric or melody—“the hook.”

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