Archive for August, 2010

Echos From The Earth And Beyond

Another feature of my small town scandal sheet (a steal at $1.00 for eight pages) is the “Echos from the Earth” column which gives flashbacks from articles from 5 to 20 to 50 years ago.  Two of the topics really took me back.  Five years ago in the paper dated 8-25-2005, Ma2 was named Ohio American Legion Educator of the Year.  An honor I know she cherished very fondly.

The second item that really caught my eye was dated 8-29-1980… 30 years ago, folks!.  It even was from the days when school opened in September.  I was going into the first grade.  My oldest brother was going into the 6th grade and the other one would be starting the 5th grade.  We won’t say how old my baby sister was!

Thirty years ago this year, my school system welcomed a new P.E. instructor/basketball coach (whom I remember very well from my elementary days), another teacher I cannot place because he was a high school instructor and was gone before I got there.  Also welcomed was a certain teacher who “will assist music department head Bill Quackenbush whose primary responsibility would be to the junior high bands.” (That is how the sentence read so the grammar is not my fault).  I have been told that Emily was a student teacher at the high school where another tangenteer was enrolled.

(A tangent from one of my memorable moments with Mr. Q.  Not only was he the high school band director back in the day but was also the tennis (?) coach.  He was the instructor of the summer tennis program.  We were volleying the ball back and forth.  All of a sudden, I felt a ball SMACK into my eye!  We rush into the school, get an ice pack, and a Mt. Dew.  The next day, I woke up with a shiner.  😀 )

Emily was also the music instructor at the local Catholic school for a number of years.  So she was the teacher of 5 Sh kids and two Sh grandkids.  God must have helped there!

Emily also is having a hand in my song list for the evening of fun and music I am planning with some of my best friends and my new coach.  We had been working on one of the selections for a great while and is now at the performance stage after a bit of polishing and tweaking.

A week or so ago, I was requested to find a good worship song to begin with.  I cannot believe that it took me nearly four hours to come up with one.  One of the last pieces Emily and I looked at was one of the most inspirational songs I have ever heard.  Definitely will need a prayer to get through but she will be watching and I will be able to lean on her shoulder.

Not really gone as long as we remember.

Courage Under Fire

While waking up early this morning, I tuned into GMA and watched the story of a courageous 16-year old boy who like most children across the country are on the verge of starting a brand new school year full of learning, friends, and new experiences.  Michael Brewer started out at a brand new school in which he will have to adjust following a horrific event that nearly turned tragic.

A day after his fifteen birthday in October 2009, Michael was attacked at his home by a group of his “friends”  after an argument over a $40 video game.  After being doused with rubbing alcohol and set ablaze, the teen climbed over a fence and jumped into a nearby swimming pool but not before suffering second and third degree burns over 60% of his body.

Following near death moments and multiple surgeries for skin grafts, Michael is now on the long road to physical and emotional recovery.  The GMA interview showed the teenager riding his skateboard nine months following the ordeal.  Doctors have stated that the young man stood a great chance of death from complications incurred by the event.  However, Michael’s amazing will and fortitude and the prayers and support of family, real friends, and complete strangers have carried him this far.

Like many traumatic events, perhaps the most difficult healing will be the psychological recovery. Michael suffers regular nightmares which he does not remember after they end. However. his mother hears his screams in the dead of night.  Showers are agonizingly painful for him to take… in fact, they are the hardest part of his recovery.

Michael’s 15 year old attackers are being charged as adults in the travesty in which they each face up to 30 years in prison.  Really… is $40.00 worth losing 30 years of your life?

Michael’s story will be a focus of ABC’s NightLine tonight.

Click Here for a more detailed account of the story and a somewhat graphic photo gallery.

Changing Drawers

You know sometimes in my off-and-on 20 years in retail, I have at times questioned the hiring of certain individuals.  I don’t think I have ever questioned it more than a current co-worker who has had three months total retail experience after driving truck for how many years he did that.  Two TOTALLY different worlds and it certainly shows.

Within the first week of his employment, he was $30.00 short on his till.  For some reason, unbeknownst to me, the store feels that it is not necessary to have each cashier have his/her own till.  Nothing to do with the employee.  Our main office worker has worked at the store longer than I have been in retail and she doesn’t find that a bit odd?  I would like to have my own drawer as well so I do not get blamed for other’s tills coming up $30.00 short.

Tonight,  I was really close to losing it.  Said employee asked if he could start to sweep and mop the floor.  So, I went to the office and got a fresh drawer.  He had the audacity to ask me why I would do that.  All right, I was confused.  Apparently, he wanted to sweep and mop the floor plus watch the register?

Moments later, a customer (my sister-in-law no less) comes to the register.  I call the cashier to the register to wait on her.  Then, he has the nerve to question why I ask him to wait on her.  Apparently, he is now of the mind that if you are working the same shift it is ok to run his register?  I didn’t understand that at all and he TOLD me I did not.  He’s right, I did not.  I don’t understand why you would want the person who is “responsible for your till being $30.00 short” to run it at all.

Later little did I expect, I was running the register with the 3 month old retail employee standing behind my shoulder making sure that I wasn’t making any mistakes.  That almost did it.  But I kept my cool and waited on the line of customers.  I was not about to come down to his level when we were the only 2 in the store.  Small store but at times more help is needed.  A person needing to go outside for a quick break being one of them.  Thank goodness, it was time for him to leave.  I might have taken the opportunity to have him leave a few minutes early.

My quick “Lord, Give Me Strength” really helped!  Prayer is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

A SUPER Bonfire

After a shortened night’s sleep (I’m sure some of my friends got less sleep than I so can’t complain) following a SUPER Friday night,  I had to work the dreaded 12-8 shift on a Saturday… it’s money.  Following the grind, the family (including our visiting cousin from Arkansas… one last get together before she boards the Greyhound tomorrow evening) met at my brothers for a bonfire that turned into an indoor affair (80+ degrees seems a bit warm for weinee roasting, marshmallow toasting, s’more creating).  So, hot dogs were put in the broiler and s’mores were made over the gas stove.  And we were treated to some of Season 3 of Lois and Clark courtesy of Jeff’s PS3 streaming of Netflix.

Season 3 finds the intrepid reporters of a great metropolitan newspaper at the beginning of their budding romance.  However, as was pointed out, long before the sound of wedding bells were rung.  DC Comics made it known that the union would not be made on screen before it was in the pages of the comic books.  A virtual reality adventure, a Lane/Kent family Christmas celebration, and voodoo hocus pocus (not one of my favorite episodes) filled the two+ hours.

While watching the adventures on the big screen, my other brother arrived after some car trouble.  It seems that he had a his starter replaced for naught.  Instead, it was determined that Chad had gotten some bad gas (pun intended).  “There was a quarter tank left” according to the fuel gauge.  Plenty of fuel to travel 10 miles. Sounds oddly familiar to me, somehow.

So… never a dull moment.  I’ll have to revisit my DVD collection of the four seasons of one of my favorite incarnations of the Man of Steel.

With A Little Help From My Friends

AHHHHHH… after a two week hiatus, I returned to my weekly voice lesson.  Fun times!  While waiting for K, I was entertained once again by her 5 year old son who now happily reports that he has beaten computer chess on the medium level.  A feat I could only dream of achieving.  He is also looking forward to the beginning of the school year but is a bit apprehensive because he does not know who his teacher will be.  Been there… done that! He also presented me with a colorful piece of artwork that he made while mixing a bunch of paints together.  And I got the full rundown of the family vacation.

Rehearsals are going even better than I could have imagined.  During the two week break, I scoured my books to find a few more songs to work on.  I found “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin.  WOW!  Once again, deceptive but will be fun to work on.  I dug out a few other songs that I hope to look at in the next few weeks: a few more duets, a small group piece, and some solo pieces.

After going through one of the pieces which is now ready for performance, we read some Disney songs which I will be looking at again.  I tried my best Italian crooning voice on “Bella Notte” a short little piece that must have had some instrumental during the spaghetti and meatball scene in Lady and the Tramp.

After some more sight singing, we both decided that we definitely want to do a weekend gig at the theatre.  The first thing to do is NARROW my song list.  I have a very large collection of music to choose from… ones I have worked on and have gotten near perfection, some I have looked at, and others that I want to look at, and some I have been encouraged to look at.  I was informed that my voice sounds “really good” on each of the songs I have attempted (even the ones I have never looked at before).

So…. with a little help from my friends (those who have inquired about doing a duet with me… you know who you are; those I will ask to do a little group number (or two) with; and someone to provide a bit of filler between some of the numbers) I should be prime for the public shortly after Baskervilles wraps or, at latest, after the first of the year.

Doesn’t it just sound lovely?

A Change For The World’s Greatest Detective (Not THAT One)

It began with Wonder Woman… and now the Dark Knight is going to undergo a costume change.  However, Batfans do not despair.  The change is nowhere near as dramatic as the Amazon Princesses.  I do not follow comic books closely enough to know that Bruce Wayne has “retired” in the current mythology and will be making a dramatic return in November.  I do recall the “Knightfall” saga in which he was beaten and paralyzed by the villain known as Bane.  Paralleling the Death and Return of Superman storyline, the millionaire (or is it billionaire) playboy was replaced by a new Batman until Wayne recuperated enough to reassume the cape and cowl.  AH… only in the comics!

The only MAJOR change (That I see) in the Caped Crusader’s appearance will be the return of the black bat on the yellow background emblem.  Not an Earth-shaking switch by any means.  Besides, I do believe that he does possess an array of different costumes for different purposes.

The Current Look

The New Upcoming Design

He IS A Bit Draft

AH… the first week of a new adventure in acting!  A larger cast this time.  A more limited role… but an important role (which is what I wanted for the moment). The chance to develop a new accent.  ACCENT?!  And a chance to drive everyone crazy with a physical change… a change that will be remedied after the show.

I am playing the role of Barrymore, the caretaker of Baskerville Hall in a dramatic interpretation of the Sherlock Homes classic The Hound of the Baskervilles. Some fans have asked me why Holmes or Watson need a beard.  I am playing neither the detective nor his trusted friend.  John Barrymore and his wife, Eliza have been employed by Sir Charles for years and upon his death may know a bit more than they are willing to share.

This will be a great show with some great friends I have made amongst the Village Players (our director is a fellow tangenteer) over the last two years.  Two other WCCTers (one of whom is another tangenteer) have decided to come along for the ride! Hopefully, both js will enjoy the experience as much as I have in 4 previous shows.

October 15-17th.

Haven’t We Been Down This Road Before?

Seems funny as of late that whenever my little berg is mentioned in the news it is not the most optimistic of moments.  We are still in the throes of cleaning up the remains of the town hall which was devastated by a “microburst” a little more than a month ago.  Today, another quick storm passed through and wrecked more havoc.  Around 11.30 at the construction site for the new K-6 grade addition to our high school, an 18 year-old worker lost his life when a section of unfinished wall collapsed and crushed him.

Living about a block away from the site, we heard police, fire, and EMS sirens blaring and thought “here we go again.”  Voices imploring… “Get those candles lit!” “Get the flashlights out!”  Phooey… it is daylight out.  My dad went down the street to get the grandkids (age 15 and 9) from the trailer and informed us what the sirens were all about.

Of course, talk at work revolved around the tragedy.  News crews from Toledo and Ft. Wayne as well as representatives from OSHA all converged on our little community.

Link to news video and story

Strange that the crew reportedly knew that something was brewing but continued to work on.

May the young man’s family find solace in Him from this day’s horrific events.