June 22th, 2017

Jó reggelt (kívánok) !! (“Good Morning” in Hungarian.)

Today, is my younger brother Pat’s, 62nd birthday. Happy Birthday Pat!!

Recently, Pat’s bad news about his liver became worse news from his doctors. He has some kind of terminal blood disorder and they estimate that he has approximately six months to live. From what I understand, Pat does not and will not have any significant symptoms until the end when he will have to enter hospice care. Over the years, we all ponder how we might pass knowing we do not get a vote in the matter. As campfire conversations as boys or over coffee with friends after a sad movie, we explore these envitablities as almost entertainment. I honestly have no idea how I might react to such news. Speaking with Pat I was struck by my brother’s calmness and quiet strength. I am not sure how I would feel or react. I think having the time to set my affairs straight and visit with those I haven’t seen as much as I had hoped would be good. But I am afraid the calendar might become just a terrible distraction for all of us. Facing a certain finite future could serve to set us free to be and do the things that really truly matter to us without pretense or withholding or procrastinating. Unlike me, Pat is a religious man. His beliefs give him comfort and are empowering him and his family with all the strength they will need. I offered to do anything I could to help but even as I said the words, we both there was nothing either of us could do to change what is happening. I love my brother Pat. I wish him peace and the richest comfort of his life in the coming months.

This is week we celebrate Fatherhood. I consider my fatherhood an honor. My children have taught me so many things that I am sure I would have missed if not for them and their mother. Everyone talks about the sacrifices that parents and sometimes specifically fathers make for their children. Every act of provision and support that I have managed to give to my children has been a privilege. A gift that has added so much more meaning to my life. Every one of us has an innate drive to leave markers during our lives that say, “ Universe! I was here and it mattered.” Well, I have the very best markers I could have imagined and the Universe had better keep on its toes, because these markers will definitely make a difference. Thanks to my kids, I have much to celebrate on Fathers Day. Not the least of which is being a Grandfather to another batch of completely unique and I think, lovely people. I also spent some time, thinking about James E. McCann, my dad and being grateful for all the things that he taught me, as well. Thanks Dad!

This week I learned some stuff:

• This week we learned that we could get Tippy back to Miami within a day or so of getting the news that her mom took a turn for the worse and was in intensive care. Dee has since improved to the point to being moved back into a regular room now but still not out of the woods yet. We even got Tippy’s Vial of Life completed and included with her travel docs. Have you completed yours yet??

Website Update
• Last week for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!! Woohoo!!!
• This week I also added the lyrics for “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” from Journey and “Long Lonely Bayou” by Tab Beniot for your sing-a-long pleasure.
• Added the recipe for the “The Refreshing RRG-Watermelon-Cucumber Juice thing that will not be named” drink
• This week’s “Interesting Human” is Bill Moyer. Bill is an 83 year old poster of a nice guy who thinks well. I became a fan of Bill’s long after he left the LBJ White House staff and began sharing his world of ideas on PBS…Long before TED learned how to talk. PBS is currently celebrating its long relationship with Bill in a special interview that you might find interesting as well. Here a transcript of the 1990, “ World of Ideas” interview of Louis Kelso by Bill Moyers that first caught my attention.

Writing and Painting Update:
• I have finished painting of some beautiful Purple Shamrocks that I have out in the back yard keeping my bonsai company. I am taking it to my class tomorrow to get those folks to critique it for me. I may enter it into next months SDWS show.

• Last week I confessed that I had discovered this amazing and addictive summer time drink at Trader Joes (TJs). Well, it gets better or worse depending on your perspective. This week I remembered, that Smirnoff now has a bunch of flavored vodkas. One of them is a Ruby Red Grapefruit (RRG) flavor. It occurred to me that the addition of this slightly savory depressant might just take the refreshment of TJ’s Watermelon and Cucumber juice completely over the top!! It did. Even Jessica, who has an alcoholic drink regularly every 5 years or so, said that it was really good. I haven’t named it yet but to make it you take one very hot day and in a tall glass with a fair to middling amount of ice, add a jigger of Smirnoff RRG flavored vodka and top it off with TJs Watermelon Cucumber juice. Garnish with a big smile. If you have an idea for a name, let me know.

Music Update:
This week’s UJT Radio program features a magical theme that I want to share with you:
• Bruce Cockburn — Foxglove — This guy wrote one of my favorite haunting songs that Jimmy Buffet played for me, “Pacing the Cage”. Once I figured out JB hadn’t written it, I started checking this guy out. He is one of these players that has been around but you never heard of him. This one is a lovely little instrumental from his Speechless album.
• Fleetwood Mac — Big Love — Lindsey Buckingham may be one of the best unsung guitar players around. This is one of his songs and I think it showcases his excellent skills as a guitarist.
• Billy Joel — Just the Way You Are — Billy found that sweet spot between popular music and jazz to pull us all along. I connect so many sweet memories to his music that I am sure I will be humming a Billy Joel song as I make my way down that final path we must all take some day. And you just have to LOVE Phil Wood’s totally amazing Sax on this song…sooo sweet!!!
• Journey — Don’t Stop Believing — Are you one of those people who love singing to the steering wheel? Well, I am. Every once and awhile, I will match Steve Perry note for note if I have the radio loud enough its a perfect harmony:)
• Carl Verheyen Band — All You Need Is Love — Oh My!! Yep, the boy has serious skills!!! This instrumental cover of the famous Beatles tune comes from, “The Road Divides” album released in 2011.
• Stevie Wonder — He’s Mistral Know-It-All — “Innervisions” is without a doubt one of the most amazing acts of creativity that man has ever had. This song is a deep cut from that album.
• Tab Benoit — Long Lonely Bayou — You almost need to be sitting a hot humid front porch that looks out over some trees with that grey Spanish Moss hanging down to really appreciate this one. Or I can just close my eyes listening to this cut from his Medicine album released in 2011(the year I found him).
• Kim Carnes — Betty Davis Eyes — This one goes out to our old Pug dog, Sake. We kind of inherited her in Texas and took her with us to Germany, Switzerland and finally, California. This little rugby ball shaped creature with her skinny little legs tagged along making our lives happier, more interesting and better. I held her as she closed her big old Betty Davis eyes the last time after she finished her 14 year run. Kim Carnes only had one hit as far as I know but whenever it comes up on the radio, I smile a sad little smile for my old friend, Sake.

That’s it… Do the best you can; Laugh every chance you get; And always remember … The best is yet to come!

As always, thank you for being my friend!

Under the Jacaranda Tree URL: http://www.jfmccann.com