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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Trips Within Trips

Within hours of our arrival in NY, Cathy and I attended a retirement party in Hyde Park's Roosevelt Estate. At this same event we honored a bunch of people who had taught 25 years and gave them a watch to commemorate it. And forty young teachers received tenure. The temptation to explain/defend tenure is huge here but I'll spare you. If you want to know what I know about it, write to me and ask. The point really is the coming and going of a bunch of professionals whose jobs are the most important on earth. Go ahead and dispute that. I'm sticking with it.

This was the theme for the week. Looking back and looking forward. Harvesting and planting seeds. The graduations for me were especially like blowing a dandelion seed ball. I know they all scattered in the wind. I know I'll never see or hear from or even hear about many of them. I also know with complete confidence that some will stay close because we are that close already. Others will become invisible but we'll remain in each other's memories. I also know that others will take something I or some other teacher gave them and think of it. Well off in the future. Seeds we planted. I hope it makes them smile.

Yeah there's a song in there.

Rocking at the CubbyholePlaying the Cubbyhole Coffeehouse again with Helen was even better than last time. My former guitar student, Riston Benson and her BF Travis, Riston and Travisopened for us and she was stunning. That's one seed that has bloomed. At least five former students I haven't seen in about five years showed up. That was very sweet. Others who said they'd come but didn't make it were missed and that became a lyric too.

The high point of the evening for me was all about Rocky Raccoon. Something about that song. Students going back to the seventies all made me sing it for them over and over. Three in particular, Ashley Gilnack who I taught to play Rocky on her late daddy's guitar, Laurel Pistey who plays cello like and angel and my multitalented cowriter, Kathy Feeney. Ashley showed up late because I promised her I'd play it. She was in a hurry to get back to help her Mom clean up the graduation party we had attended earlier. Laurel hadn't shown up yet but Ashley was urgently begging me to do Rocky because she had obviously skipped out on the cleanup. She squirmed like a little girl needing the potty. So I brought her and Kathy up on the stage to sing it with me. Laurel popped in and up there by the middle of the first verse. Rocky and the Coonettes My Doowop GirlsMaybe it was a you-had-to-be-there moment. Maybe you can't get it if you didn't live that history with us. I hope I can find a way to write a song about it that will honor the moment for what it was. One of the best in my teaching career. Three years after my career ended.

Fathers' Day with my daughter was very sweet indeed. My son called from San Francisco while we were together. We toured her new unfinished house, walked around the waterfront a bit and made plans for a date later in the week.

We drove down to see my Mom brother and sister. People not from NY have no idea what it is like. It is a big green rolling expanse punctuated by a few large and medium cities. Ten minutes west of the Hudson and the Thruway, there is almost no cell service. I was out of contact for three days. A mixed blessing. Nice quality time with my family. Mom isn't even limping after hip surgery and rehab.

My songwriting session with Helen Avakian Helen Avakianis the biggest thrill, I'm sure it's the beginning of something that will produce memorable songs. There are a few negatives about moving down here from NY. Distance from Helen is a BIG one. She makes me better. I may have to become a frequent flier up there. Helen put Sing Through My Pain to music. A very inventive guitar arrangement that I'm challenged to learn to play the way she does. I promise an MP3 up here as soon as I master it and have a chance to record it.

I'm glad to be back in Florida. It'll take me a while to get my groove back but groove is my life.

posted by Bud @ 5:00 AM

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