Wednesday, May 25, 2011

more storms

The local news has forecast more storms for this afternoon - "some violent in nature."  In addition to being the wettest spring on record, we now seem to be on pace to be one of the stormiest.  Tornadoes have ravaged the south and midwest, killing many and leaving total destruction in their paths.  Ironically, I'm reading a book entitled "Tornado Hunters", a tale about storm chaser Tim Samaras and his attempts to capture data & photographs of our most violent storms. We don't fully understand these storms - when they will appear or what paths they will take, but we have come a long way since April 3, 1974.  On that sunny, overcast spring day I was living in Cincinnati, attending the University of Cincinnati, and expecting to run into a few showers late in the day.  What we got were storms that spawned 148 tornadoes, including F5's (the worst) in Xenia, Ohio; Depauw, IN; Sayler Park, Ohio; and Brandenburg, Kentucky.  Hanover College (another of my alma maters) was virtually destroyed.  At the end of the day, more than 300 people had lost their lives.  Although we still can't fully predict what these storms will do, our weather forecasters have come a long way - armed with Doppler, Radar and many other new technologies, they can give us warnings that didn't exist 38 years ago.  My only insight into what was occurring on that April day came from WEBN (an independent rock station back then) when the disc jockey we were listening to said, "well folks, it's time to take me, your best friend and a bottle of wine down into the basement."  If only it was that simple.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

the album post

Searching the discount bin at Borders yesterday I found a new CD of old music.  Back in 1971 Steve Stills took a break from CSN/CSN&Y and formed a group with Chris Hillman (Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers) that they eventually named Manassas.  The group played everything from rock to blues and salsa to bluegrass and like most rock bands of the era, was short lived.  One great double album, a mediocre follow-up and now, this CD of out takes.  Since my musical tastes are embedded in that time I really enjoy the songs, but even more - I like the packaging.  A card board tri-fold case, liner notes, credits and photos - very album like.  As we roll faster into the all digital age, I don't miss vinyl & turntables or the eventual loss of CDs & DVDs, but I will miss "the album" - the concept (all songs based on a common theme), the credits (knowing what other famous musicians may have contributed), the band photos and of course, the words to the songs.  And, what I'll remember most - looking at all of those things every time the music was played.  Over and over, like each time was the first.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

keeping music alive

Making music has been a part of our DNA since the beginning.  Passed from one generation to another, stories in the form of songs ring in our ears.  Last night I put a CD by Michael Hedges in my computer and listened to his magic fingers dance along the fretboard of an old Martin.  The only thing - Michael died tragically in a car accident in 1997.  But, in the quiet of my office, his voice remains.  My guitar building friend, Jamonn Zeiler, is keeping music alive in his own way. Recently I had the good fortune to hear him play a 1937 Kay that he resurrected from the scrap heap. Built from solid wood in Chicago, the guitar arrived at Jamonn's in pieces and heavily water damaged. And now, it sings again for future generations.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

the last meet

My daughter Maggie ended her competitive track & field career quietly on Saturday night.  In a rain dampened Bellarmine Stadium, I watched as she ran her last 100 meter dash, finishing third in her heat, with a time not far from her best.  Images captured in mind & camera flashed before me.  The epic high school battles with East Central's Rachel Posey, a rivalry built of mutual respect.  Sectional and conference championships in the 200 meters, 100 meter hurdles, 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay - accompanied by multiple school records.  And, two trips to the Indiana State Championships, where her finest moment occurred.  Ranked in the top 15, her 4x400 squad collided with another team during the exchange between Mackenzie Stuart and Maggie.  Picking herself off of the track, Mag was able to recover to finish 22nd.  Her career at NKU was hampered by injury and spring soccer, but she still ran. Competitive to the core, Maggie was never happy with her results, but did it to help the team & her coach.  Now, that chapter in her life is done.  Never to be forgotten, her time on the track has brought great joys, good friendships and life lessons.  She knows, and I know, that it's time to get out the pen & paper to begin the next story.