Music Monday – A Brand New Day


Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was born in October of 1951 and grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Following work as a bus conductor, a construction laborer, and a tax officer, he attended a teachers college and in the mid 1970s taught elementary school children. During weekends, evenings and breaks from teaching Gordon would play in jazz bands. While performing he’d wear a black and yellow sweater with hooped stripes. Some thought the sweater made him look like a bee. Soon he would be nicknamed “Sting”.

The rest — as they say — is history. An international sensation he’s received sixteen Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Emmy Award, and several Oscar nominations. He is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Sting is one of my favorites.

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Confessions

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. ~~ Mahatma Gandhi

I received some criticism a few days ago. It was written in the form of a comment to my post last Thursday Half-Way to Thirty.  It came from an anonymous writer. It was criticism not of my blog, but of me. Very personal criticism.

It was suggested that I would spend better use of my time, rather than writing a blog, by looking for employment. They wrote because I was unemployed and down-and-out — more than anyone would want to be — that I was portraying “a false image, one of sophistication and classiness [sic].  Little do your readers know you’re an unemployed loser who is too lazy to get a job.”

Well you might imagine how I felt. I didn’t know who this person was. I had suspicions that it was a former friend. I know, you gotta laugh. With friends like that, who needs enemies right? But read on. So I took a deep breath and wrote a reply: Continue reading

Family History and The Story Tellers

Eli & Mary Jane (Patton) Lines Family

I’ve been fascinated with my family history since I was a young teenager. Among the first lists and notes I created were those devoted to who my earlier family members were and anything else I could learn about them. Unfortunately I didn’t ask nearly as many questions as I should have nor did I always write things down. It wasn’t until I was an adult and well into my years that I really began to conscientiously keep written track of nearly everything I was told.

I’ve spent untold hours in the cause of documenting all I can learn about my family. Over the years I’ve gone from a few dozen names, with dates, places and sometimes stories, to a few hundred in the mid 1980s to around 1,200 ten years later. By the year 2000 those numbers grew to a few thousand. Now my database has more than 18,000 names. As carefully as I can I’ve tried to assure there are no duplicate records and no mistakes. More than half of them (9,100) are blood relatives spanning 34 generations. The photo above was taken in 1905 in Clearfield County, PA. It’s of my great-grandfather Eli Lines and his wife Mary. Two of their six children are standing behind, they are a brother and sister of my grandfather’s. I knew both of them. My great Aunt Cornelia was 12-years old when that photo was taken. She died at the age of 99.

One thing is certain. As I look at the records of my paternal grandparents Harry and Nora Lines and the names of their 13 children all of whom I knew except three boys who died as young children in 1910, 1921 and 1926 — and my father who died when I was two — I’ve come to appreciate how short life really is. It wasn’t that long ago that all nine of my aunts and uncles were living, breathing people who I visited with, spoke to, loved and admired. Continue reading

Tribute to a Dad: William Thane Avery

My ex-father-in-law played an integral part in my life for more than 20-years.  He is the only father I’ve ever known.  Today is his 90th birthday.

It’s hard to imagine that so many years have gone by, but that seems to have become normal for me when recalling fond memories of the past.  I’m older today by a few years than he was when we first came to know one another.  At the time I was 23.  He was bigger than life, outgoing, happy-go-lucky, energetic and just plain fun!  I liked him from the start as does anyone privileged to know him.  The father of six daughters and now the grandfather and great-grandfather of dozens more he’s lived a rich and full life.  I hope today he would reflect back on those 90-years and can say he’s enjoyed the journey.  I think he has.  And I hope too he would know how proud his father, and his mother too, would feel about their son’s many accomplishments. Continue reading

What the heck! This thing called Love?

Love Hurts

Here’s a thought:

Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly, it flips over, pinning you underneath.  At night, the ice weasels come.

Could that picture in your mind’s eye be any less appealing?  Could there be any worse a thought, than lying trapped in wait for the arrival of “the ice weasels“?  I don’t think so, unless it were the gaping jaws of hell with it’s mouth wide open for you.  That could be worse!  I hope you get the point.  Life is hard, but love … love can be harder still. Continue reading

Those were the days …

This is a story about one of my oldest friends.  I spent a lot of time with him and his family during all of my teen years over a seven-year period.  Through most of them we were constant companions.  We were once the best of friends.  No matter what, when I hear the words “childhood friend”, I think first of Marcus and all those crazy days we spent together.  (Marcus is not my friend’s name.  I’m using it to protect his and his family’s identity.)

Friends

Marcus and I shared a lot of adventures amidst our active lives.  They included attending the same classes in school, working at many jobs side-by-side, the V.W. then the G.T.O, our travels around the beltway of D.C., and the many people, especially the girls we came to know. Continue reading

What is it About Friends?

We’ve seen the cute posters and greeting cards and we’ve all heard those all-familiar quotes about friends and friendship.  Here are a few:

– “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.” ~ Unknown

– “I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.” ~ Unknown

– “No man is a failure who has friends.” ~ From the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.

And finally there’s my favorite, tongue-in-cheek definition, which says; “Friends help friends move.  Real friends help you move bodies!   (See more below photo!)

Guy Friends

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