Friday, July 15, 2016

July 2016

The opening line of one of the songs on my first album is “Sometimes I Think I Think Too Much.”  Have any of you ever felt that about yourself?  It’s tiring, isn’t it?  And while I have been working on relaxation techniques to quiet my ‘monkey mind’ (as it’s sometimes referred to by meditation experts), I’m still – and always will be – a work in progress.  So, I continue to think and re-think and perhaps over-think.

A few of the things I've got on my mind these days are:  the horrible violence and senseless murdering that’s going on in the world (is it all lunatic terrorists or simply all lunatics?); that there are cures for certain types of cancer that the drug industry keeps off the market; what a pathetic and globally embarrassing situation we’re headed for in our choice for the next president.  What a world we're living in...


My birthday was this past Wednesday, July 13.  Like my mother before me (and comedian Jack Benny before her) 39 will be my age all the way up until 121 when I’ll probably have seen and done enough and can move on.  It was a very nice birthday spending the morning with family members that live nearby and then going out to dinner with a friend. 

The 'celebration' continues tomorrow when I fly to New Jersey, pick up a rental car, drive to see my brother Gregg in South Jersey for our usual routine (bowling, lunch, ice cream), go to the Jersey shore and hang out with a friend, visit my son Kevin and his family and then on Monday start the week working in New York (and possibly have a couple of other birthday celebration encounters along the way!).  It’s the best kind of week for me - seeing family, friends and working (with a new client!).

Things are good and yet I still have a lot on my mind.  I’ve been living in Arden, NC since last November and, due to my schedule, haven’t spent all that much time here. So, I’m looking forward to spending most of August ‘home’ and see if I really enjoy living here.

I want to love it and there are things about the area that I already like – the mountains and mountain roads, the relative quietness compared to Manhattan, the lower cost of living, and things like that.  The one component that’s missing is that I hardly know anyone here and need start integrating myself in the ‘community’. It’ll be fun (and a little daunting). 

Having recently received a clean bill-of-health I can start exercising again – something I’ve missed since January.  There’s an opportunity for drop-in tennis three mornings a week and I also found a great public golf course nearby.  When I stopped in there to inquire, I found that the fellow in the pro shop is a retired cop from Wayne, NJ.  We talked a while and, although younger than me, he knew all about the rock and roll haven called Greenwood Lake, NY where our band, Everyone, was very popular ‘back in the day.’  It’s truly a small, small world.  

One of my favorite songs ever is called Pilgrim’s Progress written by Matthew Fisher and Keith Reid and recorded by their band, Procol Harum with Gary Brooker, one of the most distinctive voices in rock history, singing lead.

While Procol Harum is not a mainstream band, it’s possible you would recognize their most well-known song, A Whiter Shade of Pale.  I watched and re-watched a great live performance of Pilgrim's Progress on YouTube and then a few days later had a great, long catch-up call with an old college friend who brought the song up as well. What I want to leave you with today relates to just a few of the words from that song:

I sat me down to write a simple story
Which maybe in the end became a song
The words have all been writ by one before me
We're taking turns in trying to pass them on
Oh, we're taking turns in trying to pass them on

Stories have been and always will be the past, present and future of mankind.  I’m not suggesting we go back to cave painting but documenting them is so important to future generations.  As I work on my book, I’m reading lots of stories that I wrote over the years – things that I have never looked at again after originally writing them!  Even I can’t believe some of the things I’ve done, places I’ve visited and people I’ve met.  I’m truly a lucky guy.

Last summer, at our family reunion, my brother Jay and I were ‘holding court’ as it were, one evening after dinner on the porch.  One story led to another with our children sitting there - listening, smiling, asking questions.  As Jay and I riffed onto each other’s recollections, one of my sons said, ‘Dad, you and Jay need to write these stories down.  We’ve never heard most of them and they are classic.”

Well, people, you all have stories like this from growing up, either about your own experience or a story that you heard your mother or father or grandparent or uncle or aunt or cousin tell.  For the benefit of those that will come after us I encourage you think about documenting them – either writing or typing or speaking into a digital recorder.  Except for the painful stories, it will be a fun, and much appreciated exercise - and I guarantee you will feel good about the accomplishment.

Gavin, Steve, Sean Felix - July 13 2016

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