A SIMPLE SENSE OF SANITY WILL DO

Hello everyone, everywhere,

This week I’m bringing a whole new dilemma to the table. On Friday night, I woke myself up from the couch and headed to bed. But I did something stupid. I turned the lights out before I got there and fell into the bathroom door frame. I gave myself a concussion along with a big shiner. That’s been quite the laugh for everybody. Except me.

Anyway, I had a beautiful Easter dinner at Michelle and Dean’s place. Terrence, the bass player from the band was invited, Dean’s brother showed up, and two of their sons were in from Edmonton. It was a really good time.  I felt very small: they were all very tall people. Until I put on my boots, and then I felt good again. (Love my boots!)

Back to the grind on Wednesday. We have a live show on Friday. (And I have a conclusion. I mean a concussion). Everyone is excited to get back together.

The weather is cooperating now. If people could just get jobs, we’d be laughing. I can’t be rich and famous if nobody’s working! That’s it.

Michelle’s wearing red socks and I like that. We’re both tired from the big dinner and the big party yesterday, so until next week, enjoy.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest.

A LONELY WALK TO THE TOP

How-to-Hold-Drum-Sticks-Traditional-Grip-vs.-Matched-Grip

Maybe it was just one of those things. Ryan Boone thought different. Grey day, wind; another mishap, I suppose, on an endless climb up.

Our Ryan has paid his dues. Showed up in every dark place to play. Smoky bars, strangers…my goodness, nothing but strangers. This Ryan Boone–our Ryan Boone–sixteen, pimply-faced, yet handsome in a  young way. Alone.

Scared? No. More…excited. Yes. You got it. He’s an up and coming star. He holds on to that. Borrowed a union card and a story. Oh, our Ryan is ready. He is a drummer, just so you know. He has carried his two drumsticks forever, though forever stands on its own. One is big, and one is thin. No problem for Ryan.

Now all those many years have passed. He has the scars.

If only he could stop sweating. Nowhere to run. Excuse me. Pardon me. Oh, I see. Lights. Now action. Too late. Show time.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson

SURREAL? I THINK NOT.

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Here we go again. It’s spring, and it’s snowing. And I mean snowing. Yesterday was 10 above, today it’s a snow storm. Welcome to Alberta.

Tomorrow I’m back to yoga and swimming. I haven’t been going because of my arthritis, but it seems to have let up, and I’m back in action again. Even though playing through this was a bit difficult, I would once again like to say, my good friend Don Swift, who makes sure I have these rubber drum balls that go on my sticks. If you are a drummer and you’ve kicking around as long as I have, either your hands are broken or you haven’t been doing your job. This man gave me back at least five years of playing, because there’s no pressure on my hands. I love these things.

Other than that, I’m just about whooped out; it’s been a long day, so it’s time to go. Have a great week. That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts…if only for a moment…and rest.

ESTHER FLANNIGAN’S MAGNIFICENT ADVENTURE

roedhaaret_schmidt_z_0

Hey, you guys…yeah all of you, all over the world…I’m going to tell you a tale of Esther Flannigan’s magnificent adventure. Now Esther lives in Heatherthorpe. It’s a nice little place, I’d say about 1500 people. Kind of quiet, but we like it that way. We take care of our own monsters.

Heck, I’m jabbering away and I haven’t even introduced myself. My name is Foster Spence. I own the grocery store on the corner of Second and Flagger Street. I’ve been there for thirty-five years; I got it from my father Ferron Spence. He was a stickler for details, I’ll tell you that. Now, I’m not a gossip you see, just vigilant. Yes, that’s how I see it. Anyhow, this is about Esther, so here we go.

Esther Flannigan was born in ’55. I’d say she’s about 5’7, big blue eyes, moppy red hair, nice shape. Some say she’s too thin. Esther is some sort of designer. She works at home and uses a computer I guess. Now Esther, she’s kind of different, least I think she is. I wouldn’t say she’s slow, just….ohhhh twenty minutes behind. Esther has some kind of phobia. (That means you’re scared of something I guess). Esther’s phobia is that she will only go out on the first Saturday of the month.  (I’m rolling my eyes and whistling but, you can’t see that—come on, play along).

According to Earl, my delivery guy, this is how the story goes. Esther met this guy on one of her Saturday outings. Well apparently. They met at the town square outside of Sales and Such. Esther really liked this guy. They told each other their names. Hang onto that thought folks. This guy told Esther (as it goes) he had to leave, but could they meet up two weeks Wednesday afternoon.

Esther thought that was a great idea. Except, (this is the good part, everyone) she fogot that she only goes out on the first Saturday of every month. By the time Esther realized, she was supposed to meet this guy two weeks ago (on a Wednesday).

Well, she scurried down to the town square, and lo and behold, he wasn’t there. Esther, get this, had lost him,.I don’t mean broke up. I mean she had really lost him.

Earl, my delivery guy, took her groceries, you remember. So he said to her, “Well, what’s his name? Then we’ll find him for sure.”

Esther looked at Earl with earnest (that’s sort of like having a scowl on your face) and said, “His name is Harry or Larry Burton or Blouski—I’m almost sure of it.”

Earl turned away and said to Esther, “I’m on it Esther, we’ll find him.” (I bet).

Esther turned and smiled and said as only she can, “Earl we’ll find this out because I always say, I might be a little under control but you can’t over control me.”

Earl looked at Esther nervously, because he never gets her, if you know what I mean. He left, saying, “Miss Flannigan, I’ll be by with your groceries tomorrow. We’ll talk then okay?”

After Earl left, Esther started talking to her relatives–well their pictures anyway. The thing is, Esther had bought the pictures at a yard sale a couple of years ago.  She hung those pictures and started talking to them. So every time poor Earl would come by, she would tell him all about them. She told a great story. Unfortunately (that means it doesn’t look good)  Esther had no idea who these people in the picture were. But heck, Esther named them anyhow. Good for Esther.

The first Saturday of the month was approaching. (That means coming at you!) Earl went up on Monday with Esther’s groceries. (You remember Earl, the delivery guy). Moving on.

Esther welcomed Earl in with the groceries. She glided across the room with the grace of a ballerina dashing towards a passionate lover. Of course, though, she stopped at the pictures.

“Oh sheesh” Earl said under his breath.

Esther excitedly grabbed Earl’s arm and said, “I haven’t caught you up with everybody. Please sit, Earl.”

Earl was getting quite perplexed—that means look out Jack, I’m steaming. And he said to Esther, “Miss Flannigan, as I have told you every time I come here, you got those pictures at a garage sale. Miss Flannigan, once again, you don’t know them!”

Esther flopped her mop of red hair, rolled her big blue eyes and said to Earl, “If that’s all that’s bugging you, don’t give it a thought.”

Earl looked up and said, “Fine, miss, tell me all about them.”

Esther did just that, and I might add, of course, it is Earl’s recollection. (That means this is all I got and I ain’t got no more). After the family reunion (so to speak),  Esther said to Earl, “You know Earl, Saturday is coming and I think if I retrace my steps I sincerely believe I can find my man.”

Earl looked at Esther and said, “What’s he look like?”

Esther wrapped her arms around herself, you know like a hug, and said to Earl, “Oh I’ll know him when I see him.”

Earl backed towards the door. His eyes were rolling a bit (shhh about that part) and he said to Esther, “Miss Flannigan I wish you luck on that. I have to be going. You know Mr. Spence. Earl, he’ll be saying, cut the malarkey. (That means I know you know so don’t hide the peanut butter).

There are deliveries to go. So you see, Miss Flannigan, I have to cut a rug, as Mr. Spence would say. (That means, get your but moving!)  Good night and see you Thursday.”

Thursday night came as regular as tick tock tick tock and so on. Groceries for Miss Esther Flannigan.

Esther hugged Earl (which really gets him nervous) and said, “Earl, you have to sit, ’cause I’ve got great news.

Earl was not sure how to behave. (Keep cool man, no panic). “Oh great what’s up?” he coughed out.

Esther, with her great beautiful smile said, “We can only be where we belong. I like his smile, and his eyes–well they drew me in like a ten year old getting a free ride at the fair. In other words—Saturday I will find Larry or Barrie Burton or Blouwski. This I am sure of.”

Earl, as usual, was stunned by this whole conversation. (That means Earl is thinking—yikes!)  He said to Esther, “Well Miss Flannigan, Mr. Foster Spence, my boss, said,”Do it girl!” Yeah that’s his exact words.” (That means his lip is still, eyes are distant, and what’s done is done).

Esther said to Earl, “I’ve got my long purple skirt with the yellow flower on it, and listen up, I’ve got my high black boots that I got at a flea market.” (That doesn’t mean there’s any fleas, that’s why I stopped going). There is no stopping the Esther Blester.  Get it? Come on play along.

Earl said with some fortitude (that means I got it don’t you?),  “I will be cheering for you, that’s for sure.”

Esther smiled at Earl and said, “Two days to go, I’ll talk to the family and Saturday I’m gone.”

Now Saturday morning brought a little rain. But a go-getter like Esther would say, “We’ll be all right and so will the sun.”

On the other hand, Mr. Foster Spence, grocer, (that means he knows where they keep the lettuce) thought, “Hmmmmm, that girl Esther Flannigan, well she’s hard for me to figure. She’s always dancing and smiling. My father, the late Ferlan Spence used to say that smiling too much will may your teeth cold. Yep, old dad was a stickler for details.”  (That means my way, or the highway).

Anyhow, I didn’t need to know what was going on. I’m just vigilant you see. (That means, well…darn it). But, I thought maybe Earl should stay by just in case Esther found her man. Not that I needed to know about it, I’m just vigilant you see.

It was about noon Saturday and Earl and I are staring through the shutters waiting for Esther.bEsther did not disappoint. About 12:30 p.m. she came dancing out on the sidewalk wearing her corduroy purple skirt with the yellow rose shining like a crest of arms. (That’s like a cub patch). And as we looked down, there she wasin her shiny black boots. They were actually gum boots. You know…rubber. Nobody would ever mention that to Esther—she didn’t mind.

Off she went and Earl somewhat behind.

Esther thought, “I’ll go to the movie theatre. I’m sure we were there.”  As she got close she saw the owner, Mr. Green. He was a tall black man. Esther liked him; he was nice.

When they met, Esther kept walking around him in circles, until Mr. Green said to Esther, “Girl haven’t you ever seen a black man before?”

Esther smiled, looked off into space for a couple of minute, and said with some reservation (that means I might be right…I think I’m right… yeah go with that), “No, now that you mention it, you’re my first time seeing a person of colour for real.”

Mr. Green looked at her and said, “Girl why don’t you just take a damn picture then!”

Esther kind of blushed and said, “I already did.”

Mr. Green huffed and said, “White folks.”  And that’s how she met Mr. Green. He was so nice.

Next Esther headed for the drugstore. Mr Nestor Phelps owned the store and he was always watching everyone. He thought they’re going to steal a chocolate bar or turn the sign to closed when it was supposed to be open. Esther liked kidding Mr. Phelps,  but he didn’t seem to laugh at all. She always said to him, “Why Mr. Nestor Phelps, are you open? Because your sign says closed.”

Nestor always ran to the door yelling, “I’ll bet those kids don’t know it’s only 11 a.m.”

Esther always smiled and said,  “Oops I must have been wrong.”

She couldn’t help leaving poor Nestor Phelps walking around mumbling about the forties and scratching his head. “Oh well”, Esther thought. (Bye Mr. Phelps).

Earl, if you remember, I had sent to keep an eye on Esther. “Be vigilant”, I had told him. You know my boss would say that. (I bet). (Vigilant —in this case that means: Earl don’t screw this up).

Fine, Earl thought. I’ll be viv, I mean vigale, uh I mean I’ll follow her. (That’s a bet).

Earl found Esther sitting in the town square at her favourite restaurant, Nibbles for a Buck. She seemed a bit distant. (That means you’re talking to someone, you’re looking at them, but they’re still a phone call away).

So Earl walked up to Esther and said, “Miss Flannigan, are you stumped?”  (That means…oh well, you’ll all figure that one out).

Esther looked at Earl and said, “Earl, the only place I haven’t gone is Sales and Such. I feel like I’ve seen him there before. When I was chatting with “the family” this morning it felt like I’d seen this man of mine before.”

Earl smiled and gulped, and thought to himself , “Sheesh, not the pictures again!”

Esther jumped up and said, “Earl at least we’ll try Sales and Such. If he’s not there you’ll have to come home with me and explain to “the family” why we screwed up.”

Earl almost choked on his water and said to himself (oh no, not the family, oh no, oh no) but he glanced up at Esther and said, “Of course we will, let’s go!”

Off they went, Esther in the lead, and Earl following. Even though by now, Esther, most everyone downtown, and I’m sure some people who hadn’t even shown up yet, were watching Earl.

Anyhow Esther climbed the stairs to the Sales & Such.  Earl was about five feet behind her with his head down and he was  humming. (That means, I think by now our Earl is not a very good spy).

Esther was casually walking around when she spotted a polka dot hat.  “This is great!  I’ll buy this hat!  Can anyone help me?”  And lo and behold, Esther looked at the salesman and it was him.

He swooped her into his arms and said, “Esther I’ve been searching for you for two weeks.”

Esther said, “I remember you now. You are Larry Blowsky I’m sure!”

Her man smiled and said, “You’re close my dear, it’s actually Norm Muncher.”

Esther laughed and hugged Norm (not Larry) and said with glee, “Norm I have to go now. I don’t have a phone so let’s make a date right now!”

Norm looked at Esther—“Two weeks, Tuesday morning, eleven. Do you want to write that down?”

Esther said to Norm, “No I can remember.”

Now Norm hugged Esther and said, “Well I’ll see you then.”

Esther smiled and said, “You bet. I won’t forget.”

Now folks, if you were listening, and believe me, Earl was, Norm said two weeks Tuesday. Are we following this?

Esther went home to tell “the family” all about it. (Oh boy here we go again!)

Earl came back to my grocery store and said, “She’s safe, and my spy days are over…if you don’t mind sir.”

I laughed and thought, Well, Esther Flannigan’s magnificent adventure. How could it be anything else but destiny.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

A FLURRY OF MONDAYS

Hello everyone, everywhere,

This week has been fascinating. Why? I really can’t tell you why. I’ve been bumping into people, and I’m kind of surprised about how many people I do know here. Seventeen years. Who’d have figured?

The weather’s funny here. One day it’s nice, the next day it’s snowing. I have very bad arthritis in my hands–mostly my left hand–and I’m left-handed. So I couldn’t write over the weekend because my arm was killing me and I couldn’t close my hand. I got the idea in my head for this story, but because of my brain injury, I couldn’t keep it straight. So I kind of used my right hand and made these tick notes which I can’t read now. Michelle’s the only one who can actually read my writing, so when I write something in a hurry, sometimes I have to bring it to her to decipher.  I can’t believe I remembered enough of this piece to write it. I’ll like it better when Michelle’s finished with it. Then I’ll understand it. We all will.

That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest.

THEY CALLED IT LOVE

Old couple walking

Strolling…a passionate walk. Those two…anyone would call them old. I mean, they’re wrinkled, and forgetful too. Who will watch after them after I am gone?

Sixty-three years, holding strong. Who is watching who? I need a plan. Where to put them when I can no longer understand them?

And on they stroll.

I and the others want only the best for them…but a little gratitude…just say thanks. That can’t be much. They’re so much in their own world that we don’t even know what to call them now.

As the sun turns from yellow to crimson, arm in arm they walk, maybe talking, maybe not. Embers burn where memories lie. Always yesterday, and soon tomorrow. They just called it love.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

I NEED SOME REST NOW, BUT…

Hello everyone, everywhere,

The concert on Friday night at the Hub went just fine. It’s a hard room to play because the sound in there just booms all over, but we had Curtis, an incredible sound man. He got things together for us. We put a few songs from the night out on Facebook. Feel free to follow Soulful Noize, and you’ll see me in action.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get all of the recording that night, so we don’t have a single video of our darling Tina Mah, who had an excellent performance. Luckily we have a few shows coming up, and we won’t lose her next time, for sure. Other than that, it was a great crowd, and people seemed to love the band. But that was then, and now we have other things to look forward to.

Michelle and Dean and some of their family were down at the show, and they loved it. So good on us! Michelle made me cookies today, God love her. This woman takes good care of me.

Anyways, it was back to reality and rehearsal this morning. You listen to what you did and you move on and do it better the next time. That’s all you can do. That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. Follow me if you will, into a little poem I call…

NELSON BIGGAR FACES THE TRUTH

Guy on a hill

Nelson Biggar is just a man though his ego knows no restrictions.

Live by a motto: If you can’t be the best then why the hell would you do it?

And up a hill he went, his chest puffed, eyes on the ready.

Nelson made it to the top.

He was off his time; a judgement call, you see. Sweat ran down his face, and it fell down his torso.

Nelson Biggar sat on a big rock to reflect.

Closing his eyes, he sighed and bowed to the reality.

He was getting slower.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

WHO BROUGHT THE BLOODY SNOW?

Hello everyone, everywhere,

You know, this past week or so, we out west have been enjoying lovely weather. All of a sudden, Eastern Canada must have gotten ticked off because we got dumped on. Anyway, that’s enough about the weather. It’s winter. What are you going to do?

My focus has been on our upcoming concert (Friday at Ross Street downtown). Also, while we were preparing for it, we were notified by the City of Red Deer that we have been chosen to be the feature act on Labour Day when they close down the streets and party.

I’m pretty sore, so I’ll wrap it up. It’s yoga, swimming, and the whole health thing tomorrow. Let’s go health!

That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. Michelle challenged me to write a story out of my comfort zone. I was thinking on this project, and since I was challenged, I knew I had to do it. May I present my version of…

THE DATE FROM HELL

Devil

It started like every boozin’ story, except it wasn’t. It was mine. Here’s how it goes; stay with me, because I’m confused enough.

Where do I start? My name is Bert Flynner. Last week I spent half the night at the bar telling everyone I could talk to fish. Everyone, apparently, turned out to be three guys from some ball team. They were not getting me. So I said to the bartender, “Call me a cab.” (Wait for it. I love this part).

“You’re a cab,” he said.

I was on a mission: to go talk to fish. I headed outside to find the cab. Half stumbling, half in control, I arranged myself in the cab.

“Where to, sir?” said the cab driver?

 Omen’s Pier or Dock…where the water is, you know.”

The cabbie checked me out and thought, I hope this guy is all right, but what the hell, he already paid. We’re on.

That cabbie dropped me exactabilily where I wanted to go. Yeah, that’s it. I was at the right spot. Now the drama. I was sitting on the dock, calling to the fish, “I’m here. Let’s talk!”

All of a sudden a puff of smoke appeared, and then…”What the hell!” I said. Out of the mist, a guy appeared. I’m nobody’s fool, but heck, this guy was red, and he had horns! This person kept walking closer, and believe me, if I were sober, this really would have  screwed me up.  “Did I miss Hallowe’en or is that a banana in your pocket?” I said.

The whatever-he-was glared at me and said, “Young man, I am the devil.”

“I’m a bit of a scallywag myself,” I said. “Where do you get those horns? You know, what store?”

“Forget the horns. I want you to take my daughter on a date. You are the right fellow, Bert, when you’re sober.” (Let it go, let it go, go now).

I laughed and said, “Does she have horns?”

The devil stared down with his weird eyes and said, “We have been following your…shall we say…existence. Really Bert. Really? This is real. Date my daughter once, and you can go back to talking to fish.”

I gazed down at my shoes and said, “One black one and one brown one. Good thing I’ve got the other pair at home.” I said to the devil, “She’s got no horns or a tail, right?”

The devil, already fed up with me, said, “No horns. No tail.”

“Too bad,” I said. “Oh well, bring it on.”

The next night, I had been home for an hour, having a beer and thinking about this dream I had last night. Drinking. Every time. Drinking. That would change the score for sure.

The doorbell rang, which is in itself odd because I thought it was broken. I looked out and gasped, “Shit! That’s a woman!”

Now slowly, but quicker than you might think, I remembered: fog, horns, and I guess I forgot to mention Horny told me I could have anything I could dream of. I wondered what that was.

I opened the door and in walked a beautiful girl. My first thought was, do I owe you money? Whoops, sorry. That was another girl.

Her eyes washed over me. I felt dirty.

“Daddy sent me,” she said.

“Yeah yeah,” I said. “Afterthought…no horns or tail, right? Are you sure?”

She cast a smile on me and said, “Do you bowl?”

I laughed and said, “Of course. Who doesn’t? By the way, your name is Gloria, am I correct?”

“Actually, it’s Gertrude.”

“Nice one. Sorry. Okay, I’m going to get my lucky socks on. Hey, Brenda, there’s a beer in the fridge if  you’re thirsty. Just drink half. It’s my last one, and I could use a sip or two.”

 Next thing I saw Helen, no, Alice, no, wait a minute, Nancy! Oh, the hell with it! Whoops. Gertrude. I know that. She was phoning her dad on my phone, which was odd because it was cut off two months ago. Horns were coming out now. (Sort of).

“Daddy, I have had enough of this date. I mean, really really had enough.”

I darn near flipped. Smoke filled my little house, as the devil appeared. I said, “I’m not paying to get the smoke out of here.”

The devil stared down at me, shook his head and said, “Come child. We’re leaving”.

Hand in hand (or claw, however you see it), they turned to leave. Well, I had a thing or two to say like, “Hey Red. Who’s paying to get the smoke out of here?”

No answer eh? Bert Flynner don’t care!

“Nice to have met you, Bridget,” was the best I could muster.

As they left, the devil’s daughter said, “It’s Gertrude you idiot!”

“Okay, okay.” I said. “I’m going bowling. The hell with both of you.”

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson