In Remembrance

Goodbye to my dear dependable good friend….

Yesterday was a bit of a sad day around the old homestead but I suppose even more so today. Yesterday I finally sold my trustworthy and very dependable 1997 Geo Metro that I had purchased brand new back on June 6th of 1997. I have owned that car for just a few months shy of 20 years.

I planned on owning it a lot longer but my health and difficulty in really driving it very much or taking care of it as I should has pretty much dictated that if I cared about the car at all, I needed to get it into the hands of someone who needed a car and would put it to could use. That someone as it turns out to be is the young man who is currently taking care of my lawn care needs. He expressed an interest in it a few days ago so he and his dad came by yesterday and purchased it.

I still have the window sticker that was on the car’s window the day I purchased it. That sticker will now find itself as one of my most cherished souvenirs….

But most of all, I’ll probably feel a tinge of sadness each time I walk outside and see that lonely, empty space where before was parked without a doubt the most dependable car I had ever owned.

The Perk of all Perks…..

I can’t think of a more appropriate time than today when the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI to republish a post I published back in November of 2009 discussing perhaps one of the best jobs one could have ever had in one’s lifetime. And even though I was only with the company a very short time, it was quite the experience to remember and some may even say I need some sort of mental examination given the fact I quit the job….

Originally Published November 16, 2009

Atlanta Fulton County Stadium(Click on image to enlarge)

In late October of 1968 I was stationed at Warner-Robbins Air Force Base which is located near Macon, Georgia. After being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force on November 1st of that year I decided I would travel to Atlanta and see if I could get a job there.

I fortunately found a job quite quickly and ended up working briefly for a company named Baker Audio which was located in Atlanta, Georgia proper. The company, although small, was quite well known for its expertise in the realm of audio and among other things, had put in the sound system in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. This fact was soon to become a blessing in disquise as it turns out.

Not but a week or so after starting to work there my boss asked if I would mind working on an upcoming Sunday for a few hours. He noted that since it was Sunday I would be getting paid double-time. Well, I jumped at the opportunity. Especially given the fact I was only making like $90 a week to begin with. But the best news was yet to come

My boss then began to explain the essence of the job I had just accepted. The company, Baker Audio, had the maintenance and operating contract for the sound system with the Atlanta Stadium and anytime there was an event at the stadium requiring the sound system being used, that a Baker Audio sound system person had to be at the stadium to turn on the system and oversee any problems that might occur. My boss went on to say there was almost never a problem and if there was, they had backup available, normally equated to by simply flipping a switch.

He went on to say that the stadium had two heated and/or air-conditioned glassed-in booths. One was for the “rich and famous” and adjacent to it was the other booth which was for the operator of the electronic scoreboards and for the employees of the sound system company who were maintaining and running the sound system. The main sound system consoles were also located in this booth which is obviously why the employees were allowed in that booth.

On two different Sundays I accompanied my boss to the stadium to fulfill those responsibilities and learn how to turn on and run the system. Those two occasions involved football games being played by the Atlanta Falcon’s football team and their opponent for that week.

What this all meant in layman’s terms was that on the upcoming Sunday I was going to get paid double time for flipping a switch and sitting in a heated, glassed-in booth and watching a football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams or in case number two, watching them play the Detroit Lions a few weeks later. Does life suck sometimes or what?

That first Sunday I also found out that I was also allowed in the press area along with being able to partake in the food buffet set up for the press core and attending celebrities. I remember my boss and I getting a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon but everything was pretty much a blur to me. I was just completely mesmerized by the whole thing. Talk about a great job.

Below are a couple of gate passes I kept from the two games where I attended and worked so very, very hard. Some jobs have perks, but I have to say this was the perk of all perks! Being paid double time to watch a football game….at the stadium no less!

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 01a(Click on image to enlarge)

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 02a(Click on image to enlarge)

Believe it or not, I made one of those ‘life decisions’ only two months after taking this job to quit the company and return home to Arkansas. I think in the long run that was a good decision but it goes without saying how often I have thought back about that job and the fact that I could have been paid good money just to sit in a booth, flip a switch, and watch either the Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta Braves play their games season after season.

In Remembrance – Glenn Frey

The Eagles - In The Beginning

Glenn Frey - 1I was shocked this past evening to hear of the passing of Glenn Frey. It seemed I had just checked the latest news a couple of hours ago and had seen nothing regarding his passing. What a storied career he lived, he and his partner Don Henley putting together the California rock group which we would all come to know as “The Eagles”.

Glenn Frey & Don HenleyThe combined compilation of Eagle’s music is just absolutely amazing in my opinion and the majority of credit for it all goes directly to Glenn Frey and Don Henley for the most part. I’ve noted with the release of the news regarding Glenn’s death that most are associating the song “Hotel California” as their chosen musical reference when writing of Frey’s passing. Don Felder actually created the roots of that song while Frey and Henley are credited with writing the lyrics to the iconic song.

As far as I am concerned it is not the Eagle’s song that one would choose to specifically associate with Glenn Frey and his association with this prolific group of musicians and singers. That song in my opinion is the iconic song that normally the group opened their shows with that did indeed feature Glenn Frey. It goes something like this….

Thank you Glenn for all you contributed to our generation along with a number of iconic songs that will forever remain as a part of that legacy. May you rest in peace….

In Remembrance – Alan Rickman

rickman-social-570x297

I was quite saddened to learn of the death of Alan Rickman yesterday. He was such a favorite actor of mine and his demeanor, his rhythm and diction of speech and his acting will truly be missed by me.

Article Lead - narrow65815265138cafimage.related.articleLeadNarrow.353x0.136ndt.png1423434063847.jpg-300x0I remember first seeing him in the film “Die Hard” but at the time I wasn’t particularly drawn to him for any reason. But then I saw him in the film “Quigley Down Under” in the early nineties and that’s when I really began to appreciate him as an actor with great persona. I wasn’t a huge “Harry Potter” fan but it was in part his role as Professor Severus Snape that kept me somewhat interested in the series of films. But when I saw him in the film “Sense and Sensibility” he was amazing and no doubt in his element.

Thank you Mr. Rickman for touching my life through your life’s work, you will be truly missed and may you forever rest in peace…

In Remembrance – Yogi Berra (1925 – 2015)

53Topps - 013(Topps Baseball Card – 1953)

When I was a young boy most of my baseball heroes were players on one of four teams. Either the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, Milwaukee Braves or St. Louis Cardinals.

And certainly among them was Mr. Yogi Berra. At my age the passing of these childhood heroes doesn’t come as a great shock because we understand that they are of that age and it is that time in the circle of life. Nevertheless the role they played in our youth are as much a part of us as life itself and they will never be forgotten.

Thank you Yogi and may you forever rest in peace…

A perspective on war and death….

I ran across this video this morning and found it to be quite sobering in its presentation of the lives lost, both military and civilian, specifically with regard to World War II but also inclusive of all wars which have occurred on this earth. With D-Day remembrances perhaps fresh in many minds I thought it most appropriate subject matter….

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo

Remembering Eva Cassidy….

Although I don’t suppose it has been all that long ago, I can still remember the first time I heard Eva Cassidy’s recording of “Over the Rainbow”. I, like many others perhaps, was musically awestruck at the voice and the measure of passion contained within that wonderful vocal presentation. It was the song that would bring her from obscurity to the limelight even though it was some 2 years after her death.

The story behind her brief life and the music of Eva is so very bittersweet but captured so very well in a televised ABC Nightline story which aired back in May of 2001 showcasing life and music Eva Cassidy. She was born in a Washington DC suburb in 1963 and only 33 years later she would be diagnosed with advanced melanoma and was given only some three to five months to live. She was strongly supported by her family and the small, dedicated fan base there in Washington DC who shared in Eva’s love for the music she gave.

Not much is available video wise featuring Eva because she died at such a young age and as previously mentioned, was virtually unknown as an artist until a few years after her death. If you are by any measure an Eva Cassidy fan the two videos that a a part of this post are definitely a “must see”. Past that, quite honestly there is really little else that can be said….

The live home video of Eva performing her famous version of “Over the Rainbow” you heard mentioned in the ABC Nightline’s video is posted below. We fans are so fortunate to have this warming yet bittersweet performance left to us as part of her musical legacy….

Introducing my friend…. Little Eddie

Over the past year or so I have cultivated a great friendship with one of my canine neighbors who lives next door. His name is “Eddie” but so as to not confuse him with a much more famous “Eddie” of the same breed I’m sure most are familiar with, I call him “Little Eddie”.

Little-Eddie-02(Little Eddie – Click to Enlarge)

My friend Little Eddie is a Jack Russell terrier and I have found out recently that he is around 12 years old. Based on dog years, that makes him about ten years older than me. So that turns out to be actually good. We’re just a couple of old codgers that like to hang out together and enjoy each other’s company.

Now if you are a dog person to any degree and know anything at all about dogs, then you probably know that a little dog like Little Eddie with his breed’s heritage is keen on chasing and catching little critters and rodents. Since Little Eddie doesn’t appear to get a lot of exercise and is not able to work off his stored up energy, I decided to pitch in and help a friend out. At any rate, at our age we could use the exercise although admittedly these days Little Eddie is getting a whole lot more exercise than I am.

Just about every morning around 9:00 AM or so I can look out my back window and there is Little Eddie sitting out by the fence waiting for me to come outside. I’d like to think his waiting is all about wanting to see me but I have a sneaky suspicion it has something to do with the little game we like to play most every morning while it’s cool out. We call our little game ‘Critter-Gitter’.

I have attached a short video showing a bit of our typical morning routine. In the beginning of this particular video Little Eddie tries to patiently wait for me to get things ready to start our game but not without a little anticipatory pacing. Then he begins his duel with our make believe critter although I’m not so sure how ‘make believe’ Little Eddie views it. It appears he may have gotten tangled a bit in the ivy vine on the first toss which seemed to cause him a little concern, perhaps thinking the critter had gotten a hold of him. There are times when he seems quite sure of having things under control and then other moments when he quickly backs off. But I can’t help but smile for the five minutes or so we play. I figure at our age, about five minutes of intense excitement is about the limit for either of us.

When we get through, Little Eddie will watch me intently as I put away the fishing pole and then sit down on the patio to enjoy my coffee. Once he realizes the day’s game is over, he will go around to the other side of his house and get some water, then return a few minutes later, lays down next to the fence and just stares into space. You just know what he is probably thinking, “I am going to get that little critter one of these days!”.