Cream of the Crop

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cream of the crop: (n) the fatty part of milk, which rises to the surface

Audacity can be richly comical if you don’t take yourself too seriously and believe that any one of your proclamations or dreams is sacred.

I’ve always been a music man with a poet’s heart, and the body of a lumberjack. (An overweight lumberjack.)

I’ve wanted to play songs, and I reached an age when the music part of my show was just not bringing in enough dough.

What I had available to me was a wife and two sons. So I decided to form them into a music group. We were not exactly the Partridge Family, the Jacksons nor the Osmonds. We were more like the…

Well, like the Smiths.

There was talent there—but the nine-year-old had just started playing drums, the fourteen-year-old was faithfully practicing on a bass guitar that was mostly broken, and my wife… My wife sang like a wife.

I was an old war horse who had done music for so long that I convinced myself, and quite a few other people, that I was proficient enough at doing it that I should not quit. So I decided to tour with my family.

I am not going to try to rationalize my decision nor disparage it. It was what was available, it was what we could do, we would be together, and no animals would be harmed in the process.

I taught them five songs. That’s right—five. It took a while. The sound was not great, but it would have evoked a smile of approval from the grouchiest member of an audience.

We needed to make a tape we could offer for purchase after our little shows. This way, people would have the music and we could have a few dollars for bologna.

We rented a studio and went in with our five songs—plus one, which I added the day of the recording session. Over the next five hours, we recorded them, mixed them down and ran off a master copy for duplication. Considering that I was working with a nine-year-old, a fourteen-year-old, my wife and my own nervous energy, the production quality hovered just north of bad.

The engineer turned to me and said, “What would you like to name the tape? Because I have to write something down on the label.”

I paused. I thought about the fact that these were the only six songs we knew, and there were no prospects in the near future of adding to the roster.

I thought about naming the tape, “The Best So Far.”

I mused the title, “Our Greatest Hits.”

I lamented that the title, “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” was already taken.

Finally it came to me.

Since it’s what we had, and we did our best, and it seemed we were at the top of our game at this station in our musical journey, I told the recording engineer to name it, “Cream of the Crop.”

He winced—but obeyed.

Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Advertisements

Cradle

Cradle: (n) a small bed for an infant, usually on rockers.

There is still a debate over whether my fourth son arrived early, or my wife didn’t know how to count months. I will not intrigue you further with that particular impasse, but he—that fourth guy of mine—was born on the road. funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Now, it wasn’t like we were gypsies traveling by oxcart, but we did not have a permanent home and we were touring as a family, doing music and imitating our version of creative diversion.

He came early. Or we were late. But suffice it to say, he ended up being birthed in a strange town with strange doctors in a strange hospital in a strange way.

After he was born and the shock of his arrival assimilated through our midst, we needed to find a way for him to travel with us and stay healthy, without later growing up and being so traumatized that he would require an expensive therapist.

At the time we were staying in larger motel rooms that would accommodate our family for a week at a time. Most of these establishments did not offer portable cribs. We considered purchasing one, but decided it was too difficult to tear down and put back together. I don’t know what stimulated that decision—perhaps it was the fact that my other two sons were teenagers and I was only adept at putting together sentences.

So we decided to consecrate—set aside in a holy way—one of the drawers from the bureau offered in the motel room, wherein there would be no socks, underwear or first-aid kit, but instead, it would be the sleeping domain for the new little one.

We had to agree among each other never to refer—at least in public—to this bed as “the drawer in our motel.” (We anticipated some horror or displeasure from the people who might hear such an explanation.) So going old-fashioned and feeling safe with the term, we referred to that drawer as his “cradle.”

It worked.

Most people, when they heard the word “cradle,” envisioned something from Charles Dickens, or maybe the Civil War era. Certainly something “rockable”—but warm, cozy, where the little young’un could snug away to sleeper land.

Amazingly enough, no one ever asked us to describe the cradle or where we placed the cradle in our trailer when we traveled from town to town. It was our secret, and the little one never knew he wasn’t in an expensive bassinet or overwrought crib.

The only important thing was for each family member to remember without question, and to never make the mistake of accidentally shutting the drawer.

 Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Cook

Cook: (v)  to prepare food by the use of heat.

Traveling on the road doing musical presentations with my family, which bounced us often from poverty to temporary riches, I discovered that our little gathering of souls required—every day—to eat.

This became an interesting situation, because we stayed in motel rooms before these establishments began offering microwaves and funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
refrigerators. Since there was no refrigerator to keep food cold and no microwave for cooking, I purchased two—count them—TWO electric skillets, for the purpose of preparing meals for our family band.

Everything had to be cooked in these two skillets, and food that was perishable needed to be purchased daily. My wife had no desire to become the chief cook, and even turned down the position of bottle washer. I didn’t blame her. She was busy being Mama to the kids and helping out to secure our arrangements for gigs.

So I took the job on myself, and began teaching my nine-year-old son, Jerrod, to be my fellow-cooker. Some people might consider this to be cruel or unusual—asking a child to figure out how to make hamburger helper, vegetables and a side, using two electric skillets, for eight people. But honest to God, this kid was great. I don’t know whether he just enjoyed working with me, or actually found it intriguing, but by the end of the summer he had taken on the entire responsibility as the chef of the motel room.

Because the front desk at these establishments did not want cooking in the room, he had to be careful that smells did not escape, and that his washing of the pans at the end of the experience wouldn’t clog up the sink. Even though I cannot tell you I would do the same thing again—either traveling across the country with my family or asking my nine-year-old son to be in charge of the galley—it turned him into a dynamic young man who grew into a fabulous human being, married with two children of his own, and still continues to cook with glee.


Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News