Bassoon

Bassoon: (n) a bass instrument of the oboe family with a double reed.Dictionary B

If the goal of every endeavor is to gain fame or money, then we will end up doing very little in our lives–for fear of ending up with something that fails to deliver the goods.

I learned this early.

I made a decision to pursue things that made me happy, giggle or feel inspired. Whether other people found them to be equally as inspirational or entertaining was only secondary to my deep-rooted concern for entertaining myself.

In the process of chasing that philosophy, I found myself in Tennessee working with a partner to begin a symphony in a town that probably was completely uninterested in even learning how to spell the word.

Intelligently, we held our first concert very near Christmas and because of that and the basic human nature to be curious, we had a huge attendance, which seemed to bode well for the project.

I was so excited about the event that I wrote a special composition called Christmas. This particular piece of music began with a sprightly bassoon solo, establishing a bouncy, joyous melody which to me personified the uncontrollable anticipation of a child at Christmas.

We hired a bassoon player who just happened to really love playing the instrument. He didn’t get to perform very often in Tennessee, since there isn’t a high calling for bassoonists among the populace. So when he discovered he was going to get to play this delightful ditty, he practiced and practiced–and by the time of the concert, he literally exploded the musical magic off of his double reed.

When the audience heard the tune being played, they giggled like school children because it was such a pleasant representation of childhood memories.

I love the bassoon because it cannot hide its true personality. It is a growly, jubilant tone foretelling of grandfatherly wisdom … with just enough mischief.

 

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Arcade

dictionary with letter A

Arcade: (n) short for video arcade

In 1985, the average babysitter cost about two dollars an hour. Usually an additional dollar was added for each child you encumbered upon the hapless watcher.

So I had three children, and that meant I would be paying four dollars an hour to have them observed by a stranger for a certain length of time so that I could escape and regain my sanity.

What I discovered was that it became much cheaper to drop the three of them off at the new, popular video arcades with a roll of quarters, tell them to spend it wisely and that I would be back in three hours.

The arcade was a tremendous babysitter–sometimes literally a hundred machines captivating the interest of the youngsters, with no sharp edges, tobacco or alcohol temptation or any danger that they might pursue mischief instead of destroying asteroids.

It was truly amazing.

I will grant you that they would come back from this experience in more or less a catatonic state of wonderment over when the next time would arrive, when they would be allowed to enter the mystical world of imaginary enemies and victories.

But it was quite pleasant due to the fact that it was a place your offspring could go which was separate from your home, and then they would depart and you could gradually nurse them back to consciousness of eating, chores and bathing.

When these systems became portable and could be planted in your house, the whole procedure changed. Once a child was addicted to video games, all conversation ceased, meals were ignored and the idea of cleaning one’s room was eschewed in the pursuit of killing Gargons.

 

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Alamo

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Alamo: (the Alamo) a mission in San Antonio, Texas, site of a siege in 1836 by Mexican forces in which all 180 defenders were killed.

Reality, think and hope.

These are the three elements that go into telling the story of history. Nowhere is this any more evident than in the tale of the Alamo.

Our great hope is that 180 human souls gave their lives for freedom, making a last-ditch stand against the tyranny of Santa Ana.

We think we understand their motivations–and we also have thoughts that perhaps things could have been handled better so that such a death toll was unnecessary.

Rarely do we arrive at reality.

The truth of the matter is, the “big three” of the Alamo–Travis, Bowie and Crockett–were at the end of their careers and escaped to Texas to start over again–or perhaps, end it all. They had failed relationships, diminishing careers, and a bit of mischief and malfeasance trailing them.

They arrived together in a little mission right between the army of Mexico and an ever-growing infantry of settlers and frontiersmen under the leadership of Sam Houston.

Actually,  it was completely unnecessary to defend the Alamo.

  • We hope that they were buying time for Sam Houston to build up an army to defeat Santa Ana.
  • We think that was on their minds.
  • But in reality, we don’t know.

For after all, when the Alamo was taken over and all occupants killed, Sam Houston intelligently scooted away, avoiding his enemy, until he could choose just the right time–when they were exhausted and he had the best ground.

General Houston finished them off in no time at all, without losing many troops.

So what happened at the Alamo is a typical piece of American history. It had some nobility, some ulterior motives and certainly … a bit of stupidity.