To the Left, To the Left, To the Left, Right, Left!

It may come as a surprise to learn that the Liberals are now tied with the Conservatives in the latest Harris Poll.  Well, we’ve been turning left for along time, donchaknow.  Those of us who have been around a while are not so very wrong in our thinking.  Lots of evidence resulting from bad decisions sticks to our bones.  Regardless of all that man has made, it can’t hold a candle to the handiwork of THE LORD GOD, yet this nation continues to turn left.  Things that fly into the face of Scriptural TRUTH are accepted as correctness.  Every dangerous road has led us deeper into the darkness of disobedience.  We look the other way when some ‘important’ folks break GOD’s LAW and allow them to influence the innocent and lead us further down the path of destruction.  When absolutes are cast aside; when common sense is clouded over with political correctness; when man-made laws are adhered to in violation of the ONE who CREATED everyone and everything, we are that which GOD spews out of HIS mouth.  No wonder we are in trouble since ‘trouble’ is our choice.  I am just as responsible as anyone, donchaknow.  We must bite the bullet and do everything within our power to place GODLY men and women, in charge. North Carolina did that by sending B. Mark Walker to Congress.  Surely there is one of unique integrity and grit to do the same for every district.  Yes!  When those who know better, follow GOD’s WAY and be obedient to GOD’s TRUTHS, HE has promised to HEAR US and HEAL this great nation.  Otherwise, we all lose!  That’s a chocolate covered almond from my box of chocolates.  Yummy!

Too Much, Too Soon!

Proverbs 20:12 is another of GOD’s TRUTHS.  Solomon, the Wise, wrote,An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning  will not be blessed in the end.”

This explains the misfortune of those who suddently receive a ‘fortune’.  So many Lottery winners and  professional athletes go through their big bucks and end up in bankruptcy court.  All of us would love to have this happen and all of us know we could handle the wonderful financial windfall, but the odds are against those who find themselves in it.  It is unfortunate that professional sports seems to be a problem for so many.  I suppose that is due to the fact that wealth that is dropped into  one’s lap is much more of a problem than that worked for and earned.  Our star players who earn their status through dedication and ‘hard knocks’ are due our respect.  They surprise the experts and disappoint fans and family much less than the supremely gifted.  It is good that GOD has not made me a millionaire for I am certain I would be standing before a ‘Judge’.   Instead of Greer, my middle name should be “Squander”.  That has a somber ring to it, donchaknow.  There are times when I wish  Publisher’s Clearing House would knock on our door with that huge check and balloons, but FATHER knows Best.  We can only wish the best for those who are blessed with the “TooMuchTooSoonCurse”.   Shame on us when we fail to appreciate the ‘secret things GOD does, in every way, all the time’ to meet our needs.   Amen?

Guion Hall

Built in the 30’s, the original ‘auditorium’ for Texas A & M University was large Guion Hall.  Many entertainers and performers walked that stage.  I was in “Anything Goes” there, decades ago.  Just prior to the structure being demolished, the SFA choir performed the second eition of “Rodgers and Hammerstein Song Book”.  The first one, performed in Bryan SFA auditorium was attended by less than a thousand.  The Guion Hall performance in 1965, had a packed house.  The ‘specical’ featured all the glorious music from the many musical compositions from this prolific duo.  We did favorites from “Carousel”, “Oklahoma”, “The King and I”, “The Sound of Music” and “South Pacific”.  The huge stage was covered in a giant, open “Rodgers & Hammerstein Song Book”, built and designed by John Scogin.  (John did all the scenery for each of our Musicals, with the exception of “My Fair Lady”)  We didn’t use an orchestra for these ‘specials’, but had excellent accompanists. (I had so many, I can’t recall just who played for this performance. I want to say Janie Grant, but perhaps someone reading this will recall).  Guion was not the most comfortable venue when loaded with a capacity crowd, but as the program progressed, no one thought of the heat.  It was a magical night. I recall so many of my ‘soloists/ensembles’ bringing chill bumps, but when Doy Ellen Butler sang “Something Wonderful” from “The King and I”, there wasn’t a sound and many tears flowed.  That child reached down and grabbed hereditary genius and sang as good as her gloriously talented mother. (who was among those filled and emptied that night).  I do not wish to belittle any of the other performers, but Doy shared from the heart and it took flight!  Another time that happened was in “Calamity Jane”, Karen Kraft sang (through laryngitis fear) “Secret Love”.  I was directing the orchestra and forgot to wave my baton.  Sandra Bowen shared her Facebook memories of that night when Guion Hall was blessed by some very good singers.  Singers who ‘gave’ their songs away, without strings attached.  In my mind, SFA choirs were faithful in doing so and that’s why they were so very special.  You see, “I know what it is like to hold moonbeams in my hand”.  God Bless my Choirs and Keep them safe!  AMEN

The Night the Prairie Jumped

It was 1948 when band director Doug Thompson brought out a ‘new’ tune for the Mount Pleasant High School Tiger Band. We knew it was pretty good when we saw the composer was Charles Lee Hill. He had been writing very popular marches for bands for years. I was sitting first chair in the trumpet section and as we looked over the score, there was a “Trumpet Solo”. It was the second such arrangement we had. The first was a song we rehearsed for the Regional Band try-outs entitled “Pavane”. I played that solo when our band rehearsed it, but another trumpet player was featured in the Regional Concert. (His name was Jimmy Allen and he was from a much larger school in Texarkana, Texas)  The first time we performed “Jump” was at half-time at the Clarksville/Mt. Pleasant, homecoming game.  It was a thrill to walk out before the front line of the band to play the solo.  We were greeted with a huge cheer, but then the Clarksville band featured their solo trumpet player with Harry James’ arrangment of the “Flight of the Bumblebee”.  “Jump” remained one of our schools most favorite tunes, but lost some luster when the other guy played one of the most difficult trumpet solos ever written.  It was a very nice feeling to learn that Clarksville would be in another district, beginning the next year.  “Prairie Jump” and “The Saint Louis Blues March” will long remain among my favorites to play.  When the band folded and I joined the choir at ETBC, I didn’t play trumpet until in Vegas, when Paul Geil and I ‘attempted’ to play together.  The lip was gone, donchaknow.   Organized musical organizations should never have been excluded in schools.  There is a great deal of ‘learning’ involved in becoming the best.  We never expected anything else at SFA in Bryan.  That, no one can take away from those who labored in love with me, back in those days.  GOD bless, each and every one! AMEN

The Day the Earth Trembled

The Bible tells of the violent earthquake that shook the area the day Christ died on the cross.  We  experienced what turned out to be ‘tremblers’, resulting from quakes in California, twice in Las Vegas.  The first was while we were eating breadfast during the run of the show. That one rattled the dishes in the cabinets for just a few seconds.  The second was much more frightening.  We had 40-foot palm trees outside our upstairs bedroom window and they were waving to and fro.  Our living room (now remember, this is Vegas) was walled in glass mirrors?? That’s where we went for saftey.  Not Smart.  Tornados and Eartquakes are terrible.  It is difficult to separate the fear of either, but in the final struggle, prior to ‘Heaven on Earth’, that will be the worst ‘crash and burn’ the world has ever known. Many of those who fail to believe and repent, stand a chance to of experiencing that devastation.  I am so glad I am part of the Family of GOD, for I believe I will miss that one.  WHY?  Well, there is a grand old hymn that says:

“The Tempest may sweep o’er the great stormy deep, but in JESUS, I’m safe evermore!”


Emergency Brake for Anger

One will never have to wonder as to my spiritual condition.  Even though I know the innocent blood of JESUS CHRIST saves me, I still sin. For too long, I allowed animosity toward some people to press down on me.  I was tempted to ‘get even’ for their offense, but it was safer to internalize than to take a chance that I deserved what I got.  It took total surrender in each case.  It wasn’t as much ‘fun’, but it certainly was more joyful, donchaknow.  Solomon’s Wisdom helps straighten me out:

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”     Proverbs 19:11 ESV

“Forgive and Forget” isn’t easy.  “Forget it’s Forgiven” is sometimes that way.  Satan knows what button to touch and he is constantly looking for opportunity to cast doubt into my mind.  It shames me to know just how weak I truly am without GOD’s provision of strength and courage.  I suppose we could all use a bit of  “Emergency Brake” on Animosity Blvd,  Amen?


Cheating has become rather expected by some.  The biggest news now is “DeflateGate”.  Poor Tom Brady!  Poor Patriots!  Poor, Poor, Poor.  First, it tires me to continue to hear about the “draft’ for months. NFL channel keeps plaudits employed by hashing and rehashing issues and then repeating these same segments just to be able to charge advertisers and fill 24-7.  Fox News does the same thing. Another thing about Fox that is a cheat…they are on a ‘commercial-break’ schedule that causes the host(ess) to interrupt guests before then can fully share facts…disgusting.  I worked ‘talk’ radio for years and we could float breaks when the subject was interesting.  We could even place them later in a time-slot.  Controling news reports by a clock is cheating listeners, big time.  And while I’m teetering on this small soapbox, let me share another ‘cheat’ that ticks me off. Local television News contains more ‘big’ international stories than pertinent local events.  I heard an ‘anchor’ refer to her newscast as a “show”.  The day that news reporters considered themselves showmen, that was the day that the news went dead.  Of course, there is an element of entertainment in television, but the seriousness of news reporting must totally overcome the entertainment aspect.  As far as I am concerned, the quality of news is  limited by the lack of journalistic experience.  Today’s news anchors are nothing more than announcers reading copy written on teleprompters by someone else, content of which is determined by folks who are ‘play-acting’ as a correspondent/newshound.   Any real news is beaten to death, over and over.  We are cheated out of factual, pertinent news because there are no true ‘reporters’ on the staff.  Anyone can write anything and have it shared as ‘newsworthy’.   The only thing ‘real’ today is the electricity that runs the whole mess.  That’s what’s in my box of chocolates, donchaknow.  And, by the way, the biggest Cheater of all is the man preaching anything other than GOD’s HOLY WORD.  AMEN!


Ram Trax

While I’m sharing music folks I met in Las Vegas, I must share my experience working with one of the giants of the music of the fifties.  Samuel “Buck” Ram was a pivotal talent whose vision and influence opened the door for African American performers to have their efforts released on the major labels of the day. His most popular group was The Platters.  Styled after the Mills Brothers and Ink Spots, his Platters went one step further by including a female singer. The lead of that first group was Tony Williams.  Many ‘leads’ followed including Sonny Turner and Monroe Powell.  After my tenure at KORK, Buck and his partner in Personality Productions, Inc., Jeanie Bennett, asked me to join them as Buck’s Assistant.  That really meant to assist Jeanie in finding performance sites for the group; writing news releases and publicity articles and (the most interesting assignment) driving Buck around, listening to his stories and accompaning him to ‘recording sessions’.  He had the original tracks for all The Platters’ hits and was determined to add orchestra to them.  He felt there was another opportunity to get the top of the charts with a ‘formal classic’ sound.  Buck died before that dream became a reality.  Wipedia has the story of Buck’s Platters and you will find it most interesting.  His story would make an interesting read.  Buck Ram had suffered a stroke and had difficulty talking, but when he did talk, it was like taking a class in Pop Music 601. Buck was of Jewish descent, but there was no evidence of practicing his faith.  He had a tendency to push the envelope of legality, yet never crossing that line.  He enjoyed saying, “But as a Christian, you wouldn’t go along with my plans, right?”  I knew that much of what he would propose was to see if I rose the the bait.  He was a gentle giant of the music industry, whose vision, genius and determination resulted in benefits for performers and many hours of memories in musical magic for all of us to enjoy.  There may be those who found fault with Buck Ram, but shall always love the man who loved his performers and those with whom he labored.  Buck Ram left us in 1991, but his time here lives on in his music.  Every time you hear, “Only You” or “The Great Pretender” or “Magic Touch” or “Twilight Time” or get nostalgic when you hear, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, think kindly of Samuel “Buck” Ram and his legacy. He made the night a little brighter, donchaknow.

(Tomorrow I will share some interesting stories shared by Buck)

Poor Inchworm

“Two and Two are Four; Four and Four are Eight; Eight and Eight are Sixteen; Sixteen and Sixteen are Thirty-Two” (from the song from years ago)  I must apologize the the Inch Worm!  She didn’t get it right according to our “Core Curriculum”.  Just because the majority says it so doesn’t make it an actual fact.  The majority will miss out on heaven, donchaknow.  GOD tells us that “Broad is the Path to Distruction and Narrow is the Gate to Salvation”, so that tells me that the majority is very wrong.  When I was teaching here in North Carolina, for one year, I discovered that the Valedictorian was not selected on the basis of academic excellence, but was ‘assisted’ in average by “community service”.  I believe ‘bonus points’ should only be given to students who are on the border line of a failing score. I can see the value of giving extra work in specific cases. Top graduates should be determined by their score in each subject, including electives.  I had three students who were Honor Graduates who did not earn an “A” in my choir.  Two for missing class and one for misbehavior and downright rudeness.  I was informed, in their case, my ‘less than perfect grade’ would not be averaged in.  That was reason enough to consider another vocation.  I believe that a few ‘top graduates’ may have been ‘assisted’ by means other than following the ‘absolute’.  Change of parameters is unforgivable.  Teachers will always have their favorites, but to give credit that is not due is very wrong and unfair to all, including the ‘favorite’. So, Miss Inch Worm, I still admire you and believe in you. You are so right and you will be exonerated in the end, donchaknow.

GOD can count and I go with HIS answers.  AMEN