Has it really been 40 years?!

The man in the picture above is my grandpa. He was my mom’s dad. In February of 2018, I blogged about him in the following blog on his birthday:

As I was going through my Facebook memories, I realized that it was 40 years ago today that he passed away. It was the first time in my life I ever had to deal with someone close to me dying. As an 11 year old kid, this rocked my world. It was one of those days that is forever etched in my memory.

I recall the phone ringing early that morning. I remember my mom frantically running around, calling my dad at work, and waking my brother and I up. The call was from my grandmother, who had received a call that my grandfather was in Muskegon hospital and had a heart attack. There obviously were many other phone calls to others as everyone rushed to get dressed and out the door.

My brother and I were obviously NOT going to school that day. My parents dropped me off at my other grandparents house for the day. They immediately headed to my grandmother’s to pick her up. I believe my aunt and uncle met them there and they all drove to Muskegon (an approximately 3 hour drive).

Along the way, if memory serves me correctly, my dad was pulled over for speeding. Once the officer heard what was going on, they received a police escort to the hospital. By the time they arrived, however, it was too late. My grandfather had already passed away.

1980 – Christmas Eve – Grandma and Grandpa at the familiar dining table with the huge wooden spoon and fork on the wall.

From the time we were dropped off at my grandparents, my grandma tried to keep us occupied. While much of that time is a blur, I remember when the phone rang and my grandma answered the phone. I remember seeing her get visibly shaken and asked many questions. I recall being anxious to find out what was going on. That is when my grandma slowly got up from the table, hung the phone back up on the wall and sat down next to us on the couch.

“I’m sorry, boys. Grandpa died at the hospital.” I remember crying and not even knowing why I was crying! None of it made any sense to me. I asked when he was coming home and was told that he wasn’t. I remember hoping that it was all a dream or just some false information. I just couldn’t comprehend it all.

I had never been to a funeral in my life. I had never seen anyone in a casket. I remember the days prior to the funeral and a lot of people in and out of my grandma’s house. I recall standing out in the driveway in between cars questioning God as to why this was happening. I just didn’t understand it.

I saw how upset my grandma, my mom, and my aunts were. I saw how it affected my dad and his parents. My cousins were still really too young to grasp any of what was going on. I am not sure my brother really did either. While watching all of them, and seeing how they were feeling, I still couldn’t figure out what I was feeling either!

Grandma holding me while Grandpa looks on …

As with most funerals, there is a time for just family to come in. I recall my mom, my aunts, and my grandma crying. I was scared to go up to the casket. I remember my dad asking me if I was ok and if I wanted to go up there. He knew I was scared and told me it was ok. I remember it being very weird. There was my grandpa, who was always so full of life and laughing, just laying there. I touched his hand and remember being freaked out at how cold he was. My dad did the best he could to explain things to me. I just didn’t get it. Perhaps, I didn’t want to get it. I think deep down, I didn’t want any of it to be real!

One thing that really stands out in my memory about that day was the amount of people who paid their respects to him. There were SO many people there. Family, friends, sales associates, and more. I met many people that he knew while at the funeral home. My grandma, or my mom, or my dad would introduce me to someone and they all had nice things to say about him. “You’re grandpa was a great friend,” “You’re grandpa loved you,” “You’re grandpa was very special to me,” and on and on. I knew how much he meant to me, but to see all the people that knew him, loved him, and respected him … I had a whole new view of him. His life crossed paths with many people and he made an impression. He was loved by more people than I realized.

Grandpa and me – Christmas 1970. I am 7 months old here

I remember going to church with him as a kid. I often sat next to him and would draw pictures in the church bulletin. I would draw pictures of Jonah and the whale, Jesus coming out of the tomb, or just pictures of rainbows and such. I have long forgotten what his voice sounded like, but I remember his voice booming when he sang a hymn at church.

My grandma had an end table in their living room that had doors on it. Inside the table was a stack of coloring books and crayons. I didn’t often listen to what the adults talked about, but one conversation I over heard parts of and I vividly recall my grandpa saying to someone, “One day I’ll see my Savior face to face and that will be amazing.”

I don’t really know how I came to be the one who got this, but I know that this was something that my grandpa carried around in his wallet. It was folded in half. The cross is a bit crushed now, but I still have it:

In a way, the above poem brings comfort to me. I know that my grandpa has indeed met his Savior face to face. I also know that in the future, so will I. There will also be a wonderful reunion in the future, and I will see him again.

40 years have flown by. So many milestones and changes have occurred. Yet so many things surrounding the events of September 24, 1981 are as clear as ever in my memory. As I stated in my previous blog:

The first real life lesson was learned by me that September. If there is someone special in your life who means something to you – tell them! If you love someone – tell them! Never pass up the opportunity to hug or kiss someone! You may never get the chance to do it again.

I was truly lucky to have had 11 wonderful years with him in my life.

Darkness and a Laugh

Normally, I sleep until about 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon on work days. I was pretty exhausted when I got home this morning, so I was looking forward to a good sleep. That didn’t happen.

I have sleep apnea. I sleep with a CPAP machine. With it on, my apnea issues are resolved and I sleep through the night (or day). I was abruptly awakened this afternoon around 2:00pm. I didn’t quite know what happened and then realized that my CPAP was not on. I reached over to turn on the light – nothing. No display on the CPAP, either. The power was out.

Sam had come in about 1pm to nap while Ella napped. The baby monitor, which she had turned on when she came in was now beeping because it lost the connection to the camera. The camera runs on electricity, while the monitor has a battery. So, now we were both up. I tried to go back to sleep, but my apnea would wake me up the minute I fell asleep.

Eventually Ella woke up and I went in to get her. Naturally, for the next couple hours I was reminded of all the things we just take for granted. There were no lights in the bathroom, so I had to shower by the lantern light before work. Our oven/stove is electric, so the dinner we planned on having didn’t happen. We ended up grabbing drive thru. Worst of all, no power to the coffee pot. I had to drive through Tim Horton’s on my way to work, because I needed my coffee!

No power meant no TV, which was actually very nice. Ella was in such a fun mood when she woke up. We read books, played peak a boo, and goofed around with toys and such. One on one time with our kids without the distraction of modern technology is actually a good thing.

Sam called around 8pm to say that the power had finally come back on. I was glad to hear that because I’m not sure Ella would have fallen asleep without her sound machine on. Not only that, it is supposed to get cold tonight and that would mean no heat. It was still a bit windy tonight, so fingers are crossed that the power remains on through the night.

Funny Story From The Weekend

I neglected to include this story in the Weekend Review Blog from yesterday. As we get closer to the baby’s arrival, we’ve come to realize how NOT ready we are. One of the things we did on Saturday was build his swing. Our living room is basically THE room in our house. When we built Ella’s room, we lost our dining room, so the kitchen table when out in the living room. As we gathered more and more stuff for Ella, the table went to the basement.

So Saturday, we are looking at all the stuff we brought back up for the baby. We have the pack and play, the swing, the furniture that was already in the room, and of course, all of Ella’s stuff. Sam and I stood in the middle of the room deciding just how to rearrange everything to make it all fit. We tossed around a few ideas and eventually moved things to where we have as much space as we can, and still have room for everything. (I still think the ottoman is going to end up back in the basement.)

We crawled into bed that night just exhausted from moving everything around. I turned out the light and laid down. The only sound in the room was the sound of the music from Ella’s room coming from the baby monitor. As I feel my self beginning to doze, in true Sam fashion, she turns to me and says, “You know what I just thought about?! Where in the world are we going to put the Christmas tree this year?!?”

Weekend Review

A lot of people complain about Mondays, but I really don’t because my “week” starts on Tuesday. It is usually the day that I sit back and reflect on the happenings of the weekend.

“Golf” With My Son

I came home from work on Saturday morning and slept for a couple hours before going to pick up my youngest son. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I haven’t really got the chance to see him much, so I was excited to have a day with him.

He is currently taking golf lessons and hopes to make the school golf team. I bought some foam practice golf balls for him to whack around in the back yard. He didn’t bring his clubs, so I let him hit with a few of mine. He’s actually not bad. He tends to overthink on occasion, but when he gets all the mechanics right, he can really connect with the ball.

I’d really hoped to find time to take him on the course this summer, but it never happened. I realize that there is still time and it is actually cheaper with the fall rates, but with the baby due any time, I don’t want to make plans.

I am actually happy that he has taken such an interest in the game. It is one thing that, if he continues, I know we can do together. We don’t get too much time together, and a round of golf would be perfect for spending quality time together.

He’s quite the video gamer, and probably spends too much time playing them. I have a golf game that I play on the XBox that I love. It is a perfect way for me to relieve some stress. I can play a full round of golf in about 20 minutes.

I let him try it this weekend and he loved it, too. I like the game because I actually shoot better on it than on a real golf course! In the game I shoot more birdies than bogies….in real life, it’s the other way around.

I took him home early Sunday because he was supposed to go the the orchard with his mom. Later that night I texted him and asked if he had fun at the orchard and he responded that they didn’t go. That made me feel bad, because it would have been nice to have spent more time with him.

Good Deed

Not my mower….

Our neighborhood has a Facebook group page. On Sunday I noticed that there was a neighbor that needed her lawn cut. After checking with my wife to make sure she didn’t have me running errands, I responded and said I could come and cut it. She asked how much I charged, and I told her I wasn’t going to do it for money. I just like being a good neighbor. We have so many people who help us with little things (more on that in a second), that I like to help when I can.

Come to find out the neighbor’s husband had surgery recently and is unable to do much walking. He can’t really cut the lawn right now. They had someone who cut it for a while, but they were not available this week.

I had been out walking with Ella and saw the house while I was walking. There was a big wood fence, but I wasn’t sure if it swung open. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get my riding mower in the back yard. So I called her at the number she posted. I asked if that gate moved and she said yes. Ella was playing in the back ground and she heard her.

Once I laid Ella down for her nap, I drove my lawnmower four streets over to cut her grass. As I started to go into the back yard, she came out to talk. Her husband was out in the backyard and she introduced me to him. We had a pleasant chat and she said that was going to leave a bag on the side porch for Ella.

When I got home, I placed the bag on our porch and cut our grass. When Ella woke up, I showed her the bag, which contained some chocolates and a unicorn Beanie Baby. She thought that was so cute. My neighbor didn’t have to do anything at all, I was just glad to be able to help her.

A Step in the Right Direction

Not our step.

Our neighbor two doors down is the best! He helps everyone. When I first moved in with Sam, he was mowing her lawn with his riding mower. One day I was outside with her and he drove up on the mower. He told me to sit down on it and he showed me everything I needed to know to mow. He told me I could come down and use it whenever I needed to. Since getting my mower, I have been able to help him out and let him borrow mine when he is down.

At any rate, we both happened to be outside and I was about the fix the side porch step. I had searched in the garage for some wood screws I thought I had, but couldn’t find them. He walked over and there was some small talk. I asked if he had any wood screws. I showed him the porch and he said he would be right back.

He came down with pieces of left over composite wood from when they built his deck this summer. He also has his saw and corner square tool. He pulled up the old wood, and measured out the size we’d need and cut a couple of pieces from that deck wood. He secured them with some really good screws and the job was done in like 10 minutes. I asked him what I owed him and his answer was the same that I gave the lady whose grass I cut – “Nothing.”

Needless to say, that step is about as secure as it has ever been and I am grateful for such great neighbors.

A Positive Post

A friend of mine saw a recent post and sent me a private message to say that she hoped everything was ok. I figured it was time to share a positive post.

My Boys

I’m excited for this weekend. My youngest son will be with me Saturday and part of Sunday. He’s been going through some rough times and he has chosen to stay with his mom a lot recently. I am hoping that I get to spend some quality time with him and connect.

My oldest son calls me 2 to 3 times a week, usually while he is working and when I am driving into work. I look forward to those calls. He is 19 now and he delivers pizzas. He is often on a delivery when he calls. Sometimes we only get to chat for 5-10 minutes, while other times we talk for 30. Sometimes he talks about really deep stuff, while other times it is light hearted and goofy stuff.

The other day he called to tell me he was sad about Norm MacDonald passing away. We used to watch the Celebrity Jeopardy clips on YouTube and laugh a lot at him as Burt Reynolds. He also told me that he received his acceptance letter to the community college in town. I couldn’t be more happy for him and more proud! He has come a long way!!

Today he called and we talked about history and how everyone seems to want to erase it (deep stuff). We talked about Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman and other historical figures and why it was so important to know history so we could learn from it. It’s funny because I remember the first “deep” talk I had with my dad and how much more I connected with him. He obviously feels the same way because after he hung up I received a text that said:

“That was a great talk today. Having these discussions with you means a lot to me. No matter when we have a conversation and no matter what the topic is, I’m always happy about the outcome of it all. I love you and hope to see you tomorrow.” (He is hoping to be the one to drop his brother off to me.)

All I could respond with was the truth. I told him he had no idea how important those conversations are to me, too!

Getting In “Touch” With Me

One of the things I have been working on is trying to “connect” with myself. Lately, I have been kind of disconnected and in my own world. That world has been full of stress and worry (as noted in previous blogs). I not only feel disconnected from myself, but at times from everyone. This has not been fair to the people in my life. So in discussing things with my therapist and my doctor. I am trying to take moments throughout the day to reconnect.

I need to be aware that I am “present.” Walking barefoot on the grass and doing things that really connect with my senses is important. They say that these things will help me be more present and aware. At first, I thought they were suggesting me doing meditation. I would find it very difficult to find 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted time to do that.

My therapist said that it doesn’t have to be that long at all, and it doesn’t have to be anything more than just taking 2 minutes. So my “homework” has been to take 2 minutes and count 4-3-2-1. I need to notice 4 things I see, 3 things I hear, 2 things I smell, and 1 thing I feel. So far, when I have done it, it has been helpful. Let me share one of these instances:

Before work one day this week, I was going to grab subs for Sam and I. So I got in the car, rolled the window down and drove down the street. It was at that time I decided to do one of these “sessions.” The 4 things I saw: The new family in the neighborhood walking together on the sidewalk, the city policeman in his familiar place looking for speeders, a classic car driving presumably to the car show north of us, and an elderly couple sitting on a bench under the gazebo in town. The three things I heard: the loud bass from a teenager’s car blasting, the sirens from an ambulance, and a Jackie Wilson song on the radio. The two things I smelled: gasoline from the huge semi truck filling the tanks at the gas station, and the smell of burgers from Burger King as I passed it to get to the sub place. Finally, the one thing I felt: The breeze coming into the car while driving with the window down. Oh the feeling of the wind on my scalp! LOL

The last thing is the one that really got me. It seems that when I get in the car, I just tend to crank the AC or Heat and drive. I can’t tell you how long it has been since I had drove with the window down. I guess I really need to do it more often, because it really was quite an awesome feeling.

Here’s to hoping that these little exercises continue to help me “reconnect.”

Insurance Rant

Look, I understand, we all need insurance. Right? It is supposed to be there for us when we need it. But let’s face it, insurance is one of the biggest money making scams out there. You pay and pay and pay, and when you do need it, you end up jumping through hoop after hoop to get what you need. They always have some clause or reason that you won’t get what you need. It doesn’t seem to matter what the outcome is for YOU, because in the end, the insurance companies keep making bank!

I guess I am going to sound like an old man here, and I am ok with that. There used to be a time where your place of employment gave you decent insurance as part of your benefits. Out of pocket costs were often very minimal unless you had a lengthy hospital stay. People who worked for a hospital or health care were taken care of by their employer. The auto industry also tended to have some of the best benefits. This just isn’t the case anymore.

Years ago, I remember deductibles were reasonable. Now, they are outrageous! How many people actually meet their deductible in a year? Not too many people I know. Now they have higher deductibles for how many people are in your family and so on… They raise them so you will end up paying it (as well as your monthly costs) and they will always come out ahead! Last year I put the amount of my deductible on my FSA card (because when it was all gone, I would know I hit my deductible, right?!). I used it for all out of pocket costs – co-pays, prescriptions, etc. After I had used the entire FSA balance, I got a bill for something and I called the insurance company. I was told that co-pays don’t go toward your deductible. Maybe I am just stupid (or maybe the rules of the insurance companies are so vague purposely), but I questioned just what they considered “out of pocket” costs. To me, if I am paying for it – it is OUT OF MY POCKET! So I got screwed there.

I have found that I am not the only one who pays high costs for medical insurance, only to wind up with a stack of medical bills that I will spend years paying off. And by the time you get close to paying them off, you get hit with another one! A friend of mine who works with some financial company told me that medical debt is one of the reasons so many people in this country are struggling. So many people file for bankruptcy because they will never get their head above water because of medical expenses. Look on Facebook on any given day – there are always “go fund me” pages for people who need help with medical bills. It is SO unfair.

I wish I had a dollar for anytime someone has said to me, “Why do I bother having insurance?!” If I did, I would take those dollars and pay off some of my medical bills! How sad is it that people won’t go to the doctor or to the hospital when they need to because they are afraid of racking up thousands in medical debt?!

So where did this rant come from? Let me tell you. We recently received the bill for Ella’s ear surgery. How much of that was covered by insurance? According to the bill – ZERO. Zilch. NOTHING! Well, you can imagine how well that sat with Sam and I. It was all I could do to not use some choice profanity while I was talking to the insurance representative. The bill was close to $9000! The entire surgery took 6 minutes! (That works out to $1500 a minute! Nice gig, huh?!)

When the ENT called to talk about the bill prior to surgery, they told us our cost (after insurance) was less than $800. As a matter of fact, they even offered to take 5% off the bill if we paid it all off prior to the surgery even happening. Gee, thanks! Anyway, when that bill showed up, Sam and I about lost it. All we had to see was “claim denied” in big red letters at the bottom and our anger (and stress levels) were through the roof!

So I called and got some clown with a smile in his voice on the line. I held back all my anger and explained why I was calling. He stated that he needed to make sure that there was no other insurance that might be considered “primary” insurance that would cover this. I told him no, we only had this insurance. He immediately stated that they would rebill it and take care of it and we should see an adjustment within 7-10 days.

So what is that all about?! I can barely afford the insurance YOU provide. I guess the answer is to pay for more than one insurance policy in order to make your bills. But in the end, if I am paying for more than one insurance, is it really saving me any money? These insurance companies have you by the shirt collar and you are their pawn. You need insurance. Yet, you will still go into debt with it. I just don’t get it.

Don’t even get my started on car insurance…. because that is just as bad or worse!

Ok. I’m raising my blood pressure, so I will stop. I’ll be ok …. until the new bill arrives!

Classic Calvin and Hobbes

Sooner Than Later?

To quote the Beatles song, “It Won’t Be Long!” It’s been some time since I’ve given an update on our baby boy, and after today’s OB appointment, now is a good time to do so.

Sam has really had a rough time the last few weeks, and as we enter the final month her discomfort grows daily. She’s been having Braxton Hicks contractions for quite some time now. There are nights that I will roll over in bed and can tell that she is having them. Of course, (because I’m a dumb guy) I always ask, “Is it time? Do we need to go to the hospital?”

She had a visit to the OB today and it looks like he may decide to make an appearance sooner than later. The due date is October 13 (or 14, depending on who you ask), and the doc had already said that he would probably induce a week early to avoid either one of us being at work when Sam goes into labor. Today’s visit really made us realize just how NOT ready we are.

The doc said that baby seems to have turned and is getting into position for delivery. He is “sunny side up” or posterior. This is basically what happened with Ella. Being in that position leads to extremely painful back labor.

When the baby is in the posterior position, the baby’s head pushes against the mother’s back, which causes the pain. I remember how excruciating the pain was for Sam when Ella was in that position. We can hope and pray that he turns over before she goes into labor.

At her last OB appointment, the doc told Sam that the baby would probably be a little early. At today’s appointment, he said that the baby could be here as early as next week! This was quite eye opening for Sam and I, as we don’t even have a bag packed! Now that I think about it, we don’t even have a BAG! I think we loaned it to someone!!

Needless to say, I need to sit down and start looking at the “baby bag checklist” and get that bag packed! We also have to get a bag packed for Ella. She obviously can’t go to the hospital with us, so we’ll have a “sleep over bag” ready for her, too.

There were a few other things that we sat down and realized that we still needed to pick up to be ready for baby. We still have some bins in the basement with newborn stuff in them that I will need to go through ASAP to be sure that everything is upstairs and available.

I actually chuckled on my way in to work tonight because I remember how our living room was all about Ella when she was a baby. We had bouncy seats, floor time mats, stacks of burp cloths, the pack and play, and just about every other item in there. Today that room is literally Ella’s play room! There are toys all over the place! I laughed because I wondered just where in the world we are going to put all that other stuff!!

So the countdown is on … we are excited and anxious to meet the newest member of our family. Rest assured that you’ll be able to read all about it here – sooner than later!

Toddler Hugs & Kisses

I continue to try to motivate myself to blog more. So today I turned to a daily writing prompt for inspiration. The prompt reads:

“Describe a moment from today that you want to remember always.”

Ella continues to grow each and every day. There are so many times that I look at her and I can see how fast she is growing up. This should be no surprise to me at all! Just this week a Facebook memory popped up from 10 years ago that showed my youngest son’s first day of preschool. He’s a high school freshman this year!

With each passing day, she is doing more and more! Whenever I leave for work, I walk out the door and go to the window. She always puts her hand up to the window and I put mine up to hers. She used to “give kisses” by making a popping sound with her mouth, and now she blows kisses with her hands.

This afternoon I had to leave a bit earlier for work because of a meeting. I loaded all my stuff into the car and came in to kiss her goodbye. Normally the kiss goodbye is me kissing her on the cheek. Today’s moment that I want to remember always is that she actually kissed me on the lips and put her head on my shoulder hugging me. I held her so tight and rubbed her back. She kept her head on my shoulder for quite awhile, too. This rarely happens now as she is a bundle of energy and always on the move. To have that very special moment today meant so much to me.

I know that hugs and kisses for daddy won’t last too much longer. There is a time coming where she’ll be “too big” to do that anymore. So I will enjoy each second of the ones I get from her now!

Thank God For Spam Blocker

I’m so grateful that my cell service provider has a spam blocker. I used to get one or two a week, usually addressing me as “Edna.” Now, I get an average of 10 a day, most of which are caught by the spam blocker and gets sent to the spam folder.

The text messages range from brain pills to CBD to failed delivery of a check. Sometimes it says that a friend has sent me something or I won something from Best Buy. It’s amazing how ruthless these scammers are. Some of the texts are actually worded in a way where many people might just click the link.

I opened my spam text folder before sitting to write this and was amazed to have gotten 41 spam texts over the past 3 days.

Thankfully, I really don’t know that they are here unless I open that folder. Now if I could just stop the spam phone calls while I am sleeping!

Fake “Stars” and a Real One…

It’s been a few days since I have blogged. I’m sorting through some things that I’ve been dealing with and I hope to be back to my old self sooner than later. Please bear with me.

What’s This All About

I used to post pictures of famous people on my Facebook page when it was their birthday. My ex told me to stop because “nobody cares about that crap!” When I stopped, people started messaging me and asking why I stopped posting them. So I created a page on Facebook that completely focused on Famous Birthdays.

There were a few sites that I visited often to get daily birthday info and ages and such. I used to spend way too much time compiling the info and posting it. It got to be too much, so I stopped. At any rate, one of the sites I checked for birthdays had loads of great information on stars, but what frustrated me was when there would be people listed on there as “YouTube” and “Snapchat” stars.

I mean really, what have they done to be considered “stars?” Nothing! If I am being honest, you and I could easily do what they are doing and gain “star” status! I have a YouTube account, and I have only posted one video – and it isn’t even me! I have a Snapchat because a few friends have it and that is their only social media platform. I also use it for the stupid filters.

When a friend of mine posts a “Snapchat Story,” right below it are all kinds of other stories (pictures and videos) from other “Snappers.” You know how they verify celebrities on Facebook, Twitter, and such? They actually verify these people too. I decided to watch a few every day for a week to see what exactly about these people are worth verifying.

Observation: Most of these people are 18-24 year old girls who talk about nothing. Some of them just post pictures of them in various outfits. Some post exercise videos. Some post videos of themselves in bed crying over a boyfriend or something. So many of them post “Swipe up and ask me a question” to which they post photos and replies to questions like, “How tall are you?” or “What’s your favorite ice cream?”. Then there are the weirdos who ask them to post pictures of their feet! Even the male Snappers who post things and have been verified have nothing to say. I don’t get it!

What I found funny is that there are 5 or 6 who always come up in the stories and they all answer the question: “What makes your teeth so white?” EVERY single one of them answers “I use Purely White Deluxe.”

I have never heard of this product, but it is obvious that they are paying these people money to talk about this thing! I mean, come on, they answer this same question every day! You know that the “people” asking it are “plants” to make it seem like people are genuinely interested in it! Maybe it is just me, but when I see stuff like that, and way too many people talking about it, I know that I DO NOT want to try it…and will actually avoid it!

Maybe I need someone to go to my Snap Chat and ask how I get my bald head so shiny?! “Why don’t you know? I use Turtle Wax!!”

Norm

I was shocked to hear of the passing of Norm Macdonald today. He was 61. What surprised me the most was to read that he had cancer for almost a decade. As a celebrity, it seems everyone knows your business. How he was able to keep it a secret, I’ll never know.

I always liked Norm on SNL. He was so flippant. He had that “I don’t care” attitude. Sometimes I think he told a bad joke purposely. If I had a dollar for every time he said the word “Crack” or told a bad joke about OJ Simpson, I could probably retire.

Outside of the appearances and cameos in Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider films, I loved Norm’s silly movie called Dirty Work. It is typical Norm. There are so many stupid lines in it, yet there are some very funny parts. You’ll be dumber for watching it, but you will get a few chuckles (and they get funnier every time you watch it….).

His appearances on talk shows were always great. He told great stories and even better jokes. One of the best is his Moth joke on Conan…. typical LONG set up and great punchline!

Of course, I will always remember Norm for playing Burt Reynolds on SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy. While the bit would progress into Sean Connery’s Hatred of Alex Trebek in the bit…..Norm’s Burt Reynolds is priceless. How can you not laugh at Turd Ferguson?! When he starts talking about Scooby Doo … I laugh every time!

Rest In Peace, Norm!

Song Draft – Mumbles – Oscar Peterson Trio +1 (Clark Terry)

With Round six, we enter the final half of the 2021 Song Draft.  Four out of the five picks I have featured all have a Detroit connection.  In a roundabout way, this pick has a Detroit connection, but not because of the artists.  The connection comes from how I was introduced to it.  For my sixth pick, I thought I would dip into a jazz cut that took me forever to find. Here is the story:

As a kid I was introduced to Soupy Sales by my dad. He grew up watching him in the 60’s In Detroit on Lunch With Soupy and in the 70’s I watched him on The New Soupy Sales Show. When some of the old black and white shows became available on video, my dad scooped them up for us to watch. In one particular episode, Pookie (the Lion) comes up to the window and starts lip synching this jazzy song with no lyrics. It was awesome! I had to have the song! The only problem, I had no idea who did it.

Keep in mind, there was no Siri or Google at the time, so it took me years to get an answer. When I started working in radio, I took the liberty to play a snippet of the Soupy clip on the air and asked my listeners if they were familiar with it. Eventually, someone came through for me and told me that the song was done by Oscar Peterson and it was called “Mumbles.”

I immediately began to search for this song at record stores, but came up empty. I eventually went to a used record store and while searching through the used CD’s found it! The album is from 1964.

I was familiar with Oscar Peterson. He was an amazing jazz pianist. He released over 200 recordings and won 7 Grammys. His friends called him “O.P.” and the great Duke Ellington called him the “Maharaja of the Keyboard.”

I was NOT familiar with the “Plus One” on the album, Clark Terry.

I am embarrassed to admit that, because he is an amazing trumpet player. He was one of the most recorded musicians in the history of jazz, with more than nine-hundred recordings. His discography reads like a “Who’s Who In Jazz,” with personnel that included greats such as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Ray Charles, Billy Strayhorn, Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Sarah Vaughan, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Milt Jackson, Bob Brookmeyer, and Dianne Reeves.

He was with NBC for twelve years as one of the spotlighted musicians in the Tonight Show Band. It was during that time, he scored a smash hit as a singer with his irrepressible “Mumbles.” I use the term “singer” loosely as he scats through the whole song.

As a trumpet player, I was never good at improvisation. This is where a soloist makes up a solo on the spot with no music. He is aware of the chords and key, and makes it up along the way. You could hear the same song 5 days in a row, but the solo would be different every time. That’s what is so amazing about “Mumbles.”

Clark Terry literally is improving and scatting the entire song along with the amazing jazz of The Oscar Peterson Trio. Some may find this one as just jibberish, however, I find it fun and it makes me smile every time I hear it.

There are a few different videos available on YouTube of him performing this live, but I keep coming back to the original studio cut – I hope you dig this as much as I do!

As an added humorous bonus – Believe it or not, someone posted the “lyrics” on a site on the net. I literally laughed out loud at this. You can find the lyrics here:

https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Oscar-Peterson-Clark-Terry/Mumbles

Kudos whoever took the time to write all that out!