How Does Your Garden Grow

I just got back to the garden and the flowers were half a million strong.  There was lavender and hollyhocks, forget-me-nots and marigolds and scarlet begonias too.  The baby’s breath and candytuft were all standing up so tall.  These odd looking talking heads started to pop up out of the ground, I sure hope that they stick around.  Day after day they stand up there on the hill, keeping perfectly still, watching the sun going down and seeing the world spinning around.  It looks like the rain is gonna come down, as it seems to be bubbling over their heads.  Some little sprouts have taken root, OMG they look so cute.

Written for Kira’s Sunday Scribbles weekly inspirational art piece.

Lost Sheep

In these woods I see a glow.
Nothing here, not even a crow
The sun shines in its glory here
Allowing all of the trees to grow.

The trees encourage me to persevere
There is a clearing ahead in the frontier
Getting lost in the woods is a mistake
When I make it out, I will grab a beer.

I keep on moving although my feet ache
This walk is not a piece of cake.
This is not the time to fall asleep
Such a long walk, I could use a brake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I need to find that creep,
The one who stole my sheep,
Whatever a man sows, he must reap.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #23.

Waiting Room Chairs

Wow, an empty waiting room, I must be going in next to see the doctor.  This was my first trip to see this new doctor and I had to wait a long time to schedule an appointment.  I always get so frustrated when I make an appointment and I show up at the designated time, but end up being kept in the waiting room for a long time before I get to see the doctor.  I know that every doctor wants to maximize their income, so they schedule as many patients into their day as possible and that medical insurance companies and Medicare are paying them by the patient, not by the amount of time that they spends with each patient.  I waited for over an hour and because I know that only the squeaky wheel gets the grease, I got up and asked the person at the check-in desk how much longer she thought that I would be waiting.  She told me that it would probably just be another half an hour before I get called inside.

I told her that is ridiculous, as I was the only one in the waiting room and she corrected me saying that I was the only one in the overflow waiting room.  I went back to my seat hoping that the regular waiting room was better than this one, as these chairs are padded, but there are no arm rests and it seems very cramped in here.  I have a walkin closet that is bigger than this room.  They should at the very least provide some magazines to read and a TV set would be appreciated.  A few plants would also be nice, so I don’t feel like I am running out of oxygen.

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction hosted by Donna.

Loving You Only

The Fifth Dimension recorded the Laura Nyro song ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ on their 1969 album Age Of Aquarius.  The song charted #16 in the UK and went to #1 in the US.  The singer loves her boyfriend Bill, but she is frustrated because he has not proposed to her.  It hasn’t come to the point of “No ring, no nookie” yet, but it appears to be heading in that direction.  Around 1960, when Laura Nyro was 13, her uncle Gary (her mother Gilda’s brother) married jazz singer Helen Merrill’s sister Dorothy and because she was aware of the newspaper/tabloid scandal and all of the hot gossip that took place concerning a member of her family and this incident, she wrote this song only a few years later in 1966.

In 1958, Helen Merrill was dating a married man named Bill Carter, who was a b-film actor and at the time he was married to Nancy Wiman (Wakeman-Carter), an heiress to the John Deere fortune.  Helen Merrill and Bill co-owned a jazz club while they engaged in a very high profile and public romantic relationship.  The club was most likely funded by Mrs. Wiman-Carter’ significant John Deere inheritance money.  The affair was so serious that Mrs. Wiman-Carter had private detectives invade Helen Merrill’s apartment.  The ensuing newspaper scandal was the reason that Helen Merrill left for Europe in 1959 to reside there for many years.  Bill Carter and Nancy Wiman both passed away in 1996, after leading very separate lives.  They both re-married after the scandal caused their divorce.  Helen Merrill never got to marry Bill, who instead married pretty young actress Elaine Stewart not long after this debacle, in October 1959.  Seeing a married man was a big deal in the ‘50s, and when his wife is a wealthy heiress that just makes things worse.  The Bill Carter and Helen Merrill affair was immortalized by Laura in this song.

Whether or not there is a 5th dimension still remains in debate, but many believe it could represent an undefined or unknown dimension in space that is beyond the compression of most humans, unless they are versed in string theory.  In 1965, Lamonte McLemore, formed a singing group in Los Angeles, CA called the Versatiles that was soon renamed the 5th Dimension. The five original members were Billy Davis Jr., Florence La Rue, Marilyn McCoo, Lamonte McLemore, and Ronald Townson.  They have recorded for several labels over their long careers.  The 5th Dimension also had hits in 1968 with Nyro’s songs ‘Stoned Soul Picnic’ which went to #3 and ‘Sweet Blindness’ which reached the Top 20.  Although the Fifth Dimension were extremely popular in the late ‘60s and the early ‘70s, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has neglected to induct them, however they did win several Grammy Awards and were selected to the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo got married the same year that ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ was recorded and Florence La Rue also got married to the group’s manager Marc Gordon, in the wake of this number one song.

Bill I love you so
I always will
I look at you and see
the passion eyes of May
Oh but am I ever gonna see
my wedding day?
Oh I was on your side Bill
when you were losin’
I’d never scheme or lie Bill
There’s been no foolin’
but kisses and love won’t carry me
till you marry me Bill

Bill I love you so
I always will
and in your voice I hear
a choir of carousels
Oh but am I ever gonna hear
my wedding bells?
I was the one came runnin’
when you were lonely
I haven’t lived one day
not loving you only
but kisses and love won’t carry me
till you marry me Bill

Bill I love you so
I always will
and though devotion rules my heart
I take no bows
Oh but Bill you know
I wanna take my wedding vows
Come on Bill
Come on Bill
I got the wedding bell blues

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme is Wedding/Marry/Diamond/Ring/Cake.

The Wedding Singer

Paula Light of Light Motifs II creating order out of chaos, and vice versa mentioned that she is attending the wedding of her eldest daughter Diane this weekend and she asked if it was possible for the Song Lyric Sunday prompt to be wedding.  I told Paula that she could have her cake and eat it too and made it Wedding/Marry/Diamond/Ring/Cake.  A marriage is a long term relationship between two individuals, where as a wedding is the ceremony for those that get married.  To me a wedding is a party that includes the reception, but it is not the bridal shower or the honeymoon.  If you are going to a wedding it is always a good idea to dress in best clothes and women should wear dresses while men should wear a suit.  A wedding is a big deal that involves wedding planners and wedding etiquette.

I think that everyone will be able to work with this prompt and find something.  Try to find a song that fits the prompt, then write your post and please be patient, and wait for me to approve your pingbacks, or you can just place your link in the comments section.

Here are the “rules”:

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Have fun and enjoy the music.

I am writing about the song ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ by the 5th Dimension this week. Next week I will write about the instrumental piece ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ from the movie of the same name. The upcoming prompts will be:
July 28, 2019 – A song featured prominently in a movie
August 4, 2019 – Song from a TV show
August 11, 2019 – Song that includes somebody famous in it
August 18, 2019 – Song that references another group in it

Hit Like A Hammer

Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions were a short live jug band that included Jerry Garcia, Pigpen and Bob Weir.  That group formed in the Spring of 1964 and played through the Summer of that year with the line-up of Jerry Garcia on guitar, kazoo, banjo and vocals, Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan played harmonica, footcrasher, a hi-hat cymbal and sang vocals, Bob Weir played guitar, washtub bass, jug, kazoo, and sang vocals, Dave Parker played washboard, kazoo, tin cup, and vocals, Tom Stone played banjo, mandolin, guitar, vocals and Mike Garbett played washtub bass, guitar, and kazoo.

The Warlocks were formed in Palo Alto at the end of 1964 when the original members of Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions decided to plug in and try rock and roll at the urging of McKernan, as the Beatles and the Stones were doing good with this, instead of continuing with their folk music.  They added a rhythm section that included Dana Morgan Jr. on bass and Bill Kreutzmann on drums.  Dana owned a music store so the band got to use the instruments and amplifiers that they otherwise couldn’t have afforded.  Their camaraderie was strong, because they all lived together in a house in Height Ashbury, San Francisco.  Their first performance was in May of 1965 at Magoo’s Pizza in Menlo Park. Dana couldn’t keep up with both the music store and the band, so Phil Lesh who was an old friend of Garcia’s stepped in one night to play bass.  Bill Kreutzmann was taking drum lessons at the music store, and at this time they were essentially the Grateful Dead, although they didn’t actually change the name for a couple of months.

In early 1965, the Warlocks were playing a mixture of folk, blues, and rock and roll in San Francisco, which eventually melted into their own unique sound.  They began to attend parties thrown by Ken Kesey, and they performed at what was to become known as the first ‘Acid Test’ (ritual gathering to experiment with drugs) in November 1965. Garcia became known as ‘Captain Trips’, as the Acid Test planted the seeds from which the Grateful Dead grew like Jack’s beanstalk.  This event proved to be the most profound building block of the band’s early days.  Jerry Garcia said, “The whole world just went kablooey”, recalling his first experiences being stoned on acid.  The second Acid Test was held on Dec. 4, with the third set for the 11th.  In between those dates, the Warlocks had agreed to perform a benefit concert for the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The benefit was turning into a genuine happening.  The bill also included Jefferson Airplane, the Great Society, John Handy Quintet, the Mystery Trend and the Gentlemen’s Band.  Because of the attendance of a different benefit show the band had recently played, and the buzz surrounding this one, promoter Bill Graham decided to hold this event in a larger venue, one that would soon become legendary.  Graham secured the use of the Fillmore auditorium, and nearly all the pieces were in place.

Phil Lesh thought that their group should change their name from the Warlocks, because there were two other bands also using that name, one in El Paso and one in New York.  In the end, neither of those other bands kept the name Warlocks, they switched to ZZ Top and The Velvet Underground, respectively.  The Warlocks were over at Phil’s house, when Garcia opened a massive two volume old Britannica World Language Dictionary (however others describe this as the Funk & Wagnalls Folklore Dictionary and others say it was an Oxford Dictionary).  I guess it really does not matter, as it all amounts to Garcia focusing on the words ‘Grateful Dead’ that he saw.  This chance encounter was one of those moments for him, it was like everything else went blank, and just sort of oozed away, and there it was GRATEFUL DEAD in big, black letters edged all around in gold, a stunning combination of words blasting out at him.  Garcia said that seeing the words Grateful Dead on the page was astonishing and truly weird, but he found it to be really powerful.  So Garcia said, “How about Grateful Dead?”, and that was it.  Everyone recognized that power, and the name struck a chord of mythic resonance, with a contemporary ring, echoing the past and rippling the future.  Phil Lesh remembered that it hit him like a hammer and it seemed to describe their group so perfectly that he started jumping up and down, shouting, “That’s it!  That’s it!”  Kreutzmann and Weir were more skeptical, but Garcia and Lesh’s relentless enthusiasm banished any qualms, and in December, the Grateful Dead made their formal debut.

The dictionary entry read something like this:

GRATEFUL DEAD: The motif of a cycle of folk tales which begin with the hero coming upon a group of people ill-treating or refusing to bury the corpse of a man who had died without paying his debts. He gives his last penny, either to pay the man’s debts or to give him a decent burial.  Within a few hours he meets with a travelling companion who aids him in some impossible task, gets him a fortune or saves his life.  The story ends with the companion disclosing himself as the man whose corpse the hero had befriended.  The name has also been attributed to this quote, though it’s generally believed that they came across this one later:
“We now return our souls to the creator,
as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness.
Let our chant fill the void
in order that others may know.
In the land of the night
the ship of the sun
is drawn by the grateful dead.”

Graham was not happy about the new name, because they were already an established band called the Warlocks.  Graham told them that the Grateful Dead gave him the creeps.  Bassist Phil Lesh told Graham, “I’m sorry.  This is the decision we’ve made.  Here’s what you do, put ‘Formerly the Warlocks’ in the space where the poster picture would go.”  This would be the first in a long series of clashes between Graham and the Dead for many years to come.  The name Grateful Dead is a reflection of the universal belief that we should honor the bonds of humanity, and the underlying idea of the Grateful Dead motif resonated strongly with the Haight-Ashbury counterculture.  At its simplest, the idea expresses karma, reflected in the Deadhead mantra “what goes around, comes around”, or more simply, give with no thought of reward, and you will be rewarded.

It is interesting to contemplate the simple serendipity of Garcia’s discovery, about a hero who meets a group of people who refuse to bury the corpse of a loafer.  When this hero pays the debts of the deceased, he is rewarded with good fortune and the ripples that act of gratitude became the origin of the Grateful Dead.  Choosing that entry placed the Grateful Dead’s art and achievement alongside the deeper meanings and implications of the folk motif itself.  The imagery evoked by those two words has had a huge impact on pop culture and it is quite fitting that the music has never stopped.

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Grateful.

Look Its Jaime

When I was a Sophomore in High School, I concentrated on saying things that I thought were funny to make the other students crack up laughing, so you could have called me a class clown.  I took Spanish I which I didn’t like, but it was basically an easy course and the teacher was a nice lady.  She wanted everyone to perform a skit that had to be done in Spanish for a grade and I ended up with these two other guys in my group.  This was in 1969, before Woodstock and Nelson was a hippy always singing Stevie Winwood songs from Traffic, as he was a real space cadet and this was before we landed on the moon.  It was a small town and everyone knew him and thought he was kind of different,

The other guy was Billy and a good friend of mine was dating his younger sister.  Billy and Nelson being Juniors were old enough to drive, but I still had to wait another year.  Billy was smart and a good student, headed for college, which Nelson and I never planned for.  Billy was a likable guy and he said that we could all meet at his house to work on our skit.  It was only 3 short blocks away from me so I walked there.  Billy wrote the whole skit and I came in at the end and said hola, which means hello in English.  After I said my one short line, Nelson said, “Válgame Dios es Jaime”, which means Oh my God its Jaime.  The skit was funny and it made the whole class laugh.

One day I was sitting in the school cafeteria with my friends eating lunch and Nelson walked by and said “es Jaime”, which surprised all of my friends as they wondered why he said that and if I knew him.  I told them that he was in my Spanish class and he probably thinks that is my name, because that is what I was called in class.  The name stuck and now all of my friends started calling me Jaime.  The last word that I ever got on Nelson was that he took ten hits of LSD and climbed up a flag pole naked, but maybe that was just a rumor that was spread around about him.

After High School I got a job at a company that made roof trusses that were used in these new prefabricated houses.  A roof truss is a structural framework assembled from two by fours that is designed to bridge the space above a room and to provide support for a roof.  I was the nailer and I had a staple gun that I used to join the boards together.  One day as I was at work a bus full of High School students taking a Business class pulled up outside.  They were getting a firsthand look at three different types of labor that day, being automated, semi-automated and manual.  My place was where they got a look at manual labor and many of these students knew me and they said, “Look its Jaime”.

Written for 7/20/19 Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is “Frame”.