Monday, December 24, 2007

It's Christmas Eve....

.....already. It kinda snuck up on me this year, which is probably a good thing. I've never been a big fan of the gigantic interruption in the normal ebb and flow of life that it causes. I don't really think I'm a scrooge, but this time of year tends to bring out a lot of hypocrisy in people and I could do without any more of the negative side of things than is absolutely necessary. There's no other time of the year that gets the attention that this one day gets and with the current attitude of taking anything religious out of the holiday I'm not sure I understand what the point is any longer except to maybe give the economy a shot in the arm and make up for sagging sales numbers the first 11 months of the year. Hmmm, maybe I am a scrooge.

Anyhow, this has been a fairly quiet holiday season around here and the biggest event has already come and gone. Due to a death in the Polgar family, Eric, Jen and the kids had to leave Kansas and head back to Indiana for a funeral this past Saturday. So, while Eric stayed in Hobart and took care of business, Jen loaded up the van with all 3 munchkins and drove up here for the day, yesterday. They got here about 10 and between 3 kids, 4 dogs and an undertermined number of adults it got chaotic quick. Ri and Adam were here for the visit also. I made breakfast for everyone and then for about the next 6 hours we sat around and talked, played with the kids and had a good, albeit hectic time. The weather outside was crappy, snowy and very windy so it was an inside day for everyone.

As to be expected I guess, when you only see someone once in awhile, they grow up quick and the biggest difference was in Jason, who now is the official family holy terror. the boy is up and running and the world is his to explore. Only problem with that is he don't know yet that there's places in the world where you can fall right off the edge so mom and dad are gonna have to keep an eye and maybe a leash on that boy so he's still around to watch graduate from high school.

We finally got to meet Ethan Thomas that he's 5 / 6 months old. He's a cute little bugger with big eyes and big smile. I got a chance at alittle quality time amid the chaos and held and fed him a bottle. He was almost asleep when he got snatched up by someone else. Wanda had to head out for bingo about 3:30 and because of the weather Jen decided to head back South a bit early so right around 4:00 we packed up the toys, the diaper bags and the kids and reloaded the van for her trip back to Hooiserland. Adam and Ri took off the same time Jen and the kids did and then the house got quiet again.

I had only got about 3 hours sleep the night before so after everyone was gone me and my 4-legged buddies all curled up in our favorite spots and napped for a couple hours. Jen called when she got down to Hobart to let me know she got there safely and it was at that point that the light came on and I realized in all the whoopla that I'd forgotten all about bringing the camera out and getting some shots of the kids. Guess I was more tired than I thought I was....that ticked me off cuz who knows when I'll see the kids again. What an idiot I am I've included a pic of Ethan that Jen sent recently that I like.......that'll have to do for now.

Today me and the wife did some last minute shopping and then later in the afternoon we went out to Tony and Gigi's for a little get-together. Ate sloppy joes and snacked on sugary treats until about 9:30 when we headed back home. We're heading up to the folks in the morning and that'll take care of most of tomorrow. Then it's back off to work for the rest of the week. Not much else to say at this point. I could tell my favorite Christmas story about when the kids were little but I think I did that last year.......

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

One Of The Great Ones Leaves Us For Higher Ground

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dear friends,
Dan left us this morning at 6:00am . He fought a brave battle with cancer and died peacefully at home in Maine with his wife Jean at his side. His strength, dignity, and grace in the face of the daunting challenges of this disease were an inspiration to all who knew him.

It's taken a couple days now since I first heard the news for the awful finality of it to really kick in and hit me fully. What really did it was putting Netherlands on the turntable last night and realizing that not only was it a work of art so close to perfect that no mere mortal could have created those melodies and wrote those words without backing from a higher power, but that even now, after not having played it for years, that I still know every word, every melody, every nuance from the first piano notes of Netherlands to the final chords of False Faces.

I've been to a lot of concerts in my life. Some great ones and some not so memorable, but I remember the first time I saw Dan Fogelberg and I remember it like it was yesteday. It was 1974 and myself and my buddy David were at Grand Valley's Field House for the final night of the Eagles "On the Border" tour. We were up front, as was usually the case in those days, and although my memory is not 100% I seem to recall Glen Frey coming out to announce that they'd brought a friend of their's to open the show for them, a guy named Dan Fogelberg. Well, we were there to see the Eagles, had never heard of this Dan guy, but when Dan walked out on stage with just his guitar and a chair to sit on we gave him our full attention and over the next hour we were blown away by this one guy and one guitar. What a voice, what songs......the next day I went out to the record store and bought Dan's first album and proceeded to play it until it was burned into my being.

That was 1974. Just 3 years later he gave us his 4th album, Netherlands. By then he was well known all over the planet for his music and words. He continued to make albums thru the 80's and although they continued to be high quality offerings they explored other musical areas and were less "spiritual" then Netherlands and 1981's "The Innocent Age". I"m ashamed to say that I don't recall exactly when I saw him the second time but it was in Grand Rapids and it was just him, several guitars and a piano. I brought my wife this time, not a buddy, so I'd say mid 80's would be a safe guess. I do recall vividly though the 3rd and last time I saw him. It was 2003, in South Bend, Indiana at the Morris Civic center. A place I've seen a number of concerts over the years. This time It was the 30 year anniversary tour and Dan was touring with a full band. A real Treat because I finally got to hear him do tunes that I'd sung along with for years. He was enjoying himself and even let loose enough to do some great rock n roll along with the beautiful ballads. We didn't know it at the time of course, but that was going to be Dan's last tour and looking back now I'm damn glad we made the drive to South Bend. Not long after that tour he was diagnosed with advance Prostrate cancer and although he battled for several years ultimately the cancer won and this past Sunday, the 16th of December, 2007 Dan passed away and one of the most beautiful voices I ever heard will be heard no more.

I could ramble on with more stories, but I think I'd rather put on the headphones and listen to Netherlands one more time before I call it a day. If you're so inclined to do such things you can visit the living legacy website

and light a candle for Dan, or just visit and read the notes that people all over the world have left to honor his memory. If you tend to get emotional some kleenex near by might not be a bad idea. I don't know if Dan realized fully while he was here the effect his songs had on people and the power those songs had to heal souls, but I'm pretty sure that from where he's sitting now, he does.

"And the Chords struck at birth
Grow more distant
Yet, we strike them again and again.
And we plead and we pray
For a glimmer of day
As the night folds it's wings
And decends...
Exposing the loose ends".

Thanks for the moments of peace Daniel.

I'm including this article because it's the only one I've read this week that made me smile. I'll be racing that guy to the stage should our fantasy ever come to life......

Fogelberg's death a loss to entire generation

Loss of folk/rock singer and songwriter reminds columnist of mortality
Date published: 12/20/2007

It's not quite the same as losing Elvis or even, for that matter, John Lennon. But my sense of immortality flagged a bit this week when I read about the death of Dan Fogelberg, a songwriter and folk/rock singer who was a favorite of mine.The fact that he was only 56--not that much older than my 51--accentuated the loss of the "Power of Gold" and "Leader of the Band" writer to prostate cancer.
Yes, people in my generation have lost our share of favorite performers through the years. To be sure, Lennon, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Croce, Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughn and scads of other performers loved by us baby boomers have gone by the wayside. But most of them went either from their own excesses, in accidents or had their brilliant careers snuffed out by a killer. Somehow, having a favorite performer from your high school and college years succumb to prostate cancer pretty sharply undercuts the irreverent and immortal essence of rock 'n' roll.
While some see Fogelberg as a soft-rocker best known for tunes that play in malls and elevators, I have a stack of CDs with tunes that both rock and relate the wonders of life and love. My first thought on hearing he had lost his long battle with cancer was remembering Fogelberg at a concert at Paramount's Kings Dominion. That made me smile, because I attended the concert with a buddy who also enjoyed Fogelberg's range of music, from rock to jazz to country. My pal and I hadn't thought a lot about who'd be at the concert; we were just glad to have the chance to see him at a nearby venue. That evening featured Fogelberg alone, alternating between a guitar and keyboards. I remember leaving with the thought that I had just seen someone who truly understood using music and words to tell a story and evoking emotion. From "Longer" to "Dancing Shoes" to "Missing You" to "Rhythm of the Rain" and so many more tunes I'll listen to for years, he had a unique style and voice that used soft tones and harmonic melodies to reel listeners in.
While the loss of Fogelberg has made me accept the fact that this will occur more and more as the years go by, I'm not giving up on another rock 'n' roll connection. It's the fantasy, surely shared by many jackleg musicians, where I'm at a concert for say, oh, the Dave Matthews Band. Suddenly, an announcement's made about how the drummer has sprained his ankle and can't go on. "Anyone out there who could fill in for him, get instantly famous and make a million bucks, please run up here right away," says the announcer. Even when I'm 80, I'm not giving up on that one.
I'll still be out there with my sticks in my back pocket, and my feet tapping--even if they never call on me.
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415 Email:

Dan Singing "Leader of the Band"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Back From The Dead, Or At Least The Comatose

Howdy, It's been awhile, I know. When things got quiet it was still late summer. The trees were green, the air warm and life was well, life. Now, here it is, a week or so before Christmas and as you might expect, the trees are bare, the air is damn cold and life is well, still life.
What happened? why did I stop writing? Would you believe me if I told you it was because of the constant harrassment from English teachers all over America who don't approve of my writing style and grammar? No? I Didn't think so. Actually I don't really want to say a whole lot about it because I don't want people to percieve me differently than they already do, or worse yet treat me differently because of something I've had to deal with most all of my life. I wouldn't tell ya if I had cancer either until it was obvious because I wouldn't want to be treated differently and I wouldn't want people around me all mopey about something that nothing can be done about. That said, I will say that what happened back in late August was what I basically call a "crash" and something can be done about them. I doubt it's a medical term, but for me at least pretty aptly describes what happens. First one I've had in several years and somewhat preventable had I acted sooner, although that's easier said than done.
This past year has been a motherf***** on a number of different levels. Between money problems, Another job change, major kid problems with the 15 year old, some heath issues and the ensuing need to take meds as a part of normal life and a ton of fustration for not being smarter than I am and not seeing things coming that I should've seen coming, realizing that I'm in my 50's, not my 30's and running out of time to get things accomplished.........I just kinda blew a fuse.
Research I've done over the years to get to the bottom of this has taught me that it's a physical condition that can affect the mental condition. The body isn't generating some of the juices that we need to function normally on a daily basis. I seem to be for some reason, deficient in a couple of those juices and although most of the time it's not an issue, there are times when it is and that's when there's a crash. The last thing I'm gonna say about this is the next time someone tells you...."aaawwww it's all in your head" you just look at 'em like their a moron and say "yes it is...and where else do you think it could possibly be??"
Now that the crash has been repaired and we're back to moving again I've been spending as much of my time as possible doing things I enjoy doing. Playing with the computer and my websites, filing up my Ipod with old and new music, playing with my 4 legged buddies and if I can find the time I plan to start teaching myself to play this piano that sits 10 feet away from me. I still believe there's alot of music inside that needs to get out althought I'm not sure for what reason at this stage in life. I plan to write again soon because I like to do it and right now that's all the reason I need to do something. Hmmmm, maybe I should apply that mindset to learning the piano too?