And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of PBJ Sandwiches, Easter, And Runaway Trains

Today, probably after too much time listening to a huge convention of blind people

deciding which of them was going to run for office

as chancellor of Germany,

(yes, truly, but either way it fit, since,

in my opinion,

most politicians are much more disabled than those members of the convention)

I decided to talk about,

ta da,

and with 42 thanks to Douglas Adams,

life, the universe, and everything.


So here we go.

I’m a singer.

As most of you know.

And a church musician, teacher, composer-


which means-

hold on to your hats, boys,

Easter/ summer concerts/fall high holidays/ Christmas

are on their way.

Or to put it in a nutshell-

answer the phone, go to work, collapse after a concert,

bathe long in hot water

while reading a cozy murder mystery,

and eating an apple,

(homage to Ms Christie here-)

then get up the next morning to do it all again.

Eleven plus per quarter.

But oh my, the joy.

The joy of lifting spirits,

watching people sing with you,

usually when they aren’t really supposed to,

a couple of times even hearing people say

“thanks, I think I can face things again for a while.”

(And that’s the point, of course.)

But then, the next morning,

you successfully work through  enough of  the pain of tense muscles

that, during yoga,  you can get your back flat on the floor again,

and find that your wonderful

and also overworked


has made you toast with peanut butter for breakfast-

Yup. A real blessing.

The man, not the toast,

although pbj isn’t bad either.

And then there is the lit.

I also do  lit courses.

Yes, you can do it,

if you do a lot of yoga,

have a car with a good gps,

and drag heavy lit books to concert rehearsals.

And discover,

during a break to tweak the horn section,

that in the middle of  Shakespeare plays,

there are songs that are still known today,

(and lyrics used for pop songs)

or that in Hermann Hesse’s Damian,

there are large discussions of organ playing,


breaking your way out of the egg and progressing upward.

While the two heroes stand in a darkened church at midnight,

and absorb the incredible stillness

and beauty

you don’t find much in the world today.

Me, I have a memory box-

mental, of course.

And one of my favorite memories is exactly that-

Easter Sunday morning-

about one am-

practicing for  classical music the next day at sunrise,

(our tenor was on the road from a recording session until near midnight)

Electricity off-

so we had to use the candles from  the camping kit our tenor keeps in his junker of a car for emergencies-

so there we were

a relatively small, sixteenth century chapel here in the Rhineland,



and baroque music-

I Am the way, and the truth, and the light.

And being startled suddenly by the four a.m. tram

that runs right through what had previously been the church burial ground.

Causing our mostly asleep tenor

to back into the button for the  communion bell-

which only rang once before we could turn it off, thank heavens.

Stillness, beauty, meaning of life, technology, the foibles of mankind.

Did you know Shakespeare was the one who  wrote the 23d  psalm version most of us know

“The Lord Is My Shepherd”

for the Saint James Bible translation?

Or that Bach once threw his wig at his musicians, claiming they were still drunk,

at  Easter,

from their New Years reveling?

And so…

“like grains of sand through an hourglass…”

everything is connected.

Like all holistic detective agencies are,

and Alma Cogan isn’t.

Just remember to walk around the stones.

See, Life, The Universe, And Everything.

copyright 2017

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