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Pictures are thumbnailed for faster loading. Click on any for a larger image and “Back” to return to the text. QUESTION — Do all blog readers interested in Honey & Quinine KNOW about thumbnails by now?

Robbie’s Restaurant is a favorite dinner and meeting place for several of my artist and artisty friends. starting at 5:30, last Friday, a local jazz group with an unconventional name I can never remember how to spell — something like “Chahrm” would be playing and my friend Mark Pence would be celebrating his birthday. I knew it would be a friendly room, so I attended as well, Sony Cyber-shot in tow.

John Mundstock from Miss Allen's second grade class at Lawrence School.

John Mundstock from Miss Allen’s second grade class at Lawrence School.

As I paused in front of Robbie’s, looking over the people outside strolling by and the restored  Old State Capitol Building nearby, I heard my name and I turned to face a fellow about my age, whom I didn’t recognize. I apologized for now remembering his name, and he told me: John Mundstock. I last saw this fellow in SECOND GRADE! We were great friends at Lawrence, but we lost touch for five decades. There were four of us  — Allen Sherman and I drew pictures of airplanes throughout the day in Miss Allen’s class. John Mundstock and Jeffrey Halden drew ships. John’s mother was British. I used to visit John at his house a few doors north of Jeffrey’s on south College; attended birthday parties there and he attended at least one of mine. We remembered our friends. Jeff had taken his own life in the 70s. John told me how he died. Sad, sad . . . sad. I told John I was looking forward to a good dinner with friends, hearing my harmonica-playing friend Mark play some jazz and  helping my friend celebrate his birthday. I gave him my cards (Balladeer for Rent  and AeroKnow Museum) and said I hope we will meet again. I really do> Terrific fellow!
“Chahrm” was playing as I entered Robbie’s. I looked for familiar faces as I searched for a table, and sat down. Less than a minute later, Cheryl Pence came over and invited me to the birthday party tables, pulled together less than 10 feet from where I first sat down. I was happy to sit next to Mark’s sister Rosanne Russillo and their mom, MRS. RUSSILLO and across from friends Siobhan and Sam. Then the photographycal phun began.  The rest of this post is captioned pictures. I hope you enjoy them  . . . .

Left to right: in green shirt, birthday boy Mark Pence, Mrs. Russillo, Rosanne Russillo  applauding a number just concluded by Chahrm at the far end of Robbies.

Left to right: in green shirt, birthday boy Mark Pence, Mrs. Russillo, Rosanne Russillo applauding a number just concluded by Chahrm at the far end of Robbies.

Mark Pence -- photo   cropped from previous broad shot.

Mark Pence — photo cropped from previous broad shot.

"A festive table nicely set" as I wrote in a song about another fine dinner. That's Cheryl Pence standing at the end after she took a picture looiking toward us. I thought it appropriate for a picture looking her way as well.

“A festive table nicely set” as I wrote in a song about another fine dinner. That’s Cheryl Pence standing at the end after she took a picture looiking toward us. I thought it appropriate for a picture looking her way as well.

Then I took a telephoto of Cheryl. That's KAT Corrigan in the lower left.

Then I took a telephoto of Cheryl. That’s KAT Corrigan in the lower left.

 

Mark Russillo juined us at the table for a short break after finishing the first set.

Mark Russillo joined us at the table for a short break after finishing the first set.

 

Rosanne, visiting from Maryland with her mon, graced the evening by singing some mellow jazz standards.  Shes the one in the dress. Also pictured left to right, Mark R., harmonicaman, John Crips, keyboard  and guitarist Alexis ______/

Rosanne, visiting from Maryland with her mon, graced the evening by singing some mellow jazz standards. Shes the one in the dress. Also pictured left to right, Mark R., harmonicaman, John Crips, keyboard and guitarist Alexis V. Rogers.

Rosanne Russillo

Rosanne Russillo

 

Rob711-20    Mark R. is a smooth vocalist as well as harmonicaman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob711-16

I did not learn the name of the boy who danced so well, but he was great fun.

I did not learn the name of the boy who danced so well, but he was great fun.

Rock steady guitar harmonies and improvising throughout the evening from Alexis!

Rock steady guitar harmonies and improvising throughout the evening from Alexis!

The legendary John Crisp!

The legendary John Crisp!

Rob711-8  Rob711-25

Ada Mae brought "a touch of Ella" to the microphone. It's always great to hear her sing.

Ada Lou brought “a touch of Ella” to the microphone. It’s always great to hear her sing.

sharing a short conversation from the amazing, dancing sprout! :)

sharing a short conversation from the amazing, dancing sprout! :)

a touch of Chicago in Springfield, Illlinoise

a touch of Chicago in Springfield, Illlinoise

 

Sometimes a photo, not tecknically successful as a conventional, sharply focused production, can be transformed by good exiting software, into something special. I believe that is the outcome of this picture.

Sometimes a photo, not technically successful as a conventional, sharply focused production, can be transformed by good exiting software, into something special. I believe that is the outcome of this picture.

Rob711-23  Rob711-29

Frank Parker j-- trumpeter extraordinaire on far left, joined the jazz jubilee as the evening drew close to closing.

Frank Parker — trumpeter extraordinaire on far left, joined the jazz jubilee as the evening drew close to closing.

Frank Parker

Frank Parker

 

classical

classical

 

Rob711-38

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Cats and friend of cats talk after the set.

Cats and friend of cats talk after the set.

I never know the order  in which my  pictures will appear. When I hit the “publish” button, it’s always a surprise despite my effort to establish a semblance of organic flow. Suffice to say, the evening was terrific. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.

These pictures were  taken June 28, 2014. All are thumbnailed. Click on an for a larger image and “back” to return to this post.

It’s been at least two years since I attended a Prairie Art Alliance gallery opening reception. I still appreciate the organization immensely. But if my friend Delinda Chapman (I purchased a fantastic painting from her some several years ago. Does that tell you something?) knew the extreme paucity of dollars in my humble (stark would also work) household, she would not have hand-written her friendly invitation to support PAA with more than pictures . . . with the fund-raising material mailed this spring . AND she did thank me for being a supporter  in the only way I can until another relative who loved me dies or I land professional employment as a writer/photographer. That said, I was glad to return with my camera in hand. I was equally glad to have a terrific time there (as always, previously) and to meet some terrific people whose kind words and what follows after the reception MAY allow me to contribute  in the GREEN(BACXS) mode by this time next year.

The pictures and captions tell the story.

Thanks for  visiting Honey & Quinine.

Live long . . . . . . . . . . and proper.

Walking from parking space to PAA, SIRENS! and the first photo of the visit.

Walking from parking space to PAA, SIRENS! and the first photo of the visit.

 One of the first faces encountered was also one of the friendliest. Katherine Pippin Pauley poses by her painting "Pin Ball Wizard."

One of the first faces encountered was also one of the friendliest. Katherine Pippin Pauley poses by her painting “Pinball Wizard.”

Lothar Soliwon

Lothar Soliwon

 

There's a  tremendous amount of lore behind this creation. I always  loved the "Tommy" album but didn't know the details behind the story and in she crated here. If you're a "Tommy" aficionado, this creation reads like a book!

There’s a tremendous amount of lore behind this creation. I always loved the “Tommy” album but didn’t know the details behind the story and in she crated here. If you’re a “Tommy” aficionado, this creation reads like a book!

Teri A. Zuckworth (left) and an admirer and a bird, nicely rendered in paper mache by the talented TAZ.

Teri A. Zuckworth (left) and an admirer and a bird, nicely rendered in paper mache by the talented TAZ.

The pictures and captions tell the story.

Polly want a picture? Another by Teri.

Polly want a picture? Another by Teri.

View from the HD Smith Gallery's west-facing window.

View from the HD Smith Gallery’s west-facing window.

PAA member artist Liz Drake helps her grand daughter to some refreshments.

PAA member artist Liz Drake helps her grand daughter to some refreshments.

Jerry Josserand, Gloria's husband chats with a well wisher. It was great seeing him; says he lost some weight after Gloria died, but he's putting it back in recent weeks. Pure  GOLD this ceramic master artist!

Jerry Josserand, Gloria’s husband chats with a well wisher. It was great seeing him; says he lost some weight after Gloria died, but he’s putting it back in recent weeks. Pure GOLD this ceramic   master artist!

Info about Rosemary Hutchcraft's fine abstract. I called it "WOW!" but Rosemary named it "Bubble Bath."

Info about Rosemary Hutchcraft’s fine abstract. I called it “WOW!” but Rosemary named it “Bubble Bath.”

I could have written a check for this in a heart beat if I could have written a check for this in a heartbeat.

I could have written a check for this in a heart beat if I could have written a check for this in a heartbeat.

A slightly different approach. I'm not a MEMBER of the PAA, but I am an artist, in my own way. I'm using my Artistic License here.

A slightly different approach. I’m not a MEMBER of the PAA, but I am an artist, in my own way. I’m using my Artistic License here.

Pumper westbound to put out the fire. This SHOULD BE the last picture in this post. Is it? We shall see. . . . .

Pumper westbound to put out the fire. This SHOULD BE the last picture in this post. Is it? We shall see. . . . .

Artistic License used here too. I cannot control the order in which these pictures appear, there was a logical approach, but it didn't come out that way.

Artistic License used here too. I cannot control the order in which these pictures appear, there was a logical approach, but it didn’t come out that way.

That's Jed Leber on the left.

That’s Jed Leber on the left.

posing very nicely and smiling too. . . That's Jed Leber's waterfu wondercolors in the background.

posing very nicely and smiling too. . . That’s Jed Leber’s waterfu wondercolors in the background.

another

another

Info about Mr. Baxton's "Purple Gaze."

Info about Mr. Baxton’s “Purple Gaze.”

The incredible. . . This is a candid.

The incredible. . . This is a candid.

Meet Anthony Baxton who has a couple of terrific painting in the show. The one behind me hit me like a ton of BRICKS! WOW AGAIN!

Meet Anthony Baxton who has a couple of terrific painting in the show. The one behind me hit me like a ton of BRICKS! WOW AGAIN!

Can you say WOW?

Can you say WOW?

some of the wonderful watercolors by Jed Leber. Awesome work!

some of the wonderful watercolors by Jed Leber. Awesome work!

Cathy S. Mosley

Cathy S. Mosley

Friends Cathy A. Mosely (left) director of White Fox Social Media and Lothar Soliwon, president,   Zukunft Group Worldwide gaze at a terrifc painting of Abraham and Mary by Delinda Chapman.

Friends Cathy A. Mosely (left) director of White Fox Social Media and Lothar Soliwon, president, Zukunft Group Worldwide gaze at a terrific painting of Abraham and Mary by Delinda Chapman.

was touched to see this creation by my recently demised friend Gloria Josserand.The yellow dot says it's sold. The face attached to a camera in the mirror is mine.

was touched to see this creation by my recently demised friend Gloria Josserand.The yellow dot says it’s sold. The face attached to a camera in the mirror is mine.

In the past few years, I’ve been told I should not be driving at night because of cataracts in both eyes that impair my night vision.  I consider myself a married mother’s lucky son to have been invited by long-time friend/musician/songwriter Dennis Darling to  play at two recent open mics at afore-said location and to ride with him there and back from Springfield. June 27th’s event was great fun. I want to see it “grow audience and participants.”

Captioned pictures will follow another few paragraphs of narrative. They’re thumbnailed so you can click on and image for a larger, and back to return.

I had in mind what I wanted to share, and, having learned how badly out of the “frequent-performing-groove” I proved  myself to be at my first visit to Chatham Goodwill, I practiced at my employer Friday afternoon. He doesn’t mind, and the sales rep from Chicago enjoyed my sharing of my “Preposition Song”. — which I hasten to add, was not planned for sharing at Good Will’s likely much younger audience. I did practice ” Lemon Tree” made famous by Peter Paul & Mary and Trini Lopez.  I practiced reciting Vachel Lindsay’s great poem “On the Building of Springfield,” and “Niagara,” but as the chemistry evolved hours later in Chatham I performed none of those I practiced. I allow the chemistry, ambiance, mood of a room, the manner of the emcee’s (in this case, “emcees'” or if you are from Hicksville, ” emcees’s”) to affect my confidence and delivery sometimes. Other times I rise above it, and things like that don’t keep me from delivering a “Class A” performance, even if it’s only four songs.

Co-hosts Dennis Darling and Joe Allen opened the evening with tunes in duet, Dennis on guitar initially and then on a Yamaha keyboard, and both played solos. These guys READ MUSIC; had the charts spread out on the music stand and the top of the Yamahaha. Reading music is like a magic trick with me, and those who can do it rank high with me. As a musician and vocalist, Dennis — if he wanted to — could be a “piano man” in any metropolitan club. As a guitarist, Joe plays Chet Atkins tunes and much more, literally note for note and as smooth as butter on silk . . . . well I’m sure there are better analogies, but you know what I mean.

I  followed and played ragged during Round One. Joe commented after that my “Vachel Was a Preacher” song sounds much better LIVE than on my computer-camera-recorded version in my Facebook “Balladeer For Rent” series. I agree. I’m energized by living faces, even those that glance at their watches. At home, the Fb recordings are like “singing to God.” I know He’s listening, but connecting through the eyes is important to me, and I don’t get that at home.  I recited Vachel’s “A Curse for the Saxophone” and for first time in my LIFE in a public performance, lost track of the words; found myself gong from “Jezebel and her pajamas,” completely omitting Judas and Henry the Eightth, coming in at the end of that segment and finishing — after some hasty spluttering and whining that I had “screwed the poem” — finished it conventionally with John Wilkes Booth and the rest of the poem with no problem. I was, in two words, CRUSHED, and for about ten minutes, sitting in my seat, visibly withdrawn from the action, until I regained a modicum of composure and enjoyed what was happening at the microphone. For Pete’s sake, I told myself, this is  an open mic in a wonderful coffeehouse; NOT CARNEGIE HALL!  Hell, not even ROBBIE’S in lyrical downtown Springfield.

An employee at the Goodwill store, Carla, played some modern vocals very well, accompanying herself on guitar. She clearly knows how to play the instrument!  The HIT of the NIGHT was Lea (probably not spelled correctly) who played some contemporary-sound “covers” from women vocalists — the tunes you’d hear on modern music radio. She played DD’s Yamaha as well as though she had brought the instrument herself! Dennis had accidentally forgotten to bring the boom part of his microphone which would have allowed placement closer to Lea’s mouth, the her talent and “cool” came through like gangbusters! Very impressive for a young lady who will be a senior next year at an area high school.

We all had two extended rounds. I sat on a chair instead of standing for that round, and did much better. The event event concluded very nicely.

A few minutes later when I made it into the coffeehouse part to ask for a “doggie bag,” to take the rest of the brownies I had bought home, a family dining at a table called me over, told me how much they enjoyed my “Don’t You Take the Mashed Potatoes” song and asked me where I was playing these days. Of course I told them I am playing wherever anyone wants me to play, but that I had nothing planned for another few weeks at least. With the store manager’s permission, I took out my guitar and played a Tom Paxton tune (“Ramblin’ Boy”) and a Woody Guthrie tune (“This Land is Your Land”) and gave them my “Springfield’s Oldest Living Folksinger” card. Then I thanked them for their kind words, caught up with Dennis, and came home very happy with the positive recovery of the night.

Here are the pictures . . .

Dennis (left) and Joe

Dennis (left) and Joe

Big D on board of key. I don't like the exposure here. Will improve it in a day or two.

Big D on board of key. I don’t like the exposure here; will improve it in a day or two.

Dennis Darling

Dennis Darling

 

The closest I've come to Chet Atkins in Springfield. St. Louis' John McClellan is clearly at the top, but John lives 100 miles from here.

The closest I’ve come to Chet Atkins in Springfield. St. Louis’ John McClellan is clearly at the top, but John lives 100 miles from here.

 

 

GWOM-1

Keyboardist/contemporary vocalist Lea (right) poses with her friend and coach before she performed.

Keyboardist/contemporary vocalist Lea (right) poses with her friend and coach before she performed.

co-hosts and sound men extraordinaire help arrange the equipment before Lea sang

co-hosts and sound men extraordinaire help arrange the equipment before Lea sang

DSC00100

Carla works at the Goodwill bookstore/coffeehouse.

GWOM-13DSC00096DSC00097

Carla is also a skilled guitar player and a fine vocalist. The quality of other pictures I took during her performance came up short Friday. I will try harder in July's open mic.

Carla is also a skilled guitar player and a fine vocalist. The quality of other pictures I took during her performance came up short Friday. I will try harder in July’s open mic.

 

Joe's friend Cheri's daughter Jesi (left) is a buding harmonica player. Here she played some blues with Joe.

Joe’s friend Cheri’s daughter Jesi (left) is a budding harmonica player. Here she played some blues with Joe.

Dennis played solid rhythm during the trio's happy performance. Great FUN!

Dennis played solid rhythm during the trio’s happy performance. Great FUN!

Thanks for reading this post.

Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.

 

So Many Yesterdays
by Job Conger

What tales I could tell
As the memories return
From the pictures of me as a boy
That were taken by parents who happily loved me.
Up to high school, ’twas joy after joy.
How they capture the moments
Of happy times poses
When life was exciting and new
It was sweet not to know
Of life’s great ebb and flow
And young dreams that would never come true.

(chorus)   So many yesterdays
From a life that was grand
How did I come to be
Who I am? I cannot understand.
The glories of younger ways
Touch my heart, haunt me so.
So many yesterdays
So long, long ago

From a Bressmer’s
Christmas-time gift box
A keepsake from our bustling mid-town
Comes a glorious tableau of lost youth in the 50s
Rising fast in the 60s then tumbling down
Lessons learned as lived, crazy
From college and lovers,
Turned my sunny horizons to dark.
I would never again be the kid with snow cone
Caught by my father’s camera at Washington Park.

(chorus)   So many yesterdays
From a life that was grand
How did I come to be
Who I am? I cannot understand.
The glories of younger ways
Touch my heart, haunt me so.
So many yesterdays
So long, long ago

At this stage at my age,
I’m amazed just to be here
And recalling in lyrical lines
I lost track of dreams, banished
To the far side of the moon
The dark place where the sun never shines.
Waves of solace and logic
Roll in now like high tide
To help wash away wondering why.
And to pictures I found in a Bressmer’s gift box. . . .
To the times savored sweetly:  good-bye

(chorus)   So many yesterdays
From a life that was grand
How did I come to be
Who I am? I cannot understand.
The glories of younger ways
Touch my heart, haunt me so.
So many yesterdays
So long, long ago.

written 2:53, Tuesday, June 17.  2014
=====================================
I’ll play this in public for the first time tonight.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

The name of this event was “Flight.”  Pha5714-1a

This picture of Don George's restored North American B-25 has no connection to The Pharmacy's reception, but it IS an airplane in flight, just for the record. :)

This picture of Don George’s restored North American B-25 has no connection to The Pharmacy’s reception, but it IS an airplane in flight, just for the record. :)

I don’t know how the title was chosen, I changed my Facebook profile picture from the one which appears on my “Balladeer for Rent” card. to a picture of me spending five minutes in the cockpit of the Museum of Flight’s fantastic P-38, taken 10 years ago at Springfield Air Rendezvous.

DSC00012a

And I vowed to wear the custom-painted leather flight jacket given to me by the president of the American Aviation Historical Society following my visit to their annual meeting in Los Angeles last February . . . even if it was 100 degrees in the shade here in Springfield on June 7th.

The weather was almost perfect for wearing a flight jacket to a gallery reception, and it was nice to see friends from the arts community supporting this event, among them, Amanda Bryan, Bob Croteau, Delinda Chapman,  Bill Crook and Wendy Allen, Mark Russillo and Thea Chesley and the one, the only Amy Henske.

The rest of this post is in photo captions. Pictures are thumbnailed for faster loading. Click on any for a larger view and “back” to return to the post.

Pharmacy Gallery artist James T. Elliot is also the best bar keeper Ted Danson, and almost as good looking.

Pharmacy Gallery artist James T. Elliot is also the best bar keeper Ted Danson, and almost as good looking.

 

 

This bartender is better looking than Ted Danson OR James T. Elliot, but she worked to bar only briefly while James (I think) sold one of his paintings.

This bartender is better looking than Ted Danson OR James T. Elliot, but she worked to bar only briefly while James (I think) sold one of his paintings.

 

Before the crowds rolled in this young lady and her dad enjoyed looking at a book together.

Before the crowds rolled in this young lady and her dad enjoyed looking at a book together.

 

 

Across the room, on one of two nicely arranged two-seat leather-upholstered chairs, a loving mom chatted with her two sprouts.

Across the room, on one of two nicely arranged two-seat leather-upholstered chairs, a loving mom chatted with her two sprouts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admiring an incredible fabric creation by Wendy Crook.

Admiring an incredible fabric creation by Wendy Allen.

Inspired by Indian (as in Far Eastern) culture, Wendy's creation must be seen to be fully appreciated.

Inspired by Indian (as in Far Eastern) culture, Wendy’s creation must be seen to be fully appreciated.

Wendy poses with two wonderful creations, one in fabric and one (her grand daughter) in flesh.

Wendy poses with two wonderful creations, one in fabric and one (her grand daughter) in flesh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This painting is by Diane Schleyhahn. For more informaton, see next picture.

This painting is by Diane Schleyhahn. For more information, see next picture.

This photo has been slightly retouched.

This photo has been slightly retouched.

 

 

 

 

 

Keeley Mills' proud mom attended, representing her talented daughter. Keeley was away attending a bachelorette party with the girls.

Keeley Mills’ proud mom attended, representing her talented daughter. Keeley was away attending a bachelorette party with the girls.

 

Here's one of Keeley's most interesting crations. Picture of slightly retouched information card . . .

Here’s one of Keeley’s most interesting creations. Picture of slightly retouched information card . . .

. . . follows.

. . . follows.

 

 

 

 

 

three distinguished woman: left is Delinda Chapman, abstract painter extraordinaire, cener is Wendy Crook, whose creation was featured earlier here. Third is a very pleasant (looking) stranger who watched me taking this picture and unconsciously (I think) posed for the occasion.  :) I wish I had met her.

three distinguished woman: left is Delinda Chapman, abstract painter extraordinaire, center is Wendy Allen, whose creation was featured earlier here. Third is a very pleasant (looking) stranger who watched me taking this picture and unconsciously (I think) posed for the occasion. :) I wish I had met her.

The first picture of Delinda and Wendy was taken when they didn't realize I was taking it. They were clearly in "girl talk mode" when I took the first. Then we decided they could pose for a more "civilized" picture. BOTH work for me. How about you?

The first picture of Delinda and Wendy was taken when they didn’t realize I was taking it. They were clearly in “girl talk mode” when I took the first. Then we decided they could pose for a more “civilized” picture. BOTH work for me. How about you?

One of my FAVE creations by bartender extraordinaire/artist James T. Elliottttttt (The extra "t's" are to compensate for not including the requisite number in the rest of this post. Info card, slightly retouched, follows.

One of my FAVE creations by bartender extraordinaire/artist James T. Elliottttttt (The extra “t’s” are to compensate for not including the requisite number in the rest of this post.)

 

info card for the fab melti mudia creation by James T. Elliott

info card for the fab melti mudia creation by James T. Elliott

 

tasteful bouquet on a table featuring  Felicia Olin's postards and in the background a fine glimpse of what I believe to be an abstract creation by Adam G. Perschbacher. I know enough of this major local talent to believe this may NOT be abstract to Adam's brain. It may be fully representational, of what I will knever know. :)

tasteful bouquet on a table featuring Felicia Olin’s postcards and in the background a fine glimpse of what I believe to be an abstract creation by Adam G. Perschbacher. I know enough of this major local talent to believe this may NOT be abstract to Adam’s brain. It may be fully representational, of what I will knever know. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

better view of Adam's fine creation and Mother Nature's fine creation in the foreground

better view of Adam’s fine creation and Mother Nature’s fine creation in the foreground

 

 

 

 

ending on a "flight" note, this picture of an Illinois National Guard Beech C-12 was taken Saturday morning at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport. I could be wrong, but I think the only airport with a looooooonger name is located in W ales. ;)

ending on a “flight” note, this picture of an Illinois National Guard Beech C-12 was taken Saturday morning at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport. I could be wrong, but I think the only airport with a looooooonger name is located in Wales.   ;)

 

KUDOS and THANKS to the artist members of The Pharmacy, Pasfield at South Grand, Springfield, Illinois for an OUTSTANDING 9th reception at which I tot’ly had a good-good time. Thanks for reading . . . I mean thanks for reading the words here AND thanks for reading at ALL! :)

Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.

Introduction: This may be the most controversial lyric I’ve written. What you’re going to read here (I hope) is considerably refined from the first draft of a song I conceived at the start of what Lerner & Lowe called “the merry month of May” in their wonderful musical Camelot.” I noticed the fascinating connection between the name Gina and the same four letters, pronounced with a long “i” that end a word that begins “va.” A state representative — I believe in Michigan — was outraged when she spoke it during debate over legislation, and on orders from the leader of that legislative body ordered it “stricken from the record” as though she had never said it. I am often amazed by how casually some people express obscenities and obscene slang — especially on Facebook — and beyond (in REAL LIFEville) and people don’t seem to mind. I mind. I never share obscene language because I think language matters. So you can just imagine my surprise at the reaction of four male friends who had come together at a plastic model club meeting May 14 when I sang the lyric you’re about to read (I hope).

I was advised that if I sang this song at an open mic coming up in about a week, every “feminist” in the audience would assault me with instruments capable of inflicting great pain and permanent damage — and I don’t mean with acoustic banjos. My friends  loved the melody but considered the lyric needlessly inflammatory; suggested I write another lyric for such a nice melody. One of the friends e-mailed me later, saying he’d like me to teach him how to play the tune on guitar. I don’t understand why the lyric created this reaction. I believe the word “vagina” is healthier than the word “fuck.” In my song you never find the word “vagina;” you find the word “gina” / “Gina” often, and every time you encounter it, you should pronounce it as “Geena” or “Jeena.” I hope after reading the lyric  you will comment with your opinion WHY I SHOULD NOT sing the song (I will NOT sing the song if there are young ladies — younger than 16 years old, say,  in the audience. If I see  any, I won’t even mention this song) and if you feel the lyric is tolerable, please tell me why you think it’s tolerable and should be shared with mature people. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Gina. . . . .

Gina
by Job Conger
written May 9, 2014

I have found a woman who
Makes me happy when I’m blue.
Her sweet voice is angel song.
Heaven sent, she came along.
Through romantic, moonlit nights,
We share healthy appetites,
And her wondrous gift to me
Thrills like no one’s before.

(CHORUS)
. . . . . . . . . . . Gina with a lovely va
. . . . . . . . . . . Gina — how she charms and delights me
. . . . . . . . . . . When she smiles and invites me.
. . . . . . . . . . . Gina! I dream of her va
. . . . . . . . . . . Gina comes from South Carolina.
. . . . . . . . . . . How I love her warm embrace

During younger years of this life I’ve led
I was seldom slow to share my bed.
Had my hopes and played the games –
A litany of joys and shames –
Never lasting and incomplete
Silent dawns and chilly feet.
Those sad days are ancient history.
She is the cat’s meow, WOW!

(CHORUS)

Gina is my Juliet.
I’m her Romeo, you bet.
Star-blessed tunes of love combine.
Cosmic symphonies entwine.
Rhythm of our rapture sweet
Breathe the roses, feel the heat.
Wait a minute . . . . what’s going on here?
SHUCKS! I was only dreaming . . . about

(CHORUS)

- – – – – – – – – – -
Thanks for reading this post.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

Pictures are shared here in thumbnail. Click on any for a larger view and “back” to return to the blog.

My friend Dennis Darling has been co-hosing (with my new friend Joe Allen) an open mic night at Edgar’s Coffeehouse in Chatham, Illinois a few miles down Route 4 from Springfield. The April 22 monthly gathering was the 4th. Dennis offered me a ride to the event if I would bring my guitar and bother the air for a few songs, and I eagerly came along.  I’m glad I did.The Chatham Goodwill building is on the north side of Chatham facing south. The fastest way to get there from most of Springfield is to take I-55 to the Chatham turn off right after crossing the Lake Springfield bridge and to west to enter central Chatham. Then turn north on Route 4 and left when you see the large white stone-finished building facing you. This avoids a lot of stop lights and traffic, especially during the evening rush hour.
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I was surprised to see Edgar’s Coffeehouse on the west end of the building. I had planned to do some shopping at the retail (resale) store. Things happened so fast and fun as we arrived, I gladly forgot about shopping. First order of the evening was unloading the sound gear Dennis had brought. As we did that, I posed for a picture which he took with my camera.
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Joe Allen and Dane were already making beautiful music when we arrived. We'll see more of Dane later in this post.

Joe Allen and Dane were already making beautiful music when we arrived. We’ll see more of Dane later in this post.

As Dennis plugged his guitar into the sound system, I went to “work” with my camera. The instrumental sounds of Joe and Dane were as smooth and polished as anything I’d hope to hear from a Nashville recording studio. I cannot exaggerate my amazement. They KNOW their instruments and have clearly spent toms time  practicing together!

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View approaching the stage from the Edgar’s Coffeehouse Book Nook area adjacent to the restaurant where tables are many and the menu is terrific. 

The first person to sign in on the sign-up sheet was this young lady who came with her parents and a karaoke CD that provided instrumental accompaniment to her songs. Dad rose to the occasion to video her performance and Mom was her vocal coach, seated close by and whispering encouragement. It was a friendly audience.
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GWOMN-7      DSC09052 Dennis and Joe play/sang a few songs, popular tunes, the kind we’d hear on a TV variety show in the 60’s, and I’m telling you, the quality of the performance was as good as almost anything that appeared on Tuesday night broadcast. I know, it wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll, but I liked it!  :)

Dennis Darling (left) and Joe Allen

Dennis Darling (left) and Joe Allen

 

GWOMN-12     Variety show it was! Many of the younger performers were from Chatham, and some sang in tribute to their faith and that is absolutely perfectly okay with this camera guy. Music is a creative process that comes from what moves us inside, whether it’s a perceived diets or a particularly memorable hug from your boyfriend or a ham sandwich you will never forget. Everyone had 15 minutes, but no one was interrupted and directed away from the microphone if things went a little longer. It was obvious — through eye contact and friendly conversation with ED (Emcee Dennis) at the end of a completed song or poem, when it was time.  Some performers didn’t need 15 minutes, and that was okay too. In a few cases, that was a blessing. :)
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Two of the Edgar’s Coffeehousse employees — shift manager Steve and Carla performed as well. Everyone valued the time given to share their blossoming and maturing talent with people who intended to be there and wanted to listen. I believe the experience from the audience was one of discovery, that their friend played guitar much better than tyhey realized, that what an aquaintance had written was downright eloquent.

Then it was my turn. No pictures survived the onslaught. You’ll just have to believe me. I knew what I intend to open with: a song most people already knew. “The San Francisco Bay Blues” which I sang with elements of Peter Paul and Mary, Eric Clapton and a heapin’ helpin’ of original Job Conger. I have never felt so overcharged and NERVOUS playing for the first time in a new venue. My friend Kevin didn’t believe I was nervous when I described my ‘xperience. “I’ve never seen you nervous in front of an audience,” he said. And he was right. Maybe it was how unpracticed I was, how uncertain. Earlier in the day I thought I could sleep walk through what I intended to sing. Didn’t happen like that. I made many mistakes, but I improvised and laughed my way through them. I’ll spare you the details. But we all laughed through it. The audience tapped their feet, swayed from side to side, smiled in all the right spots and had FUN. I also sang my “Don’t You Take the Mashed Potatoes” song and,  acknowledging the kind of venue hosting the event, concluded with my song “Sally Got a Hickey.” I was sweating like Louis Armstrong ten minutes into “Mac the Knife.” when I stopped, but I could have sung another hour and a half. I was disappointed I hadn’t practiced, but there was no mistaking the success of my time shared. More wonderful talent followed

Joe played a solo tune or two, then . . .

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GWOMN-17introduced and played along with this well-practicvd hammer dulcimer player who used to play at Trout Lily Cafe in Springfield. The hammer dulcimer at its best is crystal melody, and it sure was Tuesday night. Joe knew what he was doing, played his guitar lightly to accompany, not trample the the dulcimer.
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Dane, whom I had heard at the start, returned and played lead to some Nashville and Chet Atkins tunes as Joe played his part with consummate cool and aplomb. Dennis played a little rhythm  action as well.

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Dane

Dane

 

 

 

 

 

He was GREAT!   He was GREAT!  :)GWOMN-22
The evening was approaching 8:00 pm when we would have to call it a night when three more fine people shared their talent. I was not taking notes, but as I get to know the regulars, I will add names. Visitors who know these people are welcome to fill in my blank spaces by commenting after this post.
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I close the pictures with three pictures of a player who came with a Dobro and a guitar and played the later as he shared a few songs. He LOOKED like a quintessential rock’n’roller, and when he played, I realized there was a gentle side to the gentleman, a side he shared with his instrument and the songs he wrote. I look forward to hearing more of him earlier into a “next” open mic — at Edgar’s Coffeehouse or purt near anywhere else . . . .
DSC09088 DSC09091 DSC09092  The next open mic at Edgar’s Coffeehouse in Chatham will take place Friday, May 30 and will run from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, an extra hour, and that’s a good thing. Please be on hand for this: to share music or poetry and to be a part of what promises to be a large audience for the occasion.

Kudos and THANKS to Dennis Darling,  Joe Allen, Edgar’s Coffeehouse and Goodwill for this excellent evening.  WE SHOULD HAVE A NIGHT LIKE THIS MONTHLY at the SPRINGFIELD STORE AS WELL. If you know anyone at the Springfield store, please describe the Chatham event, tell them about this blog post, and let’s see what miracles of faith might happen, aye?

As for me, I look forward to spending more time with my guitar and songs in the next month and seeing YOU May 30th!

Live long . . . . . . . and proper.

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