Thursday, July 29, 2010
Throughout his 92 years on this earth, Tony worked on a shrimp boat, captained his own fishing charter boat named The Greyhound, and served as a gunrunner during the Cuban revolution. He owned and ran one of Key West's most popular bars, Captain Tony's Saloon, and it was there he gave a young guitar player his first break. The kid had just bombed out in Nashville, and had come to Key West to try and become a bar musician.
I read the entire book on my flight home, and I have to say, I was too quick to judge Tony Tarracino. Because despite his questionable decisions regarding women and an arguably nasty gambling habit, I found myself genuinely liking the man.
I wish I had left my Coors Light on the table that day and strolled over to Captain Tony's barstool. I'd have shook his hand and thanked him for reminding me to be slow to judge (even when it came to philandering old men), to search for the good in people, and to practice compassion above all else.
Captain Tony died on November 1, 2008, surrounded by loved ones and family. The entire island of Key West cried that night for their lost legend and father. Then, they lifted their tropical drinks in a toast to him, and promised to carry on the lessons he'd spent a life learning. I've decided I will, too.
Thanks for Reading!!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
He wanted to make sure each of his kids had the opportunity to attend college as well, and did everything he could to encourage us.
Then came the trip to Cincinnati. The CCM campus was quite large, the staff a bit stiff and unsmiling. Immediately upon arriving, approximately 30 of us auditioners and our parents were corralled into a large room and told to sit in the uncomfortable plastic chairs that faced the front, where a giant piano sat. Just in front of the piano was a long table, where there were seated several music/drama/dance professors, all sporting unfriendly scowls. The auditioners were asked to take seats in the chairs nearest the front, the parents were to remain in the back.
I watched as, one by one, this man berated each young applicant, always with a great deal of mock exasperation and stinging words. Every once in a while, he'd decide he liked someone, and would let them finish their number. This, however, was rarely the case.
Looking back, I'm pretty shocked at my reaction to all of this. I didn't crumble in fear. I think I was pretty sure by then that I didn't want to attend this school, with this group of hostile teachers. I already knew I wanted to go to Syracuse, if they chose me. So, I honestly had no anxiety. None at all. I liked my prepared song, "Cockeyed Optimist" from South Pacific. It had an easy range, and gave me a chance to show a little personality. And besides, there was a full audience of parents out there for which to perform! I decided to focus on that and forget about the pompous jerk who would most certainly be cutting me off!!
I flashed him a quick smile before beginning my number. It was the best I could do. I was proud of it. Mumbles DID, in fact, stop me, about three quarters of the way through my song. He gave me a few notes, then asked me to begin again. I did. This time he let me finish. I was satisfied with that. But as I turned to walk off, I glanced back at Dad. He was still standing, arms crossed, leaning against the wall. But on his face was the biggest, warmest, proudest smile I'd ever seen. I put it there. Dad was proud. Really, really proud. Can I tell you how amazing that felt?
Thanks for Reading!!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
My dear blogger friends, I write today with a bit of a heavy heart. I've just returned from a few days spent with my siblings, as we placed Dad in a nursing home back in our home state of Ohio. He was living a contended life of retirement with our Mom in Winter Haven, Florida, when he suffered a stroke on Christmas Eve, from which he has has never recovered.
The truth is, these may be my father's last days. The vibrant athlete, carpenter, coach, and teacher who worked his ass off to provide for his large family is now finding it difficult to sit up in bed. He's not in pain, and he appears to be in good spirits. Dad just appears to be slowly fading away.
I've decided I'm not yet ready to write about my own heartache over the whole situation, nor the surreal reality my brother, sisters, mother, and I are now forced to accept. Maybe another day.
Instead, I'd like to share this lovely Irish lullaby, sung by Bing Crosby, from the movie Going My Way. I believe it was the first song we kids learned. Dad taught it to us. Will you indulge me?
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Anyway, in honor of today's 4th of July holiday, I wanted to post something patriotic and moving! I looked at several clips of groups singing the national anthem, scenes from the stirring musical 1776, and nothing seemed to grasp what I wanted to express today.
This is a clip very early in the series, where the men are just beginning to assemble the members of the Continental Congress that would compose and sign the Declaration of Independence. They asked Mr. Adams to give a speech that will inspire the crowd, and make the case for revolt. These are John Adams actual words. I DARE you not to get goose bumps when you hear the actor Paul Giamatti speak them now....
- Anything Fits A Naked Man
- Nashville, TN, United States
- Welcome to my blog! I'm Joan, a former actress attempting to reconnect with my first love of writing. Join me as I ponder my Irish dad, sweet grandma, GPS dependency, hatred of the Hallmark channel, and other insightful topics that make you go, "Hmmm..."
- ▼ July (4)