Tag Archives: storytelling

Kindness In Hidden Places ©

An unexpected act of kindness experience by Pauline Hosie

kindnessIt’s Friday night and the 504 bus is stopped in busy traffic.  Nearly 7pm, I will be late.  “It’s okay” I tell myself.  Over the years I have learned to be kind to myself, knowing that everything happens for a reason.  I focus ahead.  Once I spot the Caltex Petrol station, I press the red button.  As the blue “bus is stopping” sign lights up I make my way to the crowded back door.  The slim man in the grey business suit kindly moves across to let me through. “Thank you driver” I call out as the bus stops.

Streetlights guide me to the next corner.  Just as I am about to turn the corner at the mattress shop, my eyes are drawn to the dark, unlit street corner across the road.  A man in a black hooded windcheater is making himself invisible in the darkness.

What is he up to I wonder?

For some reason the hooded man makes me feel uneasy.

“Be kindno judging!“  I tell myself.  As I continue walking I spot the sign ‘Herbalist’.  Taking note of the large crystals in the window, I approach the bright blue door I know will be open.  Through the door and up the narrow stairs, I climb quietly…Nag Champa incense wafts under the closed door.  Too late!   Meditation has started.  I hesitate.  Will I try and enter quietly?  “No” I decide better not disturb the group.

Retracing my steps I wondered why I was guided to attend meditation only to arrive late.  What can I learn from the experience?

kindnessBack at the corner I wait for the traffic light to turn green.  While crossing I noticed the man in the black hoddie still hidden by the shadows.  Again I wondered what he is up too, conscious of his presence even with my back to him.

Just as I am about to cross Victoria Road I realize the elderly man beside me is blind.  When the traffic light changes, I take hold of the elderly gentleman’s arm and marvel at how brave he is to be out alone at night crossing one of the busiest intersection in Sydney.

Cane out in front, the frail gentleman walks slowing and deliberately beside me.  Aware we will not make the crossing in time, I do not hurry.  If impatient drive’s try to hurry us along ~ so be it!  The gentleman beside me deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  After what appears a long time, my elderly friend and I step onto the pathway on the other side of the road.

“Are you going to be okay?“  I ask him.

“Yes I will be fine”, he insisted, thanking me.

Just as I turn away from the blind gentleman someone grabs hold of my arm.  Shocked, I turn around to hear the words “well done” from the hooded man who disappears into the crowd.  Stunned that I was being observed by the faceless man, I thought kindness lurks in hidden places.

photos courtesy chrissy poicino and pauline hosie

Pauline’s story show us stories are everywhere; to get future ones sent to your email Inbox, just –> Subscribe

8mm to VHS to DVD ©

8mm Memories by Ron Turner

8mm1962:  A young father uses the latest consumer technology to film his toddler playing a toy guitar.  He looks through the viewfinder with eyes of love.  The boy, feeling his father’s love, responds with enthusiasm as he glows under the bright movie lights.

1982: Twenty years later, the father views this 8mm film on the silver screen in his basement.  He looks at the images of his son with love.  He positions the VHS video camcorder to convert the images to a modern electronic format.

Then, a tear comes to his eye.  He silently reflects on his son, his own role as a father, and their lives over the past two decades.  He is filled with emotion as he remembers the young father standing behind that 8 mm camera, and the little boy with the toy guitar.

He can’t put it into words, but as he privately allows the tears to flow down his face, safely in the basement where his wife won’t see, his heart is filled with his own goodness and his love for his son and his own younger self.

2012:  Fast-forward thirty more years.  The son takes on the project of converting family videos to digital.  He buys a Sony DVD/VHS device designed for this purpose, and spends the better part of a month shuffling videotape and blank DVDs through the box – using a Sharpie to write descriptions on the plastic, and using a box of Kleenex to deal with the emotional fallout of the project.

He comes across this particular footage.  The only sound is the whirring of a projector in a dark room.  Unseen is the man operating the projector and the implied camcorder trained on the screen. The man’s handwriting is reflected on the VHS label.  His love for his son and his feelings about his life are present in every pixel of every image.

That same love was present in 2012 in Texas when the son reviewed those images – somewhat degraded after the conversion, but retaining all of their power and intensity.  He felt his father’s love from 1962, and from 1982.  Mind you, even though the father had passed away in the intervening years, that love was present in his son’s heart in 2012.

It is the same love present in 1962 felt both by the father towards his son and by the son towards his father.  It was present in 1982 when that father revisited the 8mm film in a basement in Detroit – even though the son was far away in California.

Never mind matter and energy; it is love that can neither be created nor destroyed.  Love transcends time and space and life and death.  Love is eternal.

photo courtesy bs wise; video ron turner

Memories take many forms.  BOBB is devoted to bringing them to you, so how about you –> Subscribe

Mom’s Tea Cups ©

A family’s tea cups speak to Bobbi Rankin

tea cupsThe English have a long-standing tradition of afternoon tea.  It’s a social event, a way to meet people and when the chips are down they always find comfort and stability in coming together for tea and cucumber sandwiches.

This ancient tradition was carried over the pond by my great grandmother when her daughter, my grandmother, was very young.  Their destination was a small town in Montana where they settled to live, work and raise their children.  As my grandmother established her own home and family, she made it a point to serve afternoon tea.  Serving tea in the dainty cups and saucers helped to bring to this uncivilized cowboy town, the civility and comfort this tradition represented.

My mother grew up with this tradition flowing through her veins and cherished her own cup of afternoon tea.  I can still see this dignified woman (The 1950’s Woman) holding the saucer in her left hand and with her pinkie poised, the cup in her right.   She would gaze out the window seemingly to remember the afternoon teas spent with her mother.

As the years went on and my parents left Montana to capture a new life in California, my mom brought along her cherished tea cup collection.  This collection no longer sat on an open wooden shelf in the kitchen of their Montana countryside home.  Instead, my mom created a place of honor for those precious porcelain pieces and the memories they inspired.  She purchased a tall, lighted cabinet that proudly displayed her cup and saucer collection.

My mom never lost the place a cup of afternoon tea filled in her daily life, until came the time when this tradition was replaced with jobs and family related restraints.  However, she held onto the pure enjoyment that drinking tea brought her and the place it held in the social gatherings of family and friends.

tea cupsThe day finally came when I had to decide what to do with her collection.  While I do enjoy an occasional cup of tea, I’m a coffee drinker.  When I would drink tea at my mom’s home, I’d gladly use her cup and saucer.  Anywhere else, I’m happy with a mug.  You see where this is going, I’m sure.  Literally, what am I to do with this collection?  My mom kept many things she never used.  I’m one who keeps only what I use and let others have the overflow.

I did find a solution in giving away a set to any members of our family who wanted to treasure my mom’s memory.  I too kept the set I most frequently used when sharing a cup with her.  This English tradition doesn’t flow through my veins but the memory of that time of precious civility and afternoon tea with my mom comes flowing back to me whenever I see the set sitting proudly in the corner of my kitchen, right next to my favorite mug.

photos courtesy  Bobbi Rankin

Are you a tea or coffee drinker?  Subscribe to BOBB & have a story to read with your morning mug or afternoon tea cup.

Mom Power ©

Shinazy is a mom; here’s her story

mom, motherThis year’s Oscar winner did it.  An Olympic champion does it. The star quarterback will do it. They all mention their mom.

Any utterance of the word ‘mom’ has influence.  We are vested with authority by the simple fact that we are your mother.  This clout defies the Laws Of Physics.  Mom Power is forever and independent of the size of the person.  And, for some of us there will be an event confirming this state of being.

When my children lived at home I only jogged after work.  As with anything we repeatedly do, it came and went without notice until the day I got out of my car and watched a boulder of a young man drop back to catch a football.  He unsuccessfully tried to regain his balance and flattened my fence.

When his friends stopped wrestling to take away the ball, I was spotted.  On each face I saw the panic of, “I’ve been caught; I’d better run.”  And off they went, bulldozing down the street.  And off I went, pursuing them.

My shouts of ‘stop’ made them run fast.  Well, I had just finished a track workout, so I ran faster.  Cars stopped and drivers hollered, “Do you need help?  Should I call the police?”

“No, I’m fine”, as I closed the gap, gaining on the boys.

I’m a long distance runner, I was going to chase them until I caught them.  When this happened, they crumpled gasping for air, terror still reflected in their eyes.  Using my Mom Voice I explained I only wanted them to return to pickup the shattered pieces of wood.

At the start of the cleanup, the leader-of-the-pack asked what else they could do.  My 80-year old neighbor needed her hedge removed, so he divided the group, each one taking a position on either side of our property line.

Standing vigil I marveled at their machine like teamwork; they communicated with various nods and glances.  Occasionally a boy would look at me and I would give the Approving Mom smile.  One boy wanted to leave and he received the Disapproving Mom glare.

It was then my high-school age son arrived home.  He greeted me with darting eyes: me, the boys, me, the other boys.  After a long pause he found his voice and inquired,

“Mom, Why’s the varsity football team in our front yard?”

Immediately I could see it – the line of scrimmage, the Offense, the Defense, and Mom Power … at work, again.

photo courtesy Green Wellies

Your mom wants you to Subscribe to BOBB so you never miss a  story.  

Learning For An Aging Brain ©

Aging thoughts by Shinazy

agingThe current info on the brain is that it continues to develop and is capable of learning forever.  We are encouraged to challenge it, to “exercise” our grey matter.  We might buy a few ‘Scientifically Proven Brain Fitness Programs”.  We can learn to dance, play a musical instrument, get a new cell phone, create a blog . . .  the list is infinite.

My friend Ron goes to dance clubs and engages his brain with learning the tango, waltz, and foxtrot.  I tried to Salsa, 1, 2, 3, pause . . .  5, 6, 7, pause (this is the beat for my feet).  I took private lessons because I still cringe from the memory of those 1980s jazzercise classes where everyone else could move their arms and hips and legs and feet in a motion that resembled something other than . . .  I can’t go there, you get the picture.  I Salsa in my home, alone, with no music.  Change anything and I freeze.  Oh, I continue to practice my steps, but I think my brain isn’t being challenged.  So, on to learning something else.

agingAnother friend, Kathleen, resumed her violin practice after decades.  Alas, for me, there’s no becoming a maestro.  I can recite the mnemonic for the five lines and four spaces of musical notes:  EGBDF (every good boy does fine) and ACEG (all cows eat grass), but I have no idea how the notes sound, and you never want to be in a room when I’m singing happy birthday.

Speaking of birthdays, maybe for mine I’ll get a new mobile phone and buy apps; playing with this new technology should keep my brain fit.  In a few months, I’ll let you know how that goes.

That leaves “creating a blog.”

Writing is like an onion, there are many layers.  The layers I fondly call: “What Should I Write About”, “Focus the Topic”, “Tighten the Imagery”, “Edit the Sentence Structure”.  Then, there are the behind-the-scene tech layers: domain name, site hosting, RSS feed reader, dashboard, float alignment, backlinks, gadgets . . . much to learn.

Each of us have items on our ‘bucket list’, most will require us to learn something – I decided to write.  So, for me, happily blogging every day should keep my ageing brain in the learning mode for quite some time.

 photos courtesy  Christian Haugen and kubotake

 Ah, your brain needs this 2-minute vacation. Subscribe to read future BOBB stories and relax … ahhh 

Things We Keep ©

Conversations With A Stranger 

A Story by Steven Benjamin

So, there I was, relaxing in the waiting area of the ticket office.  The bus ride was fairly unspectacular, only a tad cold during the night because, as the Sleepliner’s attendant put it: “there’s something wrong with heating system”.  It was late last year, and I’d left an overcast drizzly Cape Town and stepped into the warm sunshine of the nation’s ‘official’ capital.  My ‘contact’ texted me that my hotel shuttle was running on Africa time, prompting me to partake in that age old art of observing people.

I then started chatting with the janitor mopping the floor around me – he was from Zimbabwe.  We then got distracted when a couple moved toward the head of the ticket line – I took them to be Brazilian.  Their negotiations with the clerk soon became a heated debate.  Suddenly, a flurry of activity ensued.  A LOAD of luggage was brought in and placed at our feet.  Lawrence and I exchange looks.  The couple then separated temporarily; the gentleman negotiating with an official outside, whilst the woman continued her quest inside.  From their body language I gathered they weren’t married, tending more toward good friends or distant familial relatives – like he was only there to drop her off.  Also, some unobtrusive eavesdropping led me to reassess my ‘Brazilian’ theory.

Some more remonstrations later, with the administrators sorting through the balls-up, the lady finally had a chance to relax, a few seats away from me as it happened – the seats and floor between us were taken up by all of her eleven large suitcases.

The problem was, she’d booked these suitcases to be transported to Cape Town, only, the price had been inflated once the Bus people discovered she wouldn’t be accompanying the bags… effectively using the bus as a postal service.

Frustrated she took a moment to breath.  Eyeing the bags and then her, I smiled, kept cool, and after giving her a second to chill, I suavely opened with this line: “Is this your whole life?”

She managed a half smile, “Almost; half of it’s clothes and toys for my two kids.”

We started chatting until eventually arriving at the inevitable question, “Where are you from?”

She smiled coyly, tilting her head to one side. “Where do you think?”

Here I had to think.  Through clenched jaws and narrowed eyes I analysed the Atlas in my mind, “Um, somewhere in the Middle East.”

She smiled, suggesting she was impressed, “… Iraq.”

Divorced years ago, she’d relocated her family to South Africa, and was presently relocating again, though that too would be short lived as a job in Europe had opened up.  She wished to stay though, vowing to return as she enjoyed the warm weather and equally warm people.

I was left thinking about the things we keep in life, places we go, people we see, and mostly the people we love.  Materially our lives come down to a dozen or so suitcases, if that.  A few friends experienced this first hand, immigrating to New Zealand – their entire life boiled down to a half filled storage unit – materially anyway.

Back to the lady though, whom I will forever remember with affection… her strength and beauty so richly interwoven, evident even amidst needless frustration on a hot afternoon; she could still smile and engage in an enlightening conversation with a total stranger.

Just before my shuttle arrived, her baggage problems were sorted.  We said our farewells, but not before introducing ourselves:

She said her name was Arwen, like the Middle Earth princess, only she was from the Middle East.

I pray that she and her family are well, wherever they find themselves.

(Note: she told me where she was headed, but I thought that on the off chance she was on the run, I would at least conceal her ultimate destination.)

photos courtesy greebile and charlie phillips

You can see more of Steven Benjamin’s writings at http://stevenbenjamin.weebly.com/blog

BOBB is happy you enjoyed Steven’s story; to get future tales sent to your email Inbox, just –> Subscribe

Small Sacrifice ©

Sacrifice through a child’s eye by Cathy Reineke

sacrificeIn a spurt of independence, my seventy-year-old grandmother bought a ticket and boarded a train to see her sister for two weeks.  My stubborn German grandfather stood on the tracks, arms clasped behind his back.  He squinted as the train left the station and disappeared out of site.  He turned to my mother with disbelief in his voice and remarked, “She went.  She really went.”  My mother sighed and retorted, “And you should have gone with her.”

My grandmother agreed to go if my mother would fix my grandfather dinner.  He never learned to cook.  My mother promised he would not starve but left him to solve getting his own breakfast and lunch.  He mostly likely walked to the local dive ordering his greasy brains and eggs as he sat with all his old railroad cronies.

Each night my mother and I drove to visit him, a plateful of hot food wrapped in tinfoil carefully balanced on my eight year old lap.

On the third evening of this dinner- delivery journey, my mom asked my grandfather how things were going.  “What are you eating for breakfast?” she inquired.

“You know, I’ve been eating this new breakfast cereal I found.  It is really different.  But I have acquired quite a taste for it.  I just pour some milk on it but it’s quite crunchy”

My mother’s curiosity rose.  How could a seventy-year-old man think that Cheerios or Corn Flakes could be “really different?”

sacrifice“What is the name of the cereal, Dad?” she responded.

“I am not sure” he exclaimed as he rose from his rocker and headed toward the kitchen.  He rummaged in the cupboard and soon returned.  “It’s called Malto Meal”, he answered proudly holding up the box.

Immediately, I began to protest.  “Mom, Grandpa’s eating . . . ”

My mother quickly turned to shush me with her mom-stare.  She turned back to her dad and smiled.  “ Well, I am glad you are taking care of yourself, Dad.”  With that, she gave him a hug and directed me quickly out the door to the car.

As she started the car, I found my voice again.  “Mom, why is grandpa eating that cereal raw?”, I proclaimed with indignation.  I knew the cereal needed cooking as my father prepared it for us children each morning before school.

“He’s just making a few small sacrifices so grandma can enjoy a few weeks of freedom” my mother answered.  “Cathy, your grandmother has never been on her own vacation before so her time away is very special.  If we tell her about grandpa, she will never allow herself such a vacation in the future.  Grandpa has always been so helpless.  We just don’t want grandma to know how helpless.”

With that, my mother drove away from the curb silently laughing and shaking her head.

We did keep grandpa’s sacrifice a secret from grandma.  She never again took an independent vacation but we often heard reminiscences from her wonderful sojourn.

I am also sure my grandmother cooked the rest of the Malto Meal for my grandfather’s breakfast in the days after her return.  He happily consumed the cereal, totally oblivious to its metamorphosis.

photos by chatchavan & shinazy

BOBB tells stories about the past, present, & future; to receive these tales, just –> Subscribe

Going To Death Valley ©

Shinazy’s trip to Death Valley

death valley

For four weeks starting mid February the North American desert is in bloom.  Even in the hottest, driest desert, Death Valley is awash in flowers.  Some are tiny; these are the ones you only notice when you bend to tie your shoelaces.  Others hide among the protected thorns offered by otherwise menacing plants.  Regardless if the winter rains make puddles or ponds, the desert will put forth a floral spectacle.

Appreciating the desert’s Spring display was among the lessons my grandparents, Gigs and Bussie, taught me.  From age six to sixteen, I accompanied them into the California deserts to hunt for unusual rocks and survey the annual color splash.  Our camping trips were simple excursions.  The day before our departure, Bussie would pack the station wagon with survival provisions.  I was an observant and helpful child, so now as an adult I thought I too could attempt a similar journey.

As with any journey I started with a plan: what clothes to pack, route to take, canned rations and tools to bring.  For weeks, every time a needed item passed through my thoughts I’d add it to The List.  Since I was going alone into the Death Valley wilderness I had to ensure I remembered everything – if I did not bring it, there was no place to get it.

Part of the fun concerning this trip was to duplicate how my grandparents travelled, so I left the GPS and cell phone at home.  I never went online to plot my route.  With confidence, a paper map, and my one-‘n-only credit card I set off to rough-it in the outback.  The only thing I needed to buy was gas.  I was prepared!

death valley300 miles into the trip I encountered the first flaw in The Plan.  What my memory neglected to tell me was my grandparents only used cash; plastic money had yet entered their lives.  With teaspoons of gas remaining in my truck’s tank, the station attendant reproached me, “Your card’s no good.”   I never carry cash; I get frequent flyer miles charging … everything.

The word ‘stranded’ seized my mind.  What was an electronically dependent girl masquerading as a pioneer to do?  A frantic call to CitiBank, who informed me, “Your card was hacked.”  This news told me why my only source of currency was corrupted, but did not help me buy fuel to resume my expedition.  However, after I answered every security question about my life since birth, CitiBank agreed to allow me to purchase gas, but absolutely nothing else.  And, I had to call them before every purchase.  It was then I realized, “Maybe some of the old timer ways had benefits.”

With the credit card crisis cured I continued, knowing this one lapse in judgment was the only mistake I made.  Although I had no paper money I did have a paper map.  But time had a surprise for me.  It seems today’s paper maps show less detail because “everyone has GPS.”  No longer able to navigate my route, I asked a local for directions.  This was my second faulty plan omen.  After missing the you-can’t-miss-it intersection, it started to snow.  I travelled up and up, mile after mile.  The smaller the hole on the windshield became the more petrified I became.

Was panic going to turn me to stone before the zero temperature?

Where was a turn-off so I could escape?

What would my grandparents do?

death valley

Twelve hours, three snow flurries, and two gas refills after departing home I arrived at my campsite where I would build a fire and evaporate the day’s troubles.  But, alas, the National Park Service had another plan.  Posted on the sunburned table was a sign, “No Campfires”.

As I stood there in the Death Valley blackness, shrouded in every thread I packed, listening to my stomach symphony, I wondered . . . Did I pack the can opener?

photos courtesy shinazy & calsidyrose

By Subscribing you can join Shinazy on future trips & get her stories delivered to your email     

Recycling In The Days of Old ©

Recycling for Earth Day with Malati Marlene Shinazy

recyclingWhen my oldest kids were in preschool and primary grades, many weekends were spent at the playground, going up and down slides – for hours.  They never missed a weekend.

They also never wanted to miss a periodic family ritual.  We lived in a part of the US that had just begun recycling.  Our recycling center consisted of four giant igloo-type structures placed dead center in a huge empty parking lot.  Two igloos said, “Glass.”  Two igloos said, “Newspapers.”

Going to the recycling center was an enormous undertaking.  We collected newspapers and glass bottles for weeks.  When we finally had sufficient quantity, we loaded all this stuff, two young kids and an infant into the station wagon.  We drove forever because our so-called recycling center was in the light industrial part of the closest Big City (not very close).

What was totally, 100% entertaining, however—and well worth all the effort it took to get there — was to watch my kids conduct the Recycling Ritual.  Those huge igloos were so tall, steps and a platform were built around them so that stalwart recyclers like our family could reach the 7” recycling hole at the top.

So, up my kids went, a glass bottle in each hand.  Then, poised oh so carefully over the 7” hole, they would take turns throwing a bottle, with all their might, into the igloo.  With the loudest, violent detonating blast of glass crashing onto glass, the bottles landed…  The kids would burst into peals of sustained laughter that were almost as loud as the recycling blasts!  It was contagious; even the baby would break into screaming laughter.

  • Bottle In!
  • Crash!
  • Explosion!
  • Three Children Scream With Delight!
  • Second Bottle In!
  • Crash!
  • Explosion!
  • Three Children Scream Even Louder With Delight!

And so it went, for clearly thirty minutes, while their dad and I struggled to stuff weeks’ worth of thick newspapers into itty-bitty igloo holes.

I have to admit, this was indeed an odd pastime for a young family that tried to eschew violence (with obvious varied degrees of success).

Recycling = Violent Explosions + Fun and Laughter

recyclingToday, even in the smallest hamlets, recycling has become quite civilized.  It is now pedestrian – and – thought-free.  Children interface with recycling by spending their weekends going up and down slides in playgrounds made of recycled flip-flops.  We fill up city-issued recycling containers, roll them to the curb and voila, away go the “office paper, newspapers, cardboard, phone books, magazines, aluminum & tin cans, glass & plastic containers (except polystyrene).”

Yes, gone are the days of schlepping station wagons full of a pack-rat’s bounty of newspapers and bottles to remote places to hear young children take primal pleasure in aggressive, and LOUD, planet-saving….  What’s totally perfect, however, is:

This recycling story is now on a Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babe and gets to be recycled – forever.

photos by malati marlene shinazy and shinazy

Today is Earth Day & BOBB is pleased to share this story with you & recommends you –> Subscribe to receive future tales.

Jazzed Up ©

Appreciating jazz with Will Jones

jazzLast week my wife and I and a small group of friends went to see and hear Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra play at the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Performing Arts Center.  Fifteen virtuoso jazz musicians played a variety of arrangements, from Duke Ellington to James Moody, with a spectacular combination of precision and improvisation.  Combined with Marsalis’s knowledge, humor and reverence for the genre, it was one of the best jazz concerts I’ve ever attended.

My sister gave me the gift of jazz when I was only twelve years old.  She was eighteen, dating a guy a few years older who listened to jazz and got her into it.  One day in 1960 she suggested that I start listening to an FM radio station, WHAT, in our hometown, Philadelphia.  It was the first all jazz station in America, and the first FM station I ever listened to.  Up to then I listened to top 40 AM stations like WIBG (pronounced “wibbage”).  Hearing the jazz on WHAT was like visiting another galaxy.  It was both otherworldly and intensely exciting, and I was hooked from the start.

It was around the same time that my parents bought a Stromberg-Carlson stereo console, a cabinet on four legs meant to look like a piece of furniture.  We joined the Columbia record club, and my parents allowed me to order “Jazz Poll Winners of 1959,” award winning performances by the winners of the annual “Downbeat Magazine” poll.

jazzIf my appreciation for jazz needed any further boost, it came from listening to this record.  I can still hear virtually every one of the songs on that LP.  Beginning with “All Blues,” an absolute classic by Miles Davis, it also included “Blue Rondo a la Turk” by Dave Brubeck, “Better Get It in Your Soul” by Charles Mingus, “Cloudburst” by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, and “Just You, Just Me” by J.J. Johnson, among others.  My sister also took me to my first jazz concert, the incomparable Nina Simone.

In high school I started a jazz club and I was a regular at the Barn Arts Center in Riverside, New Jersey.  There I saw greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Les McCann and Jimmy Smith.  My first solo road trip was in the summer of 1966 when my parents allowed me to drive to Rhode Island for the Newport Jazz Festival.  I’ve been attending jazz concerts for over fifty years.

For my sister’s 70th birthday I took her to the Allen Room in Manhattan to hear the Piano Kings of New Orleans, featuring Ellis Marsalis and Jonathan Batiste.  It was the least I could do for the gift of jazz she gave me so many years ago, one that has enriched my life ever since.

 photos by edenpictures and alexkerhead

So this story was music to your ears.  You can hear future BOBB tales via your email inbox by –> Subscribe