Thursday, July 13, 2017

In An Instant

I don’t know if you saw it, but I did. And somehow it changed me.

I was sitting in front of my television watching America’s Got Talent. It was close to the end of the show. A young man came out on stage and introduced himself. He said he was a doctor. He said he practiced family medicine. When asked, he said his name was Brandon Rogers, that he was 29 years old, and that he wanted to sing. And then he started singing a classic, Stevie Wonder’s “A Ribbon in the Sky.” 

The audience loved it. The judges, including Simon Cowell, loved it. I loved it. His voice was beautiful. And then it was silenced and so was the television as the screen went black and an announcement was made saying that on June 11 he was tragically killed in an automobile accident.

The show ended and I got into bed, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him. How lucky he was, I thought, that he got to fulfill his dream. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Not until I realized how he’d changed me, not until I realized how lucky I was that I got to see him and to hear him sing - and that I was with him when he realized his dream - the dream "of being able to combine being a doctor and medicine with music and singing" because for me Brandon, your voice, and your performance were truly healing. 

My condolences go to his family, his friends and his patients. And to his parents, thank you for letting AGT share his performance.

Here is a link to that performance:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I woke up this morning, opened my eyes, and looked at the clock. When I saw that it was only 6:30, I smiled. Because it is summertime and because I work for a school district, I am off every day. I have no place to go and am in no hurry to get there, which included not going to the see the fireworks on the Fourth of July. I’ve been there. I’ve done that, I kept telling myself until late last Tuesday night when I heard the pop, pop, popping sounds outside. I ran to my window and saw only one. It was red, white, blue and beautiful. Still, that was enough. I was ready to go back to what I had been doing earlier.

By then, and because I will turn seventy-six this summer, I had decided it was time “to practice retirement,” which for me will mean doing only a lot of reading, writing, walking and meditating.

Since the school year ended I have already read six books, including the very powerful An American Requiem by James Carroll and the beautifully worded Let me be Frank with You by Richard Ford. Currently I am reading a World War II story called Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. It is good and I am enjoying a leisurely read, although it is sometimes so good I cannot put it down.

As for writing, I have to confess I haven’t done much lately, primarily because I have recently finished my second book called Dear Elvis . So instead of writing, I am editing – and editing – and editing. I have edited this new book too many times already, although I suspect there is no such thing as too much editing. All I have left to do now is to read the manuscript one more time - out loud and to myself.

I moved recently, a forty-five minute drive away from my previous residence, away from my work, and away from the park with the one-mile track where I used to walk. While out for breakfast one morning, the waitress told me about a park that is close to the new house. But alas, she said it is a track that is only three-quarters of a mile. Perfect! That leaves plenty of time for meditation, which I usually do in the evening, but sometimes outdoors, on the back porch, while listening to the birds or to wind chimes.

So yes, while summertime and “practicing retirement” can be as exhausting as it was last year (see Au Revoir Paris at - it can also be exhilarating.