Album 10 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Artist: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Album: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Etc.

I’ll round out this blog challenge with a little night music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  I have to do this, you see, because Eine Klein Nachtmusik is my favorite song of all time – of ALL TIME.  I must have hummed this song a million times since the first time I heard it in third grade music class.  Also, I really like classical music, so I had to have it in my collection of ten albums.

Without further adieu, here is Wolfgang’s song, as performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Erich Kleiber, and recorded sometime in the 1930s.  Think about that, this recording is eighty years old or so.  The historian in me is swooning.

Album 9 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Artist: Rodney Atkins
Album: If You’re Going Through Hell

Country music is a new passion for me.  I’d go so far as to say that liking it shows a huge change in my life and musical tastes.  It wasn’t too long ago when I couldn’t stand the twangy sound of a country singer’s voice.  Now, I can’t get enough of it.  If you told teenage BeefGriller that he would one day love country, he would have laughed at you.  Teenage BeefGriller was terribly closed-minded at times, I’m afraid.

But I digress.  Country music is thoroughly infused with love of family, country, faith and fun, not necessarily in that order, or all at once.  Country music artists are passionate about their subject, and this really resonates within my soul.  This particular song is a favorite of mine, and I plan on adopting the singer’s technique when boys begin to call on my three daughters.

Album 8 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Artist: Phil Collins
Album: No Jacket Required

This is a required album for me.  Throughout high school, and into college, Phil Collins was my favorite singer/songwriter.  I know, I was a real rebel, living on the edge of society, wasn’t I?  Regardless, I listened to all of his music countless times.  I still like it a lot, too, but I’m not as into it as I was back then.  Phil Collins’s music had a particular and distinct quality, and it got to the point where I could hear if he wrote any particular Genesis song.

So, here is my favorite Phil Collins song, Take Me Home.

Album 7 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Artist: Enigma
Album: MCMXC a.D.

This is one of those albums that I’ve listened to hundreds of times, just letting it play along in the background while I did homework, housework, reading, or whatever.  It was released while I was in college, so it was more often during homework or playing on my computer.  Anyway, like all music, it brings me back to the time I either first heard it or the times I most listened to it.  So, this brings me back to my college days, which, as a whole, were pretty happy.

Here, I have the most popular song from this album, and the one most people know from Enigma.  It’s funny, to me at least, that so many people know this song when they hear it, but not the name or the artist.  People hear it and say, “Oh, yeah, that’s that song with the monks chanting to the ambient music.”

Album 6 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Artist: 48th Highlanders Of Canada
Album: Scotland The Brave

I’ve always liked the sound of bagpipes.  I can’t explain it well, other than to say that they produce the most beautiful colors and images compared to other instruments on their own.  One of the problems with bagpipe music, at least before the ubiquity of the Internet and streaming music, was finding it anywhere.  When I saw this CD in the store, I snatched it up.  I listened to it so much, that my wife effectively banned me from listening to it while she was around.  Apparently not everyone loves bagpipes.  Who knew?!

Note: This is not the 48th Highlanders’ version, but it is the same song.

In Memoriam – Memom Gardner

First, I want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the men who have children, love them, and are a Daddy to them.

Today is Father’s Day in the US, and I love my children more than life itself.  But this day is full of sad memories for me.  It was three years ago that my mother called me and gave me the news, through a tearful, cracking voice, that her mother had passed away.  I was floored – I knew the day wasn’t far off, but I also never really thought it would come, either.  It’s probably due to having the young boy’s memories of Memom always being there for me.  She was a permanent figure in our family, at least as far as I knew, and losing her was a terrible blow to me.  She was the first grandparent I remember losing, and it happened in my adult life.  My oldest daughters remember her, and for that I am extremely grateful.

My mom asked me to write and deliver a eulogy for her.  I had never written one before, and didn’t think I was up for the task.  Despite my trepidation, I sat down and wrote, and the next day, I delivered it.  Here it is.

Memom, I still miss you.

These are just some of the memories I have of Memom. Of course, all of this is from a grandchild’s eyes.

Laughter. Lots of hugs. Fun times with her.

Long drives to Lancaster County. Camping with Anthony, Lauren and Jana. My first taste of shoofly pie. Memom telling me why it was called shoofly, and the difference between wet-bottom and dry-bottom. Ant slipping and falling out of the top bed in the camper in the middle of the night. Pancakes for breakfast. An artist giving me a painted rock.

Long drives to Aunt Edie’s cabin in the Poconos. Sleeping in the dormer with the pull-down steps. Finding Gumdrop, the dog. The four of us grandkids riding in the back of her station wagon, spitting out the window and watching it do loops and spins before bouncing on the blacktop behind us. Going to Camelback and racing on the sleds in the summer.

Sleepovers at Memom’s in Morrisville with Ant, Lauren and Jana. One more scoop of Jello with one more scoop of Cool Whip. Learning in the morning that one of us had wet the bed, while the rest of us slept through it.

Seeing Memom at Grandpop Gardner’s viewing. Hugging her as she cried. Kissing her cheek and tasting the salt of her tears.

Sleepovers at Memom’s in her Bristol apartment on Garfield St. Wondering why the porch in the back had all that stuff in it. Hours of Uno. The stairs that went to nowhere.

Seeing her at my graduation. Getting my picture with her while I was in my cap and gown.

Dancing with her at my wedding.

Watching her proudly, joyfully hold each of my daughters for the first time.

Talking with her at the Christmas parties. Making her bourbons, and her saying, “Well, it’s a little weak, but that’s OK.”

Seeing her last Saturday, so tired. Holding her hand. Watching my children kiss her and tell her they loved her. Kim and I doing the same.

She gave us, her family, the ones she loved, so much of her time and energy. She was a wonderful, beautiful woman. A perfect grandmother. Of course, all of this is from a grandchild’s eyes.

Album 5 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Artist: Kraftwerk
Album: The Mix

Kraftwerk is one of those artists whose music nearly everyone has heard, but no one knows.  Usually, their songs are sampled or covered by better-known bands.  Kraftwerk is one of the most influential bands, and probably the most influential band in electronica, rap, hip-hop, and other related genres.

Here is the first Kraftwerk song that I ever heard on its own, as opposed to part of a sample in another song.