The sun is beating on my head through my hat. I’m just the help. It’s a role that I enjoy.


“Boss me around, baby,” I do NOT say. I stay mute, gloves on hands, left arm in its removable brace, hoe nearby, spade in hand.

My wife is the master, planting her garlic for winter. She’s serious about her garden. Fresh bulbs had been procured, along with the right soil and fertilizer. Potatoes occupy the usual garlic winter home. A new one is required. “Somewhere in the sun,” she proclaims with steely vigor, looking around.

A song spurts into my head. Oh, hey. Did you happen to —

“We need to move the compost bins,” my wife declares.

We’re in the side yard, where most of the gardening is done. Boo, the backyard panther with a white star on his chest (like he’s sheriff) (guess, that would be a floofriff) moseys along toward us, talking as he comes. One compost bin (previously emptied) is moved to a new location. With this happening, Boo retreats to the backyard He wants nothing to do with work.

I shovel the compost from the full one to the empty one’s new location. The song resumes it secret playing in my head. Oh, hey. Did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world. And if you did, was she crying?

Yes, Charlie Rich is serenading my brain with “The Most Beautiful Girl” as I do as I’m told. (We’re now on breaking up the soil where the garlic is to reside.) I blame my mother for this song. While Charlie Rich’s voice and the accompanying music is coming off vinyl courtesy of Mom’s mohogany Magnavox console stereo, it’s Mom singing along along with Rich who is actually singing in my head. She used to frustrate me by singing this song when I was trying to talk to her about it. It was apparently funny to her. The song came out in 1973. I would turn seventeen that year. I’d left home a year or two before to live with Dad, but would return to Mom for major holidays. Dad, single guy that he was, didn’t do holidays.

Why did Mom sing that song to me? Why was I singing today? These the mind’s mysteries. At least, they’re my mind’s mysteries. I don’t know what goes on in others’ minds. I barely comprehend what’s happening in my own.

“Now I just need to water them.” My wife was finished. I was dismissed.

It was a good day. Time to go wash my wife’s car. Wonder what song will be playing?

Oh, wait, Rose Royce begins their 1976 hot song, “Car Wash”. I was stationed in the Republic of the Philippines when it was out. My good buddy Bopie introduced it to me.

At least this one is task appropriate.

Friday’s Theme Music

A dull red sun is struggling to light the morning, but smoky air lays siege to the sunshine.

This is morning. The windows are closed tight. Per government and health experts’ recommendations, we stay indoors and avoid outside activities. The air is unhealthy. If you must go outside, wear masks…

Yeah, not going into all the smoke and COVID-19 mask-wearing comparisons. That knotty logic against wearing masks, no matter what, is beyond my pre-coffee mind. I cannot help but think that this smoke and unhealthy air is going to cause a COVID-19 spike. See, in my limited and uninformed view, the smoke will affect our lungs, eyes, mucus members, sinuses and airways. We’ll sneeze and cough to eject the offending particles. That greater and more frequent force will launch more COVID-19 particles into the air. Those without masks, well, are more exposed. Additionally, the smoke will impact our bodies, creating or feeding underlying conditions, increasing vulnerabilities that the novel coronavirus will exploit. Finally, as people are being forced together to shelter, potential super-spreader events are being created.

But that’s just me, and my fiction-writing mind.

Back to the music. This sun color kicks in songs about the sun. The old pop tune “Red Rubber Ball” (The Cyrkle (had to look that up), 1966), about a relationship and taking new positive energy from the sunrise, doesn’t quite work for me for this situation.

No, I think it’s more of a somber, reflective, “Tequila Sunrise” morning.

Here are the Eagles with their 1973 song.

Thursday’s Theme Music

‘Ow ’bout a little Bob Marley and the Wailers from 1973? Thinkin’ ’bout the high level of eligibles in ‘Merica who don’t vote. (Have you seen the numbers?) “Get Up, Stand Up” seems like a fittin’ song.

Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight
Most people think
Great God will come from the sky
Take away everything
And make-a everybody feel high
But if you know what life is worth
You will look for yours on earth
And now you see the light

You stand up for your rights, jah!
Get up, stand up (Jah, jah)
Stand up for your right (Oh, hoo)
Get up, stand up (Get up, stand up)
Don’t give up the fight (Life is your right)
Get up, stand up (So we can’t give up the fight)
Stand up for your right (Lord, Lord)
Get up, stand up (Keep us struggling on)

We sick an’ tired of your ism-skism game
Dyin’ ‘n’ goin’ to heaven in-a Jesus’ name, Lord
We know when we understand
Almighty God is a living man
You can fool some people sometimes
But you can’t fool all the people all the time
So now we see the light (What you gonna do?)

We gonna stand up for our rights (Yeah, jah, jah!)
So you better
Get up, stand up (In the morning, get it up)
Stand up for your right (In the night)
Get up, stand up
Don’t give up the fight (Don’t give it up, don’t give it up)
Get up, stand up (Get up, stand up)
Stand up for your right (Get up, stand up)

Get up, stand up (Don’t be a nigger in your neighborhood, yeah)
Don’t give up the fight (Get up, stand up)
Get up, stand up (I don’t think that should be very good, Lord) (Get up, stand up)
Stand up for your right (Get up, stand up)
Get up, stand up (I said, don’t be a nigger in your neighborhood, yeah)
Don’t give up the fight

h/t to Metrolyrics

Thursday’s Theme Music

Lock downs, quarantine, self-distancing, isolation, and every other way you can think of saying “We’re staying inside” is still in effect in many places. Restlessness is grabbing people. They’re suffering urges to hit the road, get their nails done, go bowling, or just stroll the streets and have a drink with friends. Some of them are thinking of escape.

Which brought to mind, “Gimme Three Steps” by Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1973. Bet that’s more than a few out there, thinking, gimme three steps, and I’ll be out the door ‘fore you know it.

Here’s some music for your thoughts.


Wednesday Theme Music

I’ve done this song before, but it just fits so well to these times, when people are social-distancing and can’t go anywhere.

‘Cause I’m stuck in the middle with you
And I’m wondering what it is I should do.
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face.
Losing control and running all over the place.

Clowns to the left of me!
Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle with you.

h/t to

It can apply to being at home with your, ahem, loved ones (or their reaction to you), or the cat’s reaction to your continual presence. Or there you are in a store, trying to maintain safe distance while you re-supply, all masked, while an idiot behind you ignores it all.

It can even be political, if you think that these are special times which require special leadership, that sadly, you perceive we might be lacking…

Here’s Stealer Wheels with “Stuck in the Middle with You”, from 1973.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

A friend related her tale of venturing out to a store. Her recounting triggered jungle songs. So here we are – “Welcome to the Jungle” (GNR, 1987), “Jungle Boogie” (Kool and the Gang, 1973, here on “Soul Train”), and “Run Through the Jungle” (CCR, 1970). I think each song speaks for its niche with its musical style, but each convey the jungle with slight variations. Behind them all, though, is the sense that the civilized human scene is a jungle of wild menace. Kind of like that out there, although I haven’t heard stories of violence. I guess it’s not as much of a jungle as it was on, say, black Friday.

Here they are, in chronological order.

Any jungle songs on your mind?

Monday’s Theme Music

West coast. We wake up to news of stock market plunges, oil price wars, cancellations, and falling gas prices. They’re talking about $2 a gallon gas in Florida as a real possibility, ignoring that falling demand drives that price.

COVID 19 cases are up in Oregon. As other governors have done in other states, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency this week as they scramble have people tested and monitor the situation.

Amidst all of this (and my dreams) one song popped into the stream and stayed:  “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” by George Harrison, 1973. I chose the video from a concert that celebrated George, with Jeff Lynne (ELO) singing.

Thursday’s Theme Music

A double-whammy brought this song into the stream this morning. First were dreams about photographs. Then, as I’m sitting at my desk thinking about the dreams, I see a photograph of my wife on the desk. Taken of her in Christmas, 1981, it was our first Christmas in Okinawa, Japan. A note on the back in her writing says, “I was sick as a dog.” She looks wonderful, though, in a bright purple short-sleeved top. Her hair is bobbed short, as she wore it for a number of years.

Between the dreams and memories, Ringo Starr’s old hit song, “Photograph” (1973) arose. About the only thing in common between the song’s lyrics and sentiment, the dream, and the photograph on the desk is that word, photograph. Everything else is quite different.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Today reveals that I’m in a nostalgic, wistful mood. I stepped outside onto the back patio.  Buds are on the trees, and the air smells rain-filled. Not a new rain nor a close rain, but hints that rain was nearby. Which, after a bit of talking to cats and thinking about the rise of spring (like it’s a rebellion in the air) reminded me of other times and places that seemed. Out of that came a Rolling Stones song, which, I guessed after a bit, would’ve been heard in 1973. Getting back into the house, I looked up “100 Years Ago”, confirming, 1973, from the album Goats Head Soup. Not quite a hundred years ago, but at least most of a lifetime ago.

“The buds were bursting and the air smelled sweet and strange,
and it seemed about a hundred years ago.”

Thursday’s Theme Music

Clear night last night, after a quasi-balmy day. That’s a day when warmth and cold — spring and winter — have repeated rounds, looking for victory. Walk in sunshine and it’s so warm, and yeah, baby, spring is almost here. Then, stepping into the shadows, wintry winds slash your cheeks and hands and you’re, like, geez, that’s friggin’ cold. Even the smell between these experiences is different, with one offering a definite winter scent to the air.

Back to last night, it was clear, feeling like winter settling in for the night, but I was out, looking for stars and the moon. No moon was found, which made me cycle through what I remembered from seeing the moon (oh, yeah, we had that big full moon weekend earlier this month) (was that this month?) (how many weeks ago?). Then I spotted her, a waning crescent, by my guess, just peeking past trees, houses, and mountains, shy, like she’s uncertain of her role here.

All that released song lyrics into the stream. I had to strike a pose to remember. (Something about the moon and crossing…who was that?) I vaguely heard the guitars and vocalist…the voice seemed familiar.

More lyrics were found, and then I remembered, that’s REO Speedwagon. With a little more coaxing, other lyrics came, and finally, the name, “Ridin’ the Storm Out”.

Here’s the initial verse that I was trying to recall regarding the moon (thanks,

And I’m not missing a thing
Just watchin’ the full moon crossing the range
Ridin’ the storm out, ridin’ the storm out says it’s from 1973. Cheers

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