Sep 11, 2010

Remembering 9-11

Photo by Det. Greg Semendinger, Courtesy of CBS News
We cannot afford to go to sleep! We must keep a prayer vigil over this country, always holding images of the innocent 9-11 victims before us; and lifting up the heroic servants and soldiers who protect and secure our freedom!

Sep 8, 2010

Pianos and Monster Movies

A few years back, Briana (my daughter) and I visited a piano showroom in Los Angeles County. We were greeted by George, a Germanic man sitting obtrusively behind a small desk. His broad square shoulders, ample head, and angular facial features suited his low rumbling voice. George could have rivaled Boris Karloff's Frankenstein simply by adding cosmetic scars and bolts.

Boris Karloff as Himself and Frankenstein

It wasn't that George was ugly. He just naturally had the characteristics of a classic movie monster: even more so when standing.  What balanced our first impression was his genuinely sweet demeanor.

Then we met, Max...

Max was their blind piano tuner.  He maneuvered through the showroom much like Marty Feldman's depiction of Igor (Eye-gor) in Young Frankenstein (minus the shifting hump.) He would stroke each piano almost as if he was waiting for it say something.

Later we were escorted back to the office area where we encountered Tom, the peppy owner, and his bald Chinese wife, Alice.  Alice spoke perfect English and they both easily joked about her hair loss.  Briana and I dared not look at one another.

We still laugh about this because it was so offbeat and unexpected. And, since I wasn't ready to do so, I postponed buying a piano.

We did learn something about appearances though. Tom shared with us that he and Alice run an orphanage in China. They rescue children that have been discarded due to poverty, imperfection, or just because they were born females. Tom and Alice have pulled live babies from trash heaps and adopted a few children as their own.

George — the gentle giant — helps to operate the piano business while Tom and Alice are away. And, he conducts a Bible Study in his free time.

It felt like we had entered an old movie set. Nevertheless, these unusual people had hearts of gold, and they were unreservedly surrendered to God and shedding His love abroad.

Susy DeLucca, of The Feathered Nest, summed it up like this: "Shows you can't judge a piano by it's tuner."

AN ASIDE: I recently discovered that Boris Karloff was not from Russia or any country in that region. He was born in England in 1887 as William Henry Pratt. He had an Anglo-Indian heritage and his grandmother, Eliza Julia (Edwards) Pratt, was the sister of Anna Leonowens, whose memoirs about the royal life in Siam inspired the musical, The King and I.

[The above story is true.  The names have been changed.]

Sep 6, 2010

A Strong Whiff of Autumn

"Flowers" by Susan Branch
From Susan's "Willard" Newsletter
Happy Labor Day! Ovid said, "Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." We can all heed this instruction. And, our Southern California sunshine is being fanned by a cool breeze that has a strong whiff of autumn!

If I were a painter, my medium would be water colors — like Susan Branch. She seems to paint what lives in my head. I receive her email newsletter (she refers to it as a Willard) once or twice a month. It is an illustrated journal of her recent thoughts and exploits at Martha's Vineyard where she cavorts with neighbors, one of which is Martha Stewart.

"Enthusiasm" by Susan Branch
I so enjoy Susan's musings! In her recent edition she shares what "tea" is code for. There are delicious images of garden fruits meeting their destiny as jam.  And, she allows us to listen in on some neighborly banter.  Her site is well worth checking out.

As for me, I have no grand plans today, although I might slip back over to the Greek Festival in Long Beach with my son, Brock. I can't get enough lovingly prepared Moussaka, Pastichio, Dolmades (indescribable stuffed grape leaves), Pork Souvlaki, Baklava, and Loukoumades (deep fried Greek donut holes topped with honey syrup, walnuts, powdered sugar, or chocolate syrup)!