The Jazz Legacy Gala

My wife and I just returned from the 2018 (6th annual) Jazz Legacy Foundation gala at The Main in Norfolk, Virginia. As usual, it was great and, yes, seniors do get out and enjoy themselves (not all were seniors, but most were). Really had a good time for the last three days out of four. Now, let me explain why we attended three days out of four. We wanted good seating and wanted to insure to get tickets to the event, hotel room and tickets are bought a week after the last gala. Regular tickets go on sale the first day of March and will normally be sold out by June or July. We were living in Richmond at the time the ticket sales started, two hours by interstate away, but we live only twenty minutes away, give or take five minutes, now.
The venue holds thousands (two or three thousand maybe) and there is fun, fun, and more fun. Imagine that many people, all dressed nicely, with Saturday reserved for dinner in suits and gowns, 50/50 raffles, drinks for sale, vendors of almost everything and, most of all, not one argument or fight anywhere. Why did I mention that? One would hear about fights, shootings and arguments at other shows all the time. I just read about an argument and fight at a symphonic concert in Sweden.
Let me dive in even further about how congenial our older Black people are. Saturday afternoon we cruised on the Spirit of Norfolk for lunch and music. A couple of the performers were with us (comedian Jay Lamont and singer Phil Perry). They performed, greeted people, took pictures with people and ate lunch with us. As we were seated, a person did not know who they are seated with but, through good conversation, soon found out. The good party atmosphere all too soon came to an end which left just enough time to go to the hotel to change clothes for the day’s performance.
I guess you are wondering who was there this year. Well, hold on to your hat. Pieces of A Dream, Damien Escobar, Marion Meadows, Jonathan Fritzen, Incognito w/Maysa, Kim Waters w/Phil Perry, Mindi Abair & The Bone Shakers, Mike Phillips, Nick Colionne, Gregory Porter, Najee, Alex Bugnon, Gina Payne, Stephanie Mills, Eric Benet, Candy Dulfer, Athea Renee & Elan Trotman.
We were told who will perform next year (Wow, what a line up) and early bird tickets can be gotten next week for forty-eight hours. After that, tickets can be gotten starting in March 2019. I’m biting at the bit to get my tickets and hotel room. Why get a hotel room? Two reasons. First, there is drinking at the shows and I don’t want to drive after having a drink. Second, since the gala is moving back to The Hampton Convention Center, it would mean I would go through the Hampton Bay Bridge Tunnel and there is always a back-up. To get your tickets, etc. go to their web site: http://www.jazzlegacyfoundation.org
Still biting at the bit, we will be in attendance unless something happens that prevent our attendance. I always look forward to this gala and the Hampton Jazz Fest (I occasionally miss this one and it is across the street from the Convention Center). If you also want to attend this one, get your tickets almost a year in advance. The Hampton Coliseum gets sold out also but sometimes there are a few tickets available. And, the longer you wait to get a hotel room the further away from the venue you will be. The biggest difference between the two is Hampton Jazz Festival is in the spring and the Jazz Legacy Foundation gala is in the fall. Both are great. Come join us and let’s have some fun.
I’ve put a couple pictures here from almost five hundred. If anyone want more pictures, let me know and I will send it to you: http://www.tega227@yahoo.com or (most reliable) http://www.tornmail1@yahoo.com  I also have the pictures I took last year. I usually sit near the middle (cheaper than near the front) and take zoom shots or from one of the two large screens. Lastly, if you like the article, tell me by hitting like, and if you have a suggestion on what you want me to write about, let me know in comments or e-mail. I’ll do my best to honor your request. See ya…Go have some fun.

 

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Reactions

Sitting here on my balcony, not many yards from the Chesapeake Bay shore (being written on Thursday evening), with not a thing to do but wait on the remnants of hurricane Michael. This area will receive a little rain this afternoon and overnight, very high winds tomorrow. It is strange to not see boats on the bay because the boaters have disregarded advisories many times before. They are cautious today, uhm, strange. The naval fleet is still tied tight to their docks. I didn’t hear they are leaving to ride it out at sea like they did for the last hurricane. This also make me think of the air force base that is positioned in the Florida panhandle. The base took almost a direct hit from hurricane Michael. I remember a base that was wiped out, during a hurricane in Florida a few years ago, and it was never rebuilt. Storms are getting worst, but politicians say there is no climate warming although scientists are saying there is. Which is it?

Thinking about climate warming, the ice that is in the north and south poles, is getting thinner and huge icebergs are starting to break off from the main mass. Polar bears and seals are having a hard time finding refuge and hunting grounds. That is why they are coming inland to populated areas. Survival is the word and main factor. The action and reaction.

It is said, I learned in school, ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. That has a meaning in everything that is done (can also be applied to ‘said’). Most people never realize or think about the reaction from what they do or say. It is very prevalent for the last two years or so and for years to come, until we get control of this very crass banter. I call it banter because things have been said to get a reaction. However, the reaction may not be what is hoped for or, normally, will be.

There are many things that will soon cause reactions, that is causing strong reactions that will hurt both sides of the political world. I am talking about West and Swift. Both individuals have followers in the millions, but the question is, how many will follow them? Willie Nelson can be counted as another and there are more big names in the mix. Who will win? What will the reactions be? I know what I will do but I wonder about the country’s reactions and the outcome.

The dictionary definition of reaction is (1 movement in the direction of political conservatism or extreme rightism. (2 action in response to some influence, event, etc.. And this goes on even further. However, there is one form of reaction that I want everyone to heed. Go to the polls and vote. Laying back, hoping others will carry the ball, will not exert pressure onto either side and will accomplish nothing but apathy, no reaction. That is one of the things that went wrong during the last election. A lot of real blood, sweat and tears was shed for all citizens to vote. Use that right. Vote. React!

 

Joy And Strong Feelings

Last weekend my wife and I went to the Oceana NAS Air Show and it was great with two exceptions. First was the simulated bomb drop (or was it a simulated napalm drop). A large boom, fire and smoke. I suddenly thought of Viet Nam. Bad! And to make a very good show bad, it took two hours to get off the base. I don’t know what the problem was, but we sat still for over forty- five minutes before we could move.

During the show there was a plane that the Black Sheep flew (remember the television show about the U S Marines of WWII?). Never realized the aircraft was that fast. The Snowbirds from Canada and, of course, the Blue Angels were there. Other aircraft was there and put on a great show. The rocket fire truck and parachutists did their thing, many photos were taken.

I loved the static displays. No only was the Navy well represented but so was the Air Force. Big Bertha (B-52 Bomber) was there and that bought back many fond memories. I didn’t recognize the tail configuration, but I haven’t been around that bomber since the 1980’s. It must have gone through many moderations since then. Time flies.

Thinking about the B-52, I must go to the air show at Langley. I want to see what the Air Force have that is new to me. The noise level will be greater than at Oceana, I am sure. It is great to be among so many military bases and they all, at some time, have an open house and put on demonstrations. Make a career military person really miss being in the military. Most memories are good, sprinkled with some bad.

Being on the flight line, smelling the jet fuel, hearing the jet noise during takeoff/fling/landing, and, most of all, seeing Security, with M-16’s, walking the area. What make that so good is the fact that women were just coming to be as I was retiring. I saw many women walking about with their M-16’s all over the place. During my time in the military there were very, very few women in Law Enforcement and none in Security.

Before I close I want to strongly suggest all people to vote during the mid-term elections. I am not asking one party or the other to vote. I am asking everyone to express their right to vote. Voting can shift the country either way, depending on which side turn out most voters. We are at a pivotal point in the nation and voting will turn into new territory (or not, if turnout is poor) and will have the potential to bring the country together (or splinter it further). Of course, whichever side lose will have many people that will be very angry that their side lost. It is up to us to do our part and, through voting, express our feelings. Don’t let the chance to vote and be heard go by. If you don’t vote, you don’t have anything to say about anything. See you at the polls, rain or shine. My wife and I voice will be heard but we know we need more than our voices. We need yours also.

 

Funerals

I am scraping, at least for this blog’s issue, what I originally wrote and will write about this weekend’s funerals. We have lost two great people, in our time line, and they both will be sorely missed. These were contrasting funerals; one somber and one long with hype. Both were expected to be the way it happened.

Aretha Franklin was the Queen of Soul and will never be forgotten. Her music will live on forever. The funeral was over eight hours long and most of the entertainers of song were there. The funeral was filled with music coupled with speeches. Quite a few celebrities sang her songs and a few sang traditional songs that Blacks usually sing during high spirited church services. The eight hours were long although the music didn’t make it seem so.

She passed on as the queen she was. During her lying in state to the interment, she had three wardrobe changes and a viewing by thousands of people. She was driven in a nineteen forty nine (I think) white hearse, the same one her father was carried in. From all over the country pink Cadillacs were bought in and the long rows of cars were parked outside the church. This was in remembrance of her hit song “Pink Cadillac”. What a sight and what a way to go.

People were there that I have not seen in a long time and are very old as well. They all looked and sounded good. Stevie Wonder started his time by playing the harmonica, something I have not seen him do in many years, before he played the piano and sang. The church was jubilant with all the music and singing.

Senator John McCain’s funeral was solemn and the church was filled with dignitaries from all parts of the political world as well as both sides of the political aisle. Former President Obama and Former President Bush both spoke. President Trump was dis-invited and the eulogies, which include his daughter Meghan, took swipes at Trump. It was not a surprise.

I admired this man, not only as a military veteran but also as a politician. This was one person that was well known to reach across the aisle and work with everyone. He would disagree and, when shown something different that he could go along with, he would be man enough to agree. He did not put party ahead everything but cared about what was right, lawful, helped the USA, no matter the party view.

Unfortunately, Senator Graham, who was his very beat friend, a person that stood beside him on many, many views, and was against Trump as was Senator McCain is now staunchly in the President’s corner He has reversed almost everything he have said in the past. Oh, what can happen in a week (a day?).

So I watched funerals and I wonder, as I have in the past, what will mine be like? I really don’t want all the hoopla that go on (it’s a waste of money, in my opinion), just have a few prayers and bury me. I just hope I have lived up to the hopes and standards that was expected of me. I hope I haven’t done any wrong to anyone. I also hope I have been some help to someone that needed it. We all must pass on some day, let’s hope there is something good to say after you’re gone.

 

Just Do It

There are always things to do, places to go, never let grass grow under your feet. Being a senior let you do many things that a working person wish they had the time to experience. Not only does the senior have the time to ‘Just Do It’, but there is the advantage to get the discounts that a senior have available. For instance, my wife and I decided to venture to the Water Front of Virginia Beach, Virginia since we now live here and it is not far away.

After our normal late rising (we go to bed late), which is around nine in the morning, we then decided to eat before going to the Water Front. We decided to see what taking the bus would do for us. It was great to try it and really better than I thought it would be. The bus stop was only a block away and it took about fifteen minutes to travel to the Water Front, with a stop at the First Landing State Park entrance.

One good reason that inspired us to take the bus was (1 the cost ($1) and (2 parking on the Water Front, if parking on the street can’t be found, the cost is $10 and up in a lot or $2 an hour in the parking garage. A dollar per person is not bad. We left the bus a block from the statue of King Neptune which is half way down the length of the boardwalk. There were many people on the beach, as usual, but we leisurely walked along the boardwalk enjoying ourselves, eating donuts from Duck Donuts and just being one of the tourists (we weren’t). We then decided to pay our dollar a piece and return by bus to our residence, Overture Virginia Beach.

After arriving, being hot, we decided to splash around in the pool. That is another thing being a senior does for you. Take your time and do whatever. Our whatever was to hit the pool. There were a few people in the pool or just lying around in the beach chairs. Life is great. The sun had really warmed the hot tub and pool but it was bearable. I just floated around while watching the boats on the Chesapeake Bay. I was out there fishing two days before and wanted to be out there again.

Thinking about the fishing trip, it was good, not great, because a small amount of fish was caught. Croaker and Trout was the only fish caught, I can hardly wait for Stripped Bass (Rock Fish) season to arrive. I had the fish filleted on the dock and for two day I ate fish for breakfast and dinner. I am becoming a hardcore senior. I just get plenty of sun, water and fish but I have to slowdown a little. It’s football season. It won’t matter soon because cold weather will soon be here which mean one part of my pleasures will be gone. The pool.

So, look at it my way. Being a senior is not bad and can be our type of fun. Take your time and ‘Just Do It’. Have all the fun you can when you can. Don’t slow down and let your age catch you. Keep moving, have fun doing it but ‘Just Do It’.

Life Versus Football

Must be having a senior moment. I inadvertently deleted this blog, now I am rewriting it with the hope it will be as good as the first writing. Then to top it off Facebook will no longer automatically post from my website. Oh well, such is life, stuff happens. Now, since I have vented and explained my frustrations, on with this week’s blog.

My wife and I were in the pool and hot tub as I was remembering the Hall of Fame football game that was on the other night. This is my season, live pro football but I also was thinking about what to write for the blog when it hit me. Life versus football, an analogy. Football, like all games, is, or can be, a metaphor for life’s achievements, it’s all a struggle.

Football is a team game with the quarterback as a strong helper to achieve the winning end result. However, all members of the team play a part, without them the end result is failure. Such is life with the mate as the quarterback helping the team member achieve whatever is the goal in life. Nothing will be achieved without the members of the team working in sync. The goal will not be obtained without helping each other getting around or through the obstacles that will certainly be in the way. There is always a struggle with aches, bruises, tears before jubilation.

Like the saying, it takes a village, so does the game of life, everyone plays a part to see the final goal and crossing it. The other members of the team (the village) help moving the obstacles so that the final goal is possible. They may not be the star but they are there to help. No one does it alone no matter how hard they try or how brilliant they are, there was help coming from somewhere.

Then, after the goal is reached the team will attempt to push you further, the one or two points that comes after the touchdown. Such is life when you reach your goal, you don’t stop there. There is always more in life as in a football game, they are both the same. Keep pushing until the game is over and the final score is posted, don’t give up on life.

Also, don’t diss your team as if you are the star and did it all yourself. Thank your quarterback as well as the other members of the team. Your pals were only on the sidelines celebrating as if they helped to achieve the goal, than your true helpers, the ones that had a shoulder for you to cry on. Those team members were there to give a helping hand when one was needed and did not make excuses and did not help. Those team members had an ear, listened and gave good advice then faded into the background so you could be in the light. Thank that quarterback that was there from start to finish because without one the game stops before it starts. Always remember your team especially your quarterback, the ones that helped you through life and made it possible for you to achieve your goal in life.

Reunion 2018

This month have been an exciting month, to to say the least, I will make this short by hitting the highlights. For those that read my blog, which is written every other week, I did not write one the week before last. My wife and I was in Orlando, Florida for the family reunion that is every two years at a different location with a different theme each time. This was the fifth family reunion and it was a lot of fun, games and food.

There is a lot to see and do in Orlando with not enough time to do either. It is great to see and talk to members of the family that haven’t been seen nor talked to in the past two years. To acquaint oneself with the going on and happenings with the other, out of state, members of the family and to just have fun to boot was great. After seeing helicopter tours all over the place I decided to take a couple of the younger male members on their first flight in a helicopter, they loved it. We flew over Disney World, the surrounding areas and back. Well worth my money to see the area from the air and the smiles on their faces.

The welcoming event, picnic and costume banquet was great, as always. I believe we outdid the last one which was in Lancaster, Pa. For the welcoming event, the first day, we all wore the last reunion tee shirts and, of course, for the picnic we wore this year’s tee shirt with the extended family names on the back. For the banquet each branch of the family wore a Disney character costume with prizes given for whoever was considered the best. My wife wore Tinker Bell and I wore Peter Pan but we didn’t win.

Many families rented houses (two or three families to a house) to stay in for the reunion, with members of the family coming together to cook, eat and party well into the wee-hours of the morning just to start the day over again. Life is beautiful and filled with fun. As always, all good things must come to an end. We were with children, grand children, great grand children, cousins and very close friends. It was really great to see all of them and make plans for year 2020.

Upon returning to Richmond, we stayed overnight with my wife’s sister before returning to Virginia Beach. It was nice to be back in the Capitol City again and I made a last doctor’s appointment while there. Coming back to Virginia Beach, I finally made the transfer to the Veteran’s Hospital in Hampton. Now I can concentrate on making plans for the Hahn AB, Germany reunion that will be held in California next year. My wife have never been to California but I was stationed at a base in the state in the 60’s. It will be great to see old friends that I used to supervise and those that have supervised me. We also have two or three more trips for the remainder of this year, I can hardly wait. A lot to look forward to.

Who say senior’s are too old to travel and have fun? All it take is a willingness to want to do it and go out and do it. Life is too short to let time and things pass by. Like the commercial say “Just Do It”.