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January 2nd, 2015

My mother's marimba

Today I worked a solid day. I drove during lunchtime to the park in the rain to see what birds I could see. I saw Eastern Bluebirds, Ring-billed Gulls, Mallard Ducks, and a male American Kestrel. The rain alway sets off their colors. I picked us up sandwiches as I slogged home through the weather.

Tonight I uploaded the ten songs for my new album to the kind fellow who may release it on his netlabel. The tenth song, "I Cannot Play My Mother's Marimba", is an uptempo bit of silliness which probably is why I do not get a card from the Ambient League. But over the years, I enjoy the silly songs, and listeners always single them out as fun. Well, not always. There was the time when I found a French website where people were talking about an Australian video which used one of my songs as the soundtrack. When I ran a translation program, the voices on the message board were discussing how much the song drove them crazy and ruined everything. I loved a nice burst of international infliction of humility. The song was a bit of up-tempo sturm and drang with a Ray-Manzarek-ode organ line in its middle.

My late mother was an excellent marimba player. Her father had helped out an itinerant minister down on his luck by buying the fellow's marimba. My mother took up the instrument, and became pretty good at it. She won first chair in her state band competition. She and some friends had a jazz radio program on the little local station in her home town. During my childhood, she would break out the mallets and play lovely tunes, with those little mallets
reverberating over the marimba equivalent of keys. The only one of my mother's instruments at which I ever had much of a go was the autoharp. But I am grateful for the musical training I got, as reading music has helped me make music with synthesizers (and nose flutes and can-jos, but that's a different story). If only I had learned the marimba--what a delightful thing that would have been.