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Happy New Year Three-and-a-half Months Later

Hey there.

I know you are probably thinking “Why has it been so long since your Happpy New Year Post?” and yes I could come up with excuses but, suffice it to say, I’ve been very busy and now I’m back! Wow, what a difference it is since January 19, 2020! On that day, the United States of America–the place where I wrote about in my New Year’s Day post, “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, on that third Sunday of the new year–was COVID-19-free.

The next day the first Coronavirus case was detected in Washington State, and on February 1 there were 8 cases reported, with no deaths. On March 3, our great nation found 122 cases with 7 deaths, and by mid-March we were staring at 2,726 cases with 54 deaths. By the end of March, we were just under 150,000 cases and over 2000 deaths. Today, April 11, 2020, the total of cases at the beginning of today was 459,165 with 16,570 total deaths. Think of all the loss and heartache the above scenario has caused.

Additionally, our citizens are doing things we would never have thought possible in a million dreams: Quarantining our families in our homes; unable to go to work; our kids can’t go to school; limited recreation; we can’t visit our sick family and friends in hospital; we can’t even go into a Walmart through a door of our choice; and I could go on and on. Happy New Year indeed!

So what, FD? Well, my ‘so what?’ is the Seven Vital Lessons we must take away from the Coronavirus experience.

1. Respect your situation! Don’t think for a second that humans are off the hook for dealing with the situations life hands us, just because they may be hard or out of the ordinary. A corollary to that is ‘Take care of your business! Like Aretha Franklin sang in her song titled RESPECT, “Take care, TCB!” right before her backup singers cranked up ‘sock-it-to-me’ over and over. (TCB=Take Care of Business) Business is a metaphor for life. Never take life for granted , since yours just may be the one you’re giving up.

2. Hold the people around you close. Though the humans closest to you may bug you the most, your first order of taking care of business is within yourself, and it’s hard but crucial for your family. A typical personal dynamic is to get away from the house, ie., the kids, the spouse, the pets, or whatever. That is why not getting to go to work because of the pandemic is so tough. The pandemic doesn’t allow for ‘getting away’, since the whole concept revolves around the adults in the house stepping up and being the adults! Duh! That means embracing and interacting with a family in need because it is family–now the hard part–and loving it!

3. Promote the concept, ‘we will survive individually and together.’ There are no fail-safe positions. We win or not, and the risk of losing is hardly palatable. So we turn to a positive attitude, one that says ‘regardless of the situation, we will make it.’ It’s like the M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs. Mel Gibson’s character was the opposite of a positive role model, but his kids changed that dim picture he had of himself to one of hope: A hope that they used to overcome an extraterrestrial foe, which they did.

4. Show deference to a higher power than yourself. In other words, let faith in something, or someONE bigger than you help you to cope with what is happening. I hope you have a faith in something or someone that is bigger than you are. I was raised to believe in God and his Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I can’t imagine my life, especially when being tested with trials beyond imagination, without my Lord. You may have a totally different concept of someone bigger than you, but whatever it is, stop and think about how necessary a higher power is for all of us.

5. Have courage to step out and do the out-of-the-ordinary. When I was in the United States Navy Band, I toured with a big band that regularly played for Sparky Anderson at Cincinnati Reds Riverfront Stadium. I had to go out with a huge lollipop singing The Candy Man, a feat not suitable for any human, but I did it. Every time the Reds won, but what a price to me. It didn’t matter. The Reds won and the band got to sit up in the press box with the big Whigs. When you do your job, regardless of its personal cost, that is what is important. Just do it!

6. Show up, rain or shine. We all have to do our part in this pandemic. I look at the jobs of first responders, doctors and nurses and, of course, our leaders in the federal and state governments, and I am awed at how stressed they must be, but yet they keep doing it. They get little time away from the front lines of this pandemic and yet they keep doing it. Why? Money? Power or prestige? No. It’s their jobs. Not the job they get paid to do, but the job they feel the need to do. What a marvelous example of showing up, rain or shine.

7. Give thanks!

Bye for now.

FD

Categories
Life and Living

Happy New Year!

Hey there.

It’s the end of the twenty-teens and now we’re on to the twenty-twenties. I was impressed with one of my friends’ posts today regarding the new year, being positive as it begins. Her premise was to use the first letter of our name and make a positive word from it. So I’ll go one step further and choose the initials of my three names.

First, “F” is for free. Ours is a free nation and in many ways we take hold of our freedom and soar. My question though is “do we fully live up to our personal potential for the freedoms we have?” I believe there persists a much too narrow view of what it means to be free. It’s akin to Plato’s Cave Allegory in which humans are chained to a cave floor facing the back wall, skewing reality into a false view of shadows of moving bodies in front of a fire projected on their wall. An enlightened person, to Plato a philosopher, frees himself from the chains, turns and walks out the cave entrance into the sun, enlightening him to true reality.

“D” is for dream. Related to getting the most from being free, I wonder if we dream big enough. Dreaming is the initial thought process for aspiring to grow and reach for the top. A baby in a crib is constantly searching for a way out. One day she looks up and realizes there is no top on her jail and she stands up to reach for the top. Eventually she gets tall enough and not only reaches it, she’s at last strong enough to pull up and escape. At first her dreaming hurts as she falls on a hard floor, but then she learns to climb down and crawl to explore her world outside the bars. Dreams make us reach. They challenge our status quo and raise questions we could never conceive of before dreaming.

“S” is for submit. I know this one may seem out of kilter with the other two. Actually, when you really consider positivism, there is no freeing or competent dreaming until one is ready, willing and able to submit.

That we exist as a free country is proof. When the people who started us decided that they had had enough, they rebelled. Not hardly in keeping with what I’ve been saying so far, eh? Think again. Yes they had submitted and submitted to the point of breaking, because their submission only helped another country whose king seemed to care little about the hardships they faced and the hard work they had accomplished for him. So, in the proper course of time, they revolted and won the war.

But did they stop submitting? No! They knew that if they won their independence it would mean, yes, finally at last, the freedom from the forced submission of a tyrannical king. They also knew that to have and hold that freedom to dream and accomplish, they would have to submit to each other. They knew that the cost of being free to dream and reach for the top would in some ways be putting the good of the whole nation ahead of their own interests.

If you don’t think that’s still true, ask all the family members of the women and men who have given their lives for our freedom this past year. Ours is not only a country of being free to dream, but one where it’s constituents are free to dream and reach for the top so they can help others to the same goal. That’s pretty positive in my book.

Have a happy 2020!

By for now.

Categories
Book by FD

Music History Is Fun II

Hi there.

Did you know that the great composer Franz Joseph Haydn was buried in June, 1809 without his head? True fact of music history.

Oh yeah, music history, that boring subject that music majors in college are required to take can be fun, and sometimes in obviously morbid sorts of ways!  

Go to Amazon Kindle. Search my name, F. D. Sutherland, and you’ll be led to my newest book, the second one in fact, A Door to Old Worlds, the second in a series for kids, adolescents and adults, about great composers and three best friends from Murray, Kentucky who are able to go back and actually live music history as it was being made.

 The three students encounter several world famous composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Clara Schumann, and her best friend Johannes Brahms. Plus, they get a musical experience of a lifetime.

So far, anecdotal reviews are unanimous–kids and adults love it.  Not because it’s music history, but because it’s LIVE music history! Music history that’s come alive.  

If you have Amazon Prime and Kindle you can even read it free or you can download it.  If you don’t have Kindle you can order a paperback.  Just go to Amazon and search my name, FD Sutherland. The paperback costs $5.95 and it will be delivered to your home in a short time.

By the way, the story about Haydn is true. A Doctor of Phrenology stole Haydn’s head prior to burial to study it for future enlightenment, sort of like Einstein’s brain which is still being studied. Unfortunately, phrenology proved to be a hoax but Haydn’s head wasn’t discovered for years after he died. In fact, the head was not interred with Haydn’s body until 1954, 145 years after he was buried. True story. You can’t make this stuff up.

Music history can be great fun!

Bye for now!

FD.

Categories
Book by FD

A Door to New Worlds

Hey There!

You may have noticed a book I published on Amazon titled A Door to Old Worlds. Well, I also have a book on Amazon Kindle titled A Door to New Worlds. In fact, the New Worlds came before the Old Worlds.

Who knows how this all happened.  It just did, and there‚Äôs no explaining it or understanding it.  ELLIE and CHRIS SWENSON were chosen to make a fantastic journey into the American musical past, a journey that changed their lives forever.

Their experience, though, began with their great-great grandfather and his twin sister, chosen to make the same fantastic journey almost a century earlier, which leads one to wonder why these four individuals were chosen.  Eleanor and Christian were gifted and brilliant students of music.  Likewise, their great-great grandchildren, Ellie and Chris both showed early signs of extreme musical talent and interest. Come to find out, all serious musicians make the same journey, a fact no one knows except those who have experienced it.

Go to Amazon Kindle and read my first book, A Door to New Worlds. You will not only be dazzled with an interesting story, you my also learn some important musically historic information about our country’s musical past that happens to be intertwined with its future .

You will be especially delighted if you are a Czech enthusiast since the central character is one of the greatest of Czech composers, Antonin Dvorak. You will find the answer to these questions:

*Why did Dvorak come to America?

*Why was his presence in America significant for the world of music?

*Why did he and his family spend a whole summer in Iowa?

*Why did he want to visit Minnesota?

*Why did Ellie and Chris go with him to New York city?

Read the book and come back and answer the above queries.

Bye for now!

FD Sutherland

Categories
Book by FD

“Life Was Transformed…”

Hey there.

This may be way too philosophical for most of us, but we love to entertain ideas that are profound. Say, LIFE for example. Here goes.

Ever thought about some of the things we take for granted that have been part of human existence for multi-millennia and before?

Cell phones? No.

Computers? No.

Automobiles? Uh, no!

The internal combustion engine? The telephone? The shoe? Still no, no, no!

I’m talking like, rope and knots. Paper and ink. The fulcrum, blocks and tackle. The wheel. How far does the wheel go back?

Who knows? But here’s another set of objects that have been around almost as long as the wheel and continues to change our lives everyday. Thing as common as “a hollow log, pithy reed tubes and dried animal intestines.” (From A Door to New Worlds, by F.D. Sutherland, p. 5.)

Drums were discovered when ancient humans realized that a hollow log made an interesting sound that could be used for long distance communication. And for stimulation and relaxation.

Bamboo, that hollow grass that grows all over the world in abundance, and other plants that, can be hollowed into a tube to be fashioned into whistle-like objects that can make wonderfully soothing sounds.

Animal intestines that have been stretched and dried into strings that, when plucked, the vibrations can make miracles happen in the ears of discerning humans. Yes! We’re talking Music!

Music is as ancient as humans. It is possible, maybe likely, that musical instruments in their most primitive forms were discovered by humans maybe even before they realized the concept of a round rock that could help them be more efficient. (I said ‘Maybe’ for effect.)

Hmm. Makes one wonder doesn’t it? Just how powerful the simplest things are in our world may be. Take the wheel. Was that revolutionary or what? How about the shoe? Paper and ink? Blocks and tackle?

What about a Beethoven symphony? As the great master used to say, “Never give up Music!” It is a powerful expression of what lies deep within the heart and soul of all of us.

“Life was transformed when humans realized their uniqueness. They were more than plant and animal. Their thinking and reasoning surpassed the rest of creation. They saw beauty in the world. Then they discovered aesthetic uses for hollow logs, pithy reed tubes and dried animal intestines.” (A Door to New Worlds, F.D. Sutherland, p. 5)

Bye for now.