‘Oh say can you see!’

I’ve been working with my dog, Goldie, a 3-year-old Catahoula mixed pup, on stopping and sitting at cross walks. Now when I slow down in front of a cross walk she actually sits without my command.  It is the greatest thing in the world to me, and I praise her like crazy whenever she does it!

I’ve also been working on my own development. I have taken up the guitar and go every week to take lessons with Jordan Hemphill at Allegro School of Music in Buda. Jordan asked me to work on memorizing the “Star Spangled Banner” and so I have. He told me I could get it down by six weeks. Actually, it’s going on twelve weeks, and I’m only half way through really having it down with any kind of confidence. 

One time I came to class and was waiting for my lesson in the lobby with a man in his forties and his young son also sporting a guitar. The man looked at me kind of quizzically, as if to say, “You’re much too old to be learning guitar at your age.” Without him saying a word I said, “When I was your son’s age, I took guitar lessons. In fact, I tried twice to learn this instrument, without success. And so, when I retired, I was determined to give it another, better try. Besides, the family I married into is very musical, and in order to keep up, I felt I had to take up an instrument or be left behind.” 

Obviously, there are many advantages to learning a musical instrument, chief among them is as a hedge against an aging brain. Learning an instrument at my age is insurance against my brain going stale, which seems to be a worthwhile endeavor. 

I also had a dream of doing a set at the local coffee shop called the “Grind House,” but that place is no longer there, so I’m off the hook for that. Then there is the thought of joining in a recital at Allegro, but that’s much scarier, because I’m pretty sure they’ll be around by the time I learn how to play the “Star Spangled Banner,” if and when that happens. 

In the meantime, I’ll continue to praise Goldie every time she stops at a cross walk without me telling her too.  She’s the real star in our family.

Mark W Stoub is a retired Presbyterian minister and the author of two award winning novels: “Blood Under the Altar” and “The Fifth Trumpet: Fire in the Blood.” As always he can be found at mj.stoub@sbcglobal.net.

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