Saturday, June 3, 2017

Good night Midnight Rider.

There is so much to learn about things by observation. Have you ever noticed someone post a profile picture of themselves sticking their tongue out. What are your impressions or expectations? Maybe the Rolling Stones...

There have been two funerals today. I attended neither but both men were a part of my life.

One is Gregg Allman of the Allman brother's fame. I never saw the band. Although I lived close enough to watch a free concert in the park; I was a little young to make it with friends there.  As his name became synonymous with drug use, I did not have that much interest in him.

I've been reading Gregg Allman's book "My Cross To Bear". It's a good read. I'm not surprised that he is an intelligent person. I have much more sympathy for drug and alcohol addictions as I have gotten older. I never drank in that I thought it was inherited. I read a statistic one time that if they treated alcoholics for depression, about 60 percent sobered up. I do think there is some self medication. Gregg Allman described the addiction as a wild cat let loose inside your body. With alcohol and the drugs, he could quieten the animal for awhile.

Gregg Allman clearly worshiped his older brother Duane who died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24 in 1971. Twenty two year old Gregg Allman had the wherewithal to pursue a career. That good judgement is evident where as a 20 year old kid he knew to return to California to fulfill a contract obligation for the band. His band mates were ready to ignore the consequences but Gregg obviously understood how badly it would have hurt them.

Autobiographies appeal to me. Sure no one tells what a creep they were or the more sensitive areas of their lives. I read Kitty Kelley's biography of Nancy Reagan. It was meant to be salacious. Although I was not a fan of the Reagan presidency at that time; I did sense it was so unfair. So the fact I purchased the book for a quarter at a yard sale gave me some satisfaction. I noticed so many of the books at yard sales and used book counters.

What I like about autobiographies is that they weave a story of a life but if you reflect, there is so much more they share.  Gregg battles shyness most of his life. This explains a distance I always noticed when he spoke to the media. You could hear his voice in the writing.

His book is an engrossing read. As an artist, he discusses how it took experience to sing well, play an instrument well or write a great song.

The other funeral was for a former teacher, James Franklin Stewart. He was Mr. Popularity at the high school I attended. For one year he taught school and he was my teacher. Later he went to law school and moved to Los Angeles in hopes of breaking into the film industry. He was semi-successful but made his living as an attorney.

Besides having a huge crush on the man, he is probably a big reason I went to college. My senior year of high school, I wavered on going. It is one thing I have done in my life that seemed like a mistake at the time. But looking back, it improved my life immensely.  He was close in age to me and someone I admired. Although he was a Rhode's scholar; he was teaching school to support himself before his next big step in life.

For me, I taught school for the same reason. I was unable to take the next big step. My younger sister had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. My poor parents could not handle me floundering. So I took the safe route which actually has benefited me and my family.

The teacher was James Franklin Stewart. I would have gone to his funeral. I could have lined up in Macon to pay my respects to Gregg Allman. But I took care of the living today. Both had an affect on my life. Allman influenced the zeitgeist of my day. Mr. Stewart showed me a real person who had gone to college. I could see myself in that world.

I've always liked John Donne's poem, No Man is an Island. This is taken from

'No Man is an Island'

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

Olde English Version
No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne 


  1. Sometimes, no matter how we admired a person we can still find it hard to attend their funeral. Yes, life and the living are always clamoring for our attention, but sometimes I think we chose not to go so that we can imagine that they are still among us.

    1. My big gift to my family is my time.
      I did have mixed feelings about my old teacher. He was such a dynamic person.

  2. I was just thinking the other day about my high school teachers, perhaps it is because its that time of year when graduations are among us. Having graduated in 1975, I pondered who (if any) of my teachers that I admired, respected, looked up to, gleaned advice from were still living. Probably a handful? My favorite was Kay Raines; teaching business subjects. She took an interest in my typing ability, my head for business, made me a teacher's assistant, and encouraged my pursuit of secretarial over college (though my counselor was encouraging college for me). Thing is, until the last 4-5 years the career I ended up pursuing was a very well paid and respected job. Then technology came along.....whoever would have thought all those years ago.

    I think Gregg Allman was at one time married to Cher. That's all I know about him and his music. My hubby may or may not have been influenced from him and his musical abilities.

    I'm not too much into autobiographies, but I do like getting books for 25 cents at garage sales. That's the price I always put for them when I had such a sale.


    1. I graduated in 74.
      People shouldn't dictate to young people what they should train for. The world changes so fast and so do jobs. I retired earlier than I wanted because of family. But I am so glad I was able to work 30 years and get a retirement. The job market is dismal for anyone over 50.

  3. I too have always loved John Donne's poem. Its truth resonates.
    I am a big autobiography/biography/memoir fan too.
    While you took care of the living today I am sure that both men were in your thoughts. Which is a lovely tribute to them. Gone, but not forgotten.

    1. I have been reading some of his poems since bringing up the poem on the computer. Something written so long ago but so true today.

  4. Taking care of the living today has to be the way, doesn't mean such people can't be in our thoughts though. Sounds like a good teacher indeed as he showed you the way. Hey, can't break into Hollywood, be a lawyer, still lots of $$$ lol

    1. You have to make a living for sure. It makes things go better than Coke.

  5. Funny how certain people can influence us for the good and bad. I had just heard about duane, not sure how old he had made it, but fame isn't always happiness it seems.

    1. Fame is a miserable thing. I can understand the weirdness of fans but I would not want to endure it.

  6. Teachers and entertainers how influential they both can be.
    It is always so sad to hear of someone we knew of or knew in life, passing away~

    1. So true. For Gregg Allman, it was a passing of my generation. We were so cool. But we had a great time.

  7. What a nice tribute. The autobiography sounds intriguing. Often fame itself is behind the decline of the unwary talented.
    Never have quite grasped the crying-party rituals of funerals. Rather the celebration of moments shared in common.

    1. I would have gone to pieces with fame. It is a heady thing. The big saving grace I would have had are parents who knew who they were in this world. But I don't know if that would have been enough.

      I agree about celebrating people's lives. Although, I had shed some tears for the loss of many.

  8. What a lovely post of recognition and remembrance.
    Your instructor sounded like a talented wonderful man.

    1. Thank you Sandra. Mr. Stewart was a remarkable person. I am just glad I learned how well lived his life was.


Your thoughts.


 Zephyr is a soft, peaceful breeze. And I thought it had to be an imaginary animal. For many of you, we will not meet again until the next A...