Saturday, October 1, 2011

“The Sunny Side of the Street”

Happy Saturday!  I must admit I have very few profound observations to share with you today.  This week has been a complex one from an emotional weather report standpoint, so my choices were either to map a rather baroque, or maybe expressionist series of weather maps to delineate this, or else to keep it short & sweet.  I opted for the latter.

On the practical side, I’m taking steps to setting up my guitar teaching practice here; it will likely be a slow process, but I do have a Craigslist ad in circulation & I hope to get flyers & business cards in distribution next week.  I’m hoping the added income will give me more flexibility in the housing search.  Fingers crossed!

Otherwise, I’ve been trying to maintain the proverbial positive attitude, & not doing too badly at that, all things considered.  One lesson I’ve learned repeatedly in my life & especially in the last year or two: while I’ll never be rich in terms of material assets or dollars, I am rich in friends: friends have seen me thru some very harsh times.  The times these days only occasionally seem harsh, but they often seem uncertain.  Yes, you need to reach out & let friends know you need them—but whenever I do, I’ve received a rich return.  I’ve also witnessed one friend in particular who’s experiencing a very harsh & dire situation in her life, & it’s been great to see how many friends have come to her support; & I’ve been happy to do what I could for her in my own small way.  When we consider how good it makes us feel to help a friend, why should we be selfish about our own problems & not reach out to others?  

If you’re having a hard time, reach out.  If a friend is having a hard time, reach out to her/him.  In either case (or both cases), you may just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street!

OK, so ends today’s power of positive thinking sermonette!  I’ve also been reading Terry Teachout’s biography of Louis Armstrong, Pops.  I have mixed feelings about Teachout’s book, but at its best, such as in his descriptions of the later Hot Five sessions (those with Earl "Fatha" Hines), it’s quite engaging—tho I didn’t appreciate his dismissive writing about Lil Hardin Armstrong.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about Armstrong, & tho this recording dates from a time when his powers were on the wane, you can still hear why Louis Armstrong was one of the greatest musical forces in US 20th century music.  I’m not sure specifically when this clip was recorded—since Trummy Young is playing trombone that places it between 1952 & 1964, but we probably could have guessed that anyway.

Enjoy!  & enjoy your Saturday—spend some time with some friends!

Pic shows wall art on SE Division Street, Portland, OR


  1. You definitely chose the best option for your post. It will have gone a long way to help folk having a hard time, I think. On a softer note it definitely had something to say to me, so my thanks for it. And my best wishes and hopes that things swing ever upwards for you from now on.

  2. Hi Dave: Thanks! I appreciate your kind wishes & kind words about the post. Glad it had something to say!

  3. John, here's to you not living anywhere else, other than the sunny side of the street.

  4. Hi Martin: Thanks so much for your kind wishes!

  5. John - I wish you the best of luck in your job and housing search. You may want to consider doing some freelance writing. I know there are Patches opening up near you. You may want to reach out to them to see if they want a regular columnist. It's good regular pay!

  6. It's great that you have a strong network of friends. They really do make all the difference. Best of luck with finding an apartment and students.

    I love the sunflowers! And Louis Armstrong's take on Sunny Side of the Street (my favorite version is Ella Fitzgerald's).

  7. Hi Raquelle & HKatz

    Raquelle: Thanks both for the good wishes & for the tip--I'll look into that for sure!

    HKatz: Thanks for all those good wishes! There's an early version by Armstrong that's better--he'd definitely lost something as a trumpet player by this point--but it's still a great version. Ella Fitzgerald is always marvelous!

  8. Reach out indeed. I once taught someone who was in their nineties. She spent a lot of time when we weren't playing telling me about the past: she seemed to have lived 4 or 5 lives in the almost century she'd lived. It struck me forcibly then what I knew or should have known: in one human life there are always good times and bad times. Neither last forever.


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