Saturday Song: Billy Joel: Piano Man

This song was popular in the 1970’s when I was growing up. I could relate to it when I played the piano and sang as part of my work at the nursing home. It still strikes a chord today when I entertain at such facilities once a month. The only difference between my situation and that of the pianist in the song is the setting. Enjoy, and have a great Saturday.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
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Saturday Song: I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King

In the summer of 1971 when I was ten years old, my father and I traveled from our home in Tucson, Arizona, to Sheridan, Wyoming. Grandpa Johnson passed away the winter before, and Grandma needed Dad to help her with the family business, at least for the summer. Johnson Novelty sold coin-operated machines such as jukeboxes, pool tables, vending machines, and video games to businesses in Sheridan and the surrounding area. We ended up moving to Sheridan a couple of years later.
That summer though, memorable events included a rodeo parade and a picnic in the mountains where an adult family friend and I discovered a cave. There were also numerous trips to bars and other establishments where Dad repaired and serviced machines. Of course I was too young to go into the bars.
I also spent many happy hours in the shop with a couple of girls down the street who were my age. We listened to music on a jukebox and played games. Pinball and bowling were two games where I had marginal success despite my limited vision.
The song below was one of many we played on the jukebox. Although I couldn’t understand what it was saying, I loved the beat. This version has a cool drum rift at the end that my younger brother Andy would have loved playing along with on his drum set when he was a kid. Enjoy, and have a great Saturday.

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

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Florida Loons

In my last third Thursday poets group meeting, we were prompted to write some loons. A loon is similar to haiku, written in one of two ways: syllables with the first line having five, the second three, and the third five, or words with the first line having three, the second five, and the third three. I chose to write three loons about my recent visit to Florida, using the word three five three method. Below each loon is a description of the event that inspired it.

 

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downtown jupiter pub

with one or two drinks

stranger in photo

 

My brother Andy, his wife Christina, and I went to a festival where food trucks lined the streets for blocks, selling all kinds of goodies from tacos to ice cream. After we ate our fill, we wandered into a bar. When Christina took a picture of Andy and me with her phone, upon studying the photo, she discovered that a stranger standing behind me was also captured. Nevertheless, she posted that picture on Facebook moments later.

 

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paddling our canoe

down the lazy loxahatchee river

shy alligator appears.

 

We were in a narrow part of the river, hoping to spot some wildlife. We found more than we bargained for when Christina spotted an alligator about six inches away from the boat. She snapped a picture, and then she and Andy back paddled as fast as they could to get to safety. Christina said the alligator seemed shy so we probably weren’t in any danger. I hope that’s the closest I ever come to being consumed by one of those creatures.

 

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tug of war

with a loving energetic doxhund

in glowing firelight

 

One warm evening, Andy lit a fire in the pit on the patio, and we sat around, drinking, chatting, and listening to music. Max brought me a dirty sock to throw for him. When I reached for it, he tried to pull it away from me. I tugged back and so it continued.

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walk on sand

feel cool, refreshing ocean waves

sit on tree

 

While walking on the beach, we found a tree stump that appeared to have been washed ashore. Andy thought it may have come from The Bahamas. The first time we saw it, the stump was almost totally submerged, but when we returned a few days later, it had been washed farther onto the bank so we could sit on it and stick our feet in the ocean. That felt heavenly.

It’s your turn to write a loon or two or three, using either method above. Please feel free to share your results below.

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Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order from Amazon

Life at Fifteen

I recently heard an interesting story on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. This was the last in a series of interviews with girls around the world about what it’s like for them to be fifteen and their hopes for the future. This time, the reporter talked to girls at a high school in Silver Spring, Maryland. To hear this, go to http://www.npr.org/2015/11/01/453739538/-15-girls-american-girls-open-up-about-their-lives-their-hopes .

I was kicked out of a bar on my fifteenth birthday. My parents and younger brother Andy were with me. We had a lovely dinner at the Historic Sheridan Inn. A man played the organ and sang, and I requested one of my favorite songs. When I heard the familiar opening accompaniment, I was so excited that I knocked my Coke into my lap. To hear me sing this song with guitar accompaniment, go to https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/please%20mister%20please.mp3 .

At home earlier, Dad taught me how to dance so after dinner, we strutted our stuff along with other happy couples. When the dining room closed, we wandered into the bar where another man was playing the guitar and singing. We found a table, and Dad ordered Coke for me and Andy and something alcoholic for himself and Mother. The manager appeared and said, “Gee, I hate to tell you this, but after ten o’clock, no kids.”

It wasn’t the first time that happened, but because it was my birthday, it was especially disappointing. As far as I was concerned, that special day was ruined. As Dad guided me out the door though, he said, “Well, when you get up on that stage with your own guitar, you can tell your audience that story.” That was my aspiration back then, to be a singer like Olivia Newton-John.

Thirty-nine years later in August of this year, I took the stage with my guitar during Sheridan’s Third Thursday Festival downtown and told my audience that story, much to their amusement. I didn’t become a best-selling recording artist like Olivia-Newton-John, but maybe I’ll be a best-selling author. Who knows?

What was life like for you at fifteen? What were your hopes for the future? Did your parents have any ideas about what you should be, or did they support your aspirations? Please feel free to share in the comment field below.

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Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order from Amazon

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