Saturday, July 18, 2015


Women love to dance. Most men tolerate it. But there are exceptions. I have a friend we'll call "Eddie" (because that's his real name). The guy's a dancing maniac, traveling all over the country to go dancing. He's a good-looking guy with a steady, well-paying job, and he doesn't drink, smoke or use Aqua Velva.

And he can't get a steady date. More about that later.

Now, on to my life. The wife loves to dance and I oblige her when she makes it clear that it's dance or pork and beans for a week. At last night's concert I knew I was in trouble when the band started singing "...and I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more"... In all, we danced to two songs. Under normal circumstances, barring the playing of 500 miles, I should be covered until 2017.

Now back to my friend, Eddie.

Eddie gets a date every now and then but, like the boxer Apollo Creed wearing out his sparring partners, Eddie wears out these women on the dance floor. After a few dates their legs simply give out from dancing three nights in a row. In absolute fatigue, they beg for an evening of staying home and watching TV. But Eddie already has another dance lined up. In utter fatigue they kindly tell him that "this just isn't working out".

There's a valuable lesson to be learned here. Sadly, rather than now, I should have learned this lesson 30 years ago. Recognizing that every person has his/her breaking point, Eddie is really on to something. If a guy is dating a woman who loves to dance, he should make it clear that it's all he wants to do. At first she'll think she died and went to heaven but soon will realize that she's in a living hell. Within a few days, much like Eddie's short-term girlfriends, she'll be begging for the dancing to be over.

A smart guy will oblige, and the woman, who for fear of re-opening the gates of hell, will never bring up the subject again.

And they will live happily ever after.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


All of us have heard the words "purpose in life". While aware of this ubiquitous phrase, I never gave it much thought until I announced my retirement several years ago. At that point, people started asking me my purpose after I retired. If I were a candidate for Miss America I would have given an answer having to do with children, clean air, whales and/or mosquito eradication. Truthfully, I really did not have an immediate answer to what my purpose in life would be, once I was retired.

I was put on the spot one night at a friend's house standing around with two other recent retirees. One of them spoke of his need to find himself - to learn the true nature of was his life means. The other person stated that she wished to be closer to her grandchildren - watching the grow up on a daily basis.

I had to think quickly, something that I have always found difficult.

Truthfully, I wanted to say that my purpose in retired life was to drink beer, watch football and keep the couch warm. However, in light of the intelligent responses of my two acquaintances, the truth would have only served as a point of ridicule with me being the target thereof. So, I blurted out that I wanted to "be creative". One person asked "how?"

Now I was trapped. I had to come up with something quickly that would indicate to my friends that I've been thinking about this for some time. So, I blurted out "write a blog, for starters". That seemed to satisfy their immediate needs and, thus, I was able to deflect any additional curiosity about my intentions.

So, a few days later, I started the blog West of Denver which has entertained (at last count) two readers who keep coming back in hopes of reading something meaningful. And it's been fun. I enjoy writing and it gives me a wonderful creative outlet.

In sharp contrast, the musical side of my life (guitar playing) has been at a relative standstill for a few years. I was playing in an old time music band and was having the time of my life for several years. Suddenly, the band broke up, leaving its loyal members in relative ruin. Thus, I have been in a state of musical mourning, picking up the guitar on occasion and playing depressing songs while I wallowed in the misery of our band's sudden demise. After two years of playing "...remember the Red River Valley and the cowboy who loved you so true..." I had had enough.

Time to move on. But where?

The answer came at our local brewery (imagine that) where, on Friday evenings, there are free concerts. On that particular evening, an excellent blues band was playing. Somewhere in the middle of "Sweet Home Chicago" my left hand began to twitch. By the end of "Big Boss Man" my right hand was rhythmically swinging back and forth. By the middle of "Hootchie Cootchie Man" my musical future was sealed.

The blues.

Since that concert I have been eagerly diving back into re-learning blues scales, riffs and licks. I ordered a new guitar...where is that UPS truck - it should have been here an hour ago. Again, my musical life has purpose.

At present, I'm almost as good as the five-year old down the street who plays a plastic ukulele. I expect to overtake him in a few weeks.

Eric Clapton, watch out.

You're next.

Readers, enjoy your day.