Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Jazz tickles your muscles — Symphonies stretch your soul.

...Paul Whiteman

Usually I bowl on Monday evening but tonight was a night off, so I took myself to a favorite music night at Pate's Island at Park Shore Resort in Naples. Here are some of the reasons why I so love this place:

Jebry (vocalist), husband, Bobby Phillips (drums), plus unknown guitarist. 
1.  The music is first class. There is not a better jazz group in our area than Jebry and Friends, which consists of Jebry, her husband, Bobby Phillips on drums, and a piano player. (The regular piano player, Jean Packard, is recovering from some medical issues, so there was a substitute, and I didn't get his name.) You can hear Jebry here:

Alex Granados, trombonist (age 17), shown here with Artis' Naples Youth Orchestra
2.  The age range of the musicians. I'm guessing that Jebry and her husband are in the 55-70 range. The regular piano player, Jean Packard, is approximately 85. Tonight's sit-in participants included:

  •  Mark Gerber, trumpet player, in mid-70s. 
  •  Howard Bacon, trombonist, about 87. 
  •  Carlo Fusaro, bassist, in his 80s. 
  •  Frank Michota, drummer and vocalist, about 80. 
  •  Alex Granados, trombonist, a student at Golden Gate High School, is 17. 
  •  Frank Camposano, vocalist, is 92. 
  •  Carol, a vocalist, probably past 70. 
  •  Frank, another vocalist, probably past 70. 

Mark Gerber on Trumpet
Howard Bacon on Trombone
Frank Michota,
Jean Packard, Pianist, &
Carlo Fusaro on Bass
3. The incredible energy of all of the musicians! I understand that Jebry and Friends also perform at New York Pizza and Pasta on Wednesday evenings. Several of tonight's patrons assured me that most of the same sit-in participants usually were present on Wednesdays as well. Bless them! I hope to have that much energy at their age.

4. Everyone was welcome to sit in and everyone who did sit in was amazingly talented, age notwithstanding. Especially impressive was 17-year-old Alex, who knew all of the old songs, played them well, ably engaged in repartee with the other participants, and conversed easily with patrons. I predict great things for this young man. Hopefully, his school guidance counselor is working with him on a plan and financial assistance to enable him to obtain additional credentials.

5. I might have learned something. Since I'm not a musician, I didn't know how a group handled multiple players of the same instrument, but tonight there were two trombone players and it seemed to work.

6. The bartender, Carolyn, made me feel very comfortable and took good care of me. 

If I can, I'll choose to bowl on another night next season so I can enjoy more of this Monday jazz.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Today I cried with a neighbor

I usually see my neighbor every Sunday evening at the café in our subdivision. I didn't see her for two weeks, which was not surprising, because I knew she and her husband were going to Key West for a week and I assumed that they didn't get back in time for our usual get-together, but as it turned out, that was not the reason for her absence.

A couple weeks ago my friend entertained her best friend and her friend's significant other from out of town. I met her visitors at our café. They were a terrific couple, enjoying Florida and each others' company, and obviously very much in love. It was a reverse May-November relationship as the woman, at age 50, was a bit older than the man, who was 37, but it was a solid, long-term relationship and the best thing that had happened to either of them so far in their lifetimes.

Hours ago I learned that the reason for my neighbor's absence was attendance at the funeral of her best friend's significant other.
His death was sudden and untimely. At age 37, he simply did not awaken one morning shortly after arriving home from Florida. Thankfully, he did not leave minor children. The cause of death is undetermined, but possibly related to an untreated dental infection that had complicated.

His death reminds me of the similar sudden and untimely death of my Georgia neighbor's son at the age of 38, probably due to sepsis. [He DID leave a wife an infant son] and the sudden and untimely death of my niece, at age 20, for which the cause was never determined.

I am also reminded of a recent acquaintance who abruptly excused himself, mortified when he learned that he was six years younger than me. Our relationship was purely platonic so it was no big deal [at least, to me] when he never called again. Nevertheless, I am saddened that his concern about an age difference made it impossible for him to continue a pleasant and amiable relationship.

Obviously the situation of the ageist friend who ran out of my life cannot be compared to the tragic, untimely death of a young person. However, since we never know when the fickle hand of fate will slap us or those close to us, possibly bringing death, stroke, illness, physical or mental impairment, I'm of the opinion that if we're lucky enough to connect with someone on any basis, we would do well to appreciate whatever happiness that connection may bring -- whenever we can, and for as long as we can, without concern for social conventions, estate planning, or anything else.

Given the chance, I know I will.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Lessons Learned in 2015

  1. There IS such a thing as senior citizen love, and it feels just as intense as senior-in-high-school love.

  2. With senior age comes a certain urgency about finding the right person.  Assuming even the best of circumstances, you don't know how many years are left, but you know that they are countable, and you want to spend them WITH someone -- not necessarily married or even living together, but with them in a solid, monogamous relationship.

  3. Being with the wrong someone IS worse than being alone.  If you're alone, you may be lonely or bored.  Loneliness and boredom are both fixable, at least for a few hours at a time.  You can go bowling, groom your dog, go shopping, start a project, or take a job.  But if you're with the wrong someone, you can't focus, you can't sleep, you're depressed, and you feel bad all over.  Signs of stress appear -- itchy skin rashes, cold sores, digestive disorders, heart palpitations, an aching jaw caused by clenching and grinding your teeth, hemorrhoids.  Intuition in the form of a gnawing little voice that never stops lectures you that you must get out of this situation, but a hopeful chirp (possibly the devil in disguise) never stops either, always promising something better ... he WILL call more often, he WILL begin to love you, he WILL want to spend more time with you.

  4. The breakup hurts just as much as a senior-in-high-school breakup ... even if it was the right thing to do and it was your decision.  Hopefully, the hurt doesn't last as long, but as of this writing, I can't say.   

  5. A man's advanced age is no guarantee of maturity.  My failed relationship involved a man just weeks short of age 76.  He looks younger, is physically fit, active in both work and sports, and enjoys going out several nights a week, all attributes that I found attractive.  He comes from a family of extreme longevity, and likely has many years of life remaining.  Unfortunately, along with these positives came a childlike sense of invulnerability -- in his mind, there was no possibility of an accident, stroke, heart attack or debilitating illness, so the hunt for someone "better" -- meaning younger, prettier, wealthier, having a more exciting lifestyle, etc. could continue forever.      

  6. Natural drugs play a part in our actions and reactions.  It was in 2015 that I first learned of oxytocin, a hormone that is naturally released in our bodies during kissing or sexual intimacy.  Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the "cuddle hormone" and can also be purchased, should anyone be interested. In women, it plays a significant role in fostering feelings of love and bonding.  
    Unfortunately, oxytocin does not have the same effect, at least to the same degree, on the male body.  In a nutshell, the more physical intimacy there is, the more likely that a woman will feel in love.  If you're primarily interested in a sexual experience, oxytocin will enhance that experience, but if you're looking for genuine love, the result is likely to be a false positive.  This gives some plausibility to the chaste behavior our mothers encouraged.

  7. Online dating sites may not work for seniors and need better algorithms for everyone.  You can't help but notice men of extreme advanced age looking for much younger women, but is this a dream or does it really happen? A couple can meet anywhere (the market, the dog park, a bar, etc.) but how often do these unexpected liaisons involve younger women and much older men? I suspect that younger women out grocery shopping or walking their dog don't establish liaisons with elderly men.
    Of course, the dating sites include ample opportunities to list common interests but some really important questions are missing. Consider dancing, for instance. Almost every profile mentions someone's love for dancing. Given that I am not a dancer, this is more of a turn-off for me than a turn-on, but should it matter? How often do couples dance anyway? Unless it's a primary interest, in our area it's necessary to do some searching for a venue where dancing is offered, and probably finer restaurants won't be included. On the other hand, have you ever seen a question about sharing food? This is a situation that comes up every day. Are you a person who can share food off your plate or give a loved one a bite of your sandwich? Some people can and some cannot, and it's important to me to know someone's attitude.

  8. I can't "settle." Some people can, but chemistry is still important to me.  Both male and female contemporaries have told me that at our stage in life, it is necessary only that you "like" your companion and "don't argue."  I need more than that to be happy.  I still want to revel in the feel of a loved one's arms around me or his hand locked with mine, whether in public or in private.     
  9. You learn from every relationship.  After 36 wonderful years with my now deceased husband, I doubted that I could ever love again.  However, even though this year's romance failed, I learned that I could love again, and hopefully, will have a chance to do so.