It was 47 years ago today…

beatles-rooftop-1January 30, 2016 – Today marks the anniversary of an important event in Beatles’ history.

On January 30, 1969, the Beatles held their last official performance on the rooftop of Apple Records in London until the concert was interrupted and brought to a halt by the police. Later, this concert became known as their fourth film, “Let it Be”.

According to George Harrison, “We went on the roof in order to resolve the live concert idea, because it was much simpler than going anywhere else; also nobody had ever done that, so it would be interesting to see what happened when we started playing up there. It was a nice little social study.”

Before the police raided the studios and rooftop, the Fab Four (with Billy Preston on organ) performed for 42 minutes, laying down tracks for “Get Back”, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, “I’ve Got a Feeling”, “Dig a Pony”, along with a few other obscure songs not written by the Beatles. Can you image what it would have been like to catch a free concert while you’re walking down the street?

One of the engineers who helped record the event reported, “There were people hanging off balconies and out of every office window all around. The police were knocking on the door – George Martin went white! We really wanted to stop the traffic, we wanted to blast out the entire West End.”

They did just that; it’s a shame the police couldn’t just Let it Be.

Here’s a look at the boys singing “Get Back”.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

December 26, 2016 — This week’s photo challenge asked us to consider our own path. I haven’t quite decided my path or resolutions for the new year, so I thought I’d feature some of my favorite paths that lead to my favorite places in 2016.

One of my favorite paths leads to the ocean.
One of my favorite paths leads to the ocean.
A colorful path that leads to beautiful gardens.
A colorful path that leads to beautiful gardens.
Nothing compares to the quiet path through the woods on a beautiful fall day.
Nothing compares to the quiet path through the woods on a beautiful fall day.

Visions of Hotcakes Danced in Our Heads

2f64616173a616731dac6156882e3e9cDecember 23, 2016Since I started this blog back in 2010, I’ve told and retold the story of my Grandfather and his famous Christmas hotcakes. Running the story each Christmas has become as much of a tradition as leaving cookies and milk for Santa. 

Christmas Hotcakes

When I think of my grandfather – known lovingly as Pop Pop throughout our large extended family – lots of warm and comforting memories come to mind.

Most often, he’s standing in front of a microphone at a family party singing a favorite song from 1919 that begs, “Don’t put a tax on the beautiful girls, I won’t last a day without love…”

Or, he’s sitting at our dining room table playing Scrabble with my parents after one of our Thursday night dinners.

I also vividly see him standing in the kitchen preparing his famous hotcakes.

Pop Pop made hotcakes every Sunday for his kids before church. Then, he’d make them for us during our summer vacation at the beach because he usually came with us. He’d love to get up early, walk to the grocery store and buy what he needed to whip up a fresh batch. We’d wake to the sound of him whistling in the kitchen with the griddle sizzling.

“Who wants hotcakes?” he’d ask as soon as he saw our sleepy faces.

We all did. They were one of the things we looked forward to while on vacation. And we loved them the next day, too, and maybe even the day after that. By day four, we’d have rather eaten a simple bowl of corn flakes or a Pop Tart, but we never had the heart to say so, and we ate them anyway. It was a small price to pay to please a man who brought so much joy into our lives.

He also made hotcakes for us on Christmas mornings, and we’d eat them as if we never had them before, then he’d fall asleep on the sofa while we opened presents.

Pop Pop passed away in 1977, and I still think of him and his hotcakes every Christmas. Gone but not forgotten, poured but never duplicated, Pop Pop’s hotcakes were the centerpiece of our Christmas morning and our summer vacations.
Those memories will be with me always.

The Day the Music Died Again

imagesDecember 16, 2016– It was nine years ago today, on a cold Sunday morning in Maine, that one of my favorite singer/songwriters passed away.

I wasn’t born yet on that original “day the music died”, back in February 1959 when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper perished in the plane crash. For me, those sad American Pie moments came when John Lennon and George Harrison passed, and most recently on December 16, 1997, when Dan Fogelberg left us. And yes, all of those moments made me shiver. How ironic that today is also the 45th anniversary of the single “American Pie”. Don McLean released the song on December 16, 1971.

Fogelberg hit the music scene in Nashville in 1972 with the classic album “Home Free.” He went on to record 22 albums in all, and reached the Top 10 Billboard Charts with hits like “Longer”, “Leader of the Band”, “Hard to Say”, “Run for the Roses”, and “”Same Old Lang Syne”. While these are great songs, many of his best and my personal favorites were the deeper cuts on his albums.
His fans keep his legacy alive by listening to his wonderful music, and the Fogelberg Foundation of Peoria, the city in Illinois where he was born honors the memory of their native son with this tribute.

There are many of us “Fogelheads” who miss you, Dan, and we’re glad your music lives on. It’s hard to select a favorite from your vast collection, but the season is perfect for this one.

Love Letters

shopDecember 9, 2016 – When you think of Jimmy Stewart and Christmas, no doubt It’s a Wonderful Life springs to mind. The heartwarming holiday classic is still widely watched and relevant today.

However, six years before, in 1940, Stewart starred in The Shop Around the Corner, a lesser-known movie that is often overlooked, possibly because it doesn’t follow the traditional holiday formula, or it because wasn’t directed by Frank Capra. It does, however, take place during the holiday season and come to its touching conclusion on Christmas Eve.

As a fan of old movies, I‘m ashamed to say I discovered this gem only six years ago when I caught it on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) one night. For almost two hours, I was caught up in snappy, quick-witted dialogue (something lost in today’s movies), romance and intrigue (it takes place in a gift shop in Budapest), and the glamorous style of that era (I adore the suits and hats women used to wear every day).

Stewart’s plays Mr. Kralik, a character much like the one he’s played in It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, or any of his other films. He’s made a career out of playing the humble good guy and he does so brilliantly. His co-star is the equally talented Margaret Sullavan, an actor I’m not too familiar with, but who’s made plenty of movies according to IMDB. Together they play two bickering co-workers who can barely stand to be in the same room, yet unknowingly are falling in love by mail as each other’s secret pen pal.

If the plot sounds familiar, it’s because Nora Ephron borrowed it for her screenplay, You’ve Got Mail, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I liked Ephron’s version, but now that I’ve seen the original, I realize there is no comparison. Check out the comparison in the video clip below. If if you want to catch the movie in its entirety, TCM is running it this month on December 15, at 8 p.m.

Crescent Moons, Magazines and Peppermint Tea

downloadDecember 2, 2016 – Anyone up for solving a mystery?

The song, My Favorite Things, from the musical The Sound of Music, is played at Christmas each year, and I’m not sure why. Aside from the lyrics “brown paper packages tied up with string, or snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes” – and are a both a stretch – there isn’t a reference to December 25 or any of its holiday traditions. Yet artists from Tony Bennett to Luther Vandross include it on their Christmas recordings.

And while we’re on the subject … the items Rogers and Hammerstein mention in their song are nice, they aren’t included on a list of my favorites. If I were to rewrite the song, I’d include the things below:

Curtains fluttering in the breeze
Early morning walks with my camera
Georgia O’Keeffe and Vincent Van Gogh paintings
Sunflowers and daisies
Crescent moons
Sunsets at the beach
Crisp mornings in autumn
My brother-in-law’s margaritas
Long drives
Magazines and peppermint tea
Mack’s Pizza at the Jersey shore
Listening to Joni Mitchell on Sunday mornings
Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream
Warm towels straight from the dryer