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A Mudcatter's Thank You

20 Mar 02 - 12:39 AM (#672399)
Subject: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

There are no tunes; lost lyrics to songs; tablature or musical wisdom in this posting.

I just need to talk with you guys for a bit....some folks would call it "nattering"....
I call it blithering...;o)

BUT whatever we call it, under these words is a deep, sincere, thank-you Max...

to this magic place called Mudcats.....

AND to its incredible members.

Sorry for not putting a "BS" title to this..couldn't do it...BUT I trust that those of you who believe Mudcats should be a music only site and stumbled into this thread by mistake, will find numerous music threads to enjoy today.

This'll take a while, Max knows some of this already, but I do want the rest of our members to know what Mudcats and 'Catters have been doing for me here.

Sooooo....some history......and I don't have a chance of keeping this brief!!!

Some of you may remember, that in late July of 1999, my home and three generations of contents, was destroyed by fire....caused by lightening during a severe thunderstorm.

I wasn't home at the time....I was away on vacation.

In that house was also my collection of old books, music books, old record albums,handmade wooden toys from Tennessee, well used percussion instruments for children, @300 cassette tapes I made over thirty years-of festivals, late night jams, music parties, band rehearsals, performances, friends etc.

There was also a variety of musical instruments . ..including 13 stringed instruments and my old beautiful (to my eyes and ears) upright piano. the list goes on......

No Martin guitars or other "expensive" instruments....but as you know, after spending time with an instrument, becomes a trusted friend....and through the years you learn how to compensate for the individual "idiosyncracies" of each one....they become a part of who we are, or at least they did with me.

Some of those instruments were also responsible, over the years, for introducing small children, Head Start classrooms,lost teenagers, and adult friends into a world of being something they were capable of playing themselves....and having FUN doing it.

A few have become accomplished musicians now...just the right place, at the right time, when they were searching teenagers, feeling like misfits and getting in trouble, they held a silly, goofy-looking, old "home-made" lap dulcimer and made a note or two play well enough to open the door and let their own talent come out.

All of us here at Mudcats are lovers of ....and share a passion
Some of you understand how devastating the loss of my music stuff was...and have suffered similar losses yourselves, I won't travel further down that road to articulate it.

taking a break here for a bit...LOTS more coming..

20 Mar 02 - 12:54 AM (#672403)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Sorcha

Yes, dear heart, and at least you have a potato peeler now..........luv ya!

20 Mar 02 - 02:03 AM (#672417)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

No one died in the fireman was injured by a live electrical wire......but has fully recovered now. He did have to suffer through bunches of jokes about how good he looked with short hair.

In that house also was lots of photographs and "memorabilia".

My older brother was killed in 1987 in a fiery traffic accident....on the Pa/Ohio border, while on his way home from a contradance caller's workshop in Berea, Kentucky.

I took my old lap dulcimer with me to the graveyard. It strikes me now as I am writing, how odd .....out of all those instruments that I was comfortable with..that at the last minute, I grabbed the lap dulcimer to bring with me for comfort.

It was a private burial, we held a public memorial service for him later.

After the casket was lowered and everyone else had left except his girlfriend, I took the lap dulcimer out of the car, and Alice and I sat on the stone wall surrounding the cemetary, under a huge white pine.....and I played for him......and her, and me. Just two simple songs.....over and over..... she asked me to play them some more....over and over.
The sound was perfect, peaceful... hypnotic...and soothed us enough after a while to stop our shaking. The songs were "River"-Bill Staines and "Rivers of Texas" I had learned from an old Sandy and Caroline Paton album I had. ( the album wasn't all THAT old.....just in case Sandy happens to read this...)

When my brother died, I left my job as a Paralegal, because my career involved giving legal advice, and crisis intervention....and my own house wasn't "in order".

Although it's been 15 yrs. now since his death..I continue to miss him daily......but my stomach no longer churns and the pain doesn't stab me any longer.

When we were kids, we went to summer camps every year......and learned BUNCHES of those fun, obscure songs. As teen-agers, he collected Everly Bros. records, I collected Elvis and Buddy Holly. We both bought other 45's weekly with money we earned doing odd jobs in the neighborhood. Because of our collection, he became a popular dj at our local "record hops".

Until he died, we could count on each other always.....a phone call remember the tune or that obscure lyric from a camp song one of us was trying to remember.

Thank-you...Max, Dick, Susan, elves, Mudcats, members, and guests for asking the questions and giving the answers!

As adults, we both learned to play guitar....and through the years he collected every Gordon Bok album in existence....some of which had personalized signatures from Gordon to him. He also collected a variety of Contra-dance music and Hammer-Dulcimer music...and was planning to learn to play the HD.....he had just purchased the hammers and "learn to play" cassette tapes..and was planning to buy his Dulcimer when he got back from Berea.

After his death, I brought his tapes, albums and music stuff home with me...AND the Hammers he had bought for the HD. I also brought home silly stuff he had saved.. like our Captain Midnight decoder rings, and a letter he had saved that I had sent him...written in our "secret" code at camp.

In my home I had a small "memory wall" in the corner of my living room.....which had trinkets hung on it....which to me, represented my grandmother and grandfather's lives. I added my brother's hammers for the HD and a couple other things of his to it.

And on the small table in the corner, I put a sailing trophy he had won and had (proudly) given to me.

20 Mar 02 - 02:18 AM (#672419)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

sorry, Sorcha.....missed your post while I was typing.
ya, who woulda thunk it...that on the road from birth to death....potato peeler(S) are vital.

I just re-read what I wrote.....I guess this is a "trust-test"......but REALLY, HONEST, there is a heart smile, giggle coming. I gotta blither a bit more, so please bear with me and the yuck stuff.....

20 Mar 02 - 06:26 AM (#672461)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

I've been debating for a while here whether or not to continue with this "history". I decided to hit "submit" after thinking about how much validation I feel sometimes, when other members talk about their personal lives and losses. I also don't think "Thank-You" makes sense unless you guys know for what....and how far down some of you reached to pull me up.
So I'm gonna continue from where I left off...

After a while I was done taking care of my brother's unfinished projects, gently tucking him into bed and saying good night to him.
And I had done as much as I could to ease my mother's grief.....and help her find her own "will to live". (She just celebrated her 92nd birthday this Friday.)

I spent a few years working in a Nursing Home..a job I got because I learned that most people ran when I uttered the word "death"..and are REALLY uncomfortable talking about it. Even my closest friends would change the subject trying to be "helpful" and supportive. In the Nursing Home.....death is a subject in a normal conversation.
I was assigned to work with the terminally ill patients....because, they told me, I was "intuitive and have a gentle manner". I learned a lot there, about non-verbal communication, physical and mental disabilities, the importance of music and how much we don't know about brain function. Most importantly, the patients there, and the work I was doing, helped me heal.

I think there comes a time in life, when we sit and reflect, and breathe for a sec...and realize we're NOT getting any younger....and underneath inside, we've had a nagging desire to do something or other....but lacked the time/courage/opportunity to go for it. (I think it's called a "mid-life crisis"
Sitting outside on a break at the Nursing Home one night, I realized that I had healed as much as I was going to, had learned as much about life/death as the job could teach me, and to continue in the job was unhealthy.

When I got home that night, I talked with my partner about starting our own business. For years I had run a small horse and carriage thing part time for fun..and mostly just gave free driving lessons, history lessons about the village and about life before the automobile... and "this is a horse, this is the steering wheel, this is the gas pedal, brakes" etc. lessons to kids in town.

My partner had absolute, unquestioning love and respect for not only the me I am, warts and all, but also my knowledge and skills with the horses and teaching.

We decided to go for it.

During the following months, we attended the workshops held by the Small-Business Administration, wrote up a detailed business plan....procured a contract with a five-star hotel/restaurant in town....banged on doors for funding......and finally found a bank willing to take a chance....with no give us the loan.
We were told that the loan was approved.....not only because of the excellent job we did in writing the business plan, but mostly because our commitment, knowledge and belief in what we were doing was contagious. Our goal was to use the income from weddings and special events to support some community stuff we planned to do.

We embarked on what he called a "reconnaissance mission" and found two horses with the unique personalities we needed, commercial harnesses, and two used carriages.

It was a trip I will be forever thankful for taking.

In searching for the equipment, we agreed that I would only look at carriages AFTER they passed his safety inspection tests....mechanical, electrical, structural integrity of the wood etc. and that he would look at horses only AFTER they passed my personality tests.

He wasn't a "perfect" person......and had some personal demons he struggled with....and like many of us...he had well-hidden self-esteem problems. He was one of those people that felt he was a "jack-of-all-trades, master of none"....a GOOD auto mechanic, electrician,framing carpenter and well-respected finish carpenter.....none of which he felt passionate about.

It was amazing to witness......the skills he had learned in his lifetime....coming together with clarity and purpose during our trip......while inspecting the vehicles....meeting,talking with people, his kindness showed through....and in the process....earned him the respect of anyone watching him do his thing....and his passion and commitment to what we were doing got stronger.

He had always been well respected by other people for his skills and intelligence ....but the difference this time was that he felt it himself.

It's a dangerous thing to combine a relationship with work in which only ONE can be the boss. BUT we did it.......with LOTS of humor. He bought a hat with a funny logo on it...and bought me one that said "Boss". We wore our hats when we did business stuff,and took them off when the work was done for the day.
We worked...both of us.....sometimes 18-20 hours a day...enjoying every minute..(well, almost every minute) prepare for opening the business. We worked hard and had lots of giggles doing it....we made a good team.

By Dec. of 1994, everything was done.....and we both took other jobs for the rest of the winter.
I began working with an 8yr. old "special needs" boy who had a lot of medical and behavioral problems.

My partner and I made plans to bring the horses and equipment to the village in March, 1995, allowing ourselves time to work out any "bugs" before the tourist season started.

In Feb., 1995 he died.....three weeks before we were to start.
He was the innocent victim of a drug-crazed man with a the wrong place at the wrong time. The gunman also kidnapped a father and his 2 yr. old son, but thankfully,after a wild ride at gunpoint..let them go...unharmed physically....before turning the gun on himself.

Eventually, I added more stuff to the "memory wall" in my home.......and put his picture on the small table beside my brother's trophy.

This wasn't just a house fire..most aren't. It put me back on those old pages I'm writing about because my "memory wall" stuff burnt.

Today, depending on weather, the bulldozer will be taking down what remains of the structure that was my home. The trees have already been cut down to make room for the heavy equipment.

I have one more "history" post to write here ....after which I hope to share some "Mudcat magic" giggles and "potato peeler" thank-yous.

20 Mar 02 - 06:32 AM (#672464)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: George Seto -

Thank you for sharing, Night Owl.

20 Mar 02 - 07:02 AM (#672478)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Hollowfox

Like the song says, "Good times and hard times, they're all worth the telling".

20 Mar 02 - 07:20 AM (#672490)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: GUEST,Amergin

Night George said....thank you for sharing....

20 Mar 02 - 07:51 AM (#672498)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: kendall

This is a special place alright. It's impossible to feel alone here. What a bummer to lose a lifetime's collection of things that bring back memories.

20 Mar 02 - 08:08 AM (#672508)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Amos

Beautiful job so far, N'Owl.


20 Mar 02 - 08:35 AM (#672518)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Peter T.

You grace the place, Night Owl, as ever. Roll on. yours, Peter T.

20 Mar 02 - 08:46 AM (#672523)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: catspaw49

Dammit PT, why must you jump in and say the very best thing I can think of and leave me with nothing but to say "Ditto?"

He is right of course Jackie......I don't know what all is in your mind here about thanking us, but the thanks should go back to you for all of those caring and heartfelt posts you have made over the years and for the joy you have given us........Continue as you will.


20 Mar 02 - 08:56 AM (#672527)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

thanks for's been a tough night here (not meaning bad) and not the first time I've been thankful that Mudcats is "open" all night.
Hollowfox....thanks for making it a "music" thread!bg
ok....last "history" post and then I'm gonna make breakfast..fill my coffee mug...and try to convince my Lilac bushes that they want to move before the Bulldozer comes.
I'm not sure why the compulsion to write all this now really...but "Farther Along we'll understand why".

My partner died 7 yrs. ago.....doesn't seem possible that it could be that many years ago..but it is.

I don't have a kazillion personal friends...but the few I do have are solid...same ones that helped me stand up after my brother died. They took turns making sure I didn't quit...sitting with me...just being there.....when they knew I was alone.
I don't remember a word anyone said initially...but DO remember how important it was to have a close friend JUST BE THERE...breathing. AND when I needed, they helped me wipe my tears and allowed me to talk about life and death this time, and broken dreams, and being too tired to start over again.
They helped me get through the initial shock...and after a few weeks, on those days when I wanted to give up.... they reminded me of how much the 8 yr. old needed my help...and how important I was to them ...and him.

I didn't learn until a couple years later that they had also kept tabs on what I was eating and drinking, and how many hours I slept daily...(or not).

The horses went to a friend's farm in Vermont, and the business equipment went to a variety of places.

Still numb inside, and not sleeping well anyway, I began picking up every assignment I could get....and worked three jobs for a couple of years.

There's much to be said, I think, for throwing oneself into work or something...anything...because sometimes life's events can be so devastating, it's impossible to comprehend it all at once...if ever.

I learned a lot through grief counseling, and why I was taking so long to "get better"....and to be kinder to myself....and to be more patient with the good-day/ bad-day; two steps forward, three steps back; ups and downs involved in grieving.
And I had to learn HOW to ask for help when I needed it..because I had been a "giver" all of my life. I'm still struggling to learn how to receive more graciously.
I cut down my work hours and continued working with the 8 yr. old....who was by then,11yrs. old. We had a very balanced relationship......he taught me every bit as much as I taught him....and somehow the challenge of working with him kept me alive inside.

One day, out of the blue, I received a phone call asking me to come work in a home that had four brain-injured adult women. I already knew that the boy I worked with was gonna be fine..and that my job there was done. His medical needs are ongoing...but stabilized.

During the three years I worked with him, he had been successfully mainstreamed in school, and we had corrected the erroneous labels he had been tagged with by "the system" and its misdiagnoses. I was just "hiding" in a safe place by then with him. He still had some problems, but had learned to "use his words" and his mother and he had ALL the tools they needed to survive the politics of the system.
So, we carefully "weaned" ...gradually...with his nurse's help.......ostensibly him...but honestly me....the dependency.

I was working with the four women when I found Mudcats.

I'm giving myself permission to feel sad for a bit this morning, and then I'm closing the chapter I've just written about...and turning the page. The negative parts are going in the dumpster with the house.....and the positive parts I'm keeping. Thanks again for listening.

20 Mar 02 - 09:05 AM (#672535)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Mary in Kentucky

Thank-you, Night Owl. Your public sharing just reinforces all the things I'm supposed to know anyway...PM on the way...

20 Mar 02 - 09:18 AM (#672540)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: CamiSu

Wow. Can I be your next door neighbor? This all sounds so hard, but you and all those you've helped and have helped you are surely living what Bob Franke said in Thanksgiving Eve

What can you do with your days But work and hope Let your dreams bind your work to your play What can you do with each moment of your life But love 'till you've loved it away

Thank you

20 Mar 02 - 10:55 AM (#672599)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: JenEllen

Potato peelers and cherry pitters all the way, darlin'gal.
~yer sister-mule

20 Mar 02 - 11:09 AM (#672611)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Bobert

Loss is a very difficult experience that we never really get over. But we do move on with life and find joy, and experience good times. I know, because I buried my wife, Judy, 4 years ago who died of breast cancer at a young age of 54.

And so I fully understand this thread. I haven't been around Mudcat very long but have been around long enough to realize that it is a community of not only smart and talented folks, but caring folks. I pray this tread will have the healing qualities, Night Owl, that you need. Now, get out there and rescue that lylac. It needs you and in the years to come, as it blooms, you'll remember all the good things about the house...

And may God bless you.


20 Mar 02 - 11:14 AM (#672619)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: mzkitty

"Night Owl",it seems to me that a bit of spiritual alchemy has gone on here. You have brought your home and it's contents back to life through your words and now each one of us shares a bit of your home in our hearts. I will think of your story often. Bless you for your loving spirit.

20 Mar 02 - 11:24 AM (#672629)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Alice

Night Owl, thank you for writing. This forum has an even greater meaning to me now, after reading what you shared with us. - Alice

20 Mar 02 - 11:25 AM (#672631)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Morticia

I'm sitting here with the tears dripping off the end of my nose, knowing exactly what you mean,echoing your gratitude for this wonderful community and cheering you (and your courage) on....thank you .

20 Mar 02 - 11:27 AM (#672634)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: catspaw49

Folks, I have good reason to believe that you all need to keep following this because the best is yet to come. She is a truly amazing person and I am honored to share this forum with her.....


20 Mar 02 - 11:28 AM (#672635)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: katlaughing

*left me speechless, dear one* just remember everything I've said before and that I love you...kat

20 Mar 02 - 11:46 AM (#672646)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: katlaughing

You're right about that, Pat/Spaw, but it's going to be a little later, today, before we get to read much more. I just spoke with her and, since she really is a "night owl," she's just off to sleep for a bit before posting the rest of her incredible story, which is not to be missed.:-)

20 Mar 02 - 11:51 AM (#672653)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Peter T.

Why are we pretty fond of old Night Owl around the old Mudcat porcheroo? You might want to check this out....Music Therapyyours, Peter T.

20 Mar 02 - 12:44 PM (#672677)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Amergin

Peter....I did not need that thread to know she is a wonderful person....but thanks.

20 Mar 02 - 01:50 PM (#672735)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Lyrical Lady and I have been ICQing for well over a year now and your concern for me has always been constant. I always "knew" there was a story behind your messages and I felt that If I was patient, I would learn so much from you., I'm so glad that I stumbled on this post. I would just like to add Jackie...I've dug up, moved, shaken and pruned many lilac bushes in my time and I have found them to be very resiliant. In fact, they've become stronger and more beautiful ... just like you!


20 Mar 02 - 02:07 PM (#672749)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: CapriUni

Oooh! A cliffhanger! I love/hate cliffhangers!


20 Mar 02 - 02:51 PM (#672782)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: McGrath of Harlow

A lot of what we do on the Mudcat is a waste of space, and that includes a lot of posts I make. Every now and again there's something that makes up for all that, and this is one of those times.

20 Mar 02 - 07:09 PM (#672956)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Banjer

Thanks for sharing this story with all of us. I can only imagine what it takes to recall and tell this tale and I hope it is in some way theraputic for you to relate it. You are indeed correct, this is more than a forum on a website, it is a community. I personally have drawn much strength and support from this group also. I was a little over a year ago that my Dr's office called to set an appointmenty based on the results of some tests that had been run. I feared that my life would change drastically from that day forward, but having followed Pat's (Catspaw's) ordeal I knew that no matter what the Dr. had found I would find a course through it. So while you are listing your reasons, let me borrow a bit of your thunder, Night Owl, to also thank this group for their support! Thanks all.......

20 Mar 02 - 07:21 PM (#672965)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You

Thanks for the whole story, Jackie. I knew only bits and pieces.

20 Mar 02 - 07:36 PM (#672976)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: JenEllen

Played more Hazel today in your honor, Jacks, but couldn't get this chorus outta my head. One of my favorite songs...
And the world goes 'round in circles
Like a crazy ferris wheel
And it's good to know that there's a place to go
'Til the hurt begins to heal
Where your troubles melt like starlight
On a chocolate ice cream cone
And you're old enough to make it on your own

20 Mar 02 - 07:47 PM (#672980)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Amos

Dang! I've been playing that cut for two days straight, over and over driving to work and back.

No, really!


20 Mar 02 - 10:41 PM (#673085)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Big Mick

I sure can relate to your posts, dear one. I shared something here a few years ago that I had not shared before nor since. I have never regretted it, as it seemed like the place to do it. Now it is my turn to sit here with tears running down my face, and thanking God for Max and The Mudcat, and those that "live" here. And right now, mostly I am thankful to know that this place has you in it.


20 Mar 02 - 11:11 PM (#673099)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Rick Fielding

Wow, jackie. just saw this and I'm a bit dumbfounded. This place has a power to not only inform and entertain, but to heal as well. Glad I know ya.



20 Mar 02 - 11:15 PM (#673102)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Sandy Paton

Dear Night Owl: Caroline and I both want to thank you for letting us share a small part of your life. It's as Jerry Rasmussen's song says: "All I can leave you is a handful of songs." We are so glad that one you caught from us was a comfort to you at that painful moment. Would that we could give you more.

Sandy and Caroline

20 Mar 02 - 11:31 PM (#673107)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: alison

thanks for writing it Jackie.... I miss our chats on ICQ.... but it is wonderful to know you



21 Mar 02 - 12:59 AM (#673156)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Escamillo

Jackie, you know that there are many of us who want to thank Mudcatters for all the generosity we find in this place, on top of the music.

Un abrazo - Andrés

21 Mar 02 - 01:43 AM (#673165)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Lonesome EJ

I often find myself angry or baffled by the random cruelty and thoughtless violence that seems to play such a role in the world. Perhaps there is no changing those things. Maybe the ultimate revelation of our value lies in how we deal with these things, how we hold to our basic sense of right and dignity in the face of them. In the process, we may lose every material thing that gives us comfort, until we are left at last with whatever peace and strength lie within us.

From what you have said, Night Owl, I know that infinite peace and strength lie within you. You have both my sympathy and my great admiration.

21 Mar 02 - 03:17 AM (#673177)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

I'm exhausted here...and need to "regroup" and take care of myself for a bit before continuing...but before I go to bed, I just want to say thank-you all.....incredible community!!

and Andres, it's GREAT to see you back with us...

Weather was cold,rain/snow here today... the bulldozer didn't show up.

I got a few "baby" lilacs and am gonna try again this week-end to get the "mother".

There's another amazing thing we have here.."Personal Messages". I learned when I started the Music Therapy thread what an incredible asset PM's are for us in the design of this website. Members who were following that thread, but uncomfortable posting their personal stories to it, shared information with me through PMs.

The same thing is happening now and I want to thank you for them. For those of you struggling to find your own "peaceful" closures, wait'll you hear how important a potato peeler can be! bg

21 Mar 02 - 03:41 AM (#673182)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: CarolC

For those of you struggling to find your own "peaceful" closures

Thank you for addressing that, Night Owl. I'm struggling with a few of those, and I've been needing to wait until you finished your story before I posted anything to this thread. But I wanted you to know that reading those words felt good to me.

21 Mar 02 - 03:45 AM (#673184)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Cappuccino

Remarkable. Very best wishes. - Ian B

21 Mar 02 - 08:32 AM (#673276)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Mary in Kentucky

I'm one who sent a PM of personal stories. It's amazing how there can be similar stories in our lives, stories which help us gain a greater understanding of our lives and the people in it.

And now about the lilacs...I've tried moving them and it's EXTREMELY difficult because they have such STRONG roots. Be very careful. If you are chopping away at the root system with an ax, it can ricochet off and hit your leg. You might also get some professional (from a nursery) advice on how to do woody stem propagation. I have several lilac bushes in my yard, and it's not unusual for people driving by on the highway to stop and ask to pick some. I have lots of fond memories of taking lilacs to my friend NIGHT OWL is one of those memories!

21 Mar 02 - 10:34 AM (#673321)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: katlaughing

I have a set of poems which I add to now and then called The Women's Sowing Circle. Each poem in it is about some woman in my life who has been very special to me, in some way. These are poems which *come* to me, not something I can just sit down and think, "Okay, now write this one."

So, not finished, yet, but Night Owl is getting her own in the collection and I think I may share as she's already read it. I'll post the rest when it comes to me:

To Jackie

I have touched a woman's spirit
With her allowance;
A private woman
with layers of courage,
born of great loss
and quiet triumph

© 2001 K. LaFrance

21 Mar 02 - 10:50 AM (#673332)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: MMario

Lilacs do root easily from hardwood cuttings - at least some varieties. I remmeber starting several bushes from stems that had been cut for bouquets - after the blooms had faded - they had already started to root - so just babied them along a bit in the water and eventually set them out.

21 Mar 02 - 11:17 AM (#673355)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: CapriUni

If you really want to remove a lilac from one spot, and put it in another, make a cutting, as suggested above, and
Get a goat!;-)
It may take a while, but eventually, the lilac bush will be eaten down to its root crown. I speak from experience -- had two pet goats while I was growing up. Just tether the goat near the lilac, so as to protect the plants you do want...

21 Mar 02 - 11:52 AM (#673370)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Sorcha

I hope Jackie feels better soon, and is able to post "the rest of the story....." There is more.

21 Mar 02 - 12:16 PM (#673383)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: CapriUni

Yes... eagerly awaiting the happy ending...

21 Mar 02 - 12:47 PM (#673396)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: katlaughing

She's off to work for a couple days, so was resting up for that. Maybe by Saturday night, if she isn't too tired. One of those is an overnighter, so we'll have to remember that patience is a virtue for which we all strive, right?**BG** 'Course, she might surprise us with some more, tonight, who knows when the Muse of Night Owl strikes?*bg*

Oh, those potato peelers!! Ya'll are in for some fun!

21 Mar 02 - 12:47 PM (#673399)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: GUEST,Hamshank


Ya went and made me leak all over my keyboard. Glad I don't have to sing in the next few minutes, 'cause I couldn't with this goose egg sized lump in my throat. Thanks for including guests. Some of us love the Mudcat and I, for one, am quite fond of most of the folks who hang out here, although I don't really know any of 'em.


21 Mar 02 - 06:40 PM (#673659)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Jeri

...a soul as strong and deep as the roots of that lilac bush, and as gentle on the surface as the little blossoms.

Jackie, I'm very glad to be able to read your story. There are never enough tales about love and strength and the magic in life. Thank you for what you've written so far, and for what may come.

21 Mar 02 - 09:02 PM (#673733)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Bill D

.....*listening*...there is music in this thread that needs no voice or instrument.....

21 Mar 02 - 09:33 PM (#673745)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Amergin

yep....for it is the beat of the heart....

21 Mar 02 - 09:33 PM (#673746)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Amergin

the loveliest music of all....

22 Mar 02 - 02:42 PM (#674193)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

It somehow doesn't feel "fair" to me here, to have started this thread and have to pause for so long before continuing.

Any of you who have been through trauma know that the key is to approach that page slowly, and fully focused...regardless of how long ago the events occured..and to back off the page to deep breathe when you need to "regroup".

This is tough stuff for me to write....BUT VERY healthy for me to be doing. I'm running off to work and won't be back until Sat. afternoon..after which I need to sleep....and re-focus.

With your indulgence I'll try to continue over the week-end. In the meantime I've been absorbing and ingesting these incredible supportive comments here. If you have ever wondered what makes Mudcats such a special community, go back and re-read the wisdom, kindnesses, understanding and gentleness in these posts.
thank you for them...

22 Mar 02 - 02:54 PM (#674202)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: MMario

N.O. ~

Take whatever time you need ~ "fair" has nothing to do with it. Tell us as much or as little as you like - at the pace that is best for you.

I agree with the others - the music in this thread is the ultimate song.

22 Mar 02 - 02:59 PM (#674205)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Alice

Night Owl, your comment that the page about trauma should be approached slowly got to me. I had twin daughters die at birth about 21 years ago. I still haven't faced that. At the time, people around me were very cold and not understanding... comments like, why are you always thinking about death - you're so depressing. I guess because most people I knew were so young they had not even experienced grief yet. With my parents death a couple of years before the twins, at least I had my siblings who understood losing parents. I think they, too, were in too much shock to deal with more. Like your story, many levels of loss overlap. Sometimes it is a matter of survival to just numb out and keep going without talking about it. You've made me think about finding a way to connect with people who could understand.

22 Mar 02 - 03:25 PM (#674228)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: GUEST,Den

Night Owl, my words I know will never make things better. But believe me when I say that from the little I know of you, you will get through all this somehow. I remember when we used to connect on the old HearMe sessions you were always very kind to me in response to my singing, and I always appreciated it. You made me feel good about myself from all those miles away. I don't know why bad things happen to good people, that's life. You are a good person that has happened to a lot of people here and I can tell you that you have touched a lot of hearts and that one day you will have the luck for all your kindness and I hope that, that day is soon coming, Den.

23 Mar 02 - 10:48 AM (#674761)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You

Take your time, Jackie. We can wait.

23 Mar 02 - 12:05 PM (#674806)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Celtic Soul

Lonesome EJ penned: "I often find myself angry or baffled by the random cruelty and thoughtless violence that seems to play such a role in the world. Perhaps there is no changing those things. Maybe the ultimate revelation of our value lies in how we deal with these things, how we hold to our basic sense of right and dignity in the face of them. In the process, we may lose every material thing that gives us comfort, until we are left at last with whatever peace and strength lie within us".

Oh, *spot on*!!! Well penned. I wish I could have been half as eloquent.

Nightowl, thanks for sharing what must still be painful in a very healing way. It gives one pause and faith.

25 Mar 02 - 12:18 AM (#675726)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

Celtic Soul.....just read your post. Hits me like more "Mudcat Magic"...which I'll explain, REALLY!!!

I drove past the property today. A neighbor stopped by yesterday to tell me the house was gone. I printed out all of your posts to this thread.....and read them a few times before going over there. It's now a treeless sand trace of the plants and flowers. I did manage to get some of the Ramblin' Roses, Blue-bells, and a few of the baby lilacs last Wed. They'll have a new life with me here. It's clear to me that I was writing the obituary for my home and its "memory wall" last week. I am FINE with seeing the sandlot....thanks to all of you and the support here!!!

I'm gonna hang out at Mudcats, typing for a while tonight...not feeling very "focused" so am going to continue "blithering on..and eventually find my way to explaining what a potato peeler has to do with anything.

A couple years after my partner died, I bought my first computor ...and it terrified me! I had decided to learn what a computor was, because most jobs required some computor knowledge......and working the three jobs destroyed my feet, including, among other things, detaching my Achilles tendon. We thought, for a while, I wouldn't be walking again.

The first thing I did, after learning how to turn the computor ON, was to do a "search" on the internet for "Music...folk/blues". Within a few minutes...I found Mudcats.

Like most of us.....I felt "home" immediately. I found my way around the site and eventually into the forum. I found lyrics to some of those obscure songs my brother and I had learned, found some threads about those old camp songs...found lyrics and tunes to songs I had forgotten I knew....and even found "The Legend of Sam McGee" which had been one of his favorite recitations.
I found some of the same political arguments he and I had over the years in these "threads"....and found that people got mad at each other because of opposing STRONG views...just like my brother and me....and members here recognizing consistently that the love of music is a bond that ties us together...and keeps the door matter how mad we get....just like my brother and me.
And .... it gave me back the music.

After about a month of quietly reading threads, I realized how absolutely hungry I was, for the music and the information here, and the knowledge, and the humor.......and the community.
Although I was still petrified of stuff I heard about the internet...and scams...and privacy invasion etc., I became a member...because it simply felt like "home" AND the design of this site made it EASY for me to understand HOW to join.

Up until then, I hadn't been playing any of my instruments....had simply turned the music off. There had been no dancing, or singing, or playing in my home and heart for a while after my partner died. It was a surprise to me that I was excited to find Mudcats, at a time when I had been going through life in a trance, internally numb.

An 8yr. old and Mudcats helped me turn the music back on.

After the fire, when I was finally able to replace the computor, (and with Joe Offer's help I got my "cookie" back)-- THANK YOU JOE, there was a piece of my history, saved from the fire. ALL of those threads I was "tracing", all of my archived Personal Messages sent and received were there.....right there!!

THANK YOU Max..for all the effort you put into the incredible DESIGN of this site, keeping it going, and ensuring the information is accessible to us.

THANK YOU Mudcat community, for giving me back my music, for the second time in my life.

THANK YOU Mudcat Community for taking the time to post ALL of that information and ALL of those "blue-clickies" that will allow me to rebuild my music library..... books and all.

It took me a while to realize that there's something else here. I have good friends in the "real" world, who enjoy listening to music, enjoy making music, enjoy going to music events, and get "excited" when they hear a neat piece of music or a good band. It's something we "do" together.

The difference in me is that music is part of who I am and is necessary to my existence. I'm not a performer, singer, nor a really good musician. But I have music in me. Unfortunately it took some "hard" times to recognize that,for me, there is eating, drinking fluids, breathing and music. I have found here at Mudcats......BUNCHES of human beings that feel exactly the same....and here..some four years later I understand why I was so excited at finding this community.

25 Mar 02 - 12:31 AM (#675728)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: katlaughing

Beautiful! This is just like reading installments in one of those old magazines; can't wait for the next chapter! Thank you, Night Owl!

25 Mar 02 - 01:09 AM (#675737)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: George Seto -


That must be one of the best tributes to Max, the Mudcat Café, and Joe, and all the other Mudcat people.

25 Mar 02 - 04:35 AM (#675776)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

Today,(Sunday)is an anniversary of sorts for me.

By March of 1999 I had been working with the four women for a while, had been hanging close to Mudcats for refueling, and had introduced "my" music and my autoharp to the women. I was getting SOO frustrated at work, about things I was seeing with the music and my inability to articulate it or document it.

I turned to Mudcats for help with using music for therapy and unlocking brains. None of you knew at the time, about the terror and losses I had been through (before the fire). I really DID mean it, when I said in that thread, that I received MUCH more than I gave there. Every day, I had three of those women telling me they loved me loads, and a fourth woman whose eyes lit up and who came alive when I walked through the door. Each day, those women gave me lessons in what REAL courage and patience with what life puts on our plates means, and they gave me the courage to keep going....and Mudcats continued to supply me with music and humor.
There was a flood of helpful, wonderful, some sad but validating, information and links you all gave back in that thread and by personal messages.

One sentence in particular, written by Musicman (Paul), jumped off the screen to me.....
"Pushing through the handicap to access the music"
and I knew he knew, and understood, and had seen himself, exactly what I was talking about, professionally. AND he had a wealth of knowledge and resources that he was happy to share.
That was March 24th, 1999..three years ago.

We talked a lot for a few months, about music therapy, about the loss of a partner, about the struggle to pick up and move forward in life, about music.....and about the creation of the "Farewell" CD he was putting together.
He lives on the West Coast, I live on the East Coast. We eventually made plans to meet in Ontario. I was on vacation, on my way to meet him, when the fire happened.
One of the firemen here told me that, had I been home when the lightening struck, I would not have survived.

We were supposed to meet near my girlfriend's home in Ontario, but Paul heard me sing and chickened out. bg

I somehow found myself in Vancouver, instead of Ontario. My daughter had already told me that everything except the structure of my home was gone, the house was boarded up, and there was nothing needing to be done immediately. and I should continue on my "vacation". I hadn't had a vacation since my partner died, and my daughter was fully aware of how exhausted I was before the fire.

I took the train..four days, three phones, no demands, incredible scenery rolling past the windows ... and I tried to understand the words "everything's gone". It's a trip I would recommend to anyone trying to comprehend life's chaos.

When I arrived, I met two of THE most caring, gentle, neat human beings on earth....Paul and his daughter, Rita. It was my first meeting of a Mudcatter in "real" life. He filled my ears with music, filled the days with adventures and gave me open access to his music room and its instruments. They both made me feel warm,comfortable, SAFE and loved. It didn't hit home for a while in me that I had lost my music. But he understood it. He had some of the same music I had, and somehow managed to find the time, without my knowing, to make music tapes for me. I didn't fully realize until lots later, how important those tapes were.

I could write a book JUST about the things Paul has done for me, to help me hold together. BUT at a minimum I want you guys to know, that he has helped carry me, through the ups and downs, day in and day the middle of the night and in the early mornings, through the nightmares and fears, filling me with his music, reminding me that keeping the music on was VITAL for me, reminding me to treasure the small miracles when I found them, giving me giggles when I needed them, helping me focus on oceans, "my" mountain and the sunsets and sunrises, giving me back the "lilt" in my step, and always, consistently, an ear to listen. If any other Mudcatters meet him in "real" life, and notice that he walks kinda funny now, with one shoulder lower than the other, it's cuz he's been carrying my weight for a while now. I love you both, Paul and Rita, and am daily thankful that Mudcats brought you into my life. You are a couple of the "miracles" in life, I've learned to treasure.

So......ummmmmmmmmm THANK YOU PAUL!!!

25 Mar 02 - 07:31 AM (#675829)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

My friends and family were calling me daily in Vancouver, to make sure I was ok. My daughter told me she had made a space in her home for me to stay...and was also giving me names of friends and neighbors who had offered their homes, if I needed.
The Red Cross had already contacted her, and wanted to know if there was anything I would need immediately when I got back. I said Yes...a portable radio/tape player.... which I guess made NO sense to anyone who was trying to help. I do believe that a Mudcatter would've understood that I needed to listen to "my" music...and notjust "any" music. ( I bought one the day after I returned.)

It took one night of trying to sleep in someone else's home...with all the strange noises and activity, for me to know that I needed to be in the a tent. It was different than just visiting friends or family. I needed a "base" where I could gather myself together a bit and think....and try to figure out what to do and how.

It was awful....everything was black The urge to be in the woods was so strong there was NO way to ignore it... so my friends helped me gather together some camping "gear" and within a day, I had a "home" at a State Park we have here, complete with a bedroom(tent,sleeping bag and mats); kitchen(coleman stove); dining room(picnic table); living room with a fireplace (campfire and two lawnchairs)....and an "entertainment center"(two squirrels who played creative games of tag every day at my campsite.) I didn't have a clue as to why, but it was simply where I needed to be at the time and I stayed calm there.

Months later, after I moved into an apartment and got my computor and Mudcats back,reading the "Thought for the Day" we were doing here had become part of my morning routine. I read one about trees Peter T. had written, (Dec. 2, 1999-"Thought for the Day") and I couldn't stop crying.
He had captured in words why I went to the State Park... and the tears were relief., because his words allowed me to help my friends and myself understand.
I sent him a PM asking for his e-mail, which he gave me. I was so busy with daily survival, I never sent the e-mail, but my intent was to just say ..

THANK YOU PETER T....your words hit home.

and THANK YOU LEJ for that incredible paragraph you wrote up there, it reminded me of Peter's trees.

and part of "Mudcat Magic" to me is things the same time these thoughts were swirling around in my brain, trying to come out....Celtic Soul repeated LEJ's paragraph.

25 Mar 02 - 08:34 AM (#675858)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Peter T.

A writer can go through a whole life without such a compliment, Night Owl. Your Music Therapy thread touched me too, a long time ago, and changed my way of thinking about many things, music, life. So thank you back again.

yours, Peter T.

25 Mar 02 - 08:50 AM (#675863)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: MMario

just an aside - but as I read this thread it hit me - that if I saw this as a plot for a movie or TV show - I would think it hokey and contrived. Just goes to show you that the "real world" can be as magical as the staged one.

25 Mar 02 - 08:55 AM (#675867)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: catspaw49

And that is not the beauty of the stage Mario, but the beauty of the real world instead.

"Reality is bad enough, why should I tell the truth?".....Patrick Sky


25 Mar 02 - 09:48 AM (#675887)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

if you guys only knew the parts I'm leaving OUT here.......!! bg

25 Mar 02 - 10:55 AM (#675911)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

"Blithering" along here...there was a lot of "magic" at that campsite. Within three days, a friend arrived with one of his autoharps for me to borrow as long as I needed it. I could play music there and invite friends to play music...I did and we night....around the campfire.

One day, my daughter arrived at the campsite with a stack of papers in her hands. I had been talking with Paul about the fire stuff I was dealing with, decisions I had to make, and how overwhelming it all was. I had NO idea that he had started a thread,letting Mudcatters know what had happened. The stack of papers she had was e-mails...BUNCHES of e-mails...from Mudcatters from everywhere.....offering support, instruments, money, ANYTHING to help.

I said a "brief" thank-you here as soon as I got a computor again...BUT I want to say that its behind me and you know what I was dealing with in that fire...

THANK YOU Mudcatters...for the flood of support you sent me. There's a few of us here who have been the recipients of Mudcat "floods". It helps a LOT and is an important part of what we do here in this community..

25 Mar 02 - 11:09 AM (#675925)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: McGrath of Harlow

I just had a look through the Mudcat photo gallery. Most of the people on this thread have pictures in there - spread out across at least four continents.

Including, I was happy to discover, Night Owl playing music with two young people, looking just the way she should from reading what she's written.

25 Mar 02 - 11:12 AM (#675929)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: McGrath of Harlow

(This post is a continuation of the last - I'm having to do that with anything over a couple of paragraphs for some reason.)

And that stuff about the lilac underpinning the story in a way a single writer could never achieve:

"...and try to convince my Lilac bushes that they want to move before the Bulldozer comes."

"I've dug up, moved, shaken and pruned many lilac bushes in my time and I have found them to be very resilient. In fact, they've become stronger and more beautiful ..."(Lyrical Lady)

"And now about the lilacs...I've tried moving them and it's EXTREMELY difficult because they have such STRONG roots." (Mary in Kentucky)

25 Mar 02 - 11:17 AM (#675931)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: McGrath of Harlow

(Last bite of he cherry)

"Lilacs do root easily from hardwood cuttings - at least some varieties. I remember starting several bushes from stems that had been cut for bouquets - after the blooms had faded - they had already started to root - so just babied them along a bit in the water and eventually set them out." (Mmario)

"I did manage to get some of the Ramblin' Roses, Blue-bells, and a few of the baby lilacs last Wed. They'll have a new life with me here." (Night Owl.)

Thanks, Night Owl. And the others.

25 Mar 02 - 11:22 AM (#675935)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Sorcha

This just gets more and more wonderful........hold on to your hats, folks. (Thanks for sharing, Jackie)

25 Mar 02 - 12:59 PM (#675977)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

whoa Sorcha........take OFF your hat...AND your shoes..put your feet up and rest a spell. There's a few more thank-yous I need to do before I even BEGIN to try to explain "potato-peelers"lol. (It's been a looooong road.)

Just so anyone else reading this will know....Sorcha has VERY GOOD reasons to be chomping at the bit. I promise, cross my heart...I'll give plenty of warning when it's time to put your hat back on and go for a FUN ride.

I need to shut down for a few hours here, but before I do...McGrath...thanks for what you did up there about the lilacs. I mentioned them because that's what I was running off to do as soon as I finished typing that day...and I appreciated the advice on transplanting. They were an important part of my daily it's neat for me to see them be singled out here in this thread.

25 Mar 02 - 01:32 PM (#675989)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: jeffp

I think this thread is an illustration of the tremendous amount of synchrony in the world - if we will only allow it to happen for us. Loving the story.


25 Mar 02 - 01:34 PM (#675991)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You

Jackie...this has been a wonderful relief for all of the stress (job-related, lay-offs going on) that I have been through of late...thank you for being here.

25 Mar 02 - 04:20 PM (#676102)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: catspaw49

Jeffy and Guest.......Two just excellent comments, perhaps even a bit related, but all too true in each case.

We share so much as human beings in this world and yet what we most seem to want to emphasize are the differences. I don't know why that is. Perhaps it's because we are all taught the value of "having your own mind" or "thinking for yourself" or "not being a follower" or one of those things we all heard growing up. So we put high priority on "being an individual" or different from the masses in some way. If we'd sit back and take inventory we'd all realize that we are probably about 97% the same and often the things that do us the most good, give us the best feelings, allow us the most relaxation and relief, are the things that we share, the things where we are all alike..................

Sorry for the intrusion, but the two comments above from jeffp and Guest just smacked me upside the head with that thought and it's one I've had for years.


25 Mar 02 - 05:14 PM (#676144)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Musicman

ummmmm...... THANKS Jackie!!! (so far *bg*)

... and it wasn't because i heard you sing.... my car broke down!!! .. REALLY!!.. HONEST!!!!

hmmmm... no mention so far of the 'trapezee thingy' yet..... i'm sure that helped a bit somewhere..... :)


anybody know a good massuse??

(can i relax now???)

25 Mar 02 - 06:12 PM (#676166)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Amergin

Jackie, it could be that once he heard your voice he felt inadequate....BG

25 Mar 02 - 06:13 PM (#676167)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Helen

Night Owl,

If you re-read McGrath's "potted history" of the lilacs and think about the human spirit and how some people can get knocked down but they just keep on living and growing, then I think you might see some of your own story there, too. Especially the fact that even if the plant dies, then the flowers can carry on the regeneration, because they are so determined to live life to the full. (This is probably not the place to mention cockroaches, but I have a deep respect for their overwhelming determination to live - no matter how battered and bruised they are, they can still get up and walk away.)

Also I want to thank you for letting us into your private world. I remember that Music Therapy thread - I would often get the cold shivers from it, because it touched so many deep and fundamental spiritual parts of my life.

Depths and insights - that's what this thread is about. Adding dimension to a person I have never met but with whom I have had some very pleasant and worthwhile conversations.


26 Mar 02 - 05:40 PM (#676879)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

I wish I had the time right now to respond to each of these posts and pm's....amazing, nurturing !!! Thank you all and thank you Helen....dumb-dumb here missed the lilac "symbolism". We have a species of "tree" here called a Cape Cod Scrub Pine. They grow and flourish under incredibly adverse conditions near the ocean. I have often, in the last few years, gone to my favorite beach just to focus on them and breathe.

Paul..hold on to your shorts(bg)'s coming!!

With my skin crawling a bit here, thinking about cockroaches inheriting the earth....gonna go back to typing the next "installment" .

27 Mar 02 - 01:16 AM (#677162)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Lonesome EJ

This woman knows how to keep an audience on the hook.

COME ON, Nightowl. :>}

PS this had better be good.

27 Mar 02 - 01:45 AM (#677164)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

continuing on..........

While I was in Vancouver, talking with my daughter on the phone, I learned that she had most of my instruments with her.....but they were "charcoal", and that she had the burnt boxes of my records and they looked as though they had melted together. I had asked her whether or not anything from the "memorial wall" had survived and about a special picture I had hanging on the kitchen wall. I had learned by then, that when there was a loooong pause before she answered......the answer was "no". This time she simply said....."You don't understand Mom, there is NO wall there." I understood.

She also told me that she had taken pictures and made me PROMISE to go directly from the airport to her house, before going to see my house. After I had my "base" set up at the campground AND the portable player to keep the music ON....I studied the pictures.

The following day, myself and a good friend went to the house. We went out to breakfast first....and I gave her some specific information about how to best help me hold together.
She had those "tears of relief" in her eyes.....and told me that she had been so worried about me and felt inadequate...cause she simply didn't know how to help this time.
She had been with me through my brother's death and my partner's death, and knew full well that crises have a cumulative effect on a human being.

She had also let me borrow her "Walkman" tape player for my trip to Ontario/Vancouver. One of the things I explained to her was that if I put the Walkman earphones on when we went to the house, it was simply my way of taking a Valium and breathing.

My daughter's pictures helped LOTS in initially seeing the reality of the devastation.

When a fire dept. puts out a fire..they throw EVERYTHING still burning out the window. The pictures had given me a clue that burnt things were all over the yard.....but I just wasn't prepared for how HIGH the piles were.

One of the piles was about one story high.....outside the dining room windows.
The pile was black soot-mud.....and I could see the remnants of a few things. The charred leg of a chair, my refrigerator-which took a while to recognize because it was black, my desk chair, some insulation and interior wall framing, what was left of my computor.....and my keyboard etc.

My friend is an artist and thought that the keyboard was a neat "art object". All the keys had bubbled up individually....(and NO I didn't save it.)

We decided we had enough for the day (she decided I had enough)....and started to leave. I glanced back at the pile and spotted, near the bottom of the pile sticking out a bit, the corner of a record album.

We tried to pull it out, but the weight of the entire pile was on top of was getting dark out and starting to rain.....and I had to agree that we should leave and "chill" out at the campground.....and come back the following day.

heck of a time to take a break from back in a bit to continue

27 Mar 02 - 02:14 AM (#677172)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

We went back the following day with more help......and spent the morning GENTLY freeing the record.

The record was THE Sandy and Caroline Patton's record that I mentioned waaaaaay at the top of this and had been one of my most "treasured albums..

AND it was NOT broken!!! or cracked.

My daughter grew up listening to those songs...and we never tired of listening to "Meekins and Morkins".

When I was able to finally access the "Hear-Me" sessions we were doing (the OLD Pal-talk), a mudcatter in the chat room gave me detailed, specific advice on how to clean the soot and mud off the record.

It worked......the record plays....except for the first cut on the album has part of the cover cemented to it...and is a bit warped...BUT MEEKINS PLAYS!!!
I don't know if Sandy (Folk Legacy) still has the album for sale..BUT if so...any of you who enjoy FUN songs...should hear this one!

THANK YOU SANDY and CAROLINE!!! Finding THAT record under that huge pile of black devastation....was "Mudcat Magic" for me...and gave me back an important part of my history.

THANK YOU MUDCATTER...whoever you are......(cuz I don't remember)but I've been following your advice religiously.

Those album "remnants" my daughter brought to her house were NOT all burnt...(some have interesting curves now...) but it looks like I'll be able to retrieve about a third of my albums. The covers didn't fare so well but I'm not ABOUT to complain!!

27 Mar 02 - 04:21 AM (#677202)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

blithering on here.......

After finding Sandy and Caroline's album....we decided there might be more in the piles. Neighbors stopping by and offering help were hearing the story of the album at the bottom of the pile and were showing each other where I had found it. So, we embarked on an "Archaeological dig".

I didn't find any more music in that pile but I DID find a picture of my brother.
My brother was a person who, as an adult, did NOT like having his picture taken. I had a rare picture of him taken just before he went on his trip to Kentucky.

Two days digging into the pile, we found it. Not in a frame, not protected....clear and the middle of the pile. The ashes on it brushed off easily

For me, it was another small miracle, in the middle of the devastation....and I felt him.....with me.

Life took on a "normal" routine. I was back at work, going to the house on days off, going home" to the campground, cooking CREATIVE one-dish meals, and playing/hugging the borrowed autoharp to help me get to sleep.

I had already met with an Insurance Adjuster, (another nightmare in itself that lasted two years) and found out that we had to prove the losses. It didn't sound right to me...we had paid the insurance timely forever..never had a claim...AND like most...did NOT have enough coverage to cover the actual loss of the structure and its contents. I had a videotape of the inside of my home that would have shown the books, music burnt.

He waved a "settlement" check from the Insurance Co. in front of me, already written out, all I had to do was "sign here". I refused.....and two years later was glad I did. I fought for..and received...the maximum on the policy.

I did some double-checking legislatively and talked with attorneys, and found that he was right....I had to prove, somehow, the existence of things that no longer existed. I had put the video in a "safe" place....just not fireproof.

It probably doesn't sound like a "healthy" thing for me to do...but from where I sit now..looking back....I am SOOO glad we continued the "dig". It changed focus to fit the demands of the Ins. Co., but in the process, I found some more "treasures" ......seems like there was at least one surprise each day.

Another advantage of being at the campground was that I could go to the house and work,and come "home" without getting soot all over someone's carpet and I could bring back stuff I found to "clean off ".
I added another room to my campsite...called the "burn room"....and I kept the stuff I was finding a small clearing in the trees.
I also discovered that the smell of burn in the house was fine..because

EVERY time I lit a campfire at the campground, and pulled the lawnchair up near it...and sat down to relax with the autoharp and play for a bit, the wind would change direction and the smoke would go right up my nose before I could move.

27 Mar 02 - 06:23 AM (#677247)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

We had a dumpster in the yard, and into the dumpster went some painful things. I had been playing Paul's cd "Farewell" constantly.
If you have a copy, you understand why. The last tune on the cd is titled "Farewell" and as the hard things went into the dumpster..I played that loud as I could. It became a very healing ritual.....blowing the pain out of me each step of the way.

My home was located in a "village". My family, and a few other families here, have known and been helping each other for three generations. The village has been discovered by developers, so its character has changed.....but the "old" families are still here.
The bad news is that you can't burp here without someone saying "God Bless You" the next day. The good news in a village is that people know when you need help.

I'm not sure what I was thinking...but it was Oct., winter was coming, and I hadn't made any effort to find a place for the winter....was very comfortable in the campground.
The contractor who was helping me is from one of those families. He came to the campground to tell me that the apt. in his family's home was available.
A bit later, a couple other neighbors came to the campground to help me pack up and "move". The only furniture I had was two lawnchairs, the tent and tarps were easy to take gave new meaning to the word "move".

These people were awesome!! The neighbors had gotten together, cleaned up the apt. and filled it with stuff. They had put a bed in there..WITH sheets and a blanket, the refrigerator was FULL of food, the pantry was full of canned food. The stove hadn't worked for a few years but they had brought a two-burner hot plate..just incredible!

I think I would know, if someone had been "burned out" of their home, that they needed food, clothes, sheets, blankets, towels, a bed. But one of these women had ALSO added knick-knacks. Candle holders, flower vases (filled with flowers), figurines,....the stuff that makes a place a "home". Those small things were REALLY important, as was everything else they did.

Currently, we are pulling together most of those things they gave me, to begin setting up a home, and we'll be storing them in the basement of a local church, which will be listed with the Red Cross and the Fire Depts. here.

27 Mar 02 - 07:51 AM (#677272)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

Life went on in the apt.....I didn't "thrive" as well as I had at the campground.....and I started back-sliding. As grateful as I was to have a roof over my was just plain hard.

Paul helped "supervise" setting up my computor, continued to stay close....and helped me access "Mudcat Radio".

Mudcat Radio......

Max .......if you EVER get to read through ALL this blithering.....Mudcat Radio was a blessing in my life!!!

At a time when I was too emotionally and physically exhausted to go out, could barely hang onto my job....every week, for an hour or two...or however long we could convince Max to stay on the air....I forgot.....about the stuff I lost...about the blackness of my home....about how exhausted I was...and how sad my heart was.

THANK YOU MAX.....for doing the show for as long as you did.....exhausted or not...whether you thought there were only four or five of us listening or thirty of us.

THANK-YOU MUDCAT-RADIO CHAT ROOM MUDCATTERS.....for being so warm and welcoming in the radio chat room......AND thanks for the incredible humor in there!!!

27 Mar 02 - 08:42 AM (#677293)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: catspaw49

Jackie, reading these for me is so reminiscent of your Music Therapy threads that many of us enjoyed so much. They were a wonderful touchstone at one point for me and I find myself drawn here in the same way. I truly hope that you find the same healing in this as you did back then when you wrote of a different therapy, but still related.

I too miss the Radio Show and as much for the Chat Group of "the usual suspects" that swapped lies and jokes and information during Max's broadcast. On those nights I would feel it was a great show and chat if I got laughs out of you. For a variety of reasons, some related to your troubles but other reasons too, you (and one other regular) were my target audience. I bet you didn't know that did you?


27 Mar 02 - 08:50 AM (#677298)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

I was aware, from reading the threads and from pm's I had received from other Mudcatters, that I was not the only Mudcatter who was "homebound".

Mine was temporary.....for some of us it isn't.

What an incredible thing we bring the outside world in when we can't go out...for whatever reason. I was so thankful, as we all are, for Mudcats, the radio show...the music, the comraderie in the chatroom, the lightening quick humorous banter in the chatroom during the show... the dialogues between Bert, MaryMac and Max...and being able to watch guests sing and helped give me back my giggles

I had struggled for a while to find a way to say thank-you to Max.....and give him back a giggle........because this place had given me so much music and so many giggles when I REALLY needed them.
All I did was make a couple of phone calls......and send a pm to Bert...they did the rest.

and it's all archived.....Radio episode #32......April 26, 2000 Max's Birthday show.

The hardest part (not speaking for Bert)was keeping Max on the air until the "professional" belly-dancer arrived.

THANK-YOU BERT.......for going wayyyyy above and beyond the definition of a "good sport"!!!! You are awesome!!

THANK-YOU MARYMAC......for being a friend and a "partner-in-crime".

THANK-YOU AGAIN MAX...for your thirst for musical and cultural knowledge..AND taking the dancing lesson.

27 Mar 02 - 08:57 AM (#677301)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

no..I didn't know Spaw....but it worked!!!!

27 Mar 02 - 10:34 AM (#677382)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

This is the last post about the "dark" stuff that was happening in my life here. Sometimes, when things got REALLY, REALLY hard...going through the black stuff, trying to make "intelligent", focused decisions, getting sick often, fighting with the Ins. Co. on and on...I put music in my ear...and a picture in my brain I could call upon, to help me stand a bit straighter and breathe when I went out.

When I was in Vancouver, visiting Paul....we spent time at his Sailing Pavilion...."Jericho". Sailing and oceans are VERY familiar to me...

but NOT hanging off a tipped boat, over the water...with a TEENY, LOOONG sliver of wire being the ONLY thing keeping me from falling off the boat and into the water.

Paul is a "healer" the best sense of the word..a PATIENT teacher...and also has a way of bringing out the teenager in people he meets....and soooo I DID IT!!!
That "trapeezy thingy"!
And it was wonderful...
There's a picture of the boat on his website

and another picture etched in my brain.

taking a break for a while here...

27 Mar 02 - 12:37 PM (#677452)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: katlaughing

Rest well, darlin''s amazing to read it all right here! Thanks so much for sharing. I can't wait 'til we get to the GREEN LIGHT!**BG**

(This will be psot #92, maybe time to start a second thread? YOUR call, Night Owl.)


27 Mar 02 - 07:55 PM (#677730)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Rustic Rebel

There are no strangers here, only friends that haven't met.
Very nice to meet you, my friend, Night Owl.

27 Mar 02 - 09:55 PM (#677802)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: George Seto -

Wow! Night Owl, My little (compared to yours) loss is somthing I could never be as eloquent as you have been. Simply put, you have moved me to tears. I am glad you have been able to recover some small part of your life. I had least have the luxury of having the last 5 years of my life with me. Just all the 30 odd years of collecting before is gone. I cheated. I avoided going to see the results of the fire. I hadn't any insurance but I still have my memories.

27 Mar 02 - 10:55 PM (#677834)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Amergin

now i know where to point folk when they wonder if there is indeed magic in the world....

27 Mar 02 - 11:27 PM (#677851)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You

Alright. Someone has to ask. This reads like an episode of Little House On The Prairie. No one goes to the bathroom, women don't have their periods, and bathe...who bathes? Jackie, when you lived in the tent, did you just plain smell bad or were their "facilities"? Inquiring minds want to know.

28 Mar 02 - 01:29 AM (#677909)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: jeffesh

Wow! I just joined Mudcat 2 or 3 days ago and am overwhelmed at the feeling of community here. This thread and what I've read of the Music Therapy thread have had me wiping tears from my eyes while smiling. I'm so happy to have found this jewel in the gravel pit of the internet!

I've also been inspired to look for a volunteer opportunity where I can use my guitar in a hospice or similar situation; 'twould give me the chance to play for others instead of just here at home for the wife and cats.

And on top of it all, I've found an excellent larder from which I can feed my newly developed interest in folk music.

Thank you Night Owl and everyone else!

28 Mar 02 - 05:50 AM (#677970)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Banjer

Jeffesh, Welcome aboard! Yes, you have found a jewel here at the Mudcat as we all did. There is a great community here that you will find nowhere else.

Night Owl....Thanks for sharing with us, It makes me wonder how or even if I could ever deal with such a series of events in my life. You are a very strong person indeed and just knowing that you are a part of this community makes me proud to be here!

28 Mar 02 - 11:02 AM (#678169)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: George Seto -

Welcome Jeffesh.

28 Mar 02 - 11:16 AM (#678194)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Rick Fielding

Jeffesh, I've been here four years, and I feel exactly the same as you do. The sense of community just grabs you at times, and you just sit there open-mouthed. Thanks you so much for this Night Owl.



28 Mar 02 - 01:55 PM (#678332)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Night Owl

Just checking in ...running off to work. The Mudcat hugs in this thread continue to "boggle" my mind. THANK YOU.

My computor has started to complain about downloading...could someone do a "Blue Clicky Thingy" to a part two?? (Learning to do them is on my list.)

Before we turn the page... KNOW I'm not done saying thank-you!!! bg
Jeffish...welcome to the Mudcat Community.

Sinsull.....LOL!!!!! Both.....

28 Mar 02 - 02:13 PM (#678347)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: MMario

Part One

28 Mar 02 - 02:15 PM (#678352)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: MMario

whoops! reversed myself. This should be Part TWO

You don't know how tempted I was to title it " A Little Night-Owl Music"

16 Apr 02 - 06:14 PM (#691530)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: Alice

Thread added to Memorable Mudcat Threads, along with Why We Sing, Where is Spancil Hill, etc.

Thanks, Night Owl!!


16 Apr 02 - 09:38 PM (#691673)
Subject: RE: A Mudcatter's Thank You
From: katlaughing

Ah, good for you, Alice. I was just thinking it deserved such an honour! Thanks!