Look for those who help

Sometimes the news is hard to watch. Terroist bombings, mass shootings and natural diasters deserve the coverage, but that doesn’t mean we have to focus on the horrifying or the shocking.

Like others, I watched the damage caused by a pressure cooker bomb killed and maimed runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon few years ago. I remember watching Mr. Rodgers from PBS’ Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood. The reporeter asked how he would help a child cope with such news. He said he would tell them not to look at the carnage. Look for the people who are running in to help.

As a culture, we gnerally rally to help those in need. If look for it, you can find people and organizations who immediately act whenever there is a need. People from around the country have hooked their boats to there trucks and headed to Houston to help,

The advice was meant for children, but it should work just as well for all ages.


An old dog learning new tricks.

Most people who learn how to play an instrument do so when they are young. Instead of doing it at the beginning of my life, I’ve decided to take lessons at the age of 58. What I’ve found most interesting is the reaction I get from friends when I tell them I’m trying to learn how to play the piano.

Some just look at me funny. Others are very supportive. Very few are neutral about my latest attempt at learning something new. I simply tell the doubters that I find it refreshing to tilt at a windmill every now and then.

My grandfather is one of my inspirations. He started taking electric organ lessons in his late 50s, early 60s. His goal was to be able to play Alley Cat, one of his favorite songs. I remember watching him playing it with a big smile on his face. Just thinking back to those private times of sitting next to him while he played puts a similar grin on my face.

One of my sisters didn’t learn to play a guitar until she was in  her 40s. She now plays every week with other musics just for fun. They get together and enjoy the time they have together.

My goals are simple. I don’t plan to perform in recitals or in public.  I just want to be able to play a few Christmas songs by next December. Nothing fancy. Ode to Joy, Jingle Bells and the like will do. Being able to play Happy Birthday for my wife come September would be nice.

So to those who think you can’t teach an old dog a new trick, I say: “Ha!” This old  man plans to make a point to learn something new every day.