Tag Archive | Barton Coliseum

If (a picture paints a thousand words)

If a picture paints a thousand words, then my iPhoto should be the longest story ever written. When you have grandkids (and dogs) as photogenic as mine, photos beg to be taken.

Even before digital days, when my children were little and we were poor as church mice, I took many, many photos of their cuteness. I got my first camera at 7 and it’s something I just can’t help.

But let me break away from the picture talk to confess  that I do not like that song by Bread; that song by Bread is one I dread. I’ve never liked that song at all; it fit the story, that is all.

Forgive the Seussian rhyme, but I’m transitioning briefly into an embarrassing but funny story about a Bread concert my senior year of high school.

My friends knew I abhorred the band Bread. Yuck. They were so – white bread. Sissified. Pop rock.

I loved The Allman Brothers. Eric Clapton. Santana. Led Zeppelin. CSNY. Howling Wolf. OK, and James Taylor and Carole King – but Bread. Stinkaroony.

The only reason I went to the concert was because my boyfriend did a brief stint in a fraternity, members of which worked concerts at Barton Coliseum – in exchange for free admission. Including sucky concerts like Bread.

We had to get there early, and the girlfriends were promptly parked on blankets on the cement floor in front of the stage. The guys joined us after the show started.

I don’t remember who opened, but I think I remember wearing a bright plaid button-up shirt and Levi’s. Evidently, it was bright enough to stand out, and evidently David Thomas picked a girl at every show to hit with the spotlight and sing “If” to.

Yep, yours truly. The song started, the spotlight expanded, and there we were, David Gates and I, encircled in light as he crooned in that annoying falsetto to me.

Holy shit. Everybody can see me. Maybe no one will notice. Acck – it would be rude to look away, so, fine sing to me.

Then he gave me their set list. People cheered.

The next day at school many, many people yelled in the hall, “Hey, I saw you last night!” Try explaining that you really don’t even like the band when you were seen sitting in the front row.

I tore the set list up, something in retrospect that was probably dumb. Oh, well. I still don’t like Bread.

But I really started all this to talk about how I spent the weekend, which was doing something I haven’t done since high school – painting. Not walls; my friend Catherine Rodgers taught the two-day “Paint Like Rothko – Color, Complement, Shade, Tone and Tint Workshop” at the Arkansas Arts Center and I did it!

Super fun. I always intended to paint in my 50s. Cut it a bit close on the “in my 50s,” but more than 40 years since I last really painted anything other than walls, furniture, frames or ceramics – that I can remember anyway – I did a 30-inch by 40-inch oil on acrylic (vaguely) Rotho-esque piece.

photo 1

First we mixed colors and made color charts, which was invaluable and satisfying. Now if I can just make myself finish the gray scale …

photo 2

Listen to what the man said

I can’t speak for all baby boomers, but many, many of us grew up with parental and other authoritarian voices ordering “turn that music down! You’ll damage your hearing!”

We probably should have listened to what the man said.

I first noticed the chirping three or four months ago – only sometimes, only in very quiet times and not enough to interfere with my life (yet, and I hope it stays that way). I hope that it’s stress-induced and will go away altogether but also recognize that that’s dreaming.

Especially after reading Shouting Won’t Help: Why I – and 50 Million Other Americans – Can’t Hear You, a reported memoir by former journalist (the New York Times, the NYT Magazine, The New Yorker) Katherine BoutonShoutingWon'tHelp

I can’t remember where I heard about it, but the introductory excerpt on Amazon.com hooked me so hard I hit the pre-order button (adding in Joan Osborne’s Bring It On Home CD to qualify for free shipping – I can’t help myself). JoanOsborneThe The

The book was released Feb. 19 and both arrived few days later.

My initial reasoning was that in addition to being fascinating reading,  the book would help me understand my husband’s hearing loss and his reluctance to wear the hearing aid he wouldn’t even get until he turned 60. There’s no shame in it, I’d callously thought – he spent too much time around loud machinery without hearing protection in his younger years and tinnitus runs in his family, in each direction for generations. No big deal.

Bouton begs to differ and frankly writes about the anguish associated with years of trying to hide her hearing loss.

After finishing the book a few minutes ago on my noisy treadmill, the crickets are going to town in my quiet kitchen, and I realize the information will be helpful in more ways than I’d imagined.

It’s really a must-read for anyone who loves or spends time around someone with hearing loss or deafness – as well as anyone who has played fast and loose with her hearing. The facts and statistics may startle you in places, but it’s an upbeat, can’t-put-it-down book.

I knew my hearing was damaged from five years of teaching at Central High School. The halls are horribly loud, and the security guards’ whistles are (literally) deafening. One of my newspaper staff students did a science fair project on just that – he was a doctor’s son and brought a decibel meter to school. Exact details escape me years later, but the whistles definitely hit the permanent-damage-inducing level if blown directly into the meter.

Or into an ear, which happened to me once in the hall outside my room. A female security guard about my height stood directly behind me and blew her whistle full blast into my ear – I assume she thought I was a student. I couldn’t hear anything for a few minutes and couldn’t hear out of the receiving ear for hours. I could visualize my little inner-ear hairs flattening out in self-defense.

My ears, despite my predilection for loud music, have always been sensitive. Music can be painful, especially if I don’t like it. I loved Humble Pie in my teens – had two of their albums (and at least one on CD now) – but I walked out of their concert at Barton Coliseum because they were so loud my ears felt as if they were bleeding.

A year or two later I had a close encounter with a firecracker with a short fuse that went off in my hand next to my ear. Don’t ask.

After reading Bouton’s book, I find myself thinking about all the reckless listening I’ve done.

But I won’t stop playing music loudly. Just maybe not as loud.

When Pam and I were adolescents, we discussed just about every potentiality you can imagine. “If you had to go deaf or blind, which would you choose?” was one of them. I always chose to keep my hearing – hard choice, but I couldn’t imagine life without music or the voices of my (then unborn, of course) children and grandchildren.


Speaking of children and grandchildren, my baby girl is 33 today. Her baby girl is smitten with two maternity tops I made for her mother and delivered yesterday (not birthday presents – they were just way delayed by circumstances of late). Sylvie stroked them over and over jabbered on and on about them. Beyond cute.

Happy birthday, Liz. Love you.