Month: September 2008

I Don’t Mind if You Got Something Nice to Say About Me

I don’t mind if you got something nice to say about me…

but I’d rather leave a legacy.

Nicole Nordeman


I don’t mind if you got something nice to say about me

and I enjoy an accolade like the rest

you could take my picture and hang it in a gallery

with all the who’s-who and so-and-so’s

that used to be the best as such-and-such

It wouldn’t matter much

I won’t lie, it feels alright to see you name in lights

we all need an ‘atta boy’ or ‘atta girl’

in the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides

the temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy

How will they remember me

Did I choose to love?

Did I point to you enough

to make my mark on things

I want to leave an offering

a child of mercy and grace

who blessed your name unapologetically

and leave that kind of legacy

Don’t have to look to far or too long

to make a lengthy list of that I enjoy

its an accumlating trinket in treasure pile

with moth and rust, thieves and such

will soon enough destroy

Not well traveled, not well read

not well to do, or well bred

I just want to hear instead

“well done, good and faithful one”

(back to chorus)

No Silver Spoons to Eat With, Just the Lower Level of Middle America

My family is made up of my father, Robert, my mother, Agnes and my brothers James (Jim) and Robert (Bobby) and my sister Linda.

I am the youngest of the children and have always been treated accordingly. I was born into a family that was at best on the outside appeared moderately “traditional” in the way of the early 1960’s.

My Dad worked and my Mom raised the kids.

On the inside of the walls of our Walnut street home our family was “non-traditional” in the sense that in a very real way, not one of us as children ever really knew our father.

Not to say that we did not know who he was, or that we did not know what he looked like. We knew him in those ways, however, I believe I can speak for my brothers and sister…we have never known our father.

He was absent. Not necessarily always by his own choice, but by a career that he choose.

Maybe I should say it chose him. Either way, he wasn’t there.

We did not know him in the way that one can know another person. We did not know what he was like as a child or even what were his true dreams and desires were for his life.

For you see, our father was a truck driver. A true truck driver is a very unique breed. There are very few true truck drivers left anymore. They may be legally married to another person, however, ultimately, they are physically, emotionally and even spiritually married to the road. My father was someone who showed up on weekends. He never made it to the ball games or the plays. I have absolutely no recollection of him being at one of the activities I was a part of.

He would come in late on Friday and leave on Sunday afternoon. The short periods he would come home and then head out when the next load was ready to be delivered, influenced what we did learn about him. We did not know him. In turn, all too often these times at home were punctuated by the temper and frustration of a man that did not know his own family.  However, make no mistake in understanding my upbringing.  My father loved us…all of us.  His way of showing it was working hard and answering the bell every time work called.  I know of no other trait that he could have instilled in us that would have made us better adults than him passing on his work ethic to his children.

Our lives were no more, or no less scarred by our up bringing than any other family on our block. In spite of having a father that was on the road and never really home, we experienced the joys of life.

The thrill of growing up in innocence and the memories of Christmas mornings seen through my eyes as a child were magical.

We weren’t poor. I have seen poor in my life and that would not have best described us.

On the other hand, we were not rich either. No silver spoons to eat with, just the lower level of Middle America. We never owned the house that we lived in, yet my dad always had a good car in the driveway.

We did not get the latest and greatest new toy that some children got on our block, at least not when they were most popular. The clothes that we wore were clean and appropriate. My sister had it somewhat easier when it came to clothes. I would have to endure the chore of wearing hand me downs from my brother Bobby. I am sure he had to wear clothes from our oldest brother Jim.

We were not deprived from having “things” in our life. We were just were on the “wait until school starts” plan for new clothes and the Christmas and Birthday wish list for toys.

If I strain my memory, I can still remember the day when the package came in the mail from J. C. Penney that would be my new clothes for the school year.  I can still smell the new clothes I received for the first day of school and I remember that life was no better, than when I got a “transistor radio” for my birthday when I was seven.

Life was good…as fine as childhood memories go.

But then again, maybe it’s just me…

What Do You Miss or Regret Giving Up?

Maybe it’s me…

But I think that when you’re a little kid growing up, you’re a little bit of everything.

You start out life with a clean slate.

Then you begin to make your mark. You face decisions, make choices. You keep moving forward.

But sooner or later there comes a time where you look back over where you have been… and wonder who you really are.

You start out being an Artist, using the best paintbrush that God ever created…your fingers.

Then comes the Scientist in you, as everything you experience is new and all you want to do is to take things apart and try and figure out how things work.

The Musician in you is evident by discovering the sounds and rhythms of banging together the same parts you took apart during the scientist stage.

Next thing you do is become a Scholar… as you learn to write your name and count to ten.

And finally, the Athlete in you comes to the forefront. Playtime on the freshly mowed lawns of our backyards were proving grounds for who would be the fastest and who could jump the farthest and who would be toughest.

This cycle seems to repeat itself over and over, always learning and developing more of these abilities and interests until we find ourselves in the thick of adulthood.

As we pass from one stage to another, some of those interests and abilities stick with us and some disappear. A few of these abilities stay unused and dormant for years, only to be rediscovered at some later point in your life.

Many of these interests and abilities are simply discarded along the way. It seems like growing up is the process of giving those things up. One by one.

I guess we all have one thing we regret giving up. One thing we really miss. That thing we gave up because we were too lazy or, we couldn’t stick it out or, because we were afraid.

I am no different. I have one thing that I regret giving up. I have one thing I really miss.  It’s something I walked away from in my early teens…

What do you miss or regret giving up?

We need to take a look and see if we can rediscover the skills, abilities and interests that have been dormant in our lives or those things that we have given up over the years.

It is never too late.

But then again, maybe it’s just me…

In 7th grade, who you are…is what other 7th graders say you are.


I was twelve years old.

A lot happened that year.

(Click on links and enjoy)

The New York Yankees were purchased by a Cleveland businessman, George Steinbrenner for 10 Million (Really!).

A president started the year with the fanfare of the inauguration only to end the year stating, “I am not a crook!” …it was the beginning of the end for his presidency.

Roe vs. Wade overturns a States right to ban abortion.

The world’s first cell phone is used for first time.

Pink Floyd’s DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, one of rock’s landmark albums is released.

The World Trade Center (Twin Towers) opens in New York City.

George Foreman defeats Joe Frazier for the Heavyweight World Boxing Championship, and the Miami Dolphins win the Super Bowl after completing the NFL’s only perfect season.

The Partridge Family introduced us to David Cassidy and Danny Bonaduce and Flip Wilson entertained America with the last of a dying breed … the variety show.

We were shown the end of innocence on television, as the networks bombarded us with violent images of the Vietnam War as we sat at our dinner tables each night.

Archie Bunker introduced controversial topics and social issues each week on the show, All In the Family. These episodes usually ended up being a backhanded way of soapbox preaching of a liberal agenda. Shocking in its day, but by today’s standard it was mild.  Click Here to watch this clip made in 1973 and see if there is anything that sounds like the news we heard last night.

As for me, I was a new seventh grader at Rocky Ridge Jr. High and 1973 was going to be a significant year for me. This school year I was going to change. I wanted to impress everyone. I was no longer an elementary student. I had arrived…I was a seventh grader…bulletproof and 10 ft tall. There was going to be a “new” me and I was sure I could pull it off.   I was going to be part of the “In Crowd”…the “Cool Kids”. All I had to do is get off to the right start…

I spent the entire night before trying to pick out which clothes I was going to wear on that first day of school. Like many events in my life, I tried to imagine what it was going to be like. I had practiced my witty comebacks and cut downs that are typical of the Junior High language.

There are a lot of things about junior high life that might seem simple to an outsider, but they’re not. Take the 15 minutes before homeroom every morning. What you do with those fifteen minutes says pretty much everything there is to say about you as a human being. If you were cool, you had places to go, people to see…

And if you weren’t you’d start to wonder who you’ll sit by at lunch.

Regardless of where you went to school, a junior high school cafeteria is like a microcosm of the world. The goal is to protect yourself, and safety comes in numbers.

More specifically “groups”.

You have your cool kids, you have your smart kids, you have your athletes, and in those days, of course, you had your hoods. In our little school in Ohio, these groups were even more splintered by the fact of where you lived. I was a “town” kid and there were rules that you had to follow. For example, there were no less than five different subgroups to each these larger groups.

Let me explain…you had:
o Kids that lived in town (Oak Harbor)
o Kids that lived in Graytown
o Kids that lived in Rocky Ridge (Ridge Runners)
o Kids that lived along the Toussaint River (Toussangers)
o Kids that lived South of Oak Harbor

Kids from Graytown, generally accepted the Toussangers and the Ridge Runners, but did not get along with the in town kids. Toussangers did not get along with the Ridge Runners, but accepted the in towners. Ridge Runners did not get along with the in town kids. As for the kids from south of town…they were not accepted by any these groups.

So as a fact of my junior high school, who you are is defined more or less, by who you are sitting next to during lunch.

In short, my initial 15 minutes in my homeroom that morning did not go well and I found myself trying to find a place to sit in the lunchroom.

After what seemed as an eternity, I saw an empty seat. It was a seat next to kids I hung out with in elementary school. I had not made the earth shattering change that I thought I would pull off. It was then I decided that I was happy there…right where I was supposed to be.

In 7th grade, who you are… is what other 7th graders say you are.

The funny thing is it’s hard to remember the names of kids I spent so much time trying to impress.

But then again, maybe it’s just me…

The Death of a Legend…the Motown Sound

It has been a sad week for me.

I purposely did not post because I wanted to think about how I would honor the life of someone that had  been such a part of my childhood years.

So many times when we think of our childhood memories, we think of friends, family and the events that surrounded us.  It might have been playing football or baseball, swimming at the lake, going to Cedar Point, or just hanging out with your friends in the neighborhood.

For me, my childhood memories were filled with with sound.  When I hear these “sounds” today, I am instantly taken back in my mind to the 1960’s and 70’s.  When I hear these “sounds”, I can remember where I was at when I first heard it.  I can smell the freshly mowed grass of the yard all my friends and I played in. These special sounds…were the sounds of Motown Music.

In those days, long before FM Stereo, the only radio station that was of importance was CKLW. “The BIG 8” as it was called back then.  It was a loud, glitzy noise-making radio. Everything was shouted — even the news. The 50,000-watt AM radio giant spewed rock and roll and hyped-news across 28 states and mid-Canada.  It broadcast from across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario.  But it was Detroit’s station.  I will never forget the tag line that the DJ’s would say, “C-K-L-W, The Motor Cit-eeeee”.

The capital of the music world was not Nashville, nor was it Los Angeles … back then it was Detroit.

The style…the sound…the hits.

It was Motown… it was everywhere and it was ours.

On Tuesday, September 16, 2008 a legend died.  Norman Whitfield passed away.  For those of you who do not know who he is, he was the Godfather of the Motown sound.  He wrote many of the hits that came from the Motown sound.  Songs that everyone of us have heard at one time or another.  Songs that our grandchildren and their grandchildren will hear in the future.

So many times the singer gets the credit for the success of a song.  But I have always looked past the singer.  I read the liner notes, that fine print that most people never read in a CD or “record” as I like to say.  For me the importance/significance of a song is found in the writing. I look to see who wrote the song.  I try to relate to what the writer was feeling or what the message of the lyrics are saying to me.  I then look to see who the musicians are.  For they are the ones that carry that message.  The singer is just the vehicle in which that message is presented…the music is the body and the lyrics are the real heart and soul of a song.

It is even more magical when the music and lyrics are written by the same artist.  It is then, that we see the true soul of that writer. Norman Whitfield was that kind artist. He wrote the music and he wrote the lyrics.

The word legend is too easily used today.  It seems anyone who has had a hit song at one time or another is considered a legend.  Not for me.  I think we need to reserve the use of the term for those who really deserve the title. Norman Whitfield indeed deserves and has earned the title of “legend”.

In a larger sense, the legend of the “MOTOWN SOUND” of that era has died with him.  Indeed, a very sad week…

But then again, maybe it’s just me…

I have attached just a short list of songs he penned… I have posted a few links of my favorites.

Click on the links below and enjoy…the songs and the life of a true legend. He will be missed.

“I Heard it Through the Grape Vine”

I Wish it Would Rain”

“Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)”

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”

I just want to give up…

Maybe it’s just me…

But have you ever wanted to give up?

I mean really give up. I have…

I want to give up…

  • My Selfishness
  • My Lack of Trust
  • My Pride
  • My Lack of Faith
  • My Jealousy
  • My Lack of Compassion
  • My Anger
  • My Lack of Forgiveness
  • My Hate
  • My will in exchange for God’s plan

These are just a few things that I want to give up.

What would you give up if you could?  A bad habit or a lack of faith?  It really doesn’t matter what it is.

I believe that if it keeps us from doing the things we need to do, we need to give it up.

But then again, maybe it’s just me…

The Only Living Boy in New York

September 16, 2008

The song that is next on my list to be honored is”The Only Living Boy in New York“.  Click and Listen.

It is a song written by Paul Simon and performed by Simon and Garfunkel. It is the eighth track from the duo’s fifth and final studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Water.   An album that received six (6) Grammy’s.

This album is a “must have” in your collection.

Simon wrote this as a thinly-veiled message to Art Garfunkel, referring to a specific incident where Garfunkel went to Mexico  to act in the film Catch-22. Simon was left alone in New York writing songs for Bridge over Troubled Water, hence the lonely feelings of “The Only Living Boy In New York.” Simon refers to Garfunkel in the song as Tom, referring to their early days when they performed as Tom and Jerry.

This song was an indication of their breakup as a duo.  As soon as the album was released Paul Simon went on to great success as a solo artist and Art Garfunkel pursued acting.

I believe that this is one of their best songs and clearly one their most unknown.

The song also contains a few of my favorite lyrics of all time:

I get the news I need on the weather report.
I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.

I wish life was just that simple…

But then again, maybe it’s just me.

“When I Hear the Praises Start”

September 14, 2008

Today, my song for the day is “When I hear the Praises Start”  by Keith Green.

I selected this song because of the message that it conveys.  From the first time heard the song to this very day, it brings me to tears when I listen to it.

Another reason is that it reminds me of several people that I have known along the way.  Years ago, when I was working late at the school. I was locking the doors and heading out to my car.  When I heard a piano playing in the church.  All the lights were off in the church and I was  afraid to go in to see who or what might be playing the piano. 

As I crept accross the lobby in the dark, I very slowly opened the door to the sanctuary of the church.  A small lamp was burning above the piano, and I stopped to listen to the music that was being played.  I could see the shadow and the outline of someone at the piano. 

In the darkness of that little church I saw something I had never experienced before.  I saw a young man just singing and playing the piano for the sole reason to express his love and praise for the Lord.   I stood there, just listening to this young man sing with his heart.  He did not know I was there. There was no audience.  I listened for 10 or 15 minutes before I quietly exited the church. 

To this day, I have never told him about my intrusion into his time with the Lord.   I learned a lot from this experience…I learned that my relationship with the Lord IS personal.  I need to spend more time with Him in prayer.

Thanks, Paul Daniel Margraff- you taught me a valuable lesson.

Oh…and by the way…there was an audience… an “Audience of One”.

The Lord Jesus Christ.

Song of the Day September 13, 2008




For those who really know me, are aware of the fact that I have, hundreds of CD’s in my collection. 

I have 4,638 songs on my IPOD and that total will grow each and every week until it is full. 

So…while I do not consider myself as expert on music.  I do know a good song when I hear one.

So as a record of my love of music, I will post a song of the day as often as I can. 

You may, or may not, like the artist or the song.   You may not even like the style of music.

I like just about anything…however, I am a sucker for Motown and the Beatles

I encourage you to find the song on ITUNES and give a listen if you do not have it in your collection. BUY the music…don’t steal it. I would also challenge you to click on any links I leave.  I will link it to YouTube if there is one.

You will discover a lot of music that you may love forever.

Feel free to comment and share your approval or disgust.  I challenge you!!!

Either way… this is my post and I will share the music that I love. At times I will even share “why” it’s the song of the day.

What song is my first on my “SONG OF THE DAY” post?


A very special song…for me.

I think, without a doubt, would have my vote for the best POP song ever. 

But then again, maybe it’s just me.

Born a Butthead…Continued.

Maybe it’s just me…

But do you realize that the “legacy” you leave behind has already begun?

 In my last post, I shared about a fear of having friends and family say less than good things about us when we pass on.  I am sure nobody wants our tombstone to say:

Here lies _____________

“Born a Butthead…Lived a Butthead’s Life and Died a Butthead.” 

 Each and everyday we leave a lasting impression on the people we love…our spouse, our children and grandchildren, our friends and co-workers.  

We leave a legacy of:   

  • Love

  • Hate

  • Neglect 

  • Commitment

  • Pride

  • Attitude

  • Lack of Love

  • Work Ethic

  • Inconsistency

  • Judgemental Spirit

  • Mediocrity

  • Disobedience 

  • Jealousy

  • Anger 

We leave these traits, good or bad, in our home, church, school or college.  It is left at our workplace and within our circle of friends.  It is evident in the way we “win” or “lose” when we play a game.  It is seen on the golf course , the gym and the bowling alley.  What we do in public and what we do in the privacy of our homes is equally as important.  We are continually passing on our “legacy” each and every day.  It never stops until our time on earth is done. 

What will be your legacy?  What will you leave behind?  What footprints have you left for your children to follow?  What will your grandchildren know about you?

Despite of any failures and mistakes that we have had in our life, the challenge for all of us, is to commit to a legacy that is honorable for the rest of our lives.

I think it is one of the most important things you can do.

Your Legacy depends on it…

But then again, maybe it’s just me.