Tag Archives: Lee’s Summit

Boxing Day 2019

Boxing Day, where the masters of yore gave to the servants gifts (boxes) of money, or treasure, or (as seen in Downton Abbey) cloth to make make clothes.

I’m spending the day in Lee’s Summit, catching up with people from years ago, seeing my sister and family, and figuring out things to do with two very disinterested nephews.

Christmas Day feast included brisket supplied by me, mashed potatoes, baked beans and green beans, salad, and the usual assortment of sweet treats that hearken back to our childhood.  And Prosecco.

Christmas Day also included virtual attendance at Washington National Cathedral, thanks to the webcast of their Christmas Day Eucharist on YouTube.  I partook of everything whilst driving, except for the actual act of communion, of course.

The new car behaved admirably, although I must say that the gadgets and driver-helpers on the car some getting used to!

Now into the evening, and I’m at my hotel and ready for sleep.  Going to midnight service on Christmas Eve gets harder as one gets older. The drive today on I-70 was easy, but staying awake wasn’t.

A Christmas selfie:

At the zoo

Youngest nephew Joseph is quite the teenage zoologist.  My sister suggested I take him to the Kansas City Zoo at Swope Park on Wednesday last, so Joe and I waited out the rain and then spent two hours with sea lions and tigers and lorikeets and kangaroos and red pandas and Merino sheep and such.  And a good time was had by all.

 

Orangutan child.
Red panda.
Joe pets a stingray.

Kangaroos!
Laughing kookaburra
This one is just waiting for a lift from the train.
Lorikeets.

Remembering high school

Five years ago, I was inducted into the Lee’s Summit High School Hall of Fame.

As I near the unbelievable thought of a 40-year reunion of high school classmates later this year, I keep thinking of that visit back to LSHS in April 2014.

I was surrounded by love that evening.  My sisters and their spouses, my father and step-mother, treasured music teachers from my childhood, my high school guidance counselor, a few old friends.

Here’s the blog entry from five years ago: https://jeffreycarter.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/lshs-hall-of-fame/

35 years later….

#Reminiscences: first musical memories

With today’s blog entry, I’m starting a series of reminiscences, based on some prompts I’ve bene reading.


I grew up singing in church.  That much I know for certain.

My mother couldn’t carry a tune if she tried.  My father sang in key, but when notes got too high, he’d plop down an octave.  His singing range was limited.  His rhythm, however, was flawless, as befits someone who played drums growing up.

I remember going to the organ console after church services, and watching the organist.  This would have been at Calvary Baptist in Columbia, and then at Fifth Street Baptist in Hannibal.  At some point in Hannibal, I got to push the cancel button after the postlude was complete, and watch all those pistons return to their off position.

In Hannibal, my music teacher was a Mrs. Froman.  Music classes at Mark Twain Elementary were held in the homeroom classroom, rather than a separate music classroom.

We moved to Hannibal as I started first grade.  At some subsequent point, my parents gifted me with a Magnus chord organ.  I was probably in second grade.  I taught myself how to play “Long, long ago.” This was my first keyboard experience that I can remember.

Image result for magnus chord organ

But G-ma Blocher owned a massive old upright grand piano, and I probably banged on that at some point.

There was also most likely children’s choir at church, but I have no clear memory.

We moved to Lee’s Summit as I started the last quarter of fourth grade.  There I found

  • Mrs. Verna Boten (now Dr. Verna Brummett), the music teacher at Pleasant Lea Elementary School.  She had her own classroom!  And she noticed my musical ability right away.
  • Vance Riffie, who was not only the high school choral teacher, but also Minister of Music at First Baptist Church, who also led the 4th/5th/6th-grade children’s choir.  And I learned from him how to read music on the staff, and how pitches relate to one another.
  • And beginning a few months later in fifth grade, the initial ability to play a brass instrument, initially cornet, and then French horn.  Russ Berlin was the instrumental band director at Pleasant Lea.

These are my earliest musical memories.

Piano lessons came later, starting in 6th or 7th grade.

I grew up singing.  And I grew up staring at keyboard instruments until I was old enough to play them, and my parents had enough money to provide for lessons.

By the way, Mr. Riffie is long gone.  Dr. Brummett and Mr. Berlin are still around, and I see Russ occasionally at MMEA.  Both attended my Hall of Fame induction five years ago.


Quick visit

After Webster University Commencement, I flew (literally) across the state to see my family, gathered in one place for the first time since my father’s funeral seventeen months ago.

All three of Richard & Marie’s children were there, along with the five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.  The occasion was a celebration of Luke’s 18 years, and his graduation from high school.


Easter IV was celebrated at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (AKA Smokey Mary’s), where I sat by and sang with Leona Schaefer, with my long-time acquaintance Geoffrey Wilcken at the organ, and my colleague Tony Maglione leading the choir.  The liturgy was perfect!

With John and Leona Schaefer at coffee hour.


Writing, on the way home, with sunlight dappling the page through my south-facing window.

 

Byron Keith

I’m 57 years old.

And I still remember the names of teachers, from elementary school through college, who made a huge impression along the way.  I often bless them and their memory, knowing that their instruction, guidance, and example is part of what made me who I am today.

Mr. Keith was my elementary school principal after we moved to Lee’s Summit in 1971.  He was a good man.

Charles “Byron” Keith

Rest in peace, Mr. Keith.  You have earned your eternal reward.