Tag Archives: Johnny Cash

Teach Your Children

well, that was the song my tone deaf band sang at age 12, at a concert. Whenever I rose up to do harmony they came up with me. That was my only concert, even though in a huge school we did place second.

It’s after nine a.m. and the dog doesn’t know where to go so I’m thinking of taking her out, again. She loves sleeping on the bed but wants me now as well and I’ve been up for hours. My husband works on the other coast and is looking forward to a long weekend with us. Shhhh, sleep, dear.

I’d like to think the songs of Bob Dylan, CSNY, PPM, Joan Baez and others have made a different life for parents and children. I was too scared of Dylan at age 12 and I’ve only about 12 chords, never enough for Joan Baez even though I sing her music all the time. Dave Mason, I took up guitar again at age fifty and cannot play Joan Baez, I’m a beginner. One of the best musical virtual friends (now deceased) I have is Johnny Cash. I made fun of country/western music as a kid at age 12, just to be cool. A fool, I was.

Johnny Cash is one heck of a teacher even after he’s gone. When I was in private lessons I’d download free lyrics then unpack my mind and new guitar and make up chords to go with it. No primers, no music, or chords. I’d just hear in my mind, and do it.

It was time to quit private lessons as my teacher was rude to me, treating me like a kid, and when we sang a song together and he followed me to harmony he became angry, denigrating me by saying I had perfect pitch. It was American Pie and I did a riff at the end that he liked, practiced all week. He was impressed then did a turnaround.

I told him I never thought of it but Dad and all my music teachers said so. I think he had such talent on instruments that he taught his kids well, I had perfect pitch but nothing like his playing ability so as Dave Mason would say, we agreed to disagree. Dee



I cannot sleep. My husband and dog are snoring and dreaming the night away and I’ll bet dog Zoe has my pillows by now.

Family is so important. It is good to have mine together for a few days. Poems, prayers and promises is what it’s all about.

I’ve recently seen documentaries about the great Glen Campbell, and the late great John Denver and Johnny Cash. I grew up with these songs, from the north, and didn’t appreciate them until later years. Johnny Cash, Peter Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan taught me basic guitar.

I wake with a song in my mind every morning that I sing to myself while I prepare to take Zoe outside. This morning as I prepared for my husband’s return it was PPM’s “Stewball” was a racehorse, I wish that he were mine…..

My mother, dead seven years now, said I always liked dirges, which is why I loved folk music and rock that evoked it (Dave Mason) and lyrics. My challenge with the guitar these days is keeping it hydrated. Then I like to find lyrics and work my way through a song without musical notations.

Joan Baez, I love you but your chords are outside my repertoire and I haven’t taken private lessons for years. All I wanted to do is sing for my family and even Beatles Rock Band is in storage along with my keyboard.

Wake up and sing! Sometimes my husband sings something silly and it stays in my head for days. Invasive! I know. Welcome the sleeping man and dog in my bedroom. It’s always great to have family together. Cheers! Dee

Neil Young

I’m listening to him now. It’s just a dream is the tune and I must get back to it before This Old Guitar with Joni Mitchell.

When your spouse wants a gift you should know it. I would have had tickets to a concert last week if one beloved artist was in town at the same time as my husband was in town. He should know I am this old guitar. Neil Young played it with Joni Mitchell on Hank Williams’ old guitar. Oh, my. I may swoon with such talent.

What a history old rock has with country and folk. I learned to play guitar with mainly Johnny Cash, PPM and CSNY. Lyrics only except at lessons for a few months. I’ve always wanted to make things more difficult for myself by choosing my own chords and only having the lyrics but have made it easier via the country model of A,C, G and E. Of course I know B7 and some minor chords but the F’s and others are troublesome because I’ve small, stubby fingers and can’t reach across and hold all the strings down.

I do have a lot of sheet music, some from my Dad. Notebooks of lyrics and everything is now taped up in boxes, in storage. My keyboard is in storage. I do keep my new, smaller artisan folk guitar here to hydrate it every week.

The goal with my music is to be able to share at home with family. I never made a career of it. No, I don’t want to shred on a Strat except on Rock Band. Writing and music help make the long stretches of time my husband is away on business livable. Singing Leaving on a Jet Plane and doing my own harmony is how I get through long car trips to get to see family.

His gifts to me are my guitar and keyboard. I guess you could say that over eleven years ago he got me a dog but I worked that off in the first year with research and her surgeries. Oh, last week he got me a fish turner (I call it a Flipper and try to sing the song from the old tv show but don’t recall lyrics).

The fish flipper is an incredibly useful tool but I’ve never had one and it can be used for steaks or burgers….. He found me the only one on Amazon that’s left-handed! A friend’s spouse asked for a gift. I gave ideas. My husband and I do not give gifts on regular holidays, birthdays or anniversaries. We think of little things like learning to make real Texas Chili as a gift. It just doesn’t have a box or a ribbon.

Neil Young, thanks for being a rebel. As one of your CSNY cohorts would say, “Be Yourself.” And you always have been. Thank you for that. Hearing your voice today was a gift to me. Dee

New Things

When I was 12 years old we moved to a very different place. We usually had only the networks and PBS for television (I liked PBS when it began showing Julia Child). OK, also Sesame Street to keep my young brother occupied for a bit.

As to music I’d always bought transistor radios and only had a few channels so it was mostly top 40. Then I met other kids who listened to Dave Mason. I tried out a lot of bands and began with Elton John, lots of famous balladeers including Joan Baez. Dylan, but was missing several components, but in gym class got to play the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens. I created a stretch class for that, no teacher, I was in 10th grade.

Our family was back north (luckily I didn’t have to shoot BB guns in gym class anymore) a year later. I was into Beatles, Bad Co. and a lot of other music.

One thing I missed was country. I thought it simple and somewhat backward but I was wrong. It is true music, granted I can probably transpose many songs into the traditional cowboy chords. Who spoke to me? Johnny Cash, CSNY (not country, but worth mentioning as well as Peter, Paul and Mary). Joan Baez, always, though her chords are too difficult for this neophyte.

At the time we laughed at Glen Campbell while singing his songs, as he is a legend in many ways. This year at the Oscars they sang a song he wrote to his family about having Alzheimers. He has done wonderful work and I love the simplicity of country songs and the lyrics these “cowboys” put to music.

Perhaps I mis-speak but I am not a fan of “entertainers” taking the stage and yelling undecipherable lewd lyrics into a microphone. I grew up with Mozart, Bach, Beethoven. I believe that folk, country and pop have a place and not just on the oldies channel.

Speaking of which, I do not yet have or use Pandora. I do not listen to music in the car as I usually only drive a couple miles per day. My guitar teacher was so pleased that I actually wanted to learn a song that came from this decade, Hey There Delilah. We parted ways and moved before that ever happened.

It just shows that anyone, musician, dancer or otherwise should always keep up with the times but also remember classical training. That is first. For cooks as well. Learn the groundwork and riff away. Cheers! Dee

American Pie

Yes, I have the lyrics on my music stand and made up the chords as a beginner guitarist to suit me and even did a riff at the end for my guitar teacher a few years ago. I know, you want me to say before the music died.

It lives and I awaken every day with a song in my heart, whether it be from The Sound of Music, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Juni Fisher or Bob Dylan.

I’m writing about ham, and cheese, perhaps even a quiche, as that is an American Pie. No top crust on that, sadly. Pot pie is an invention made to disguise leftovers. Apple pie is a classic but I prefer strawberry/rhubarb. No, I don’t bake as that was left to my mother and sisters so I did main courses and veg on Thanksgiving.

So what is American Pie? I’d like it to be a melting pot of many of our cultures but today, politicians say the folks who came in and looked like them are “in” and everyone else is out. That doesn’t sit right with me.

I always thought I was a good Catholic girl growing up with strict rules around the house and many chores on weekends. As I recall now I was a scrapper from the start, smart and always fighting for the little ones. No fisticuffs, only words. I like to think that spirit is a piece of American Pie. I didn’t fit in and neither did they, but I was three years older so put the bullies in their place.

Perhaps it started when a family of boys on our small school bus stole my hat and ripped it in half. It was cold out and I had to walk 1/4 mile home from said bus without it. I was crying entering the classroom and the teacher sent me to the principal. He knew the family and showed me photos of the boys so I could identify them. I was terrified as I knew there were eight of them and they would retaliate but my dairy friends, two families with ten kids between them stuck up for me the next day and not a word was said thereafter.

My aunts kept a dictionary atop the toilet in their guest powder room. We were expected to open it, learn a word and define it before we rejoined them. Of course we only touched the dictionary with clean and dry hands.

Never underestimate the power of language. I miss those protectors too and we’ve been in touch since, but that was a long, long time ago. Dee


I got a $100 nylon string guitar for Christmas at age 11. Dad taught me A, C, D, E, G. I had quit five years of violin but was still taking piano lessons that would stop soon due to a bad teacher.

Then I got a band and we actually performed. My two girlfriends were clueless and tone deaf and when I tried to sing harmony they followed me. Disaster.

Apologies are due to CSNY for Teach Your Children, PPM for Day is Done, and the Kingston Trio for their version of the folk classic, 500 Miles.

Now I have a Seagull Artist Mosaic Folk acoustic guitar that I hydrate and do not play. I think I’m afraid of hurting those above and others. At first in private lessons I overreached, learning B7 the first week. I was learning twinkle, twinkle little star at the time. Yes, and I now use slinky strings made by Ernie Ball. Sadly he’s gone but his son was my neighbor. No, I did not get the strings for free.

I created a music library and learned about Johnny Cash, more Dylan. I sing and just come up with the chords. Often I just download lyrics and make it up. There is no artistry to it, just what was musically given (like golf, my father hates that I have perfect pitch but knows he brought the game) and the desire to create, not perform yet.

The lyrics challenge is like a food challenge. I used to have a mystery box arrive at my door every week and figure out what to cook with anything that was in it. That was a challenge, especially in winter in the Rockies.

So it’s bye bye Miss American Pie, took the Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry….

I prefer This Land Is Your Land….this land was made for you and me. Dee


Whether you hear it from Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan, we all have to serve someone. Whether it be the Lord or our families, we all have to do it.

The people who don’t do it are on the bottom or the top, neither think they’re responsible for anything or anyone. It is those of us in the middle who have to make up for everyone else’s failings.

We serve our companies, our bosses, our mortgage banks or landlords, electric and gas companies and more.

If we’re good we serve our spouses and children and help them thrive. We go to those games or attend spelling bees, just to make our kids happy and let them know we care.

Some of us go so far as to do regular volunteer work. Thank goodness for volunteers! I’m a volunteer trainer (a volunteer, volunteer trainer) who has done much good over the years but not lately and that hurts my heart and soul.

I’ve worked for non-profits in the bad neighborhoods and on birthdays the staffs all got together. The menfolk brought in fresh fried catfish, oysters, fries et al but the white girl never knew the secret location of this catfish stand. She never quite made “sistah.”

But I served and did what I needed to do in the community. Now my husband talks about “servant leadership” and of course we’re both in the same boat and our oars are rowing together but in different venues which is good ten years into a marriage.

I don’t recommend required government service (not a draft) at age 18. From what I’ve seen of AmeriCorps it does not make good use of the “volunteers” or of the organization used to care for them.

Instead, I’d start young. Scouts, especially when they’re out from under this cloud, sports, FFA for rural kids. If your parents won’t let you work summers after you’re 14, start now and get volunteering under your belt for college resumes and make it something you’ll love and stick with for life.

Giving back is one thing some people do instinctively. The top and bottom do not necessarily do so. OK, save Gates/Buffett major world change doings. Right now the only thing I can give is my time and perhaps a few dollars to a charitable organization of my choice.

At age 12, I got a cheap guitar (nylon strings) and started a band. We played in public at our school, three songs. CSNY’s Teach Your Children was in the mix.

So, let’s teach our children, walk that 500 miles, and serve someone. Years ago I was brought to a seer who said I was a teacher. Things are going bad in Washington with the sequester and we’re all going to get together or go separately. Serve someone. Dee

Whitney Houston

I saw a few snippets from her funeral today. She had a gift, a voice. While she had many incredible feats in her life, her problems defeated her in the end.

Was that really the guy doing her movie to come out later this year eulogizing her to gain movie ticket sales? Did her family do this to make more money?

I applaud her family for choosing her home church, instead of an arena, for the service, but it was a circus nonetheless, with her ex-husband storming out in protest (saw that on CNN, later).

Whitney Houston is a cautionary tale, like her friend Michael Jackson. All of this “they believe” nonsense is just that. I do believe in God. If He takes talented druggies young for His own purposes, so be it.

Perhaps the conductor, St. Peter, needs vocalists for the choir that will welcome us when that day comes. When my day comes I’d like to hear the music of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven; the voices of Marilyn Horne, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Beverly Sills, Mary Travers and many others including Mahalia Jackson, Etta James, Nat King Cole. So many others.

If Ms. Houston was chosen, she’s got a good chance at the tryouts. Here’s to the diva, Dee

Johnny Cash

I was always either ahead of or behind the times as it came to music but I never “got” Johnny Cash until I took up a guitar until later in life.

Learning chords, trying to keep the rhythm by myself and sing and remember the words… a great hurdle.  When one or two would come together I’d realize what a gift he had, and why frustrated guitar teachers want to teach older beginning students Johnny Cash.  So after I fed the mockingbird, let Puff out of his cave and dealt with CSNY  I went to Folsom Prison.

That may have been too much because I’ve taken a year off guitar and lessons. When I was a kid I knew nothing of that man in black.  It took years to respect his work and now I do so more than ever.

I’ll sing with you anytime, but my vocal and other  instrument talents are neglected but may improve and perhaps return with practice  Cheers, Dee