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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In Which We Played Some Oldies for Some Oldies

I had my date playing at the Crown Plaza assisted living facility in the Arden area. I know we went over well, since no one threw anything at us.

This is a very nice facility, it was well lit, cheerful, and very clean. The rooms are built around a large two-story atrium where we played. The folks looked like they were very well cared for. From what I saw, I would recommend this place to anyone who needs that level of care.

I played clarinet to accompany Ralph, an 87 year old retired dentist, church organist, and occasional clarinet player who lives in his own place in my area. I wore black slacks, a white shirt and a thin tie from the early 1960s (thanks to my dad for not throwing that tie away). I could have been mistaken for the skinny Schmenge brother who became an accountant instead of joining the band. We looked something like this, just dump the accordion, and add a piano.

I suspect Ralph is older than most of the residents I saw, and he and his wife are still going like gangbusters. Ralph played the well- tuned grand piano that lives in the atrium, and I played clarinet. The atrium had a stone tile floor, so the reverberation was awesome. I love playing clarinet in a big echoing room.

I couldn't see most of the people who were listening, since they stayed in an open upstairs lobby where the big bingo game had just ended. The only people I could see were about 10 people in wheelchairs who probably didn't want to play bingo that day. One of the men didn't look a lot older than me, and another guy looked a little like an older Benny Goodman. Both a little scary to see.

It was like being in the Lawrence Welk Show. Our program varied from old Cole Porter show tunes,to pop tunes like "Stand by Me" to the "Clarinet Polka",which I didn't completely choke on. We started the program with a duet of the Ellington classic "Don't Get Around Much Anymore". I was worried that choice might seem a bit cruel for people in a home, but they just seemed happy to hear old familiar tunes.

We played for about ninety minutes. We enjoyed playing together, and a few of the residents said they enjoyed hearing us. A lady in a wheelchair even flirted at me! A Groupie!

It just doesn't get better than that.

That' s my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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