Really can’t recall a time when Joy wasn’t wearing these.

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A small collection of Joy’s hearing aids.

I was cleaning out my car today when I realized I’d been carrying these around for TWO years. I had every intention of donating them to the hearing aid store. Called them after Joy passed, and they assured me they could use them to help folks who couldn’t afford aids. I was taking them to the store any day now.

My earliest recollections of my Mom’s hearing aids were of those big aids that attached to the frames of her glasses. Between the hearing aids and the thick earpiece of her eyeglasses, her ears stuck out at uncomfortable angles. She tried to style her hair so no one would notice.

The technology improved somewhat over the years making the aids smaller, but she always had the big unit that went over her ear.

I accompanied her on one of her last visits to the ear, nose and throat doctor. She was determined to discover if there was anything new to help her hearing. I was a speech and hearing major in college and she wanted me in on the discussion.

I observed Mom through the thick glass of the darkened audiologist’s booth struggle with the hearing and speech test. She couldn’t understand speech at all unless she was looking at the speaker. The women literally could not hear a ringing telephone (the old kind, remember?) next to her ear with her hearing aids out. It was one of the poorest hearing tests I’d ever witnessed.

Hearing Test
Hearing Test (Photo credit: Selbe B)

I’ve opened my palms and parted with most of her belongings. I even faced the task of spreading her ashes by our beloved mountain cabin. Joy really didn’t own much when she died.

But these darned hearing aids….why have I been holding on?

My guess is they remind me of how Joy had a knack of turning a negative into a positive. She simply plowed forward and looked on the bright side. I remember how we mercilessly teased her about her poor hearing and she would smile and playfully swat us. Her hearing loss forced us to talk loud and proud to be heard. The grand-kids had to work at being understood. She always laughed and talked a bit uncomfortably loud. As she aged, I remember how she determinedly struggled to replace the impossibly tiny little batteries in these hearing pieces.

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Don’t think I could change the small battery in this aid.

When the weather warmed too much, her sweat would ‘short them out’ and she’d take the aids out to allow her ear canals time to dry. She was forever proud of me when I sang, but I KNEW she never heard a note.

By my estimation, she wore these things every day for 50 years. Funny, I  don’t recall any complaining.

For today, the hearing aids are out of the car and tucked away securely at home. Who do I think I’m fooling? I’m not ready to give them away. They remind me of a lesson worth pondering. They’re mine.

Have a blessed weekend.



Candide: epilogue

I STILL don’t understand why cast and crew were excitedly whispering ‘toy, toy, toy’ and patting me on the back before the opening curtain. The mysteries of the Opera, I guess.

The remnants of Candide on my dressing table Monday morning.

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Thought you guys would get a giggle from seeing the crinkled list I carried in my bra during the show.

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My road map for Act I. Written instructions, front and back!

I had another equally descriptive list for Act II. Thought I was Mrs. Alzheimers for needing these reminders UNTIL I bumped into the experienced and talented Robert Orth (our Voltaire/Pangloss) backstage doing the exact same thing. He told me I was smart. Thanks, Bob!

The shows were wonderfully received and every person involved deserves the highest commendation. Bravi tutti or thanks all y’all. Each of the performances had its own small share of glitches. It’s LIVE theater for goodness’ sake. Hopefully, the soaring music and fun heart of the show will be what patrons remember.

My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I will forever remember my talented cast mates and the majestic closing strains of Make Our Garden Grow. Pure bliss.

Monday morning finds me tripping the footlights in a local retirement home.

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Our group, the STARS, singing at Plemons Court.

The joys of music are universal and ageless, aren’t they?

Scott wowing the crowd with a beautiful solo.
Scott wow-ing the crowd with a beautiful solo.

I’m grateful for this transition from Candide back to normal life.

If Candide taught me anything, it’s that we gain joy and happiness from our work. Happiness comes from tilling our own soil; from laboring in the garden of our own backyard.

Amarillo Opera's chorus master, George Biffle and chorus member moi, singing Ivory Palaces.
Amarillo Opera’s chorus master, George Biffle and chorus member moi, singing Ivory Palaces at the retirement home.

The vantage point from my garden looks mighty heavenly this morning.

Let’s keep tilling.

Verdant love to all.

Candide: a love letter

Dear Maestro Bernstein,

I’ve been thinking fondly of you lately. You see, I’m involved in a small way with Amarillo Opera’s production of Candide. Saying I’m involved implies I’m someone who recognizes the difference between a cantata and a frittata. I know zilch about Opera, and yet I’m certain our community (and I!) would be poorer without our local opera company. Because of them, I have joyfully grappled with your Candide.

English: Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My first introduction to you was in the early 1960’s. I was just a red-headed, freckled-faced tabula rasa when one evening my parents tuned into your Young People’s Concert televised on CBS. I vividly recall you describing the instruments in the story of Peter and the Wolf. The music transported this rather forlorn little girl to a delightfully wonderful and vivid landscape. I instantly understood your language.

In  1999, I traveled to Carnegie Hall in New York City with my daughter and we participated with a choral group singing your Chichester Psalms.

English: A post-concert photo of the main hall...
A post-concert photo of the main hall’s stage inside of Carnegie Hall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Didn’t know if I would ever learn that quirky piece of music! We took the tour of the Hall and even visited your dressing room backstage. Your music, once again, provided a forever-cherished experience in the grand setting of Carnegie Hall. Your presence was palpable.

Now, as a mid-lifer…..OK I admit, a late mid-lifer..I’m squarely facing Candide’s opening night tomorrow.


You would be proud of our efforts. The set is gorgeous. Costumes? Out of this world! The main characters? They are spot-on. Our symphony orchestra sounds heavenly. The local choral ensemble has worked tirelessly to bring Voltaire’s story to life. I’ve giggled and chortled at the dialogue and the lyrics. But when one removes all of these things, do you know what truly moves me? It’s your music, sir! From the fanciful beginning strains of the overture to the block-buster Garden finale, you weave a splendid tonal tapestry telling the adventures of Candide. The music is lush, witty and melodic and when stripped of all other accoutrements, tells its own unique tale. It’s your music stirring my soul and once again I understand your language.

Our production won’t be perfect. It will be perfectly wonderful. Because of you, the freckled-faced kid gets to come out and play. I’ll be brimming with gratitude as I gaze from stage tomorrow night. Thank you, Lenny!



Candide: sneak peek

howl (Photo credit: sillydog)

My morning began with this.

The Texan:  Kathy, wake up! Do you hear dogs barking?

Me: Go back to sleep. It’s only my feet.

Sore feet
Sore feet (Photo credit: dreadpiratejeff)

Seriously, the dogs are HOWLING. Owwwwww!

I wanted to give you Chickenwingers a first glimpse of some Candide loveliness.

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Brenda, moi and Kelsey trying our ‘basic look’ for the first time.

The costumes for this show are numerous and they are each stunning. The show will be extremely visually interesting.

The fancy outfits brought new enthusiasm and purpose to the cast.

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Gorgeous and talented members of the Candide ensemble.

The costumers of our Candide have worked literally countless hours assembling our ‘looks’. They are gracious, patient and extremely talented. I tip my pink satin pillbox hat to you ladies. We salute you!!

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Renee and Hugh.

The members of the ensemble have worked extremely hard. We have lots more to accomplish this week.

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David and Jessica.

The men of the ensemble help drive the plot and they appear in many of the scenes. Some of them have impossibly quick costume changes. I helped fasten many-a-button last evening.

We are getting closer, but there are still miles to go. Please think kind thoughts for my feet.

Hammer-toe love to all.

PS-Still need tickets? Go to Amarillo Opera or panhandletickets.com

Candide: countdown

Image from freedigitalphoto.net by digitalart.

Candide feels like a pile of colorful jigsaw puzzle pieces tumbling in my brain right now. Everything I need is there. Now it’s time to put the irregular shapes in order and create a stunning picture. Can I apply puzzle glue and keep the picture forever?

The sidebar on this blog reads 5 days to go. Wish it said 10.

Here is the article about Candide written by Chip Chandler in the Amarillo Globe News.


These folks inhabiting the main roles in Candide are stupendously talented. They’re nice, too. I’ve adored watching them practice their craft in rehearsals. There are lots of opportunities to learn something new, if one is willing.

Tonight…rehearsal…in costume….onstage at the Globe News Center.

Why, oh why did I over-indulge in all the Easter goodies?


Hope my skirt has a stretchy waistband.

I’ll be posting the excitement and anticipation this week. Stay tuned.

Spring-diet love to all.