Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Challenge

I’m not sure how to start this blog post other than to say…. I’m trying to start writing again, both in the blog as well as music.  February seems to be the month that groups do challenges.  In the past I’ve done the Family History Writing challenge as most of you know from reading my posts, and just recently I became acquainted with a challenge to write 14 songs in 28 days.  My problem with these challenges is that I tend to produce with inspiration versus perspiration and have an underlying belief that anything produced other than through inspiration is somehow “less than” good.  That’s not to say I haven’t perspired (or worked long & hard) on something because I have, it’s just I need the initial idea to come from a place of inspiration rather than writing for writing sake.

 So having said all of that I will move off the subject and leave it only to say I’ve recently been challenged by an anniversary of sorts. 20 years ago, this year (2017), Simple Truth produced its first album “The Truth.” Another scary fact is that I’ve been playing guitar and writing music for close to 42 years!   Ahhh, here is the inspiration and spur I needed to get “back in the saddle.”  Tell me, where has the time gone?  Shortly after the album’s release an idea was raised about writing a companion devotional, which was started back during the days when I was hand writing things, and did not have a computer (that’s how long ago it was,) but never finished. Some of the handwritten notes were put on computer and saved to a floppy disk, which thankfully I’ve discovered.

Why am I telling you this? Because I’m challenging myself over the next few months, yea, even the year, to write the devotional and new songs, but I need some help.  First I would ask for prayer for perseverance and Godly wisdom to complete this task.  Secondly, for those of you familiar with our music, I would love to hear your insight concerning how the songs speak or have spoken to you.  If you aren’t familiar I’d encourage you to check out Simple Truth’s website or Facebook page (Simple Truth Music) to hear excerpts from our 3 albums.   Over the years many people have told me stories about how one of the songs touched them or how they’ve heard their small children singing our melodies; I love those stories and would love to hear any you may have.  It is those stories that will inspire and assist me in writing the devotional.

Just one further FYI - If you wonder where I’ve been since July of 2015, I have still been writing, only I’ve been, teaching, writing and developing PowerPoint’s at work.  As is evident from my disappearance things began to “ramp up” around July of 2015 and just recently slowed down.  Please don’t forget to comment here or message me with any and all stories about how the music has touched you. Thanks ahead of time!  Hope to write soon again!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I have often heard it said, “go big or go home,” but I’m working on reducing the size of my equipment.  This post is being written on a 7” bluetooth keyboard connected to my Kindle. I am amazed at technology these days and often wonder what my father would think of having a phone in his pocket? It is taking me a bit to get used to the the touch and spacing of the keys, needless to say I am becoming best friends with the backspace button.

I began watching a show last night on Nikola Tesla, the inventor of AC electricity amongst many other things. I watched half of the show, which was enough to fill my head before bed. Tesla worked with Westinghouse and built a powerplant at Niagara Falls; if it hadn’t been for a devastating fire at his lab, Tesla would have beat Marconi in making the first wireless radio. Tesla’s work was overshadowed by Edison, even though he was as instrumental in the progress of electrifying America as Edison was. I lost a little respect for Edison when I learned he had used some negative, misleading propaganda to discredit Tesla's alternating current. Unfortunately, somethings in the world never change, mudslinging being one of them.

So why share all this? I have a new keyboard that doesn’t have wires and a Kindle that talks to the internet without wires.  I have alternating current that lights my house, charges my devices and keeps my food cold without ice. I just talked to my mom on a cell phone, and all of these wonders have one man in common, Nikola Tesla. Although he had many, many patents and many high society friends, he died penniless and a bachelor. His birthday was earlier this month, and I for one  am thankful for his birth. Here is a man who dreamed big about the smallest particles of energy and invisible radio waves.

If you are reading this blog, then you will know that my grand experiment worked and I was able  post this blog from my Kindle. So the next time you plug in the coffee or turn on a light, take a moment to be thankful for Nikola Tesla. Now I will return to my ice coffee, and fan (for it is very warm in Maine tonight.)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Mindless living

I have had a few thoughts about blog posts for the past couple of weeks and decided I would try to weave them together. The first thought came at a conference I went to in which there were two prominent political figures (who will remain nameless) giving speeches. During the first speech the speaker made the comment “…wind beneath our sails” and during the second the speaker referred to “paddling up hill.” I was taken off guard by the first, and thoroghly astonished at the second; educated individuals in public office making such mistakes. Now you might say “cut them a break, they’re very busy people,” but I would counter with “shouldn’t people in leadership be a bit more careful when speaking in public?”

The second thought came as I was reading a published document today (can’t remember exactly what since I read so much,) and found a grammatical error.  It’s a very common error, the mixing up of “there” and “their” but those are two very different words and should not be confused as frequently as they are, especally in a published article. The last thought (and straw) came while speaking with a collegue. We were discussing, better yet, lamenting about staff behavior at while on shift. Long story short, we ended our conversation on the topic of respect and manners and the lack thereof.

I’m going to try and be brief in my summary. Regarding respect and manners I initially thought I was just getting old, but I have since changed that view. I fear that a large part of our society today is simply living mindlessly. We have become complacent as we are inundated with information by the barrage of talking heads and never ending social media. We are failing to pay attention to the details of the spoken and written word. Respect is paid to others when we spell correctly, when we listen to what we say and correctly use idioms. If what you have to say is important, isn’t it imperative you say it correctly? Have we become a society where we no longer care what others think of us when we talk or write?

I have one of those brains (as do most people) that can read jumbled words with “3’s” in place of “E’s’ but that is not the point of this post. The point is… if you respect yourself and truly respect others, you will make a point of carefully weighing your words whether written or spoken.  Just for fun, I have purposely made three spelling errors; please leave a comment letting me know if you found them.  This is my opinion…. You know the rest.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's day!

I have always been fascinated with the amount of combinations it took to make me.  In honor of Mother's day I wanted to share just a few of those combinations.  Unfortunately I am missing a photo here and there on my father's side, however I know I have at least one photo somewhere of my father's grandmother, Margaret, but that will have to wait for another time.

Happy Mother's day to all, I now present part of my family tree!

Don & Marie (Scott) Eldridge

Maternal Grandparents
Cecil & Edna (Mason) Scott

Paternal Grandparents
Harold & Ruth (L'Hommedieu) Eldridge

Maternal Great grandparents
Frank & Marie (Vlasac) Mason

Maternal Great grandmother
Nellie (Prime) Scott

Maternal Great, great grandmother
Julia (Theriault) Scott
Maternal Great, great grandparents
Anton & Anna Vlasac
Maternal Great, great grandmother
Julia Mason

Thursday, April 23, 2015

When “Best” is not enough

Today I celebrate the birth of my best friend. We have known each other for over 30 years and have lived a lot of life during that time.  I titled this “when best is not enough” because in all honesty, “Best Friend” is inadequate to describe how much I appreciate and have come to rely on this person in my life. When I “Googled” the definition of best friend I read some very interesting definitions; all of which are true of our relationship, but still not adequate to describe how awesome she is.  The only definition which came close was a person who you value above other friends in your life, someone you have fun with, someone you trust and someone in whom you confide.” (

In the past 30+ years, we have: camped in the rain, and driven on dirt roads that we probably shouldn't have. We have been to three countries, two continents, seen two oceans and visited numerous states. Experienced some of the nastiest bathrooms along the way; at one point she started a collection of photos of me coming out of port-a-potties and wooded spots we had stopped at for rest areas! Over the years I have likened our friendship to the Disney characters, Buzz and Woody. Can you guess who is who? Let me give you a hint, she is down to earth and has often saved me from flying off to infinity and beyond. (Watch Toy Story if you don’t understand.) There are so many more stories to be told and many more to be lived, since we are both of tender, young years! But let’s suffice it to say, no one could ask for a better traveling companion through the adventure called life. 

One of the saddest things I read in researching what the definition of “Best Friend” came from an article on Wikipedia.  According to a study documented in the June 2006 issue of the American Sociological Review, Americans are thought to be suffering a loss in the quality and quantity of close friendships since at least 1985. The study states that one quarter of all Americans have no close confidants, and that the average total number of confidants per person has dropped from four to two.”

I am indeed saddened to think there are people out there who do not have the excellent support system I have. In addition to my biological family, I have through the years developed friendships that exceed the above mentioned average; with this one bestie at the center. One person referred to a best friend as “precious and rare.”  I wholeheartedly agree, and to have a true best friend is something to be valued above all else. I’m not certain what I would do without her. With the statistics saying 1 in 4 people don’t have what I have, the statistics showing a rise in Mental Illness makes more sense. We all need people in our lives that we can turn to and I pray that all would have at least one, if not more.

In closing, I just want to wish my best friend a very happy birthday!  I am happy you were born and continue to be my friend; “best” just isn't enough to describe you. Now, go eat cake!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Analog versus Digital

A number of years ago I read an article in Smithsonian Magazine about the difference between Analog and Digital time.  I don’t remember all the points the article made, but I remember the impression it left.  I have often thought since that time about the difference a timepiece makes. Almost everything in my house reads digitally, my phone, clock radio, stove top and computers, however, my favorite wristwatches are all analog and I have an analog clock on my chimney that I look at each night.

So what’s the big difference you say? Why after taking a hiatus from writing (6 weeks) am I spending time on clocks and time. Well, here’s the reason, I've changed jobs since writing the post and find myself “pushed” by the clock. I don’t like running on digital time, where I push myself to the last minute before going to a meeting or leaving to go home. I don’t like having to count minutes; thinking “oh, I have 3 minutes before I have to leave” or “I’m 2 minutes late.”  I find when I use analog time, my life runs on “its quarter of, 10 past, almost half past guess it’s time to leave.”

I have enough problems with perfectionism that I don’t need to add precision to my time-keeping.  This tendency can get out of hand if I count minutes; having to be places exactly on time and not a minute late.  When I use an analog clock I arrive to meetings early, am more relaxed, plan better.  When I use digital clocks I stress, I’m distracted and too focused on the minutes ticking by and generally arrive later than I want to do because of waiting 2-3 minutes longer than I should have and am not as well prepared. Plus, a huge negative is I begin to apply the same digital standards to others, feeling they are late if the digital display on my computer or phone reads a minute or two after the appointed meeting time.

From the website:, I found the best summation for what I am trying to say: 

“There are an infinite amount of colors to paint an object (even if the difference is indiscernible to our eye), there are an infinite number of tones we can hear, and there are an infinite number of smells we can smell. The common theme among all of these analog signals is their infinite possibilities.

Digital signals and objects deal in the realm of the discrete or finite, meaning there is a limited set of values they can be.”

Although I had never thought of this difference, it really does make sense why someone creative could struggle with digital time keeping. I like the whole idea of living with infinite possibilities rather than finite values. Everyone likes to say “think outside the box,” while looking at their digital clocks. I want to live free in my analog world, and looking for others to join with me. So for those of you who don’t like “religious” stuff best to stop here. 

I want to say in closing, the GOD I believe in is analog. Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection are the ultimate example of infinite possibilities in a world full of finite values.  Analog is grace and mercy, digital is “the law.” Hebrews tells us, faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.  How analog can you get! I am going to be praying for analog faith, the type of faith that chooses to see the infinite possibilities (even that which is beyond my natural eye) rather than dwell on the finite (that which can only been seen with the natural eye.)

I’m not getting rid of my digital clocks anytime soon, but trust me I’m going to be mindful of how digital my thoughts are each day. I hope you will do the same. As always, this is my opinion, and that and $2.50 will get you a cup of coffee.  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 28 - Last post of the challenge

My Great Grandparents
at West Quoddy Light
Family History Writing Challenge - Day 28

** NOTE: The italicized font is creative non-fiction. Based upon the stories of my mother and uncle it is my creative writing of their memories. **

I have reached the last day of the Family History Writing challenge. My goal had been to write 250 words a day, and though I haven’t written each and every day (missing I believe 3) when taken as a whole I met the word count.  I don’t exactly know how many writers took part in this challenge, but I do know I have been joined by writers from around the world, who share my passion for family history and genealogy.

I decided to write this evening on the facts that didn't make it into a post over the past 28 days, primarily because I didn't have enough of the story to imagine. I am hopeful that as I continue the conversation with my mother and uncle these stories can be brought to life.  But at this time, here are some bits and pieces yet to be fully written.

The smell of Root beer permeated the air as Wells and Mason walked through the front door of Aunt Ruby’s house in Massachusetts. Sounds of distress came from the kitchen followed by a friendly “hello, I’m in here” as the door closed behind Mommy & Daddy. This is one of my uncle’s memories. He states that when they arrived for a visit at Aunt Ruby’s a large bottle of Homemade Root Beer set behind the cook stove, exploded and spread the sticky mixture all over the floor and walls.

Grandpa Scott with dogs
Mason stood at the head of the cellar stairs waiting expectantly as Daddy slowly climbed, carrying a huge Sea Turtle in his arms. Gently setting the creature down onto the kitchen floor Mason gleefully climbed onto the turtle’s back.  “Careful now,” came the admonishing voice of her father, “don’t scare him, be easy.” Yes, my mother had a pet Sea Turtle that lived in the cellar of her house in Lubec, she was quite young and this would have been prior to my Uncle’s birth. She tells of how when company came to visit, her father would bring the turtle up as an extra seat for her to sit on.  She also tells another funny story about the dog they owned when she was still quite young, and they lived in town.  Mason heard the sternness in her mother’s voice, fearing she was going to get in trouble Mason crawled under the kitchen table.  “Come Tar, come Tar” Mason’s little voice called, to her beloved German Shepherd, Star. Always protective of his little mistress, Star came when called, sometimes even when not. If he sensed Mason might be in danger Star came to her side, protecting her from any real or perceived harm.

Upon seeing a picture of the American Can Plant, my mother told me a story of going to see her father. She remembers standing on the ground and him waving from a second story window. She also recalls how when they still lived in Lubec (versus South Lubec) her father would walk down over the hill to get to work.

Cecil & Edna Scott
My Grandparents
When driving through Lubec past the bandstand and “big” church, inevitably my grandmother’s vocal history is relived.  Grandma was a soloist for the “big” church on the hill, with the most vivid memory being her singing “The Holy City.”  As for the Bandstand, Grandma always sang Patriotic songs for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July…etc.  Also, there is a picture of Grandma in an authentic Passamaquoddy Indian Princess dress standing next to a Man dressed in a Chieftain’s outfit. They had just finished singing “The Indian Love Song” outside before the days of amplification at the Lubec pumping station. There is also a newspaper clipping stating my grandmother sang a solo on WLBZ radio in Bangor; it does not share what the piece was.

Stories of driving over fire hoses as they drove through an area burnt in a forest fire, the smell of Molasses cookies and a visit from their grandparents, aunts and uncles from out of state remain buried in the pages of my journal. As is often the case with oral history, information comes out in bits and pieces and no particular order.

Thank you so much for reading these past 28 days. I have received wonderful support especially from my mother and uncle, who without them this challenge would not have been possible.  My mother has been not only an inspiration but my fact checker and editor.  I’m looking forward to continuing this story as well as my father’s (which I am now a bit inspired to look further into.)  The challenge is over and the goal has been met, I’ll quietly go away now and bury myself in genealogy.

Mason & Wells