all that colorful jazz

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Roy G. Biv.”

I’ve been trying to listen to a lot of jazz lately. Although I have quiet a few jazz CD’s in my collection, I’ve been listening to songs mostly on Youtube. It’s quite enjoyable but I’m not very familiar with it, except the cliches. As everyone knows I’ve always been quite smitten with the 1960’s, both musically and otherwise. Many jazz musicians,including Miles Davis, Ramsey Lewis, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus, were quite prominent during that era. Music of this kind can be quite intense, invoking a feeling of red hot emotional fury. It’s nothing like my favorite style. I’ve always especially been partial to the kind of song that can be found on the Beatles’ 1962-1966 greatest hits album, the one with the orange cover. Often a jazz song can be quite inordinately long by my standards. Patience has never been my specialty. It’s a lot easier for me to listen to something that’s only about as long as “Yellow Submarine”. Of course there are some short jazz songs. Thelonius Monk’s “Blue Monk” is only three minutes and seventeen seconds long. “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the M.G.’s is three mnutes and thirty nine seconds long. Maybe I could listen to Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo”. Up until now jazz has been as frequently a part of my life as appearances by Charlie Brown’s friend Violet in the “Peanuts” comic strip.

chester’s grandfather


“I’d always told my grandfather not to smoke when he was alone,” Chester stammered to his wife Lydia. “He knew perfectly well his shaking was out of control.”

“Honey, he was so old and forgetful,” she reminded him.

Just then a policeman approached the couple. “Mr. and Mrs. Barnes, your grandfather will be all right. He was visiting friends when his house caught fire. Of course we’ll have to investigate the fire so we can see what caused it.”

“Well,” muttered Chester, “At least he’s not hurt but a lifetime of memories are lost. The practical considerations will be staggering too.”

the soul train


Mr. Bacciagalupe greeted his new arrival at the entrance: “How do you do, Mrs. Schwartz? Welcome to Daisy Hill Station. Some of these cars go to Heaven by way of Purgatory. Not many people are on them. Even fewer are on the cars that go directly to Heaven. Alas, we have so many on the train to Hell. No one knows who gets onto which car. Each passenger makes his own decision.

Mrs. Schwartz didn’t know what to think of this odd fellow. Eventually she boarded one of the next few cars that arrived. No one noticed which one.

uncle throwback


“Uncle Clem was an avant-garde artist in the ’60’s,” Alvin reminded his wife Hortense. “You know, the kind that hung in Greenwich Village coffee houses with Andy Warhol and Timothy Leary, drinking espresso and reading beat poetry.”

“Do you think he’ll even remember you?” she asked. “After all, it’s been over forty years.”

Following the directions their G.P.S. gave them, they eventually arrived at a most unusual apartment building.

“Oh Honey!” she blurted out. “My relatives may be squares but at least they have stoops that lead up to their houses’ entrances. This guy must be quite a hoot.”

welcome to willoughby


I was born and raised in Willoughby and wouldn’t think of leaving. My job is really important. I work in a band playing nineteenth century music to entertain tourists who come here wanting to escape their dull ordinary lives. Harried city slickers regularly visit to listen to authentic versions of songs like “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Oh My Darling Clementine”.

Beware of one thing, though, if you dare visit. Our village is perhaps too authentically anachronistic. Some poor souls plum forget that it’s all in illusion. Willoughby plays nasty tricks on them. Think twice before coming here.

toora loora loora


Of all our relatives, Uncle Jimmy has always been the most obsessed with our Irish ethnic background. This St. Patrick’s Day he explained to us all about how our patron saint chased the snakes-pagans and Druids-out of Ireland.

“Eventually,” he said, “we were confronted with those other snakes, the English and Protestants.”

Not surprisingly, he gave each of us kids a biography of Eamon de Valera and one of Michael Collins.

He’s like an Irish version of Michael Constantine in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.

johnny appleseed


“Harvey,” asked Shirley, “Have you ever read about Johnny Appleseed?”

“What makes you think of him?” wondered her befuddled husband.

“Today’s Johnny Appleseed Day,” she explained. “Jonathan Chapman was a famous pioneer nurseryman, Swedenborgian missionary and friend to the Indians. Unfortunately he had a lot of weird ideas. He had views that PETA would like, and was, as an adult, supposedly engaged to a ten year old girl.”

“What’s the good news then?” her spouse couldn’t understand.

“He’s quite a prominent figure in the annals of early American agriculture,” she pointed out. “You should learn more about him.”

psychology major


Having fallen in love with psychology, Muriel insisted upon taking a class at nearby Farmingdale College. She eventually cajoled her lifelong best friend, Gloria, into agreeing to be her subject for a class project. Knowing Gloria was afraid of both heights and mushrooms, she took her to the top of a building on nearby Melville Road and made her stay there at least once every three days.

“It’s called systematic desensitization,” she exclaimed. “Dr. Wendy Doret says it’s guaranteed to cure you.”

The dizzier and more nauseous she got, the more disgusted Gloria was.

“I don’t think I like Doret,” she gasped.

peggy’s latest daydream


Margaret (never ever again to be Peggy!) was determined to hop a freight train to some faraway big city where she could become a famous author. Having recently read Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood”, she had found her vocation.

“The station’s just down here, Orville,” she cried out to her dog.

“English has always been my best subject at St. Gabriel’s, so I know I’ll be a good writer. Flannery’s symbol was the peacock,” she told him. “Mine can be dogs.”

“Has she called on her cell phone yet, Harvey?” her mother asked.

“Not yet, Shirley,” her father replied. “Give her time.”

irish day

Local Irishmen of Long Beach, N.Y., unlike the Irish of many other places, celebrate their ethnic heritage each year not on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, but on the first Saturday of October. Last year, however, it was on the last Saturday of September, in order to avoid any conflicts with the local Jews on Yom Kippur.  Because they’re a seafaring region, their patron saint is Brendan the Navigator.  The day begins with a parade down Beech Street. The Ancient Order of Hibernians figure quite pirishrominently in the festivities. There are Pipe bands, Irish dancers, Irish music and all the other traditional Gaelic trappings.  A large section of Beech Street is cordoned off and there are many food, beverage and souvenir stands throughout that section of the city. As with any other such occasion they have many vendors who show up predictably each year.  Local establishments, including Swingbelly’s Barbecue Restaurant and the Knights of Columbus Monsignor Cass Council number 2626, are open to patrons.  Tourists arrive from all over the United States in order to see this colorful spectacle.  Newsmen from several local periodicals and television networks are always there so they can let people see what’s going on. It’s always difficult to park that day. Anyone in the city had better make sure he is willing and able to walk quite a distance in order to see all the interesting colorful sights.