HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
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September 29, 2021
Wow, it is so difficult to function on the most basic levels. Trying to think, allowing myself to be in the flow, adjusting to what is, the slowness of everything, adjusting to a new environment. trying to find things in packed bags... I feel angry but tell myself once I begin interacting with people I will snap out of it. My friend Dave cooked me breakfast. I sat for a minute on his back porch with the morning air. I wanted to drive into Baltimore to share the Traveling Piano in some of the marginalized communities. To be genuine and happy to meet and interact with people when feeling angry, not sharp and mentally, emotionally and physically in disarray... it ain't easy. But, once I begin the journey just takes over and all is fine. We had fun. There were strangers getting up together onto the piano to jam. That is one of my favorite types of interactions.
I was in one chaotic area creating music and two security guards came over to say how the energy of the entire area mellowed and evened out once I began playing. That still amazes me and people have been telling me that more and more.Mo and I ran into and Arabber. That is a street vendor using a colorful horse drawn carriage full of produce to sell with street cries. They have been around on east coast cities for over a hundred years. Baltimore might be the last city that still has them, as I've never seen one before. I pulled up to a homeless encampment and began to play. They turned there high powered speakers into my direction with rap music to say get the fuck out of here. Lol, I was interacting with a guy who was high on something and just let him tinkle on the ivories for himself until he was done.
He left feeling very respected with our exchange and that was good! There are more empty but livable houses in this city than I've ever seen before anywhere else. Wall street Hdge Funds have been buying up all the real-estate nationally and then just sitting on it while people get squeezed out of their homes, and rents by investors put people into deep poverty. I would join a revolution to occupy houses like this. It reminded me of all the properties on the beaches of Florida, large places used for maybe a couple weeks a year that close off beaches to the public and takes up space that people could use to live in and enjoy. The truck cover for the piano was custom made here where we are staying in Pasadena. I stopped to maybe get some tears and rips repaired. The place has closed down. Once back at Dave's place he made a delicious dinner for me. We both went on a walk at night. The friendship feels very good.
September 28, 2021
Philadelphia to Pasadena, Maryland
Time to go. I laid on the bed for one last time, closed my eyes and chanted... into the light, into the light, into the light... lol. Mo and I drove to Maryland to visit with my friend Dave who's wife Bonnie passed away about a half year ago. They had been together for over 40 years. Bonnie had deep intellect, was a teacher... loved to nurture... was one of the most tolerant and accepting people I've known. Her kindness was simple and consistent throughout her entire life and... pure. I've stayed on the journey several times with Bonnie and Dave. They have known both Boner and Mo. She was a photographer, school teacher, artist, has published several books, a mom with two daughters, a social activist and a good friend. They invited me to stay with them as a stranger way back with the idea of strangers becoming less afraid of each other. When I arrived Dave had dinner waiting for me and was sharp and upbeat just what I needed. I know it took effort, he would say that is just is his way. I say, never the less, it takes effort and I appreciate it very much. I miss Bonnie and I felt a strong desire to visit with Dave to help keep the love alive between the three of us.
September 27, 2021
Oh my God, my last day here! It has been almost three months. The weather is joyous... the sun, temperature, cool breeze, clear sky and clean air... thank God. I felt inspired to create some music for the last time and drove to a local nearby park. Of course a few people approached to interact. Often people having a rough time of it with their lives will go to a park to be in nature and find some healing. When they find me, Mo and the Traveling Piano in that process, the healing is guaranteed. This always makes me feel good. Especially when they trust me enough to say they have been having a rough time and how much I helped with that. There were a lot of kids in the park who wanted to interact but I was feeling the paranoia of nearby parents and the kids who wanted to interact we're not with their parents. That was frustrating. Mo and I walked a little and laid in fresh cut, dry green grass in an open field while looking up at the sun and that felt oh, so good! Then back to the motel room to pack slowly. Wow, slow... I am going so slow. I know this process lol, it is excruciating everytime. It never gets easier. God help me.
September 26, 2021
Mo and I spent one last day at spot by the side of a huge pond near where we have been staying. I've been feeling a lot of emotions. It is time to leave, I don't want to leave, I don't want to stay... I've been feeling autumn coming on and it brings feelings of wanting to snuggle, feelings of childhood abandonment, fear, the newness of the season, halloween/christmas/thanksgiving, the falls leaves, childhood activities and color and my old house. Then the continuation of the journey, going back to Las Vegas in that tiny room I rent, going back to what I was doing or something new, who knows what. "feelings" Anyway, in my old house I had built a pond in my back yard with a seven foot high waterfall. I had goldfish in the pond. They we're feeder goldfish deemed worthless from a pet store. They lived in my pond to be eight inches long and we're beautiful. So in gratitude for the pond we have been enjoying here and for the sake of good old memories, I went to the local pet store and purchased thirty feeder goldfish and let them all lose into the pond to hopefully have a good and full life. That created joy for me. I loved my pond, I loved my fish, I love nature and the enjoyment of it all.
September 25, 2021
Today was a beautiful day! Autumn has arrived. Mo and I drove to the Quakertown Farm Mart to meet up with Michelle who I have a long history with and we talked, I was treated to lunch. I had performed for the Quakertown Halloween Parade back when, for like ten years in a row and just wanted to revisit. As we walked through the place with all its store booths, I was reminded how backwards many people still are in this area of the country. As progressive as the area has become through the years, the regressive people are as regressed as ever as in total trumpsuckers. About four booths we're selling trump paraphernalia in an upfront braggadocious way. It felt offensive to me and I had to restrain myself from speaking up. I didn't want to work with the Traveling Piano today, just enjoy the area before we leave. On the way back I told Google Maps on my phone to take me to Horsham PA and then a new route came up. I followed the route thinking it was taking us through new back roads as the return time frame was the same.
We drove through many small country Pennsylvania towns and roads (all beautiful) until I realized the Google picked up Worsham not Horsham? There is no Worsham and we we're in Schwenksville where... I randomly came across an exotic plant nursery named Ott's. It has been there for over a hundred years. I thought, maybe they have the Crown of Thorn plant I have been searching for everywhere for over six years. Even online I could not find one. The plant is a memory from my childhood and my mom. The place had hundreds of them in different colors and the perfect size for travel!!! That... was crazy. Did my mom lead us to this place? There has only been one other item I have been on a search for over the years. It was a special coffee mug. I was led to that about four days ago in an also very strange manor! These two happenings back here in my old home area do not feel coincidental at all. More so... providential.
September 24, 2021
North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Such a dilemma! How to spend my last days here in Philadelphia. I'd like to be by myself and do something special but the drive to anywhere... I'm a bit over the driving now, lol. There will be a lot more driving in the near future, like south and then cross country again. The day was beautiful. How could I not work with the Traveling Piano and make the most of every moment left with it here in my old hometown? Mo and I ended up driving to the corner of Broad and Susquehanna streets in North Philadelphia. There was a school nearby that let out at 3PM and we got there just in time. With lots of energy and noise, people wanted to engage. It was all fun and perfect even though I only lasted a little under two hours before my energy gave way. There was one scuffle on the piano with a mom, dad, young baby and a drunk. It passed quickly but those situations are as tricky as it gets. I said, nope... ya all need to get off the truck to engage in a street fight! Then... rush hour on Friday going out of the city and up north on Broad street... inch by inch until we got back to where we are staying. It was fun. Tonight, with the first long pants, sweatshirt and hat weather, I took Mo for along walk and meditated for maybe the last time at our special lake in the dark.
September 23, 2021
Today is a rainy day, a day to update this blog. Have you made a Traveling Piano contribution yet? It is important that those who have donated know that people tell me everyday... "Thank you for coming to our neighborhood." Yesterday I pulled into the empty center lane of a street in West Philadelphia while asking a nearby vendor, do you think the police are going to hassle me? They replied, with all the gun murdering happening right now in this area all they will see is something good and they will support that! A guy living on the street came up to me to say, "As I was walking down the street, I head the angels calling me through the music." "Your playing hit my soul and gave me chills" "You have lifted up this entire neighborhood." "We all need a reason to feel good, thanks." Etc... a reminder, this all is because of those who have contributed to get us here. Now, we need to get back cross country. People always ask... how do you pay the bills without charging fees, asking for tips and/or without commercial affiliation? I tell them it is "very" difficult and happens barely and only through the sharing of people like you. It is full time, almost 24/7 work. Of course there are easier ways to pay the bills but they do not have the personal intimacy of this way and this is a way that interests me, the sharing one-on-one as individuals to help pay forward in life what we all need most... togetherness. Thank You. Join us! GoFundMe: Traveling Piano GoFundMe Fundraiser ...Then there is this website contribution page and CashApp: $travelingpiano ... Venmo: 2156399378... Message me if you want to contribute in another way.
September 22, 2021
West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Feeling very frail from yesterday... tomorrow it is supposed to rain so I had to get out and about. I have not yet been to West Philadelphia so we drove to 52nd and Chestnut a nitty gritty business street and pulled into the center of it exactly where I had been back in 2009 and the same vendor was there selling his oils and incense. It felt really good to be there and the fact that is was cloudy with a breeze really helped. Everyone had a good time and was happy we were there. When I got back, I found out that a housekeeper working where we are staying lives there and saw us when he got off the bus to go home! That... crazy. And, kudos for him taking the bus for two hours each way everyday to get to and from work. I had some Jamaican Curried Goat for the first time. We we're in a community full of Jamaicans. While driving back I thought, "think I have had my fill of driving in and out of Philadelphia. Its a long trek each time and was fun the first ten or so times, lol. Online other people looked up the Traveling Piano to tell me they saw us creating music while they were driving through the traffic.
September 21, 2021
South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
My friends Jen and TIm who I met while working with those living on the streets wanted to make dinner for me before leaving Philadelphia. They live in South Philadelphia so I drove down early to create some music there. At Broad and Synder in the middle of the street I decided to park and over on the sidewalk as random as could be Jen was there doing here work with some locals. She does surveys with locals drug addicted and gives out harm reduction resources to them. It was so strange to have connected there as I know her from working in an entirely different area of the city in Kensington. With the locals, they felt safe with the Traveling Piano and my knowing Jen. Everytime I go to work it becomes clear how much purpose the Traveling Piano has and how much it is needed in the world right now. It shows in an objective way for me and I suppose that is good as I take no self-owned credit. My life long pathology of never feeling worthy, wanted or good enough works well with all this. It helps keep my ego in check. And the fact is... without the support of people none of it would be happening. People have contributed for my being here because I have asked for contribution. But I can't even take credit for asking. That would go to twenty five years of therapy in learning how to ask for what I want in life. The desire and ability to ask and do comes from grace. In of myself I am nothing. Being a vessel for life feels great tho.
September 20, 2021
Hamilton, New Jersey
Before leaving I want to take some days just to meander. One of the places I've been wanting to visit is called Gardens for Sculpture where I had been many years ago. It is a museum, sculpture garden, and arboretum. I had found a sculpture garden in Loveland, Colorado many years ago while traveling with the Traveling Piano that had put me into as state of rapture having never before experienced so much fantastic art outside and in open space. Today was very nice. The grounds and art are showing some wear. The trees and diversity of plants in the business park where I am staying are more impressive. But still, Mo and I walked around for a few hours, sat and ate a sandwich I had brought with me. We took a short nap on a bench (which was very needed) while fulfilling a east coast bucket list desire. And it was fun taking photos. I got some good ones. They tried to make me create a reservation online and pay online like many museums and parks are now doing. I had to push for them to take cash. The doing away with cash in the world, being tracked for data in those ways and not being able to create an excursion into nature with spontaneity is a very, very bad idea in many ways on every level of being.
September 19, 2021
Mo and I have found this spot that we can walk to. We will only be there a couple more times before leaving. There is an yellow adirondack (my favorite) chair there, in a business park a park with business in it. Usually at night we meditate while listening to the breeze and rushing water and look up into the sky through the tree leaves in the dark while listening to the natural sounds of crickets, cicadas and locusts. It is heaven for me especially with my best buddy by my side.
September 18, 2021
Kensington, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
We drove to the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia for the last time today. My friend Tom has a resource setup for those living on the streets and the poor in the neighborhood. He's been purchasing pizza each week, lots of pizza, hundreds of dollars worth out of his own pocket to share. He did not have the money for this week so he went to work late last night to make it. (he can do that). He was working with the homeless yesterday, and then out today to do his thing and tonight into the morning we will continue. He is ferocious with his giving and sharing and commitment to helping those in need. I used to feel that driven but now, I've been feeling just more and more tired.
It was hot and humid today but I was still energized enough even though I had to push myself. There was a tent we could use so that made it possible and we we're not there too long but it was long enough. I tried playing some of my old repertoire and the strength was not there. I need to give myself a break with that considering I am out of practice and it was so hot and humid and I'm old (lol) and not in shape, etc... Driving through the streets almost an hour each way to get there and back is also exhausting. I am very thankful to be able to be of service in life in the way I have been. How much longer will my being able to do it last? Is there something more or different for me to come or am I at the end of the road. We shall see... one day at a time.
September 17, 2021
Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania
I've not spent a day simply taking pictures as I would like to do. Then again that takes walking and I've been feeling very dizzy and faint and my heart is not in the best of shape. I've mentioned this a lot now in this blog and wonder if my days are turning in the opposite direction from the first two years of this journey when everything was up, up, up. Will the last two years will be all down, down, down? I'd prefer to let it all just be as it is but still, I am aware for anyone reading again, well I said it from the start... for better or worse, it all is what it is. Mo and I drove to Upper Bucks County to explore down along the Delaware river. At one point I pulled into a small park to hike a little. In my truck for the last 10 years I've kept a bottle of Skin-So-Soft waiting for the moment I would need it. In the wilds of New Zealand many years ago the lotion kept mosquitoes away from me, no problem. Today with 97% humidity, cloudy and the ground muddy from recent floods... Mo and I tried to take a walk in the trees near the Delaware River to no avail.
Trillions of mosquitoes trying to get at us. They didn't bite but were incessant with trying to buzz their way into my ears and nose and they we're hard hitting buggers as they flailed themselves against my head and every other part of my body! This area of the country is super beautiful but I don't feel inspired to take any pictures. I grew up with it, everything is part of my soul, have seen it all hundreds of times and I take pictures first and foremost for myself. There has been little new in my minds eye to capture. I drove by some very sensitive old haunts and just like in Lower Bucks County where my old home is, I felt little sentimentality or emotional connection. That is not quite true. I felt disappointment today. This, an area with memories of what could have been with a new home-base but through no fault of my own people let me down. Something really good that happened today. I took my chances at a country deli and purchased a baloney, cheese, lettuce, tomato with mayo on white bread sandwich hoping it would taste just like I used to have as a child and... it was perfectly delicious!
September 16, 2021
It is time to begin thinking about the future. Mo and I need to leave here, make a few stops and then get back to Las Vegas to do what? Will it be the same old, same old? I have a ton of food back at my place that will need to get cooked and given out to those living on the streets. I absolutely must begin working on getting a new vehicle. Hopefully this one will make it back cross country. Getting the engine going whenever I start it, I can tell it is very tired and the engine has already been rebuilt once. A new container of oil is needed every couple hundred of miles. The room I have been renting for a few years now in Las Vegas... how am I going to go back to that scummy little hole after where we have been staying. Lol, I must find a better place to live and I have until June of next year to find one. It will take that long to find one considering how little income I have. And now there are so many extra fees with monthly rents. Fees for a dog along with the rent, for water, apartment insurance mandates, parking fees, parking clicker fees, deposits, electric/gas, etc... ugh. I have the art photos to sell for income, figuring that out will be a full time job again and then the regular work with the Traveling Piano.
September 15, 2021
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Life is a balancing act for me these days. I want to just relax with no obligation or expectation and enjoy the rest of my time here on the east coast. But, always their is a nagging in my head for me to work with the Traveling Piano and not waste a moment especially when the moments are limited because, I sleep a lot. The sleep is needed and I am grateful to be able to do it on my time but still, my waking hours are short each day like half of what other people experience in life. Constantly I need to tell myself the people who contribute and have contributed to this journey have done it without expectation of getting anything in return such as "proof." that their contribution is being useful and not squandered away. I've already proved myself in what I have done here but still, a sense of obligation as to it not being good enough always hangs over my head. When the opportunity arises to have a Traveling Piano connection and I just don't feel like creating it or pushing for it and it passes, that needs to be ok. Where as in the past it always happened. I just do the best I can and need to trust in that if its only a quarter percent compared to what was... that is fine and acceptable for myself.
September 14, 2021
Of course today was a keep it easy day after yesterday and not being able to get to sleep last night. I woke up mid-afternoon. Doing what I did yesterday at the Art Museum was not fun in the moment at all. But, now after having done it and having the photos, I am elated with the accomplishment. If I had keep to schedule in leaving Philadelphia this would not have happened. Concerning time I am truly in its flow. It all feels uncertain but more so that I am doing what I should be doing. Knowing that can only be known and said after the fact. Yesterday at the Art Museum was like a dream come true for the third time! Would I have liked to take advantage of being their as long as I wanted and do more than I did? The time was short and so was the doing but... it is what it is. With energy recovery, for most of my life and this journey I have said and showed many, many times how it takes two days for an energy high to hit before crashing. Now, for the first time ever, life has been showing that after a high energy day I simply crash the next day like most other people.
September 13, 2021
So there I was, Mo and I and the Traveling Piano inside its Truck sitting at the top step of the Philadelphia Art Museum. The spot is a most Iconic spot in the world. What an accomplishment! How was I given the privilege and honor to do that? God, the Universe, Me and ABC television did it all together. Lol, even with the television influence, Amanda from the news station with her camera and no credentials hanging from her, even she was amazed that I was able to drive through the barriers without permission and get to the spot. It could not have been easier to do. The Traveling Piano was filmed and I was interviewed for a short segment on an uplifting show called Localish. So there I was, my friend Tom stopped by to take some photos for me. Of course there was some interaction with people and when it was over I was able to stay for as long as I wanted all by myself. I sat there thinking, this is almost unbelievable that I would me in this spot and for the third time since the journey began now with permission from security. (after we we're already in the spot)
Here I was on the top of the world in my old hometown and I cannot enjoy the moment! It was soo... difficult. In a way I'll always enjoy it more than anyone else in life possibly could through gratitude. But in the reality the fucking temperature returned to summer, the index was near a hundred in full sun and humidity as strong as it can get. I did not last more than ten minutes. I was exhausted because I am so out of shape feeling like a stuffed sausage in full black in pants with a heavy black top. My mind was chaotic and all over the place as I did not feel rested. It was 11:30 am, the time I usually am waking up and the driving for an hour through traffic gets more tedious each time I do it. Luckily I had some sun screen on my for my almost bald head! Never the less with all the uncomfortability and inability to do more physically... my creating music... I could not get any energy going. It felt like I was playing for a funeral. That was the most disappointing part. So... on some level just wow... all great, good and fantastic... wow! Thank you dear God for the experience and people in my life who care along with me. The iconic photo from years ago with Boner and myself with our backs to the camera looking out over the city, I was able to duplicate with Mo. That... was the best part of the entire experience.
I become emotional just thinking about that. My two dogs, they have been through it all by my side twenty four seven through everything this journey has been in the best of ways. They have helped me to breath life into the world more than anything or anyone else in life. I began to interact with people. Amanda had to break away for a meeting by phone and while I was interacting I though "shit" she is missing the best part of the journey that of people finding and the interactions. One guy there with his son and life long friend, they had just buried his father. He was so grateful to have the experience, it was so out of the box for him that he tried to give me a hundred bucks. Can we talk conflicted? I told him if he wanted to contribute to do it online. That will never happen. Damm, lol. Another kid with his sisters had just got off a plane to be in America and be at the top step of the Philadelphia Art Museum where Rocky from his favorite movie has been. He could speak no English but did it matter? Another tourist couple jumped on and then we had to leave the area right away as the Art Museum Ambassador (what the hell is that) was coming to the spot. We we're able to return in about twenty minutes.
In the meantime a couple thousand meals came into Tom's possession to hand out for the cities homeless. They we're meant for Afghanistan refugees coming into the Philadelphia airport and whomever made them over calculated the need. I took on a couple hundred fresh chicken sandwiches, hummus, soda and chips to hand out myself when we were done and loaded them into the cab and back of the truck. Yikes, the Traveling Piano has now officially thrown itself into full monty mode doing what we do in Las Vegas with helping to share food for those living on the streets. When I got back up to the center spot after the ambassador left, I was so hot, the sandwiches were getting hot, it was just too uncomfortable damm, damm, damm I could have stayed until after dark but it was just too much. Mo and I left to give out the meals. Tom told me later that where Mo and I ended up to distribute the food was at the most dangerous park in the city. You would not have known it with how appreciative everyone was. A fist bump was almost demanded and as well an eye to eye encounter of appreciation to thank me, that came with just about every handout. It is strange while driving down the streets that I cannot tell who is homeless and who is not in Philadelphia while in Vegas it is clear.
September 12, 2021
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Down day physically, am I dying? Its ok, everything is good, just need to sleep. The covid virus, I must do what I can do while I still can... while not sick of course! The world is closing down again. The blog entries seem to be getting longer. Am I becoming like an older person who needs someone to talk do and who can't shut up? Lol...
September 11, 2021
Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
My friend Tom's boy, he is a Boy scout as Tom had been, Tom is also the scout leader for his troop so he could watch over his son being in the group. They had a camp out at the local state park and so I went over to share my music there. The piano stopped working again. We trouble shooted for a couple hours and got it going again. What a pain in the ass! I don't even know what was done, everything was a fog for me. Tom did all the work. It was providential I went over there considering I need to have it for Monday with the television segment I am planing to provide at the Philadelphia Art Museum. I just keep-a-going one day at a time, step by step, breath by breath...me and Mo who... ate grass the entire time we were there which he is going to throw up I hope not on the rug tonight while I am sleeping. I did get to create some music and had a Traveling Piano experience with a few scouts. A ranger came by looking for trouble as usual and gave trouble about Mo on the leash and then began to question the Traveling Piano. I didn't even look at the guy, Tom dealt with it for me as I got Mo into the truck. No one around but us, nowhere for Mo to run off to... they need to just let people alone to enjoy the park when they see no trouble to be had.
September 10, 2021
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Todays weather was beautiful in every way. There is almost no memory of the brutal summer heat, the dryness or the humidity. Mo and I took a short walk, my energy level did not last long. It has been interesting to have been around the Franciscan Catholic parish near me that does community outreach. Really, it is just one guy in the parish but he is supported by everyone in the parish. That is how it usually works with everything in most organizations. My friend Eric back in Las Vegas does all the outreach for his church. But with Catholics, it is amazing how I was taught fundamentally to steer away from not only non-catholics, but catholics of different priestly orders and to understand how it all works... forget it.
For example, with everyone complaining that catholic priests cannot marry and there are fewer and fewer... here is a bonafide, recognized, legitimate order as it is called with not only married priests but where all sexual identities are embraced. Why are more people not turning to parishes like this or why is Rome not educating more people about them. I'll tell you why. Money. Why did the Roman Catholics stop letting priests marry? They will tell you it was to better focus on their commitment to the Lord, but I will tell you the real reason. Money, to keep all the money inherited or otherwise in the fold. And then, why have there been so many more diocesan priests then there are Franciscans or with other orders. I'll tell you why.
The tradition has been that if as a women you become pregnant out of wedlock, you become a nun for the rest of your life to atone for your sin. If you are gay... it is the priesthood for you. So, the Romans got all the gay guys and that is a lot! It has been the only way to deal with the guilt and shame and to not be ostracized from the family. That is still happening. It has happened in my lifetime, in my own family. Also, many have entered the priesthood to please mommy and daddy and to find some worth in life. Growing up, I was taught that there was no greater vocation then to become a priest... more than a doctor, more than being a father with a family. So here is a parish with people who go out daily to administer love, respect and share basic resources and food for those living on the streets. The church parking lot has been designated a legal "Safe Parking" zone for people living in their cars where they can use the property for respite.
The church itself, you may know that in Catholic churches their are pews to sit in with kneelers for the service where you kneel, stand up, sit, etc... this church took out all the pews and kneelers and replaced them with folding chairs so space could be created for homeless to use the church and sleep there. Covid put a hold on that, but the space is open and ready! This place, this parish the people walking the walk of what it is to be a Christian... all those with anger and frustration over religion and churches and Christianity (I have been one of those people) must know when bashing Christianity that it is not all. And when out to destroy through criticism... do not throw the baby out with the bath water. Recognize the good when you find it and use that to build on. It is the only way we all will survive in this world.
September 09, 2021
It was rainy when I woke up in a true brain fog knowing that the piano was not working and not knowing why and that I must deal with it. You would think like with everything else that nothing affects me like this anymore. Everytime after all these years, it affects me almost to the same degree with fear, frustration a feeling of being incapable but deep down inside I always know I will deal with it all until the very end and be able to accept whatever. Friar James who I met the other day asked if I would come to his parish elementary school's first day where the children have waffles and ice cream in the school parking lot and I said I would. I texted to make sure of the time and it was earlier then I thought so I had to just pick myself up and go. Always thinking options, I asked if a piano from inside the church could get rolled out. That was a nope. Then as is was drizzling the kids could come out with an umbrella to get their waffles and ice cream and see us but I needed a cover. A funeral tent from the church grave yard took care of that need. The grave yard by the way, has grave stones from the 1700's, it is awesome! I've never in all my years setup one but it was easy to do. Since there was no wind it was not a problem. Then I pulled the truck close to a power outlet outside and began to troubleshoot with the piano. Thank God the problem was not with the piano. Next, the inverter that changes the energy from my batteries into ac power seemed to be ok.
Then I checked to make sure none of the wires were touching each other to conflict. Everytime I plugged in the speaker there was a loud sound. It turned out to be the speaker wire that was bad. Why the piano would not turn on because of that was beyond me but, whatever. Luckily, I had a spare wire inside the piano casing that worked. So... power! Another time I will check to see if it will all work with the inverter. There was no time to put everything back together. The kids came out, lots of teachers and parents, the rain stopped so I pulled the cover off and my energy went through the roof with all the enjoyment going on around me. What stood out was the depth of parental care and involvement and physically healthy people. It felt really good. I've not been around so many good looking young adults and toddlers in a look while. Again, it felt really, really good. I would become healthier if I was around that more as I acclimate like a sponge easily to my environment. It takes a lot of work to stay clean myself for example when I am working in poor neighborhoods that are dirty all the time. Before I left a Franciscan brother came over to give me a check. I said no, I do not make appearances for pay. He said just take it. Could not do, although I wanted to and was curious to know how much it was. This is how I operate and will not accept what anyone else thinks about it or how people try to criticize the reason when it comes to my need for funding. And I have never, ever been a take what you can get kind of person, ever. That was never my way throughout my entire professional working career since age fifteen and now is no different.
If it had been presented as a contribution I might have taken it. It is not up to me for people to know how to do that. And I completely accept that most all of the time they do not. But, I do know if they do not, it is because their mindset is that of pay. That is ok, I am not interested in adjusting to that mind set. Need would never make me do it. I said to the brother, if the school wants to contribute, do it through the website or Venmo or Cashapp. People follow through with that, hardly ever. My self respect demands a little effort in contributing for proof as to that being what it is. I know I need to make it as easy as possible for people but in my mind and it is all about me here, lol... my intent must stay pure. If I begin to take money perceived as pay in my mind, the Traveling Piano brand will become tainted. Also, taking money that way leads to others thinking I play for fees and then everyone begins with the, how much do you charge, will you come to, etc... and that drives me insane. It makes me question what I want to do and that decision was made many years ago. I'm sticking to it. I say, if you want to pay, the cost will be $1200 and that usually shuts everyone up. Lol, when I was younger and the truck was more spiffy... that is what I got and more way back when. Anyway... it was a fun day, a total success and we all had a great time! I am so glad I was able to make it all work out.
September 08, 2021
Center City Philadelphia and Jenkintown Pennsylvania
It was a busy day. My friend Wes, we have not seen each other in ten years. He gave me this website structure and taught me how to keep it going after all these years and treated me to lunch today. It was great seeing him and I do not think he could ever realize the gratitude I have for his contribution to my journey and his patience in dealing with me and my needs throughout the years for this website to have it the way I want to have it. And, from the start he never charged me a penny. He is a musician and surprised me with his piano playing today as it has improved ten fold. He used to teach web design and now is into teaching the game Bridge online. While Mo and I were in the parking lot we had an exchange with a mom and her two girls, totally upbeat. The woman said she wanted to make a contribution and I suggested Venmo (2156399378) and when I got home found that she did! Rare. It felt good. Mo and I heading into center city and I purchased some food from the Reading Terminal Market. It is a special place for me and I am glad I could do it.
Afterwards, we headed to Love Square near City Hall, the center of Philadelphia. There were three community outreach groups gathering for the first time to feed and share resources with the homeless. Philadelphia has posts on the streets where people can make a phone call without charge. You can serve people food on the streets with a permit. The police do not hassle you when helping the homeless. None of that exists in Las Vegas where Mo and I must return to at some point although the police do turn a blind eye sometimes. This was our second time at this spot and it never looks like there are homeless people around when the fact is, just about everyone there is homeless. Its crazy. As soon as the distribution began everyone around began to line up. In Las Vegas the homeless are usually laying or sitting on the side walk because you can get a ticket for sitting on a street or park bench, the few that exist. I let people get onto the piano, they were all homeless and some could play and our being there served good purpose until... the piano broke. It happened just when all the serving was done so that worked out. Now, that will need to be dealt with tomorrow, ugh.
September 07, 2021
I was really sick today. My old syndrome. Luckily I still have some medication left from seven years ago that still has some potency! The process of going to a doctor and the time is not something I am looking forward to dealing with once the medication is gone and its almost gone. I slept through the day until 5pm and then went back to bed a few hours later. The tree tops are beginning to change color. Autumn is coming. There is a very subtle light yellow beginning to come through the leaves. I won't be here to see the fall colors. In the middle of the night I heard a strange sounds that woke me up. It was Mo whimpering and huffing and puffing and running circles at the door. I was so sick I forgot to take him out to pee before going to bed. I was also too sick to take him outside. My best most fantastic buddy just ran out by himself down the stairs, across the street to the grass, peed and ran back up on his own. Except for two times as a puppy he has never had an accident or marked his territory with pee in any house we have stayed in. I love him so much!
September 06, 2021
Today being Labor Day my friend Tom had invited me to his house for a family barbecue. I was really looking forward to it until he said the plans had changed and that he had just been given a huge donation of meatloaf and chili that needed to be given out with cartons of tampons. I needed to go with his flow and so we met at his church. Oh, how the tables turned. Now I know what it has felt like for so many people through the years who have willingly adjusted to my flow because when the journey calls, it takes precedence over everything else! Lol, I was going to help him heat everything up. He called for some helpers and we all drove downtown to share everything on the street. But wow, my energy level was at twenty percent. I could not even lift a case of water. My creating music, I almost fell asleep doing it and do not know how I was able to drive back the hour through the city streets being so tired and with my night blindness, but it happened.
September 05, 2021
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
After waking up at noon I realized that all I do is work and sleep these days. People are asking for their photos which I really appreciate because I know they valued the experience but processing them takes time. So does updating this blog and fundraising which has died out because of a lack of time to devote to it. The last day is tomorrow on Facebook and well, this fundraiser has been more successful than all of them in the past but still, it is almost two grand from goal. I'll just continue it on GoFundMe. I said last time there would never ever be another fundraiser and here I am. I could do as I did in the past and ask everyone who has already contributed to do it again but I just don't have it in me to do that. This time I'll just never end it, lol. I saw that it had rained while I was sleeping last night. There was a slight impulse not to go out and work with the truck but a stronger impulse to do it because it is so needed right now and then... it began to rain again. A down day was needed anyway. It is difficult to shake off the sadness and disaster I am in and with it there is a slight nudge to go down to Louisiana next, where it is much worse. Trying to function down there would be ten times more difficult than it is here and with covid... well I'm just letting the nudge float.
September 04, 2021
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
I woke up totally out of it. More than twelve hours of sleep was needed but it was already afternoon on a beautiful day and I had to get out to work because it is really needed. I made some quick posts to facebook for the fundraiser and just left. I've really had to abandon the fundraiser which has only three days left but it was either do the journey work or the fundraising work. I probably will not make goal as a result, but all that must take second seat to the main purpose, money needed or not. We spent the day emerged in the fallen debris of what were the most beautiful tallest, thickest and oldest of American sycamore trees on the neighborhood streets they once lined, and now are destroyed. People are emerging from a numbness, and the sadness is becoming palatable.
The Traveling Piano sat in several spots on the streets among the tree parts being cut and cleared. Mo and I with the Traveling Piano have been creating a huge positive presence beyond my imagination. Through the grace of god and contribution from friends, we synchronistically landed exactly where we are supposed to be. Several times now, facebook has come up as an option to post people's photos instead of them emailing me. I tell people to "friend" me on facebook so I can do it for them but if they are trump supporters don't, LOL. Then they need to email me if they want the photos. Ya know... I just do not want any trump supporters as facebook friends. It will only go sour in a very short time and why waste the time and turn a good experience bad. No matter what now, my personal life overlaps with my work life because of response-ability. We are all in constant danger be it tornados, or politics. I am still constantly amazed with the effect the Traveling Piano has.
September 03, 2021
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
It is difficult to process what has happened here and the fact that this is where I grew up. We pulled into a condominium complex. It was a god awful mess. Dirt and debris on the sides of the buildings, holes in the walls of condos, roofs ripped off, autos thrown on top of each other, houses buried in trees... There was no one around as I pulled into a random parking spot. I did not know what to do because no one was there. The idea of creating music felt stupid, nothing strange with that. Then a voice from inside said, "just get the hell up and start improvising" and so I did while deciding to create a facebook live to serve some purpose. Almost immediately people began to emerge from the buildings. It was unbelievable.
An old woman climbed out of her front door over the trees to come over and and then other people began to come over and I said, "You all are still in your houses?" And they replied, "Where are we to go?" People were crying because we were there. It was astounding to me. Then a guy I had met down in the Kensington area of Philadelphia appeared in his truck. He happened to be in the area with work and had a case of dog food he wanted to give to me for Mo. He had seen I was doing a Facebook live and recognized where I was. Then a guy who had been on the Traveling Piano two weeks ago in a park showed up with friends who live in one of the condos! Small world for sure. A women showed up with her daughter and grand kids to hawk potential business for the auto dealership she works for by giving out supplies in bright red dealership bags with goodies in them.
It was so ridiculous the way she was pushing it. It was a nice gesture to give but it was with total self-serving agenda. I had to get a picture. It was a little too soon for this sort of thing. I could feel the vultures gathering. The daughter said, I'm nothing like my mother, lol! Then two religious vehicles decaled out the ass with who they are came by wanting to advertise that they were coming back on Sunday with a service and whatever. I thought, yuk, yuk and eww... they have no idea that the overwhelming majority of people who live here are Jewish. A song writer played and sang "Let It Be" by the Beetles on the Traveling Piano until he became overwhelmed with grief and had to stop. There is nothing but gratitude in my heart for being able to serve such a strong purpose in being here. The weather broke. Cool weather has moved in. It was an absolutely perfect day. At night I thought, the fall weather has arrived. I am so lucky to be here in my old home area to feel the fall coolness and chill before I leave. Fall has always been my favorite season.
September 02, 2021
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
The "dud" I mentioned last night turned out to not be even close to a dud. A quarter mile away from where we are staying, tornados and serious flooding was happening everywhere. The Traveling Piano once again dodged another bullet. Had those winds traveled through where I was parked the cover would have ripped off and all the equipment would have been destroyed. All the beautiful tall trees I've been talking about for two months well, many of them fell apart and destroyed houses and power-lines everywhere! This kind of weather has never happened here before. Philadelphia is flooded. What is interesting to me is that I was hearing all kinds of sirens going on constantly but did not feel any desire to investigate. It was like when I was in Las Vegas and the mass shooting was happening, nothing was really registering in my brain. In the old days the stimulation and drama of it all would go through the roof.
Now... nothing. Also, I know when I can be helpful and when not much better than when I was younger. So, if there is nothing I can do... I just try to go one living as normal as possible. Now Mo... he knew something was going wrong more than I. He was hiding under the bathroom sink the entire time. There was no lightening or thunder and the rain was no worse than it has ever been but he knew something was off. We drove through some of the damage. I was thinking to work with the Traveling Piano in the neighborhoods but it wa probably too soon so I just stopped and helped people move tree limbs into piles. I knew at the start, that would be a bad idea physically but I just could not help myself. Everyone was paying tree services to clean up when it should have been the entire community just helping with no agenda other than to be a good neighbor! Of course now I cannot move my body, it hurts so good, lol. One lady said she didn't need any help so I just randomly asked if she wanted some music. She replied with an enthusiastic yes and it all began. Other neighbors came out and it was a short good time.
That happened a few more times in different places until I knew I had better stop for the day. The energy is not there as it was ten years ago. One of the neighbors sent a video she took to the local news station and they played it on all their broadcasts. There were several hundred shares of it on facebook and I cannot tell you how difficult it was to not capitalize on it for the fundraiser. If I did, some funding may have resulted but it would also look like I do what I do to get money. The journeys message must stay as clear as possible. Personal gain is not what it is all about. The media, what are we to do with reporters who do not think. They said that I was a Traveling Piano man "trying" ...hell, I'm not trying to do anything I am in fact doing!!! There are five days left for the fundraiser to help get us back to Las Vegas so please contribute in any of these ways: Facebook: Traveling Piano Facebook Fundraiser ...GoFundMe: Traveling Piano GoFundMe Fundraiser ...Then there is this website contribution page and CashApp: $travelingpiano ... Venmo: 2156399378...
September 1, 2021
I've been waiting for it to rain all day from the remnants of hurricane Ida down south a few days ago. There have been a few bands of downpour but only for short periods. The forcast is turning into a dud once again. I've loved the rain here after having practically none in Las Vegas for the last six years. Mo and I are leaving Philadelphia next Thursday. It will not be easy for me. I will miss the sounds of the locusts and crickets at night most. Then the green trees, park areas and trails to walk and this amazing room we have had for two months, I'll never find anything that will match it again, especially for the price. The location, safety of the truck parked outside my window, the size and luxury of the room... it will be difficult to leave... really difficult! Life goes on.