Music, a Man and a Town

It’s the holiday season. As many of you are basking in the glow of your beautifully decorated tree, your stockings all hung by the chimney with care, I have done none of the above. It’s been the most unorthodox of Decembers for the Dumbwit, and believe me, I’ve had too many to publicly admit.  There’s been no hanging of lights, no bounty of boughs, not even a cleverly penned Christmas letter in which I humiliate my 4 children.

Although I feel a bit displaced not doing what I love best about this season, I have been given the greatest gift of all this Christmas, I have been given the gift of love.

The 25 year old Dumbwit would have cringed reading what the “cough..sputter...” (today’s) Dumbwit has just written. She would of uttered an indignant “let’s just go out to the shed and grab a shovel”.

On November 23rd, I narrowly missed my flight from Aberdeen to Seattle. I was quite the sight as I sprinted through the airport. Looking ever so chic (*!#@!) as I gasped for air & panting as I dragged my over-stuffed carry-on up the too many steps to the Air France plane parked on the tarmac. As I entered the cabin, passengers strained to catch a look of the idiot responsible for delaying the plane, only to realize by the look of me, that I could perish while in flight.  To add fuel to this already flamed post-mid-life gal, I had 4 check points to pass through once I claimed my luggage at Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport. It was the suitcase chocked full of Tunnocks Tea Cakes and Carmel Wafers that looked sketchy.

Not only did I have the joy of celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, but I had the unbelievable experience of attending a special night in which 415+ people gathered to celebrate the 43 year music/teaching career of father in my home town of Snohomish, Washington. Yes sure, the little city named after a native Indian tribe is a small one, but the accomplishments of it’s high school’s music students reached world wide, from the their first international trip in 1968 to their last in 1996, under my father’s direction. From being the first U.S. band to perform on the Great Wall of China, 1968 Berlin, Glasgow’s Hampton Court for 90,000 footballers for the 1980 Scottish Cup, for the King of Norway, President Regan, the Montreux Jazz Festival, Euro Disney, to wining over-all first place in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, and on.... Huge accomplishments for kids that many had never traveled from Snohomish to Seattle, a 45 minute car ride, let alone fly to Europe.

With this story, it is so easy to get carried away with facts, and testimonies, and hilarious stories. As the daughter of a bandman, I felt as though my childhood had been celebrated that night. Musician, after musician performed; the alumni choir sang, and the band belted out it’s tunes; soloists inspired, brass horns swayed, a drum line brought us to our feet; several pianists left us in awe, including 2x Emmy award winning producer, composer, arranger, Nick Manson. All this and more orchestrated perfectly by the evenings master of ceremony, Anchorage Alaska's KTVQ CBS 11 News Anchor Dave Stroh (and fellow Snoho) who kept us in tears one second, and belly laughing the next.

But you see, the moral of this story is not just the tales of a teacher and his students, but what we all had in common to bring us all together from far and wide. It was about the love. If I were to confess to you that in all my days I have never felt such feeling of love in a room, a large performing art center, would you understand? I’ve not witnessed so many tears of happiness from so many people over simply ‘seeing each other’. I’ve never hugged so many, heard so many laugh, and felt so many years melt away. We had all been swept back in time to a place, a time, a memory that we all seemed to have a common thread woven to join us all together. We felt love, as simple as that four letter word. Our love of music and our love for a man and each other.

As you take a look at the photos, I hope you see into the expressions on the faces of my peers.  

And for a brief moment, I hope you too can feel the love.

old memories

new ones

I’m still today in Seattle as I have also been waiting for my British visa to come through to allow me to reside in Scotland as a spouse. It’s come through with flying colours, and I’ll be be home before Air France can say, “oh no, not again!"

Wishing you and yours a festive holiday season filled with joy and happiness.
From my heart to yours.

{go forth and live responsibly}
support the arts

***In the New Year, if you find it your heart to donate towards the arts, I encourage you to research the needs of your local community schools to keep the music alive. Another organization is VH1 ‘Save the Music’ which is a non-profit foundation dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in America’s public school.

my favourite photo of my parents / band bus Taiwan Trip

photo credits - Lisa Foxworthy Stine, Carey Cairns Andray,  John Pulliam


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Deb:
Love does indeed make the world go round and one could get that warm, wonderful feeling just by reading this most tender of posts. Clearly your father is a remarkable man and to have touched and inspired the lives of so many people is a magnificent achievement. You must have been terribly proud.

But, the greater point you make here, for us, is that whatever fripperies we may choose to surround ourselves with in life, it is the love of family and friends which is the most important. With it we are uplifted.

Mise said...

Deb, what a wonderful man your father is! To have motivated and uplifted so many people throughout his career, to have opened worlds of possibility for children, to have made such a difference through energy and will, all of those are inspirational things. It is heartwarming to see such goodness being celebrated.

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Oh Deb,
What a wonderful evening it must have been, not only for your lovely and talented dad but for everyone who was there.....I bet there wasn't a dry eye in the house !! Your dad is obviously loved by all whom he touched and and how befitting that he had such a splendid tribute paid to him.
.....and, I adore that photo of him and your mum.
A fantastic post Deb and, through it, we can all feel the emotion of the evening.
Have a safe journey back to Scotland ( I think that you missed some snow !!) and, I look forward to hopefully meeting up in 2012 !
Will email soon....sorry, life has been a little hectic around here but, that's a poor excuse !! Much love. XXXX

flwrjane said...

My eyes are filled with tears as I write this.

Yes, I think we can feel the love you wrote of so beautifully.

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

xo Jane

Decor To Adore said...

Sniff. I seemed to have sprung a leak in my eyes. My thanks to your dear da.

On Monday I will be strapping on the petticoats and high button boots to creat pioneer crafts with 90 kids. I don't have money, but I have time. Kids don't know the difference. :)

Teresa Hatfield ~ Splendid Sass said...

I now have tears running down my face. Reminds me so much of my father. Such accomplishments for the love and care of others. This men are not like they were then.
This is such touching story, and I am so happy that you shared it with us, because that is what it is all about!
Have a wonderful Christmas.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

How perfectly wonderful.
Though we all might now have realized it when we were younger.... this is really what the spirit of Christmas should be.
Wishing you the continuation of a very special Christmas season!
Pamela, and Edward too!

French Basketeer.com said...

Aw Deb, what a beautiful story (the part about your Dad, not the part about your flight)...the photos of him that night are so touching....hope you return to Aberdeen safely~

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

It looks and sounds so magical, your heart must have been brimming with pride for your father. What a wonderful way to start the holidays. Hope the flight home is much easier. Much love XO

Karena said...

Deb this is so poignant! It brought tears to my eyes.

I know you are anxious to get to Scotland. I miss you already though.

Please some and enter the Grand Finale Holiday Giveaway from Greyfreth! You will love it and the other open events!


Art by Karena

24 Corners said...

Deb...I'm treasuring my Tunnock's, and now that I know what you went through to 'sneak' them into the country...I'll be treasuring them even more! Last night Mr. 24 picked one of them up and I had to give hime a sweet little tongue lashing...'not yet' I said, 'I'm going to need to look at them for a while'...he said, 'I was just going to see if they were really made in Scotland'...I said 'of course they are...now back away dearest!'. ;)
Anyway...I love looking at them!! ♥

It's wonderful to see the pictures of your dad's special night after hearing your stories...the images are so moving (couldn't watch the video for some reason)...your dad is very blessed to have been able to experience all the appreciation and love, what a gifted man...you're a very lucky little girl!!!
Congrats on your visa Deb...you're officially a lass now...and a bonny one at that!!
Big Seattle hugs...
xoxo J~

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

Oh my Deb. How lovely. You can feel the love in every photo. Simply amazing that all of these former students returned to honor your wonderful father! L O V E And, great to bring light to the needs of music programs in our community schools!! Touched by reading this. oxo

red ticking said...

i sooooo feel the love... and even more special reliving the precious story you told us the other day... and these photos... precious.
and like j... i am savoring the tidbits... i just look at them ... so pretty wrapped in their paper... next to santa...

what a day... one i will not forget... truly ... you are a gem in my life... merry christmas...xoxo

Barbara said...

What a brilliant Christmas post, Deb. Full of love. Loved reading about your dad and all his accomplishments.
And with the visa....you are now officially a Scot!
Have a lovely Christmas in your new digs!

Unknown said...


What a beautiful post in honor of your Dad. I always love to read what you have to say, your writing style is wonderful, and today,s did not disappoint. Your father is a special man.
Congrats on getting your visa, what an adventure you are on. It makes me a touch envious, I love the idea of turning life upsidedown!
Keep putting your thoughts on paper, you are an awesome writer.

Merry Christmas,

Jo Farmer said...

A wonderful post Deborah. I enjoyed reading every word and took my time perusing the lovely photos. Your dad is clearly a much loved and well respected person. A huge treat for me to sneak a peek and share the moment with you, albeit from afar!

Thrilled you've got your visa and hope to catch up with you sometime in 2012.

Merry Christmas

Jo xx

Jeanne Henriques said...

I so love this post Deb!! What a remarkable Dad you have and to be honored in such a glorious way is such an achievement! You are your father's daughter, there is no doubt about that. :)

So happy to see this blog as well!! Much needed...welcome to the expat world of blogging where we are never quite sure of what is going to happen next. This is just the beginning of a blog that you will come to treasure in a very special way... I had to laugh about your flight and visa woes...trying to get a new visa set up for the remainder of our time in England is making my head spin. With spouse moving on...I will be moved to 'caregiver' status and requires a trip to New York for a few days to get it all sorted. Trust me, you don't want to get me started! So glad yours is all settled! :) Happy spouse, mom, daughter...she is, she is.. :)

Best wishes Deb and thanks for your lovely comment on Facebook. Proud moments all around in this crazy expat world of ours ;)

Jeanne xx

helen tilston said...

Hello Deborah

So glad you made it back to celebrate your father's honour ceremony. It must have been emotional for him. Such a long time to work in one place and there must have been so many memories and friendship.

I thought I had book-marked your blog and hopefully now I have. I enjoy reading your posts and they are always interesting

Helen xx

vicki archer said...

Such a wonderful post Deb... I love your energy, enthusiasm and generosity in sharing this with us. What a fabulous night for your family and everyone's happiness is so evident on the faces you have captured... I hope you are back 'home' now and enjoying Scotland. I did have a laugh when you mentioned what was weighing your suitcases sown... those tea cakes and caramel wafers have been a disaster for me... I love them!! Cannot look at them, touch them or buy them ever again!!
Happy Christmas and have a wonderfully festive holiday season... xv

Unknown said...

Deb, what a wonderful tribute to your Dad. Teachers can have such an impact on so many lives. Those teen years and with a teacher who does all those extra trips and hours and hours with students outside of the classroom, it all has so much more impact. Obviously! How nice that he could see and hear how he's affected so many and that he could share it with his family. Don't we all want our life's work to have such meaning?

Lisa Porter said...

Thank you Deb for making me laugh & cry & laugh all in one of your ever-so-wonderful posts! Just shared with my fb friends.
The photos are all moving. The last one though of your mom & dad, priceless.

Renae Moore said...

You are a jewel...thanks for reminding us that love truly does make the world go 'round. You have a tremendous gift of writing and expression. What a joy, a legacy and honour to your precious Dad. So many accomplishments and his students gratitude must have touched the depths of his soul!
Love you my dear!
Be well...

Anonymous said...

Oh Deb~ What a beautiful post! You really captured the essence of what happened, and what will always remain in all of our hearts...the "love".
And to tell you the truth, a lot of the time in this insanely competitive, money based, petty and messed up world, it isn't always very visible is it? I can now bask in the glow of seeing that love come back to your father and family, as well it should. And the incredible side effect for all of us to be re-energized through connecting again, and having our priorities reorganized just a bit, by bringing up to the top, something very important: paying honor to those who have influenced and helped us in our lives! And helping those who are struggling to make this world better through Music and Art--an often under supported and always hacked (in low economic tides)part of our schools and society. You are such a shining example of a loving daughter my dear--and I know how much he deeply appreciates your role in making this extraordinary show of love and respect happen-I certainly do!! I always will treasure that bright bright night, where we showed that "Love Is Real" and even decades of time cannot dull it... OOO, wherever we are in the world~ connected by love, Ardiss

Diane Williams said...

Oh Deb...thank you for bringing that momentous night's event to life in print, since I sadly was unable to attend. I can only sum it up in one word...BRAVO!! The only thing that could have made it better was if your dear mom was still here to see all that love poured out for your dad and family! Wishing you safe travels back to Scotland. Enjoy your blog...it's like a scrapbook of your life's events, and there certainly never is a dull moment in yours!! <3

Punctuation Mark said...

such a beautiful tribute to the amazing man he is... Travel safely and have the best of holidays and a happy new year!!!

*Chic Provence* said...

Hi Deb as always your post made me laugh, cry, reflect and rejoice! So glad you are back home now (right?)

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!



Travel With Lulu said...

That is the most ADORABLE photo of your parents! So glad to hear your visa came through :) Safe travels on Air France, little lady. And Merry Christmas! XOL

Francine Gardner said...

What a fantastic well lived life. Your father is an extraordinary man.... I can feel and see the love of giving and receiving joy and musical harmony
Congratulations on your papers!
You have so much to look forward to in 2012, may this new year be filled with love, excitement and passion

quintessence said...

I finally had time to stop by and read this incredible story. What a beautiful tribute - right out of Mr. Holland's Opus!! You must have been so very proud!! Wishing a wonderful rest of the holiday season and a very festive Happy New Year's!!

Millie said...

How good was that! So glad your Dad had the love of his family to support him on the night Deb & love to you & the Scotsmas for an awesome New Year. May 2012 bring you both much happiness & never-ending contentment.
Millie xx

Kitty said...

Hello Deb, my friend! It has been ages since I visited your salon; imagine my surprise when I found a beautiful WEBSITE! dispatched all the way from the UK. Everything looks fab, and your Scotch life looks amazing. Much love, Kitty.

DolceDreams said...

How absolutely wonderful Deb! What a treat the night must have been...and how wonderful that you didn't miss the plane :)
Happy Happy Scottish New Year,

Shelley said...

Teachers are so very important in their communities. I adored many of mine and held them in complete awe. I can imagine there would have been a lot of affection flowing around that room. It made me think of the film, Mr. Holland's Opus.

annechovie said...

What a beautifully written post, Deb! I didn't know you were in Scotland already! Hope you're enjoying living there. Thx for the sweet comment. Hope you're enjoying your weekend! xo

Mise said...

Are you well there, dear Deb?

helen tilston said...

Hello Deb

I miss your wonderful posts and hope all is well


Unknown said...

Deb, when will you be back? Just a hello....I'm here?

busana muslimah said...

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La Petite Gallery said...

I tried forever to send a comment but couldn't. Now you are on blogger. I have left you on my side bar all that time.
London is jumping!
Can't wait till Downton Abby comes back on TV. Trying to find my Grandmothers birthday
she had 2 sisters and was from
Sheffield. I just do a little
on the net, hardly have time to blog..yvonne

*Chic Provence* said...

Hi Deb, how are things in the land of tartan?



Renée Finberg said...

i wuv the new header!!!!
this is a fun post.
thanks for the peak into your life.

love you girl!!!!

La Petite Gallery said...

Debbie, I am sorry haven't been in touch. Renee is arriving today at the Tiny Rockland airport (Tiny plane)I have been so busy getting ready for her. Just saw her crazy post and also read the beautiful note you sent her when her shop closed. Thank you for that. We will be intouch after a week or so. Take care and best wishes.
PS can't read this code, 3 rd time..here I will try one more time.

Gebelik said...

it is a good job, the medicaid billing is billing medical bills. the rules are also acceptable

La Petite Gallery said...

Debbi, How is everything going in your life. Don't hear from you to much. Just checking on my Favorite bloggers to make sure you are staying out of this heat. It has been so hot in Maine, I can't remember so many days like this. If we get 3 hot days for the whole Summer it's normal.
August isn't here yet...stay cool.

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