Daily Update: Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Half-Way Point of Lent and Turbius de Mongrovejo

Today is the Half-Way Point of Lent, and the Optional Memorial of Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, Bishop (died 1606). Today is also the birthday of Richard’s brother Michael (aka Slug) here in town (1943).

Since today is the Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent, today is the Half-Way Point of Lent. Today’s Saint was born in 1538 at Mayorga de Campos, Leon, Spain, of the nobility, and became a lawyer and a Professor of law at the University of Salamanca, and Judge of the Court of the Inquisition at Granada. When the position of Archbishop of Peru became vacant he was selected as the best person to fill the vacancy, even though at the time he was not in orders (i.e., not a priest) and protested both his layman status and his unworthiness for the position. He was ordained priest, then bishop, then headed for Peru. He arrived at Paita, Peru, 600 miles from Lima, on May 24th, 1581. He began his mission work by travelling to Lima on foot, baptizing and teaching the natives. Three times he traversed the 180,000 square miles of his diocese, generally on foot, frequently defenseless and often alone; exposed to tempests, torrents, deserts, wild beasts, tropical heat, fevers and sometimes threats from hostile tribes; baptizing and confirming nearly one half million souls. He founded the first seminary in the Western hemisphere. He consistently fought for the rights of the natives against the Spanish masters, and organized councils and synods in the New World. He is the Patron Saint of Peru, of Latin American bishops, and of native rights. Today is also the birthday of Richard’s brother here in town. His father wanted his sons to have the nicknames Butch, Slug, and Spike (so far as I can determine, because they were tough characters in the original Popeye comic strip); so the first son, James Jr., was nicknamed Butch, and the second son, Murphy Michael (the one whose birthday is today) was nicknamed Slug. Fourteen years and three daughters later, Richard arrived; and his sisters refused to let him be called Spike, so Richard he remained. However, there is a Spike in the family – the elder son of Slug, so the legacy lives on (1943).

Last night our LSU Tigers won their College Baseball game with the Southeastern Louisiana Lions by the score of 8 to 2.

I woke up today at 7:15 am; I did my Book Devotional Reading, did my Internet Devotional Reading, said the Eighth Day of my Annunciation Novena, and read the Thursday papers. I then finished my laundry and ironed my casino pants, apron, and shirts while Richard went to Tobacco Plus to get the kind of liquor Matthew and Callie prefer.

Leaving the house at 9:30 am, I drove up to Mamou and had my appointment with my dentist; all is well, and my next appointment is on Thursday, September 28th. Coming back into town I stopped at the Post Office to stock up on If It Fits It Ships boxes. When I got home at 11:30 am, I uploaded my February 2017 photos from my phone to the computer, burned a photo CD of my February photos for myself, and burned a photo CD of my February photos for Liz Ellen.

Richard and I left the house at 12:15 pm; we ate Chinese at Peking, and at Wal-Mart I got Liz Ellen’s 6-hour pseudoephedrine, my salad supplies, some vacation supplies, and other grocery and household items. When we got home at 1:00 pm we watched MST3k Episode 614 San Francisco International, which was the pilot TV movie for the later 1970-71 series (except that Pernell Roberts, from the movie, was replaced by Lloyd Bridges in the series). I then worked on Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog, and prepared my monthly package to send to Liz Ellen (more anon). Richard went to bed, and I made my lunch salads for tomorrow and Saturday, then I watched Jeopardy! And when I finish this Daily Update I will bring in the cat and go to bed.

Tomorrow is a Friday in Lent, so tomorrow is a Day of Abstinence from Meat. Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Blessed Óscar Romero, Bishop (died 1980). We will begin our work week at the casino, and on my breaks I will concentrate on reading either one of my books or one of my magazines. After 8:00 am I will pick up my 15-year Loyalty Gift from the casino; if memory serves, the 15-year gift is a jacket, which I had gotten in my size, as they did not have any big enough for Richard. When we get into town on our way home I will mail Liz Ellen’s package at the post office. Tomorrow our #4 LSU Tigers (17-5, 3-0) will be playing an Away College Baseball game with the #12 Florida Gators (14-8, 0-3), our #11 LSU Lady Tigers (24-7, 1-2) will play a Home College Softball game with the #15 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (26-4, 2-1), and our New Orleans Pelicans (30-41, 5-9) will be playing an Away NBA game with the Houston Rockets (49-22, 9-5).

Our Parting Quote for the Thursday afternoon comes to us from Cindy Walker, American songwriter, singer, and dancer. Born in 1918 in Mart, Texas, the daughter of a cotton-broker, her mother was a fine pianist, and her maternal grandfather was a noted composer of hymns. From childhood Walker was fond of poetry and wrote habitually. As a teenager, inspired by newspaper accounts of the dust-storms on the American prairie-lands in the mid-1930s, she wrote the song, “Dusty Skies” (later recorded by Bob Wills and his band). In 1936 (when she was in her late teens) her song “Casa de Mañana” was performed by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (as part of the Texas Centennial celebrations). By the end of the decade Walker was singing and dancing in Texas stage shows. In 1940, at the age of twenty-two, she accompanied her parents on a business trip to Los Angeles, California. As they were driving down Sunset Boulevard she asked her father to stop the car near the Bing Crosby Enterprises building. Walker went inside the building to pitch a song and emerged shortly afterward to ask her mother to come play the piano for her; Bing Crosby’s brother Larry Crosby had agreed to listen to the song. She sang “Lone Star Trail” to him, accompanied by her mother. Larry Crosby was impressed and aware that his brother was looking for a new Western song to record. The next day Walker played guitar and sang “Lone Star Trail” for Bing Crosby at Paramount Studios (where he was making a movie). Crosby arranged for her to record a demo with Dave Kapp of Decca Records, who was also impressed and offered her a recording contract. “Lone Star Trail” was recorded and became a top-ten hit for Bing Crosby. Walker remained in Los Angeles for 13 years. In 1940 she appeared as a singer in the Gene Autry Western Ride Tenderfoot Ride. The Decca recording contract led to Walker recording several songs with Texas Jim Lewis and His Lone Star Cowboys, including “Seven Beers with the Wrong Man” in 1941, which was also filmed as an early ‘Soundie’ (a precursor of music videos). In 1944 she recorded a song (not her own) which became a top ten hit, “When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again”. Walker successfully pitched her songs to Bob Wills and began to regularly contribute compositions for recordings and the movies that Wills made in the 1940s.The collaboration was extremely fruitful: Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys eventually recorded over 50 of her songs, including “Cherokee Maiden” (1941), “Dusty Skies” (1941), “Miss Molly” (1942), “Sugar Moon” (co-written with Bob Wills; 1947) and “Bubbles in My Beer” (1948). Bob Wills and his band performed her first top-ten country hit, “You’re From Texas” (1944). In 1948 the following Walker-penned songs were hits: “Oklahoma Waltz” (recorded by Johnny Bond), “Warm Red Wine” (Ernest Tubb) and “Take Me in Your Arms and Hold Me” (Eddy Arnold). During the 1950s Walker continued her success as a writer of popular songs. In 1952 Hank Snow had a hit with her “The Gold Rush is Over” and in 1955 Webb Pierce had success with “I Don’t Care”.  Another Walker song was “Blue Canadian Rockies” recorded by Gene Autry (which featured in Autry’s 1952 movie of the same name). After her stint in Los Angeles she returned to Texas in 1954, living at Mexia in a modest three-bedroom house with her widowed mother, Oree.  In 1955 Eddy Arnold pitched her the song-title “You Don’t Know Me” when they met during a WSM deejay convention in Nashville. From this title Walker wrote a song for Arnold which has been recorded by numerous artists over the years, most successfully by Jerry Vale (1956); Lenny Welch (1960); Ray Charles (1962); and Elvis Presley (1967). Walker’s song,”Anna Marie”, was a hit for Jim Reeves in 1957 and the beginning of another productive artist-writer association which culminated in “This is It” (1965) and “Distant Drums” (a posthumous hit for Reeves). “Distant Drums” remained at No. 1 on the British charts for five weeks in 1966. In 1961 Eddy Arnold had a minor hit with Walker’s “Jim, I Wore a Tie Today”, a moving song about the death of a cowboy. She wrote the song “Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)”, which was recorded by Roy Orbison (who also recorded a version of “Distant Drums”). She originally had little confidence in “Dream Baby”, but Orbison’s recording was a hit in both the US and Britain in 1962. In 1964 Fred Foster of Monument Records “tempted her back into the studio to record an album, Words and Music by Cindy Walker. Her song “In The Misty Moonlight” was a hit for both Jerry Wallace (1964) and Dean Martin (1967). “Heaven Says Hello” (recorded by Sonny James) and “You Are My Treasure” (Jack Greene) were hits in 1968, both written by Walker. Blue Canadian Rockies” was revived in 1968 by The Byrds on their influential country-rock album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. In 1970 she became a charter member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1981 Mickey Gilley’s version of “You Don’t Know Me” was a hit in the country charts. A year later Walker had her last major hit with Ricky Skaggs’ reworking of “I Don’t Care”. In her personal life she shunned the limelight. It was often reported that she never married, though in an interview with the New York Times shortly before her death Walker stated she once had “a very short-lived marriage”. Walker’s custom was rise at dawn each day to write songs; she typed her lyrics on a pink-trimmed manual typewriter, and her mother helped work out melodies for her daughter’s words. Each year Walker and her mother would operate from an apartment in Nashville for five months or so in order to market the songs. It has been estimated that more than 500 of her songs have been recorded and that her songs made the top-forty charts (country or pop) more than 400 times. In September 1997 Walker was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the next year she was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2001 the Country Music Television network honored the 40 Greatest Women in Country Music. The women were selected for their contribution to the genre by a survey of hundreds of American artists and music historians, and Walker was ranked at number 32 in the list. In March 2006 American music icon Willie Nelson released a CD album featuring thirteen of Walker’s well-known songs. The album title was You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker. The memorial sculpture at her gravesite is a large pink-granite guitar, in her signature color (died 2006): “I’m a natural-born song plugger. I’m not intimidated by anyone.”

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