The other day I asked my wife Marilyn what initially piqued her interest in dating me or even being remotely interested.  Amongst many of the things I thought would come out of her mouth were as follows… great afro, charming personality, chiseled looks, but her response took me by surprise, as I don’t really ever take the time to enjoy it anymore.  She said, “your music, singing and playing all the songs we use to love on your guitar.”  “You used to serenade me after most dates and camping with the kids around the campfire.” 

First let me explain.  In Highschool (late 70’s) my friend Scott Smith and I lived to play anything on a six string or 12 string guitars from Crosby, Still, Nash & Young CSNY to Dan Folgerberg, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. We formed a group called the “Honky Tonk Heros” and even played in the venue where greats like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys played…. Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah. Of course, we never made it that far but did play at Chilkoot Charlies and Tiny’s bar in Anchorage Alaska. 

As I recall those days she is so right, for a moment in time music was my life.  It provided the seeds of self-confidence, gave me an outlet of expression and introduced me to one of my greatest friends. Still to this day even after a year or more of not talking we can get together at his parents’ house and jam.  More importantly, it introduced me to my future wife, mother of five kids and 10 grandkids of which we have been so blessed. So why don’t I pick up the guitar more?  Not sure.  Priorities. 

Occasionally here at Cascade Academy when things are calm, I do get a chance to sit down and relive a few of those days and present a funny sing along song or two with the students.  It brings back many great memories and helps them get out of their comfort zone.  Listening to and enjoying music is certainly important for all youth but especially those who are struggling with mental illness and in particular anxiety and depression.  It can heal, calm and relax the soul when applied at the right moment and with the right intention.  I’m committing more time to those things that have in the past nourished my soul.  One of those is music and its healing power.  We look forward to warm summer days and evenings of jam sessions outside on the patio here at Cascade.  Who knows, we may meet the next Joan Beaz, Carly Simon or Carol King.  Sing and play more with the Students who are an inspiration to me… Yeah that’s it.

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