Music collection of my father-in-law

bluegrass, big band, Ernest Tubb

singingAs I’ve noted, my father-in-law, Richard Powell, died on April 22, 2020. we had the funeral a mere 13 months later.

Then we had the task of getting my mother-in-law packed to move to a smaller place. This involved my wife making 70-mile trips, each way, approximately every other weekend to get my MIL prepared. One weekend in June my daughter and I joined them.

I was specifically tasked to go through my FIL’s music collection. He had hundreds of CDs. A lot of them were classical. Most of them I packed up to be sold or given away. But a few – OK, about 100 – I took. Oh, not all for me. My wife’s friend is getting some music from Scotland.

One of his granddaughters is getting some tunes from the Great American Songbook, songs composed by Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, et al. One collection contains albums given by Richard’s late son John (d. 2002) to the late Alice Truman, a family friend. So maybe some of my FIL’s collection was inherited.

In any case, I kept quite a few of his CDs, and a lot of them were country artists. Ernest Tubb, Willie Nelson, and more Johnny Cash than I probably need, including one compilation that had never been opened. A few bluegrass compilations. My first albums of Gene Autry and Jimmy Durante.

Lots of classical music. A three-CD set of marches, and not all Sousa. Other themed albums: the music of the flute or trumpet or oboe, et al. Favorite overtures.

I had to limit the number of big band artists I took because there were a lot. Some were musicians I had: Basie, Ellington, Goodman. But quite a few I did not: Fletcher Henderson, Erskine Hawkins, Jimmie Lundsford, Chick Webb.

Two things

There are a couple of things that I found interesting. Many of the items in the collection were used, and/or deeply discounted items. That would be in keeping with his frugal nature, and, knowing my FIL, was understandable.

What I find strange, though, is that I don’t particularly associate him with listening to a lot of music at all. He may have played it in his garage, working on his old cars, but it’s not something I remember hearing a lot in the house, especially in his last residence. Maybe he was enjoying them while driving.

You can tell a lot about a person by the music they own.

May rambling: food and death

100 years since Tulsa, and one since George Floyd


I’ve been thinking a lot about food and death. NOT death caused by food poisoning.

At my FIL’s funeral this month, someone told a story about how my parents-in-law met. They were both students at what is now UAlbany. She was a food server, he made deliveries of supplies. He came into the dining area, just as she was about to eat her fried egg sandwich. Instead, she offered it to him.

The next week, they went to the movies together. They lived happily for many years. It is a sweet story, but the telling was incomplete. The kicker is that he HATED fried egg sandwiches, but he ate it anyway.

My wife has discovered there were foods that were always in her parents’ house. One staple was spaghetti and meatballs. As it turns out, she HATES spaghetti and meatballs, but he liked them, so she served them. Now my wife has stopped buying them for her.

Arthur tells of taste obsessions and his late husband Nigel.

Some links

Generally, I have no energy for the Big Lie believers or the January 6 deniers who say those insurrectionists were tourists, blocking an investigation. But if Chuck wants to rant about Marjorie Taylor Greene – she’s beyond reprehensible.

Why Liz Cheney Matters.

We’ll Never Stop Trying to Cut Taxes for the Rich, Republicans Warn.

John Oliver: Stand Your Ground gun laws “exalt a white person’s fear over a black person’s life.” Also, sponsored product on the local news broadcasts.

I, too, rage America.

Avoiding Overtaxing Minorities When We Need Them Most.

100 Years: Remembering the Tulsa Race Massacre, which I wrote about here

What to make of Israel/Palestine?

Wage theft is a huge problem that requires a creative solution.

Restaurant Workers Say They Won’t Return to Work Without a Living Wage

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.
– Jack Kornfield

And more

Working 55 hours a week can be deadly.

The Problem With Bitcoin

Comics writer and journalist David Anthony Kraft passed away.

In honor of Ms. Ruby Hughes.

Adam Ragusea on converting recipes in liters and milliliters to pounds and ounces, and Vidalia Onions.

It’s going to rain. Can you smell it?

How to Conduct an Address Search to Access Data for your Location. Census Reporter is an option to find your block group, state and Congressional districts, and more.

Why you need to have your ancestor’s New York death certificate.

The filing cabinet was critical to the information infrastructure of the 20th-century.

Are you getting robocalls purportedly – and clearly not – from the Social Security Administration saying your number has been compromised? I’ve gotten a few dozen on my landline and my cell this year, from several area codes, mostly the 30-second version. Annoying, but also really pathetic.

Now I Know: The Forest Man of India and How Elephants Communicate From Miles Away and The Circle of Life and The Secret Ingredient is Curiosity and The Reason Florida Disavowed Space Oranges.


Spring Ain’t Here – Peter Sprague, featuring Rebecca Jade.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Afro Fiesta feat. Twanguero and I-Taweh.

Main themes from Laputa: Castle in the Sky – Joe Hisaishi.

Coverville 1358: Cover Stories for Dave Mason, Donovan, and Graham Gouldman.

Danse slav from the opera The Reluctant King by Emmanuel Chabrier.

We Love the Drums – Peter Sprague, featuring Duncan Moore.

I Fought the Law – Bobby Fuller Four.

The Hamilton Polka – “Weird Al” Yankovic.

“My cardinal song is a call to you”

Speak their names

cardinal maleAfter my father-in-law, Richard Powell died on April 22, I received over 125 comments on Facebook. That was very nice. My wife isn’t on Facebook, and I don’t blame her, frankly.

She received about 30 sympathy cards. You know, the ones you buy in a store, sent via the United States Postal Service. Many were from members of our church, and the rest from friends and present or former colleagues. Quite a few included lengthy hand-written notes of condolences. It was very clear that the messages were based on their own experiences of grief.

One, in particular, included an extended note recommending the book Healing After Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman, which I was able to download for free from here.

Hickman writes about the time after the services are over – and for my FIL, the services haven’t even taken place. “Now there are spaces in the mind, spaces in the days and nights. Often, when we least expect it, the pain and the preoccupation come back, and back—sometimes like the rolling crash of an ocean wave, sometimes like the slow ooze after a piece of driftwood is lifted and water and sand rise to claim their own once more.”

I didn’t leave; love never dies

Another enclosure in a sympathy card was two poems, Speak their names and Red Feathered Soul. The latter was written by Elle Bee.

You might think cynically about Red Feathered Soul, considering it mawkishly sentimental, and I understand that.
“My cardinal song is a call to you
To tell you that I miss you too.”

But the day after my FIL died, my wife and one of her brothers saw a cardinal. At least a half dozen times in the two weeks after he died, my wife and I saw a cardinal in our backyard when usually we see one or two per year. And neither my wife or I had actually heard a cardinal sing in our yard until this month. Make of it what you will.

Today would have been Richard Powell’s 84th birthday.

Richard Powell (1936-2020)

“Hammerin’ Harmon”

The late Richard Powell, me, the late Les Green
My father-in-law Richard Powell and I bonded over baseball. He loved the game, and I had grown up with it, even having a big baseball card collection in the 1960s and early 1970s. When he moved to Oneonta in the early 1990s, he usually had season tickets to the minor league farm team, first for the Yankees and then, from 1999 to 2009, the Tigers.

Richard was an avid, and serious fan. He kept score of the games in a series of ledgers And by “keeping score”, I mean recording every out or hit of every batter. He was so reliable that the official scorekeeper, the person who decides whether that was a hit or a fielder’s error, occasionally called on him for his expertise.

We went to the exhibition games in Cooperstown nearly annually through 2008. No way would we drive to Cooperstown. We took the bus, which was much more civilized. And much cheaper, as the local homeowners charged exorbitant fees to park on their plot of land. He became quite expert at picking out the old-timers who would be in town to sign memorabilia.

We even went to a New York Yankees game on Father’s Day weekend 2015, which I wrote about here.

Minnesota Twins

His favorite player was Harmon Killebrew, who hit 573 home runs for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins in an era when reaching 500 homers was an achievement. He’s still 12th all-time among home run leaders. He led the league in that stat six times and all of major league baseball five.

Richard’s persona was like the play of another one of his favorite players, Kirby Puckett. Not ostentatious but steady, reliable, showing when necessary a surprising bit of power.

And in October 2019, Richard seemed quite healthy and vital. Then he got what seemed to mimic a bad flu, which lingered into the new year. He had excessive calcium, which was treated by his doctor. But he spent about a week at a hospital in Oneonta, and another week and a half in a hospital in Schenectady, taking an ambulance 75 miles between the two.

Finally, he was diagnosed with Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma. It’s a rare form of lymphoma. While there were medical options presented, none were particularly attractive. So we were told he had about a year to live around Presidents Day. Four weeks later, and after a number of falls it was suddenly only another month to go.

As it turned out, his wife and three surviving children were all present on the day he died, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Expect more on Richard Powell, especially if/when I find that picture of the two of us in Cooperstown.

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