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A Story


Jackson Gillman, Stand-Up Chameleon

In the past, I've used Valentine's Day the way that others do the December holiday season, and sent out annual greetings to people with whom I'd like to stay in touch.  I haven't done that for some time, but I got on a little writing jag this past Valentine’s Day, and just as "Earth Day should be every day," so perhaps should Valentine's Day!  

A friend sent me an email on February 14, but the "h" on her keyboard wasn't working.  That got me musing about the fun that could be ‘ad with messages sans letter #8, 'ence t'is title: 

Of 'earts and Men

© 2014 Jackson Gillman
February 14, 2014

 

 

I've been performing a weekly program for preschool families, held every Friday morning at the New Bedford Whaling Historic National Park. It is called Whales, Tales and Sails. I wrote a theme song which includes "...watch me spout, as I swim about, and you’ll find out, that I’m really smart, and I have the biggest heart."  Ours is the size of a fist and weighs about a pound, but the blue whale's can weigh 1300 pounds and is the size of a small car!  

I cycle in a marine theme periodically but choose other themes for most of the weeks.  For the morning of Valentine's Day, I sang age-appropriate love songs like Tony Chestnut (toe-knee chest-nut nose eye love you...). After Skinamarinkadoo'ing, I sang "there's a little wheel a-turning in in my heart..."  I explained to the wee ones where their heart is, and what it does so the song and movements might make more sense to them.  The next verses are about "a song a-singing" and "a smile a-smiling in my heart." Afterwards we crafted valentine puppies made entirely with cut-out hearts.

This all got me thinking about hearts, of course. My actual one too, as I had a stress test at the Falmouth Hospital later that afternoon.  Why was this scheduled they asked? No, I have no symptoms.  My only concern was to get a good read on my ticker.  My brother in Minnesota passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack this past fall at the age of 63.  My father and his father had died similarly at that same age.  Hence the concern.  The graying rug on my chest was shaved so all the electrodes would stick.  For twelve minutes the treadmill's speed and incline kept increasing till my little wheel was turning at 145 rpm.  All the while my spinner was monitored for any blips during the amping up and recovery period.  I was pronounced fit as a fiddle and have always felt so; still the confirmation was reassuring.

So, I hope to outlive my male predecessors.  And when I'm 64, I plan to party big time! That is coincidentally the beginning of the Jewish New Year when I'll ask to be written into the Book of Life for another year, and hopefully a couple more decades...  My daughter will probably be going off to college then.  Yikes.  But please don't wait that long to find me on the minstrel trail.  Good times with friends are getting fewer and farther between.  Life is short, but good, especially with a song and a smile in your heart.  May it be so for you till we meet again...

And a 'appy, 'ealthy
Valentine’s Year to you! 

with love, song and smiles,

Jackson

 

:valentine puppies.jpg

 

Valentine puppies at "Whales, Tales and Sails"

 


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