The Fireside sessions are up and running at the Rodgers’ home in Casa Grande. (That’s an informal discussion about the Baha’i Faith) Following Jim Rhodes’ visit, Deb and I decided to make such gatherings a weekly event. It had been our plan all along, but the house (and we) weren’t really ready until now. Our first one was a musical fireside with yours truly performing. We had a small crowd and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
We’ve done three of these now and will be “branching out” as we invite some of our learned friends to present topics at future firesides. And I will be recruiting some of my fellow musicians to come and perform as well – kind of like a free house mini-concert.
On a somewhat sad note, we bid the final farewell to a great man and fellow Baha’i teacher a couple weeks ago. Ken Jeffers passed away from a series of heart attacks – the last occurring in the hospital as he recuperated from an earlier attack. Ken was quite a character and a big-thinker. He didn’t do things in a small way, but always to his maximum capacity. Maybe that’s why he had EIGHT children! And those adult children today, and the grand children I was fortunate to meet at the memorial, are the greatest living testimony to Ken’s life and character. They all spoke of him with such love and respect that it made me see, THEY were Ken’s real treasure.
Ken shared the Baha’i teachings with thousands of people, all over the world. In fact he made about 5 trips to Russia where he “found” about 600 new believers. 19 years ago he married his latest treasure, Donna, and the two of them perfected their “Music and Conversation” series of fireside presentations. They did those in Russia too.
Donna, who was a big-band singer “back in the day” and more recently a leader of the “Roses of Love” singers here in Arizona (shown here singing at his memorial), would of course provide the music while Ken talked about the Faith and answered questions. Perhaps that’s why Deb and I have adopted a similar approach, except that she does the talking and I do the music.
The past several weeks also included a performance at a surprise Birthday Party for another fantastic Baha’i Teacher and Singer-So0ngwriter – John Cook. I had not met John although he and I share some dear friends in common. Our paths had not quite crossed until last weekend when I got a call from Richard Dodge asking if I would perform for the surprise celebration. When I realized who was being honored, I readily agreed. For you Baha’is out there, if you’ve ever heard the song “Will you give your life for Baha’u’llah”, then you’ve hears a John Cook song. He wrote that one many years ago.
Before I sign off, I realize that I haven’t mentioned the new dog. Yes, we did it again. This is about our 6th attempt at a second dog. Deb chose her (I accept no responsibility). Her name is “Gracie” (according to Deb, though I have called her many other names) She is a mix of Black Lab and Visla. A Visla is a Hungarian Pointer, a hunting dog. But, I think “Visla” must be Hungarian for “Nerve End”. This dog is the most anxious, fidgety, chews-everything, animal I have ever tried to live with. Her saving grace is the way she gets along with Rocket. Those two can run and wrestle in the back yard for hours. She seems absolutely tireless. I never thought the day would come when Rocket would be a gentle relaxed pet, but after a week with Gracie, this pit is pooped. He readily comes in and seeks a spot to sleep. Good dog.