Do You Stop and Listen to the Music?

Skipping through your phone’s playlist is so easy…I sometimes wonder if we really value what we listen to or are we just grabbing “what’s easy?”

Before you go further, click the “play arrow” below and listen to “All Things Must Pass” while you keep reading this post.  The song is by George Harrison which is fittingly the ending piece for the Tower Records documentary (All Things Must Pass).

When you went to Tower Records (see the second link below if you have no idea what is Tower Records) and your choice was whether to plunk down $12 or $15 for an album or CD…you had to be sure you were going to like it.

And that’s where Tower Listening Stations became important to me.  In a store, mixed throughout the aisles and aisles of records…and later CDs, were these “listening stations” that featured 6 different CDs that you could preview through a set of headphones for that station, and definitely find out if you wished to purchase that album (CD).

I spent hours and hours at Tower Records at the Listening Stations previewing music I would ultimately buy.  I’ve been a music aficionado for most of my life and have always placed a high value on high-quality sound and the best artists.

Tower was my “hang-out.”

You know by now that Russ Solomon who created Tower Records died a couple of weeks ago here in Sacramento.  The New York Times had a pretty good write up of his life and Tower.

If you are even REMOTELY interested in music, knew Tower and were a fan…I highly recommend watching the documentary “All Things Must Pass.”

I’m sad that Tower is gone.  I’m sad that Russ Solomon is gone.  I feel like I knew him.

I wish I did.

My Dad, Robert Franklin Wedge

We lost Dad on the morning of December 26th, 2013, my mom at his side. My dad suffered from severe Parkinson’s and dementia, which not only robbed him of his ability to move his body, but also his ability to communicate with us in the final years. It’s been a very, very long time since I was able to talk with him. God I’d love to be able to talk with him once more.

Near the end in that past week, I was able to spend many hours with him just being by his side, talking to him, holding his hand, and telling him that I loved him and that everything would be okay.

And on Thursday morning, with Mom by his side, he passed away peacefully. His long, frustrating struggle with that terrible disease is over.

He was a very playful man, and often the silliest too. He never stopped doing and saying funny things–and taught me to be a grown up child. My dad passed away during the touch of his hospice nurse while she was bathing him. It’s not coincidental, in my mind, that my dad left this Earth the way he came into it, like a child in the care of loving hands.

He dedicated his life to Mom, Susan, and me. He made sure Susan and I grew up loved and made to feel special. Mom and Dad created the most incredible life experiences for all of us. I learned to be a polite boy, calling my parent’s friends Mr. and Mrs. I learned baseball from Dad and for most of my Little League days, my dad was the coach or manager of my team. He took me back packing, and taught me how to enjoy the outdoors without leaving a trace. I learned to love books and reading, and so often, Dad would take us to the book store, usually Tower on Broadway, and let Susan and I each choose one book he would buy for us.

He planned the most extraordinary vacations. But there weren’t beaches or palm trees. No, the trips were better than that. We visited National Parks, historic homes of presidents, Civil and Revolutionary War sites, Washington D.C., Gettysburg, Custer’s Last Stand, Concord and Lexington, Appomattox, the Grand Canyon, the Smithsonian, and more. And he once took the family on a 30-day driving vacation from coast to coast, where we visited the sites above. These were vacations like no parent’s I’ve ever known took their kids on—except for mine.

My dad loved movies, and I loved watching them with him. He loved horror movies, war movies, and Westerns. Science fiction movies were a staple, and I became a lifelong Trekie with Dad.

Dad and I collected stamps. He would take me to the stamp collector store, and we’d pick out U.S. and International stamps, and spend hours at home at the kitchen table, sorting and placing them in our albums. Dad was teaching me about the country and about the world—through the people and things printed on these stamps. You see…he was always teaching.

After retirement, he and Mom were going to travel, and did get to do some. More would have come. Probably mostly in the U.S. Trips to New England to see the fall color, to central Oregon for golf and relaxation, and every little antique store and art gallery in between. But Parkinson’s took hold shortly after Dad retired, altering those plans.

A thought for each of us. My mom and dad never got to live the retirement years for which they’d planned and saved all their lives. They had no regrets, and instead invested in being the very best parents to their son and daughter they could–and believe, me–no one could have asked for better parents. But they did make sacrifices, and they did plan for a wonderful retirement together…which never came due to the Parkinson’s. Each of us needs to know that as important as it is to plan and save for tomorrow, we’ve got live and enjoy today. Because we don’t know how many tomorrow’s we’ll each have. So go take a trip, or buy that frivolous thing you’ve always wanted.

My dad would love it if you did.


Bob Wedge was liberated from Parkinson’s on the morning of December 26th, with his wife of 52 years Peggy by his side.

Bob was an incredibly dedicated father and husband. He was known as a historian, golfer, movie buff, wine enthusiast, art lover, little league coach, bowler, and Clamper. He was also a collector of comics, stamps, books, and was a voracious reader.

Bob worked for the State of California and retired after 42 years as a research analyst with the Youth Authority.

Bob was born in Shafter, CA on August 7th, 1939. He leaves behind wife Peggy, son Jeff married to Karen, and daughter Susan Ross married to Michael.

When Did it Become Okay to Limit our Love of Country?

I don’t think I’ll ever understand why things like this happen, like why Delta’s “policy” caused their employee to tell Ms. Gaudry to silence her desire to express her love of this country and show respect for a fallen serviceman.

A former president once said “I’ve always believed that this land was set aside in an uncommon way. That a divine plan placed this great continent between the oceans to be found by a people from every corner of the Earth, who had a special love of faith, freedom, and peace. Let us reaffirm America’s destiny of goodness and goodwill.”

And so here we are…a country comprised of “people from every corner of the Earth.”

Yet some would have us believe its “wrong” or “uncomfortable to others” for a woman to lead a group of passengers on a plane flying between two American cities to sing the National Anthem out of respect for the friend of a deceased serviceman onboard. Because it might make some feel uncomfortable?

Whether those in this country “fled from where they were” or “came to a new beginning,” we each must respect the house we are in. When I stay at a friends’ home–I respect their house, their rules, their values, their haven. And if I should seek to become part of their family, a citizen if you will, I don’t kneel while the family says grace at supper, and I don’t burn the flag–because now it’s my flag.

God Bless you Pam Gaudry, and God Bless the United States of America.