Monday, December 17, 2018

Yule Go a-Viking

Hmmm, who would win?
A vastly misunderstood people, Vikings are often characterized as mere savages. Even the term ‘Viking’ comes from the Scandinavian ‘vikingr’ meaning pirate – so you can certainly see the parallel. But this term refers more to the time in summer when Scandinavian men would go ‘a -Viking’ and head out on a oversea expedition with the goal of trade or to work as foreign mercenaries. And, well, let’s be honest, there was quite a bit of plundered treasure, and a number of slaves brought back to the homeland for the winter, so we can only defend the characterization so much. 
Dublin - site of a Viking settlement
The Vikings were a sea-faring culture who thrived from the late 8th century through the early 11th century, establishing quite a legacy for themselves. They discovered the Americas centuries before Columbus was born and explored as far east as Russia. Honing their ship-building skills for more than ten centuries, they constructed everything from small fishing boats, to large cargo vessels (to carry all that treasure), and lightning fast longships, all of which were narrow with short drafts, making them well-adapted for use in rivers as well as on the ocean. The Vikings invented the keel, and though their boats were technological marvels, they paid as much attention to the art as they did the craft of the construction of their vessels. The dragon-head on the front of the Viking vessel, designed to keep away evil spirits, struck fear into the hearts of Europeans for centuries.

Viking town in Dublin 1014
The Scandinavian geography had a significant impact on the development of the Viking culture. The difficult location and terrain meant that, for the most part the Vikings were tribal; there was no unified Viking army. When they weren’t a-Viking, they maintained homes with their wives as farmers. The growing season was short and resources were scare, so most Vikings were actually smaller in musculature and stature than many of their contemporaries. 

So, what can modern man learn from the Vikings? Well, not to supplement your income by raiding; there is a limited amount of other people’s treasure – and it doesn’t make friends. No, in this season of giving, let us be generous to our Scandinavian ancestors and see what we can learn from the way they lived, a thousand years ago.

Lassies love a man who treats them with dignity and respect.
First, view, and treat women with dignity and respect, if not outright equality. There is evidence to suggest to Vikings fought beside their wives, sisters, and both sons and daughters. Evidence suggests that they trusted each other to take responsibility for leadership roles, and although there were indeed gender-specific roles (men went a-Viking, while women tended the children, home and farms), men and women often worked together on tasks. In the pantheon of Norse gods and goddesses, there is also quite an equitable distribution of power.

And speaking of faith…the Vikings were a very faithful people. Whether it was a commitment to a particular god or to the pantheon, life and activities were built around these beliefs. As Vikings encountered individuals of other faiths, this led many to a curiosity and later an adoption of a new belief in Christianity.
John with one of his Viking comrades
But the Viking man does this, without sacrificing what it is to be a man. The Viking Ideal man is still Alpha, yet in touch with art and emotion. Strong and sensitive? Sounds just about perfect.

Finally, the Viking loves to travel, to explore, to meet new people, and develop new relationships. We at J and L especially applaud this Viking attribute. We all benefit from the open-minded, open-heartedness we inherit from our Scandinavian forbearers. Especially in this age of partisanship, we can appreciate the Viking ability to survive and thrive as a culture for centuries despite their differences, traveling throughout the world, into the unknown, discovering people and places not even imagined, and managing to cultivate a kindred spirit. Enough that more than a thousand years later, we are still fascinated by them. 

A thousand years ago, the Vikings gathered in middle of January and celebrated Jol – or Yule. They exchanged gifts, and drank beer, toasted the gods, thanking them for the gifts of the past year as they welcomed the new. As you enter your yuletide celebrations, may we ask that you raise your glass, and join us at J and L as we toast the Vikings? 

Yuletide Greetings!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Plan 'B'

On a recent weekend venture to Newport Beach, California -  John had a great idea for how to spend one Sunday morning: visit the small but enchanting Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society located on Marine Ave.

The weather was perfect with highs in the low seventies, clear skies and just a slight onshore breeze. Not bad for November! Conditions could not be any better. The island is one of John's and Laureen's favorite haunts - an intimate setting with shops, restaurants and plenty of rental houses available surrounded by the gorgeous waters of Newport Bay. An ideal place to get away for a short period from the everyday hustle and bustle of life.

After a quick but delicious bite of late breakfast -  John and Laureen walked hand-in-hand through the quiet streets of Balboa Island, enjoying the beautiful surroundings. That was until they reached the museum. It had a 'closed for remodeling' sign plastered to the front glass door.

"What?" John asked. "The internet said it was open."

Hmm, what was the question?
"It's not," Laureen observed. "Look through the windows - there's a ladder, drop cloths and all kinds of construction going on."

"It's supposed to be open," John repeated, stunned.

Laureen nodded her head in sympathetic understanding of her husband's confusion. She can be very patient at times like these.

"Sometimes the internet is not correct. No worries, what's your plan 'B'?"

Silence hung in the air like water droplets on the top of a sunroof.

"I don't have a plan 'B'."

Of course, Laureen thought John was joking since a plan 'B' for any outings is a must to ensure a travel isn't ruined by unexpected consequences - like a museum that was supposed to be open and not being. J and L always have a Plan B, and often a Plan C or D, etc..

"Really?" Laureen asked.

"Yep, really," John replied.

"You're not joking? You don't have a Plan B? Well, let's find one."

When in doubt, ask Mr. Google, as our good friend Paul Bakas always says. We did and the rest of the day was nothing but adventure and exploration.

First, the dynamic duo strolled through the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve taking in sights such as the Egyptian knapweed, arundo, sweet fennel, and Algerian sea lavender as well as many more invasive plants. Sounds rather mean for these plants to invade this section of Newport, but they were pretty none-the-less.

An hour among the flora and fauna made us head indoors to the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center. The center was fabulous with interactive dioramas, question and answer boards about the coastline, massive fish tanks with rays and sharks, sea worm tunnels, and an assortment of other activities to keep both children and adults busy researching for hours.

It was well worth the visit and made a great Plan B. But we were not done yet.

A short drive to Balboa Peninsula brought to mind the idea of enjoying the afternoon by simply walking along the sandy beach and peering out into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoying each other's company and then a splendid dinner.

That changed when a six foot poster near the parking area revealed a sale on whale watching by Davey's Locker located near the ferry on the peninsula. Sixteen bucks for a two and half hour boating adventure could not be ignored. More than half price off - Laureen and John jumped at the chance. No whales on our whale watch tour, but we did enjoy the pleasure of the company of perhaps two dozen so-called common dolphin. They stayed and played near our boat for nearly thirty minutes, using using the wake of the vessel to aide in chasing their food source. And, showing off a little for their human audience. Laureen took exception to the guide referring to them as common, as she found their sleek, rapid spinning movements to be anything but common. She is a sensitive soul when it comes to feelings, human or non-human. For me, they were indeed a sight to behold.

As the newspaper editor, Tess Flanders, once wrote in 1911 - "One picture is worth a thousand words."  Well, how about a few photographs?

When going out to explore your backyard, community, county, state, or wherever the mood drives a persons there must always be a Plan B. If there isn't one, make sure to research if something goes awry like a museum being closed for repairs. The day then is not ruined but only momentarily paused and that is perfectly fine - Plan B may turn out to be better than the original idea in the first place.

For further information when visiting Newport Beach, California

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Iquitos, The Past Will Kill

For any novelist, the toughest part or writing a novel, is sometimes finishing the work in the first place. The telling of the setting, characters and all of which make up the fictional piece seems easy at first since there is a story which needs to be told. But when is it time to leave the keyboard? 

The story is written. 

The work is finished. 

Let it be, as the Beatles once sang. 

After a year of writing a story involving two former cops from Riverside, it was time to put the book to bed. The adventures had been told. There were corpses littering the ground from Southern California to the hinterlands of northern Peru. Enough terror and sorrow for one book, but it did have a happy ending. Well, perhaps that is up to the reader and not the wordsmith to decide. But was it done?

These were some of the 'hinterlands' to reside while doing research
The best thing when a novelist thinks it may be ready for readers is to send it off to the editor. Then, wait to hear back. Finally, when the writer receives something like the following from their publisher after a submission: 'John, I do want it. I have sent the attorney a memo to get you a contract.' it makes all the hours alone behind the keyboard worthwhile. Of course, it took many years to receive a contract for John's first novel, 'Hunted', but it has paid off since this is his fourth with Black Opal Books. He's hoping for a long relationship with this growing publishing house in the state of Oregon.

And here it is!
John R. Beyer's fourth novel with BOB
The work will be released this Saturday, the 17th of November.

As any fictional writer realizes, there has to be a lot of truth to a piece or it will sound like fiction. That actually does make sense since it is the job of that very same fictional writer to make the story believable. Fiction, even science fiction, isn't fun if isn't at least plausible. The relationships must ring true. The science must work. And in any work of fiction, the times and places must have a feeling of reality. John knows to make a story feel real, there must be sound research and exploration, and that is reason our intrepid trio took three separate journeys to Peru, including a month-long trip deep into the Amazon jungle. Iquitos to be exact -- where much of the novel takes place. John wanted to research, explore, and live that life...and drag his loving wife and best friend along with him. So the author and his daring team, Laureen, and Paul Bakas suffered mosquito bites, heat stroke, suffocating humidity, and generally had a great time gathering the information John needed in order to put pen to paper and bring life to the story rattling around in his cranium.

Along the way, we met some characters, some of whom appear, in one form or other, in the novel. We played with rescued sloths and monkeys, fed orphaned manatees, swam with pink river dolphins, fished for piranha and generally had the most wonderful experience my wife said she'd never want to have again. And, in the silence of the jungle night, we heard the unmatched cacophony of life end so swiftly with a deafeningly silence that inspired a scene in the novel (spoiler alert).

Some of the following photographs may look familiar to regular followers of our blog, but a trip down memory lane is sometimes good for the soul.

Cooling off with a breeze in a covered dug out on the Amazon

Nothing better than a couple of  lukewarm beers in the jungle
John and Paul with Ademir - our guide for a couple of days
The author with his number one Editor in Lima
The work is done, edited, printed, and soon on the bookshelves for readers to enjoy, but the memories of the research and exploration will never be forgotten or completed. There is always the next book to write. Perhaps one or two have already been started.

To purchase 'Iquitos, The Past Will Kill'

And at other book sellers around the globe...

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Secret Health Benefits of Concert Attendance

Music makes people dance and sing. Tapping a toe or an entire foot seems the right thing to do when a melody snakes out of musical instruments and slithers across the dance hall.
Gotta move when the music is right
As far back as the 6th Century B.C., the Greek mathematician, Pythagoras, rightfully determined the numerical relationships between strings that produced tones at different pitches. Yeah, this is the same guy that has haunted high school students with his famous (or infamous if you struggled to remember  it) Pythagorean Theorem. It stated that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

What are you trying to prove?
Understanding the various notes made by stringed instruments seemed a lot easier for people to handle as they jumped, danced, and drank around bonfires or carried burning torches on feast days.

You got to move it - move it!
The history of music and dance begins eons in the past. From the Brazilian rainforests to the hinterlands of the Kalahari desert, people have sang, played music and danced as a way to feel better about themselves and others. It restored the vitality of life after a cold winter or the end of the rainy season. In Medieval Europe there were countless danses macabres as a way to ward off diseases like the Black Plague. The only problem with this venture that some of the dancers actually died from exhaustion - but let's put that one on the back burner for now.

I'm sorry, but I think I'll sit this dance out.
Historical records are rich with these revelations of how humans have enjoyed the mysterious sounds of music and the potential health benefit music has on the person and their soul.

Thus the point of this blog.

According to a 2016 study out of Australia from Deakin University - regular attendees of musical concerts had an improved sense of mental well-being and were happier than those others in the study who did not attend concerts.

Can't argue with the Aussies when they can do this.
MusicOOMPH - quite a catchy title for an online magazine detailed twenty-two reasons why attending live musical events can actually be healthy for a person. We've decided to mention our favorite six in this blog - not that the others aren't as important but we like these the best and it is our blog.

#1. Lose calories - Dancing can burn over 400 calories per hour and with thousands of your best unknown friends dancing near you, it is contagious. Move your feet and shake whatever you have and burn up those calories while toning your legs. What a great way to get in shape.

#2. Stress Reduction - Musical performances decrease the release of cortisol, a chemical known as the stress hormone. Not only does the stress level go down but so does the blood pressure. Gyrating and grinding in front of the stage has health all over it.

#3. Change your mood to a more positive state of mind - come on, that's a no brainer. Moving and grooving with a loved one to live music makes a person feel strong and sexy (they may not look like it to others but it's what being thought within the individuals head that counts). I can dance so I can conquer the world - yeah, baby!

#4. Relieves Pain - yep, Dr. Steven Eisenburg from San Diego stated that listening to music can proactively produce an analgesic effect and actually can reduce pain levels in a person. And who is going to argue with a doctor from San Diego?

#5. Improves a person's general sense of well-being. If you can dance non-stop for a two-hour concert - not only are you sweaty and stinky, but feeling great that you were able to do it. A psychological success that releases endorphins which are the key ingredients of feeling super-duper.

#6. Meet your favorites - Musicians have fans and those fans want to meet them, and what better place than a concert? Meeting backstage may be possible for some big bucks (or even better luck) but just to see the musician on stage is enough. Souvenirs from the concert are reminders that we did something unique and that is always a great feeling.

So, John and Laureen took all of the above and visited the Laughlin Event Center late in October to see one of our favorite singers - Sir Rod Stewart.

He took the stage and took the audience with him with two hours of old favorites and some new songs from his latest album.

Seventy-three years old and he moved about the stage like time had forgotten about him, with perhaps the slight exception that he was limping like crazy. Sir Rod explained that he had injured himself quite badly while playing futbol with his children recently.

Sir Rod Stewart ready to throw out some futbols to the audience
The show must go on and so did Stewart - He 'Maggie-Mayed' and 'If you think I'm Sexy'd' all over the outdoor theater. Thunderous applause, hoots, hollers, singing along with the lyrics, and yes, much dancing was the order of the evening.

Rod Stewart moving across the stage

Dancing and more Dancing

Hobbling or not - Stewart looked pretty happy and healthy
And like all the research for this blog - the facts are the facts. Two hours and both bloggers felt tired but extremely healthy and alive.

Music may be the best medicine after all.

For further information on this topic.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Walking With the Dead....Almost... Revisited

A few years back we wrote a piece about Halloween - the idea came when we traveled to Ireland and spent some time in Dublin among other places around the Emerald Isle. So many of our readers with this blog liked it we decided to bring it back for another look. A revisit if one may say?

Hope it is as popular the second time around as it was the first.

By the way - HAPPY HALLOWEEN from J and L.

Walking with the Dead...Almost

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Paddling For Your Life

An overview of Bahia de Los Angles and  Isla Angel de la Guarda 
In 1993, I (or more precisely, J, of J and L) was kayaking off the coast near the sleepy village of Bahia de Los Angles, approximately 417 miles south of San Diego in the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California). I had been on the road a couple of weeks, kayaking up and down the beautiful, but deserted coastline of Baja.

Bahia de Los Angles on the Sea of Cortez
Traveling by himself during the age of the dinosaur, before cell phone use was common, no one knew of his exact location. Of course, I knew where I was, but without contact of any sort with the outside world, I was not aware that a potential monster of a storm was brewing directly south of Cabo San Lucas.

Cabo San Lucas was getting slammed before John knew about it
One exceptionally gorgeous and calm summer day, I struck out from the coast in my 15-foot sea kayak and headed toward Isla Angel de la Guarda – about 27 miles east of Bahia de Los Angeles through the bright blue waters.

Who wouldn't want to go to this island? 
Being younger, and not much brighter than I am today, I didn’t bother to wear a life jacket. A seasoned kayaker, sea, river and lakes, I just thought that this beautiful morning while the gulf was like glass, it would be an easy paddle to the island where I had planned to camp overnight.
Things didn’t turn out as planned – as is often the case with best laid plans of men.

Unbeknownst to me, churning up the Sea of Cortez was Hurricane Calvin, while I sat in my kayak paddling calmly across the smooth seas enjoying the serenity and beauty of the bay. Two hours later things changed drastically. I noticed the surface was getting a little rough and my paddling efforts were sluggish. The smooth glass had turned to large rippling waves.

Not a place to be in a kayak by yourself or even with others!
Determining that I had traveled 8 to 10 miles out from the coast, I cast a look far south down the gulf and saw a wall of black approaching rapidly. The winds had started to pick up as rain began pelting my face and arms sideways. Suddenly lighting was striking down from the heavens nearby. The ocean was no longer the place to be sitting in a small craft.

Being without communication, I had not realized that a hurricane had made landfall in Cabo San Lucas before heading northward – right at me. But I did understand that I was for in a world of hurt.
Realizing that reaching the island, which was still a long way off, was rather doubtful, I spun the kayak and paddled like hell toward the mainland. Within twenty minutes the calm sea broiled into swells five or six feet in height. I paddled with all my strength, forcing the little yellow kayak up the face of a wave, only to slide into the trough below, several times submerging into the foaming waters. Once or twice, the kayak was hit by an unexpected and unseen sideways swell, nearly capsizing as I paddled now for my life.

In a hurricane ,the waves come from every angle - hold on!

It was at about this time that I realized that the next time I decided to kayak – if of course there were to be another paddling adventure – I’d prefer to be wearing a life vest. Just in case!
Nearly eight hours later, shore came into view and with a rather undignified and painful landing on the beach, I gratefully touched land once more.

Shivering and exhausted, I took shelter in the bed of my truck while the winds tried desperately to tear the camper shell from the truck.
An hour later the sun was out and everything began to dry out from the drenching the arid desert had received.

So, the point of this blog? Well, there is a bit of a moral to this story:

One, be prepared whenever going out on the ocean or any body of water for that matter. Two, make sure someone who cares about you knows your exact location in case you don’t show back up – at least some sort of rescue could be attempted. Three, always wear a life jacket – being separated from your boat but floating face up is better than being separated from your boat and floating face down. Four, always check the weather conditions before exploring the waters or embarking on any adventure for that matter. And finally, don’t paddle alone. Always have a companion or two with you while paddling in any body of water – accidents can (and do) happen and the unseen can capsize a boat, even in calm waters.

Be safe and use caution as the guiding principal.

Having grown older, wiser, and having learned my lesson, I recently paddled off shore from Grace Bay in Providenciales, in Turks and Caicos, to the reef about a mile out. Bight Reef, also known as Coral Gardens, is an incredibly beautiful place to snorkel and paddle to but again one needs to be watchful, as the reef is home to not only a plethora of species of coral and fish, but also sea turtle, shrimp, lobsters, stingrays, moray eels and the occasional nurse shark.

It was a just couple of days after Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle, and though these Caribbean islands were not in harm’s way, the weather was a bit unstable. Thinking I could handle a short little jaunt on my own in the kayak, I headed down the beach. Suddenly, a still voice told me to text my wife. Although she was thousands of miles away on business, I thought that perhaps I should let her know where I was and what I was doing. See, I had learned my lesson. The voice in the back of cranium also suggested that it would be a good idea to reach for a life-jacket.
Glad that I listened to that voice. The waters grew rougher as the day progressed, but it was worth every sore muscle. Perhaps a few pictures can explain it better.

So, yes, do go explore and be adventurous, but always remain cognizant of your surroundings and put a thought or two into personal safety. A bit of common sense that perhaps I sometimes lack – but then again I’m a professional adventurer. Still, we at J and L wouldn’t want that next adventure to be the last adventure.

For a closer look at the adventure, click here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hot Creek

Overlooking Hot Creek - near Mammoth 
There is a spot in the middle of beautiful valleys brimming with life that is a must-see for anyone exploring Highway 395 in central California. Approximately twenty minutes south of Mammoth Lakes, a bubbling cauldron of steaming water draws visitors year round. This geological wonder is the home of Hot Creek – a hydro-thermal system of water which percolates from the bowels of the earth on a journey to reach the surface of the earth.

Inviting but don't take a chance - may be your last 

 According to the United States Geological Survey, this meandering trip through underground conduits takes up to a thousand years. With temperatures below the surface at over 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it is a place of wonder, albeit with built in dangers. It is easy to understand the desire to stick one's toes in the colorful pools, but that is where death may lurk in the scalding depths of the aptly named Hot Creek..

Beautiful view from atop at the visitor's overlook
Over the past several years, fourteen people have died daring to venture into the pools according to Atlas Obscura. In fact, there are signs posted alerting visitors to the risks. In fact, as recently as 2006 the water in the pools started to geyser, sending temperatures soaring and adding additional risks of scarring or other bodily harm, should a person be struck by the droplets or accompanying steam vents. In June of that year, signage was posted for the entire area that no swimming was allowed. In February 2016, the pools and surrounding waterways were fenced off completely and an old wooden ‘viewing’ bridge was dismantled which had offered up close and personal views of the pools.

The creek actually begins a few miles away where it is known as Mammoth Creek in the eastern Sierras. The waterway then cuts and dodges around the land flows and into the Long Valley Caldera. There it is joined by warming geothermal waters near the Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery and finally turns into Hot Creek Gorge, where the afore-mentioned pools are located. Eventually the waters flow south, cooling along the way into the Owens River as it empties into Crowley Lake.

There are still many explorers who come to marvel at the beauty of the pools and still more fly-fishermen who enjoy the pastime of catching an elusive fish who not only survive the warm waters but seem to thrive. Miles of hiking trails offer fabulous views of the Sierras and Owens Valley making the expedition every so much more enjoyable. Of course, there is hunting and off-roading – making the area a virtual outdoor person's Heaven.

Hollywood in the yesteryear took notice and filmed such movies as ‘True Grit’ and "North to Alaska' starring John Wayne, as well as both ‘Nevada Smith’ starring Steve McQueen, and ‘Shoot Out’ starring Gregory Peck in this unique biome.

J and L had been invited to join a camping expedition on the Owns River by their friends Bill and Becky Daugherty, and they were glad they agreed. Three days of moderate weather and very chilly nights  – at dawn, the thermometer read a chilly 14 degrees. Yow! But the mid-September afternoons were pleasant and pushed the mercury near 70. Important note: when camping at over 7,000 feet, one must take into consideration how quickly the weather can change. That is ever so clear in the shadows of the Sierras.

The researchers excited about finding fish near the hot spots

Weather good or not – a great time was had and the research into the Hot Creek area as well as the personal exploration was perfectly satisfying. A simple three and half hour drive put J and L into some of the most gorgeous territory in California. Nearly in out backyard, as we often say....

And isn’t that what traveling is for?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Rockabilly Night

When J was asked if he would be interested in attending a 'Rockabilly' evening at Riley's Farms in Oak Glen, he just stared straight ahead.

"A rockabilly thingie? Hmmm, Okay."

In a past blog, J and L wrote about taking middle school students to Riley's Farms for a historical perspective on the Civil War. A great learning experience was had by all - both students, staff, and parental chaperones.

But now a 'Rockabilly' event?

No, it was not another school field trip but simply an event of great music from the 1950's performed by a very talented band, awesome food and dancing for hours by the patrons. J and L, along with two of their daughters (Erica and Jessica) and their husbands (Brandon and Justin) would be the total for this family field trip.

Laureen, Erica and Jessica ready to Rockabilly
A little research showed that the Rockabilly is one of the earliest forms of rock and roll in the United States. It started in the South with the mixed sounds of country and rhythm and blues - this is, of course, the beginning of all rock and roll. The mention of 'billy' comes from the combination of 'hillbilly' music which forms many of the unique sounds of this forties and fifties invention into the music world.

This is where the legends of Johnny Cash, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others were made. A fast paced and electrifying sound that is as much appreciated today as it was in it's infancy.

That was apparent as those who gathered for this Rockabilly event were all festooned in their time period getup's - girls in crinolined skirts and the guys with jeans with curled up pant legs. We had transported sixty years into the past for the evening and forget in which century we belonged for a few hours.

The family posing with their good friend Andrew

Erica and Brandon doing their Rockabilly thing
Rockabilly has its fans but most don't know the intensity it has with some musicians.

As Brian Setzer of 'Stray Cats' once said; "McCartney! Haven't met him and haven't played with him. I would love to. He needs to make a kick-ass rockabilly record."

This sound moves every inch of fiber in a person's body. "It's electrifying," as John Travolta exclaimed in the 1978 film 'Grease.' Now he might of been describing love but we like to think he was talking about the music of the time.

J and L enjoying a respite from the fast dances
J and L thought it would be fun for just the six of us - but we were wrong. In reality, J and L met up with two old friends, Andrew Lizotte and David Page, who had taken the short ride to Riley's Farms and the duo made many more friends on the dance floor.

The Rockabilly fans with their friend David
For a very reasonable expense the evening started at 6 p.m. and flowed into the hours nearing 10 p.m. After a very tasty dinner, featuring menu items named 'The Big Bopper,' the 'Elvis Special' and other delights, most of the guests were quite satisfied they had gotten their money's worth. Dancing to this  music is not for the faint of heart - actually, one could lose a heartbeat or two jumping and jiving like the crowd did on this particular night.

There was more than one end of a fast-paced song and dance that, yes, even youngsters in their twenties went huffing and puffing to find a chair being glad the band had struck the final note. People made their way back to the tables for a lung full of breath, a napkin to wipe the perspiration off the forehead, and perhaps a sip of a cool libation.

J dancing with daughter, Jessica - or at least trying to
Fitbits were screaming with results of steps. It was a night of continual movement and excitement.

The band, Craic House, seemed not to take a break and played on and on to the delight of the patrons.

This band was great! They had originally formed under the drummer, Danny Oberbeck, and have been around over fourteen years playing what they refer to as 'Shamrockabilly'. Their special type of sound has been performed at over 2,000 concerts and in the summer of 2017 they toured Europe.

The Craic Haus at Riley's Farms 

Craic Haus means 'Funhouse' not like a Crack House

As said, a good time was had by all.

There isn't much to say except when a chance comes to shake the dust off of one's feet - always take it. Blood pumping through the veins with raucous music and crazily moving feet can do more for a person than sitting on the sofa wondering why there are three hundred channels available but nothing to watch.

So, when exploring one's own backyard for things to do realize there is so much that there is not enough time in one's life.

And who knows? There may be a hot rod to pose by
Check newspapers, Facebook, etc to find events happening near you and go out find them. And if a dance or concert you are going to, don't worry how you look on the dance floor. There are plenty of others much worse on their feet.

Move, dance. smile, and be glad to be alive in the moment because it is only the moment's that make up the path of a full life.

The end of a perfect evening or perhaps the beginning of one
All photos were shot in black and white for effect by Justin Barr -

Band - Craic Haus -

Location - Riley's Farms -