It has been a fine closing to a fine year. 66 was good to me. Yesterday, a simply beautiful sharing from my jazz class folks at the Jewish Home for the Aged, that ended with my folks holding hands with the elders while singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, many with moist eyes. Then a rollicking preschool sing today, leading a 5th grade class to some happenin’ jazz in a mere 20 minutes, a sharing with the other Orff course on campus with swingin’ versions of Perdido, Jumpin’ at the Woodside, Listen Here and some jazz blues. A poignant closing circle and powerful Little Johnny Brown ending game. A perfect end to 66!
What a fine year it has been. I can’t say that about every year, as so many have involved difficult farewells, small and large betrayals, minor health issues, relationship tangles, the usual ups and downs of the human comedy. But this past year, I seem to have been spared the opera and instead thoroughly enjoyed the steady embrace of a loving circle of community. Wonderful Fall with the Interns and wonderful school classes with the kids, a moving public celebration of my teacher Avon, and in the New Year, a rich and rewarding schedule of teaching and touring in China, Thailand, India, Niagara Falls, Mexico City, Michigan, New Jersey, New Orleans, Ghana, Spain. Amazement that I fulfilled my long-time dream of producing our first Doug Goodkin & the Pentatonics CD and got to perform on the main stage at SF Jazz. Fabulous visits with the grandkids and big milestones as one learned to read and the other made huge leaps in speaking. A peaceful time with my wife as we have learned after all these years how to be together and how to be apart (haven’t seen her in two months what with her summer travels and mine!).
And so tomorrow 67. Not a very dramatic number, the unsettling sense of one more chunk taken out of my increasingly diminishing future, the satisfaction of one more year of stories and vision affirmed and deepened. I have the day mostly free and then will make dinner for the teachers coming to teach in the next Orff Course in the Carmel Valley.
Jimmy Stewart and Louis Armstrong had it right—It’s a Wonderful Life and What a Wonderful World. May the wonders continue in the next 365 days!