I traveled through the Charlotte airport the other day and saw rocking chairs set up along a big window near the food court so you could get a bite to eat or read a book while watching airplanes take off – rockin’.  You don’t see rockin’ chairs like you used to. At one time you couldn’t find a house without a rocker in it — a heavy wooden rocker with a cushion in the seat. My grandmother had one. It sat pushed up close to an electric wall heater because she was always cold, like little old ladies get.

I remember her best in a housecoat with her legs crossed, slowly rocking, like she had a baby in her arms trying to go to sleep. The coils in that heater glowed red and she rocked, her glasses perched out on the end of her nose. She’d sit with her chin tucked as she threaded a needle and sewed the tenth patch on a pair of Liberty overalls ‘cause you could darn a rip and they’d still be good. That rocker seemed soothing at the end of a day, relaxing. She sewed in it, knitted in it, read the Grit in it, and you could usually tell her mood by the speed at which she rocked in it.

I’d get scuffed up falling out of tree or even stung by a bee and I’d come through the screen door crying about a boo-boo. She’d pull me up in her little lap and her shoulder would soak up my tears while she assured me that I’d be all right. It was magic, that rocker.

I don’t know what happened to it but it helped make a house a home. There’s just something about rocking that makes telling a story so much better. I think I’ll see if I can’t find me one – a story telling rocker.

The bluesy, raspy singing legend of The Band has died at 71.  Levon Helm fought a valiant fight with throat cancer for many years yet he was able to keep doing what he loved – singing and beating out a heavy rhythm on the drums.  Levon initially backed Bob Dylan with a group that subsequently became The Band.  In 1976 they broke up and Levon continued to write and sing in his barn, which had been converted  to a recording studio in Woodstock, NY.  Levon also acted in several movies, but what I personally enjoyed most was the raspy sound of his voice as he aged.  Like Johnny Cash, age took a lot, but it could not touch his ability to sing and entertain.  Levon’s singing with Angels now.  Rest in Peace Levon Helm.

Robert Redford

As we think back to those books and movies that made a distinct impression on us we often find a man or woman who we feel close to.  Who knows if our impression of them is truly accurate? Who really cares? Their work takes us to a place that makes us happy. For me that person is Robert Redford.  From directing to acting, from his Sundance clothing line and film festival to his work to preserve the environment we share many passions. He made so many memorable films beginning with a bang in 1969, with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

My personal favorites were Jeremiah Johnson and A River Runs through It, which he starred in and directed respectively. Both of these classics, along with The Natural and The Legend of Bagger Vance set a tone, a feeling. They made me comfortable and I go back to them routinely.  Here is to Mr. Robert Redford.

Of course who couldn’t see this scene with Robert Duvall and not be moved?