I have a musical state of mind this week. Of course, there’s no shortage of lyrical must-see entertainment.
Crestview resident Mike Smith’s “Generations: A Collection of Black American Music” appears Friday at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville and Ted Virgil’s “Rocky Mountain High,” a John Denver tribute concert, runs Saturday at the Fort Walton Beach High School Auditorium.
Not to mention “Red Leg the Dreaded,” a pirate-themed interactive murder mystery and dinner theatre coming to Foxwood Country Club on Feb. 28, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life Crestview team Duke It Out. It’s not musical — that I know of — but doesn’t it make you think of the song “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me”)?
However, those events just compound the feeling, which actually began Monday morning. I knew it would be a long, productive day and wanted to start it right. Especially with my birthday coming up on Thursday. As you age — at least, this is true for me — you want to do things differently; mix things up so that, in my case, 31 years old is different from 30. Usually, on the ride over, I listen to country, pop or Southern Gospel. That’s too predictable for a birthday week, though!
So I lifted one of my dubious, but appreciated, early-birthday gifts, a CD soundtrack of the live NBC production “The Sound of Music,” off my bedroom dresser, popped it open and listened on the ride to work. I’m no musical expert like Brian Hughes, our Arts and Entertainment editor, but the CD has timeless standards that many people know right off the bat.
So I drove to work, sang along with the man’s part of “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” — one thing I constantly hear from family members is how I “waste my talents”; tenor here, and don’t often get to exercise those vocal cords — and walked in the office at 8:05 with a spring in my step.
But before arriving at the office — after playing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” six or seven times to get the lyrics right and play with vibrato — the “My Favorite Things” track creeped in, and that was the inspiration for this column.
Actually, it became clear as I steered into the new turn lane from West James Lee Boulevard to get on South Ferdon Boulevard. One of “My Favorite Things” is the Florida Department of Transportation’s $103,000 project that made this possible! Anything that provides traffic relief in the north county is greatly appreciated.
Another of “My Favorite Things” happened on Friday after I wrapped the Saturday edition’s deadline a half-hour early and decided to do the unthinkable: actually eat outside the office for lunch. (And, of course, first selected one of our sponsors, so Golden Buffet, it was.)
While dining on much more food than I should have eaten — receiving texts from a woman who confirmed that suspicion — and reading the latest copy of “850” Magazine, I heard a man, probably in his 60s, advise a booth full of younger men about what he would do with a million dollars. (I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but it was impossible to ignore.) He stressed to them that having a lot of money would be great, but that it comes secondary to taking care of their families and providing them the love, security and assurance they need to thrive.
That stuck with me because the icebreaker during Thursday’s Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce-Professional Inspired Leaders of Tomorrow meeting was, “What would you do with a million dollars?” I said it would go toward investments and beefing up the News Bulletin’s web broadcasting operation; basically, it wouldn’t change me. It was wonderful to hear essentially the same thing the next day at that Golden Buffet booth. Passing wisdom to younger generations, then, was another of “My Favorite Things.” Pop culture produces enough subversive messages; they need all the practical advice and family values they can get!
And a favorites list without the 2014 America Saves Challenge would be incomplete. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Okaloosa Extension office helps promote the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station program. The challenge provides daily tips that can help everyone get a better grasp on their financial situation. You can register for a free account, tips and tracking tools here. I’ve signed up, and I hope you will, too.
However, perhaps my favorite thing this week was typing the Facebook post Monday night that announced the Okaloosa County School Board officially named Crestview High School and Baker School’s new principals.
Community newspaper journalists live for those historical moments that mark a passing of the baton, particularly when the public largely welcomes the paradigm shift.
Katie Tammen, the Northwest Florida Daily News’ education reporter, was tweeting from the school board’s very well attended meeting when perhaps the night’s most anticipated decisions were made. Dexter Day, one of CHS’s assistant principals, is, in fact, the Bulldogs’ next leader following Bob Jones’ retirement. Michael Martello, who previously served as a Baker assistant principal, is the Gators’ next leader, following Tom Shipp’s retirement in April.
It’s hard to explain moments like that to non-journalists, but when country music singer Brad Paisley sings, “Yeah, I live for little moments like that,” he may be singing about his wife, but I’m thinking about the second before I hit “Post” on Facebook.
I can spot a divide-and-conquer game from a mile away, whether it’s in politics, business or religion and, unfortunately, those stories comprise so much of the national media landscape. We hear enough of that stuff, so the News Bulletin’s team welcomes the opportunity to post breaking news, as it had Monday, that brings the community closer together.
We congratulate Day and Martello for their promotions, we wish them the very best, and we look forward to seeing what these leaders will add to their schools.