Live At the Convalescent Center

        Tonight I’ve got a gig with Ms. Marfar and her band, Guitared and Feathered.  We are live at the Convalescent Center.   It might not be all that big of a gig, but I like doing some of these.  I figure if the good Lord gave me all this good health, and the ability to play and sing a little, I might as well make some folks happy.  Besides, my day is coming.  When I get over there, I hope someone will come see me. 

        I know for sure it is getting closer.  Whenever I see some young person who has graduated from Nursing School, I always close the interview the same way.

        “Well, congratulations,  I’m so proud of you,”  I’ll say.  “Before long you can come over and and take care of me in the nursing home.”

          For years the young nurse would giggle and say, “Ah, Dr. Bibey- you ain’t nowhere near that.”

         Over the last few years I have seen a change.  Now there is a sympathetic look, quickly followed by “Well of course I will, Dr. Bibey.  You ’bout half raised me and you were so sweet to my Grandpa.  I’ll look after you, don’t you worry.”

        Oh well, I hope what goes around comes around.  I believe in being the best you can be to people out of general principle, but I reckon it don’t hurt when you get old and infirm if you’ve been good to folks over the years.

        I figure I’ve still got a fair amount of doctoring left in me, and with my music I see how I could go on a bit longer.  Once I get to the rest home level, at least if I can still use my hands and play a little, I’m gonna put an ad in the paper and offer free mandolin lessons to any school child who wants to visit.  Don’t tell ‘em, but if they stick with it a year and practice a little I might just buy ‘em a mandolin.  I can’t stand the thought of being cooped up and no one coming to visit.  If all that works out, then I’ll get my students to play a mando orchestra show every so often for the residents. 

         So how’s that for thinking ahead?  A man has to have a plan, and I don’t want to wind up old and lonely.

        I’m lucky.  My kids still think I’ll cool if somewhat eccentric, so they come around often.  And as long as it is up to Ms. Marfar she’ll see to it I won’t be one bit lonesome.  She is a good bit younger than me, so I should be O.K.  For now, we are still rocking and rolling.  At the big show tonight, she’s got me singing a duet with her called “The Bramble and The Rose.”  It is about two people who are twined around each other or something like that, and after all these years we’re ’bout joined at the hip, so I’ll bet we can do that one proud.  You always do better if your heart is in a song.  I think she’s the rose, so I must be the bramble.

        Gotta get my out my mandolin and tune up.  Once out of the case and that old wood smell wafts by, I’m like a race horse straining at the gate.   The old gray hair just ain’t what he used to be, but I’ve still got a bit of fire left.  I’m not quite ready for the convalescent center yet except to play. 

        I remember one patient of mine who used to volunteer at the nursing home when he was 80 years old.  When asked why he said, “Someone’s gotta look after all these old people.”  He lived into his nineties and was one of my heroes. 

        Y’all wish us a big show.  I agree with my old friend.  This is a big part of my music- someone has to look after all these old people, and I’m gonna give it my best.  I’ll be over there myself someday, and I hope someone will play for me. 

Dr. B

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8 Comments on “Live At the Convalescent Center”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Have a great show. Oliver Sachs, the neurologist, tells some stories in his book “Musicophilia” about the ways that music reaches deep into the minds and souls of people otherwise far gone in dementia. He writes about people who can barely remember their own names who recall the lyrics and tunes to songs. He also tells about people who learn to sing their routines to themselves in order to get through the day. In “This is Your Brain on Music,” Levitin also writes about the deep neural power of music to affect behavior. Guitarred and Feathered does a huge service every time they perform. I’d sure like to see them. – Ted

  2. John Holland Says:

    I’m sure you’ll do fine Doc, and those nursing home folks are the best audience you can find.

  3. drtombibey Says:

    On dementia:

    A family was showing an unfortunate patient with dementia an old family picture album.

    “Pawpa, you know this one?” (a picture of his Dad) No recognition.

    “How ’bout this one?” (Brother) Another blank stare.

    They came to one of the old family dog. “Well, there’s Old Blue!” Clear recognition.

    Scares me to think of it.

    Dr. B

  4. drtombibey Says:

    John,

    You are right. I’ve never played for an unappreciative nursing home crowd. They loved it.

    Dr. B

  5. mrschili Says:

    One of the mottos I try to live my life by is “no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” It’s kind to visit people in nursing homes. It’s kind to give your time and attention and talent to children. It’s kind to just give of yourself, of whatever gifts and qualities God/Goddess/The Universe gave you to share.

    You are a kind man, and it WILL come back to you. As a matter of fact, from the sounds of it, it already does….

  6. pandemonic Says:

    You know, as high school students, we used to go to nursing homes and perform. This was before the term “community service” came into vogue. The residents loved it, even though we were playing that wild hippie folk music stuff. I don’t think it mattered what they were listening to, they just enjoyed us being there.

    What is funny is that one year, my daughter did the same thing. She was taking voice as well as flute, and their conservatory group performed quite a bit during the holidays. She thought some of the residents were “sad” but also enjoyed performing. The audience is ALWAYS appreciative.

  7. drtombibey Says:

    You know mrschili, I’ve often thought I was the luckiest cat who ever lived.

    Dr. B

  8. drtombibey Says:

    mrs pande,

    I have found if you have fun, regardless of genre, the audience does too.

    Dr. B


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