‘Pay it Forward’: Cracking the Egg…

Grateful Blog: Day 89: A few years ago when I first started performing as a musician I took my songs out of the basement and into the light as it were. In retrospect, the light was not kind to some of those early songs. But the rest of my life changed in ways I had no idea it was going to change. Believe it or not, I’ve always been a bit shy and introverted and performing has given me the gift of opening up, and I’m Grateful for that. It’s helped me make friends and connect with some of the most wonderful people. I’ve often said that becoming a musician has been like ‘cracking the egg’ on another chapter of my life and it’s true—it’s been scrambled, fried, over easy and sunny side up ever since. But the best part without a doubt is the people I’ve met along the way.

Yesterday I got home from another long day at work and found a package fromNew York. Inside it was a copy of the issue of ‘American Songwriter’ magazine that mentioned me and my song ‘Lost and Found’ as an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the monthly contest. John Taylor sent it to me. John and I met on a train several years ago. When I was first thinking about making a CD he sent me his disc ‘Hometown Paper’ so I’d get a better idea of layouts, graphics, etc. Getting that and his advice helped a bunch–and his great tunes on ‘Hometown Paper’ were a nice bonus. So yesterday John sent a copy of the magazine and I immediately realized the thoughtfulness that took. I’d never gotten a copy of it and I like to save that kind of thing. Getting mentioned in their songwriter contest was a bit of big thing for me.

So it’s just that sort of kindness and thoughtfulness that I’m Grateful for today. For the people like John I’ve met who take the time to offer advice and think ‘You know I bet he’d like a copy of that magazine’ and sends me his personal copy. It’s the coolest thing; Because the next thing that inevitably happens is I start looking at the world through that same lens and wonder, ‘What can I unselfishly do for someone else today?’

So ‘Thank You!’ for the kind gift of the book John. But more than that, for the reminder to ‘Pay it Forward’. I think the world could use a lot more of that and we’d be all be more Grateful, no matter how many eggs we crack along the way…

What’s in a Name??? More than I thought…

Grateful Blog: Day 82: I’ve know this for a while. My whole lifetime actually. My last name is ‘Weber’. I often joke to people when I tell them ‘It’s like the grill’ so they spell it with one ‘b’ instead of 2. The ironic part is that despite being named ‘Weber’ and owning 2 grills of the same name; I am without a doubt the world’s worst griller. You name it; I can burn it, split it, stick it and generally kill it beyond taste or recognition. It’s a gift of sorts. Usually when it’s time to barbeque all it takes is a few minutes of high heat and shouting ‘oh crap!’ that brings the ‘Real’ cooks at the party running to ‘help out’. You know, the guys who just HAVE to be the one grilling (it’s either a pride or power thing I’m not sure which). They say ‘Hey Dan, can I help you with that?’ I look sheepish and hand over the tongs and the reigns, and rejoin my drink, the party and my friends in progress, which is what I’d rather be doing anyways. I’m not saying that was my plan all along and I’m not saying it wasn’t…

It turns out, that the name ‘Weber’ really has no connection to the grill and so I’m relieved by that. It’s generally thought to be derived from the noun ‘Weaver’ which I feel more qualified to do, that is if we’re not talking about working with yarn and we’re talking about TELLING yarns. That I CAN do. It comes natural somehow. But I think that comes from the ‘Winterkorn’ side of my family (Mom’s side) and I’m not sure how that relates. The meaning of ‘Winterkorn’ is likely more obvious and I’m thoroughly charmed by how the names of my ancestors come from their agrarian beginnings: Back ‘in the old country’ as my Grandparents used to say.

The thing is the world keeps getting smaller by virtue of the speed of travel, social media and the sheer volume of information available at a few keystrokes with our fingertips. I found lots of famous Weber’s out there. I may be distantly related to a few. There’s also a famous Winterkorn or 2, even one who’s now the Chairman of the Board at Volkswagon. Who knew right? In any case I’ve got a website now, www.danwebermusic.com and this blog, so I keep putting myself into cyberspace and sometimes you just never know where the connection is going to be.

So just recently I was contacted by a guy in Montana, near Kalispell. His name? ‘DanWeber’. And he’s a musician. His great-great Grandparents fled Germanyto avoid being drafted into the Prussian army against Napoleon. My Grandparents fled Germanyto avoid Hitler. Dan had his DNA sequenced a ways back and we’re checking notes to see how far back we have to go before we find a common ancestor. But I think we already have plenty in common right here in the present.

Just yesterday Dan was telling me that he “once won 50 silver dollars and a kiss from Miss Yucca Valley for playing a song.” Miss Yucca Valley “brought the silver dollars out in her apron, but said under her breath, “I aint kissin’ no hippy!!” But she did anyway right there in front of everybody!” Dan went on to say that he’d also “kissed a bear once” (waking up and have the bear’s nose right in his face) and that “having kissed both, I can authoritatively recommend the bear as the more memorable ‘kiss’…”

So you see Dan’s a ‘Weber’ and obviously a weaver too and he’s got stories to tell. We should get together. Swap a few tunes and stories. I’d even break out the grill. Put on some bratwurst from the local German deli. Maybe roast some corn. If he’s a better man with a ‘Weber’ grill than I am so be it. I’d be happy to hand him the tongs in a heartbeat. Turns out I’m not a griller, I’m a Weaver…

Pre-Steve Jobs…

Grateful Blog: Day 33: I just read an article online this morning—perhaps you’ve seen it already, about an indigenous tribe that was photographed somewhere in the Amazon rainforest. It’s a bit of a sensation because they’re so infrequently seen or photographed. The article went on to mention that worldwide roughly 100 such tribes are said to exist. There’s probably some debate to be made to bring these folks into the fold of the modern world: advances in medicine perhaps. But I don’t know. My first reaction is that they represent a slice of the planet that is pre-contact, pre-Columbus, pre-Henry Ford and pre-Steve Jobs. Pre-Facebook (yes I see the irony), pre-X-Ray, X-Box and XM Satellite Radio. Just think about it—a society that potentially knows nothing of Abraham Lincoln or Adolph Hitler, Martin Luther King Jr. or Mao Se Tung. Ben Franklin or gasp—Ben Stiller (OK that’s a stretch). It boggles the mind really. Of course the contact is coming now because the developing world (logging, etc.) is encroaching on their ummm ‘habitat’. I don’t know what ‘smart’ like anthropologists and sociologists’ think of this, but in my heart of hearts I’m a hopeless romantic. This morning I’m not only Grateful that there are still roughly 100 groups or tribes of indigenous peoples around the world, I’m hoping there are more yet undiscovered. And I hoping they stay that way. They’ve seemingly gotten along fine for 10,000 years without doing a Google search on their smart phone for the nearest pizza joint, and I’m reasonably certain they can go a while longer. I’m Grateful they’re there and I hope that someday, when they’re ready, they can teach us what they know (and not the other way around). We’ve got lots to learn…