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Music Speaks!

Music is magical and has always been a source of happiness in my life! Music speaks to all living creatures, plants and even our pets.

Our family has a desert tortoise named Katie Chompers. She is about 36 years old and will likely outlive us because tortoises usually live to 100! She is a fascinating creature and one of the interesting things is that she responds to music. Yes, that is what I said!

She has dug what we call a "condo" in a fenced off area shaded by a large olive tree. The opening is barely wide enough for her to crawl through and the entrance slopes gradually down below bushes which protect her from the elements. Her "condo" goes so far back that sometimes we can't even see her. However, she can hear us and to coax her out, we sing a little song our family made up many years ago.

Our grandchildren love Katie!

These are the words: Katie Chompers, Katie Chompers, come on out and get your food. It's delicious and nutritious, come on out and get your food. We have lettuce, some blueberries, and an apple slice or two. Katie Chompers, Katie Chompers, come on out for we love you."

The second she hears my voice, she pops her head out of her shell and crawls slowly out. She feels safe in the cozy space she dug but occasionaly a large lizard crawls in and keeps her company. (That should be a new song!) She loves to eat blueberries, kale, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, grass and petunias but dandelions are her favorite!! Our grandchildren love to feed her by hand and she loves to have the back of her head rubbed.

Our grandchildren adore her and when we need to be away for an extended period of time, we DRIVE Katie to Utah where she stays with one of our daughters and family.

Do you know that airlines will not allow a reptile to fly? Yep, so we place our pampered tortoise in a box of dried leaves for the 11 hour drive. There we know she'll graze happily in a fenced-off back yard. In our yard, however, she has to be in a contained area because some plants are poisonous and we also have a pool. Turtles can swim but tortoises will drown.

Our grandchildren run to the backyard to see Katie.
When friends come to visit, they always want to meet Katie.
Holland was thrilled when she sang to Katie and she came out to eat.

When our grandchildren come for a visit, they run out the back door screaming, "Katie, Katie!" and are thrilled when they find her.

And. . . when friends come to visit, they also want to see our beloved tortoise. She has become famous in places we've lived and visited: Israel, Sweden and Africa! Katie Chompers is also a character is a children's book I wrote with a good friend, FLOWERS IN HEAVEN.

Music helps us heal. It can take us from whatever we are facing at the moment to somewhere better. Sometimes music is the only medicine the heart and soul need.

Some years ago we lost our beloved family pet, Misty, an English Cocker Spaniel. She was a buff-colored, pooch that was very gentle with children. She seldom barked but remarkably loved to eat vegetables and fruit! She was part of our household for 15 years and grew up with our children. When she became old and sick, the vet recommended we put her to sleep. That was a day I'll never forget. To help me cope, the next day I wrote MYSTERY GAL with the help of lyricist, Gary Croxall but it took one week before we broke the news to our family. The song helped to preserve her memory and even though it is silly, it helped turn sadness into something positive. Now she rests under the shade of a huge mesquite tree where a tire swings from it in our backyard.

Misty was certainly one patient pet and never fussed when our daughters dressed her up in clothes or costumes for Halloween. One daughter even took her to high school when she campaigned for a student body office. During her speech and right on que, Misty came out on the stage wearing a banner on her back that said, "Vote for Michelle" and everyone cheered! She certainly added a lot of happiness to our lives but I have a feeling we'll be seeing her again in Heaven where she is waiting to greet us.

Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Let there be music in the home. When music is a part of the home, it becomes part of our children."

Participating in music can be an unforgettable experience and is often the best way to reach out to children.

When a child is exposed to different musical styles at an early age, they grow up remem-bering them the rest of their lives. How many children know what scat singing is, boogie-woogie, or the difference between jazz, pop or classical music?

The songs in KITCHEN PARADE and WORLD ON A STRING were written to help children learn different styles of music. The songs are catchy and help children learn through association of different rhythmic styles of music.

It has been said that the earth has music for those who listen. I love the sound of rain, the wind when it blows through the trees, the tweeting of birds, and the many other wonderful sounds of nature and the world around us.

Many years back, I put together a YouTube video of "Song of the Pond" after I was asked to give some presentations in local bookstores of my children's music. Grandparents came with grand-children and we had fun acting out the music. . . and what child doesn't love to dress up and act out a part?

NOTE: Below are two ways to listen and view "Song of the Pond". One is the recording and the other is the YouTube video. (Same song but different ways to listen and view.)

Music brings me joy and writing music has been a blessing in my life. Music clears my head, lightens my steps, heals my heart and lifts my spirit. If you are ever feeling a little discouraged, browse my website, click the links to the songs, listen to your heart's content and share with those you love.

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Mar 21, 2020

Delightful. And having lost a Cocker Spaniel ourselves after 9 years, and a German Schnauzer after 15 years being part of family, your song Mystery Gal brought tears to my eyes.

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