Hello friends, Hola amigos,
In Panama you greet people you know with Hola. However if you are not close friends, then you use the more formal greeting of Buenos dias (morning), Buenas tardes (noon until 6:00 p.m.) and Buenos noches (after 6:00 p.m. until midnight). It was quite confusing when we first came here and I had to keep checking my watch and then trying to remember which greeting to use. To make the confusion worse, in Italy you say Buona sera all evening and only use Buona notte when you part to go to bed. As you can guess, I have made many mistakes along the way.
For those of you not familiar with the Amish culture, Dawdi is the Pennsylvania Dutch word for Grandpa. The Dawdi house is a small home to which the grandparents move when the time comes to give the main house to one of their children. The closeness of the family remains intact throughout the lifespan of the Amish. I see a similar enduring respect for the elderly here in this corner of Panama. Sadly this is not always the case in modern society.
When I have put the last brush strokes to this painting, I intend to start the formidable challenge of the Lancaster Carousel.
A Little bit of Jazz:
Whenever I hear the words of Piano Man, as sung by Billy Joel, I am reminded how lucky I am to have been able to earn your support.
I am friends with several talented visual artists and performing artists who deserve the break to wider fame. One such is Debi Ruud who sings jazz, gospel and big band. Debi's parents own land on Isla Solarte, a neighboring island, and when we got together for drinks at our house on Friday, Malcolm persuaded Debi to sing my favortie jazz song, "The Nearness of You."
"Its not the pale moon that excites me
Debi's voice is original and to my ear is somewhere between Diana Krall and Norah Jones but not a take-off of either. In Fresno and the central San Joaquin Valley, Debi gets the top billing. Besides entertaining at the best hotels, she teaches voice to forty students in her own studio, The Voice Shop. She also leads her church choir, records virtually every singing commercial in town and plays the drums. All this and she recently found the time to complete a degree in Vocal Performance while raising a son and daughter with her husband Gregg. Debi is no straving artist and with a little bit of luck, who knows, she could still become a national star.
When I speak with art students, whether visual arts or performing arts, I tell them not to judge their own success against the commercial success of other artists. There will always be another artist receiving greater recognition than you. In theater there are many gifted actors who earn a pittance compared to the millions earned by a Hollywood star in the making of one movie but that is not the ultimate judge of who is the most talented.
The reward of creating is in the creating, in the using of the talent given by God. The recognition factor, though feeding material and egotistical desires, is secondary. If artists do not remember this, they are in danger of losing belief in their talent and self belief is an artist's greatest asset.
This Sunday was Women's Sunday for the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, which I assume means it was also Women's Sunday in the States. The lady giving the sermon was terrific. She spoke of commitment and of how women through commitment to their church find the courage to tackle the problems of the home. I did not understand a whole lot of what she was saying because my Spanish is weak but I could tell from the attentiveness of the choir that her message was striking home.
After church it is our custom to take breakfast with some of the congregation at Don Chico's restaurant, where Virginia, the daughter of Don Chico and Joanne helps out on Sundays. Virginia is known to those of you who have met her at our conventions.
In a future newsletter, I will take you back to Don Chico's and tell you about the typical foods of Bocas. Because of the considerable West Indian influence in our province, some of the foods differ from those of other parts of Panama.
That is it for this week. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend. We will be attending a gathering of us gringos at the local gringo watering hole, The Buena Vista Restaurant.
Adios y buena suerte (good luck).
The Society is looking to fill a vacancy on its board of directors. Qualifications include a familiarity with the world of Moss, a willingness to work hard at meetings, conventions and other events for no pay, and, in addition, either expertise in business (to assist the board in its role as the managers of the society), fund-raising (to assist in meeting its charitable goals) or internet communications (to play a major role in expanding the role of the society in cyberspace). Those interested should contact Ginger Cloonan, chair of the nominating committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org with Nominations in the subject line or at 847-680-8666.