Playing ping- pong with my dad: A sweet remembrance


My husband and I were going through some old pictures. He found an old picture of me when I was a little kid.

I’m sitting on top of a ping-pong table in my basement. It was our rec (recreation) room. It was supposed to be for parties. We had a few of them, but a lot of the time I’d play ping-pong with my dad.

I remember when I started to play, I couldn’t even reach the table. My dad was patient with me. He’d spend time, when he wasn’t working, aiming the ball at me. He showed me how to aim the paddle, and properly hit the ball.

After awhile I could hit the ball back. We spent a lot of time playing ping-pong together.  I got pretty good at it. I can still hear the pride in his voice, “ Say, Barbie

My dad, my ping-pong partner, took this picture long ago.

that’s pretty good.”  I guess practice really  does make perfect. (Or close to perfect). He didn’t ever let me lose. Maybe not a great lesson for life, but my dad was a kind person.

I can still smell the paddle. It had a little bit of a musty odor. The ping-pong balls were bouncy, and I chased plenty of them. You could dent them pretty easily. They were light as a feather.

Time went on. Naturally, I wanted to spend more time with people my own age. I grew up, got married, and left home.

When I was 26, my dad died, and I still think about him. I’d give anything to just play one more game with him. I bet he’d let me win.

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The Harmony Project shares the stage with Whoopi Goldberg: Another Harmony Project Post


Tonight, the Harmony project sang at the Women’s Fund Event in Columbus, Ohio.  This is a terrific organization that funds projects for girls and women. We were seated on the very same stage as Whoopi Goldberg. She did an interview, and we listened.

Throughout the evening they showed videos of the different programs The Women’s Fund supports. It looks like they do great work for women.

A lot of people must care about the Women’s Fund because there were around 3,000 people in attendance.

We opened the show with a song that coordinated with a video showing women and girls. We got a very good reaction from the crowd.

After we sang, Whoopi said, “Aren’t they fricking remarkable?”  That made us feel great!

Two lovely women, from the Women’s Fund, wearing heels and nice dresses introduced Whoopi. When she came on stage she didn’t disappoint. She was dressed in the usual unique Whoppi attire.  She was wearing some weird shoes, but very cool!

She  was interviewed by Justice Yvette McGee Brown. This interview also includes questions some young girls asked her via videotape. Here’s some things that they discussed.  This is coming from my memory, so it’s not exact!

How did you become famous?
“It was just a matter of luck. I put on a big show and 3 people attended. One of them was a critic from the New York Times. He wrote up a good review of our show, and Mike Nichols came to see it. He took it to Broadway, and that’s when the success came. ..I’m also surprised at the path my career took. I never expected to become a movie star. “

What advice to you have for young girls?
“ Take a beat to think about what you’re doing… don’t rush into things. She told them not to use Facebook or Twitter to get back at anyone. “Consider that they might just be having a bad day!

Where does self-esteem come from?
“Self-esteem comes from way down inside yourself. You have to believe in yourself. It’s not something people can give you.

Who was your role model?
“My mother accepted me, and knew I was odd.”  Her mother helped her see the things she could do. Her mother believed in her, and supported her decisions. She even believed she could make a career out of show business.

Talk about some of the View episodes.
I thought Rielle Hunter, who appeared on The View,  was basically misguided. “She didn’t know you can’t speak ill about the dead.” (Elizabeth Edwards.)

Whoopi made some funny remarks about menopause. “ I decided not to have children, but with menopause someone else is shutting you off… She might a hilarious comment about hearing her last egg drop.

How did you get involved with Volunteering for AIDS

“I was living in San Francisco, and people started getting these lesions, and just dying. Nobody knew much about it. Even the hospitals wouldn’t take the people. They weren’t just seeing them as human. I knew we had to do something.

I would say all in all, Whoopi is really cool. I liked listening to her. She certainly wasn’t boring!

Not only did I enjoy Whoppi’s interview, I found out about “The Women’s Fund,” a very worthwhile cause.

Enjoy the slide-show. We were waiting to go onstage, and some of the photos were taken at the rehearsal!

If anyone from the Harmony Project would like to make comments, or additions, please feel free!

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We are Family: The Columbus Ohio Group that gives: The Harmony Project


The Harmony Project led by David Brown gave everyone in Columbus, Ohio, a fun day of participating in a flash choir. It was all kinds of families: traditional, non-traditional, and just good friends. The definition of family is changing!

Come to our concert on July 18, and July 19th at the Southern Theater. You can buy tickets at OH CAPA,www.capa.com
We are 200 strong. This show will be fantastic, I guarantee it!

We raise money for projects in Columbus! Instead of talking about what we can’t do, we just do it! This group has been giving me joy since 2010. I can always count on attending either a rehearsal or an event, and coming home with a positive feeling.

Our amazing leader is David Brown. He is the conductor, and you can just see from this video how much positive energy he conveys.

*if you were there, look at the gallery, and then watch the video!

Volunteering can bring you joy!


Retirement wasn’t sitting too well with me. I was bored stiff. I decided to answer a volunteer advertisement I found in a community newspaper. It didn’t specify what it was, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.

When I got there, I found out it was a Hospice organization. I decided to attend the training sessions. After completing the training, I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to volunteer directly with the clients.

My role would be to visit people, and comfort them. Although I felt confident in that role, my mother had recently died, and I didn’t know if it was too soon after her death. I was afraid it would make me miss her even more than I already did.

I didn’t know if I wanted to confront dying people. Would it be too much of an intrusion on their privacy to be a witness to their last days on earth? How would I feel about a complete stranger visiting me when I was at my worst? I thought about it for a couple of weeks.

One day I called up the person in charge of volunteers, and told her I was ready to give it a try. She gave me the address of a nursing home close to my house that had Hospice patients.

In less than ten minutes, I found myself in front of the nursing home for my first assignment. I nervously opened the door, and entered the bright, clean facility.  “How can I help you?” asked the young welcoming receptionist. She made me feel comfortable, and directed me to the rooms of several Hospice patients.

The first person I met was Betty. She was a heavy set African American woman who appeared to be sleeping.  “Oh, she’s not really sleeping. Betty, open your eyes!” shouted the aide. I felt like running out the door.  Betty opened one eye, and smiled.  “Hi, I’m glad to meet you. I keep my eyes closed ‘cause I can’t see out of them anyway,” said Betty.

We started talking, and became fast friends. We were different races, religions, and ages. But somehow we clicked.  I usually find Betty sitting in the TV room in the nursing home where she lives.  She’s blind, and is confined to a wheelchair.  She has a fondness for baseball caps, and I can usually spot her with her eyes closed, and leaning to one side of her chair.    It makes me happy when she says to me, “You always make me laugh.”

She tells about her travels around the world. She’d lived an exciting life. She never expected to end her life in a nursing home. She makes the best of it, and doesn’t complain. “I was at a worse one before this. There were rats running around,” she said

She outlived three husbands. She misses her last husband most of all. “Oh, I loved that man.” she says “He used to hold me so tight.” Thats a cue for me to give her a big hug, and I do.

Last December 15th was a special day for Betty. We were watching an amateur country band perform at the nursing home. They were playing happy holiday music.   Betty turned to me and said, “I want to sing the Lord’s Prayer.”  I knew Betty had been the soloist at her church for many years.

I approached the leader of the group “One of the clients wants to sing “The Lord’s Prayer”. What do you think?” I asked.   “Just wait a few minutes,”he said.

He finally called us over, and I wheeled her toward the band. He handed me a microphone and I placed it under her mouth. She sat up as straight as she could. and began to sing. Her voice started out soft, but soon gained strength. Suddenly, she wasn’t an ailing woman unable to sit up straight in her wheelchair. Once again, she was the soloist of a church choir talking to her God. The others sitting in the audience weren’t nursing home patients— they were the congregation.

Astounded aides were starring at her with big smiles on their faces.   “That’s it, Betty,” said one. “That’s it.”

That moment will always be frozen in my memory.

“I was kinda loud wasn’t I?” she asked.  She hadn’t realized I’d been holding a microphone for her.

Like a typical musician she said, “I have to practice; did I sound all right?”

Now, it seems like that moment took place in another lifetime, although it was only a year ago.

Betty isn’t getting any better, and I realize the end is coming. So, I go over there more often than I did before. I read her stories, or play her songs on a CD player.

Even if a life is diminishing, people still need to know that they matter. Some people want no part of visiting ill people, especially ones who are not going to be with us much longer. But those are the ones who need us the most.  The truth is that when you give of yourself—you receive so much more

Postscript:   I found out that sometimes people can qualify for Hospice for several years. They can reapply after six months. My friendship with Betty lasted  for two years, long enough for me to get to really know her. She passed away several years ago, but at least I think I brightened up her life a little at the end.