Wyatt & Shari Knapp: Live Music in Horton Bay, Michigan!

Horton Bay, Michigan is a special place for me as I have ancestors who settled there and who lived in that community for many years. Shari and I love Horton Bay and we’re so pleased we were invited again to provide the music for the big Labor Day Pig Roast!  This community event is held on the grounds of the Methodist Church there in Horton Bay.  We’ve been told that Ernest Hemingway was married in that church back in 1921.  The whole community was invited to his wedding and the following celebration, so it’s entirely likely that some of my ancestors attended!  One thing we realized last year is that the place where we sing is situated right at the front of what used to be my great-great grandparent’s expansive front yard.  As a matter of fact, the driveway into the venue is the same driveway that still leads up the hill to their old house. From the top of their driveway, and the porch, you can see an absolutely gorgeous view of the bay!  And Hemingway himself once wrote about the view from that very porch in one of his stories.

The view from Grampa Smith's Horton Bay home

The view from Grampa Smith’s Horton Bay home

The pig roast lasts from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and they always have plenty of delicious food and desserts.  Shari and I will start singing right at 4:00 pm and will be there for the entire event. Then, at around 8:00 o’clock p.m., Horton Bay will host its annual Labor Day Candlelight Bridge Walk.   Everyone meets at “Mary’s” back yard where there is usually a campfire and more live music as they wait for the signal. Then, at twilight, participants attempt to walk the great Horton Bay Bridge by candlelight. During the walk, everyone invariably breaks out into a spontaneous “group singing” of traditional standards. The walk is preceded by some humorous and entertaining speeches.  It’s really a memorable event!  Those who make it across  receive a certificate of accomplishment and a free treat from the Horton Bay General Store! There’s no better way to end the summer than to share a delicious meal, listen to some great tunes, and walk the Horton Bay Bridge under the stars and candlelight!  Hope to see you there!                      –Wyatt–

Horton Bay Wyatt and Shari

Our Wedding Video

We used to have a section on our website called “Scrapbook” where we had begun to share stories from the road and other things of interest. We later decided that a blog would work better as a format for our digital scrapbooking. So we created one. But somewhere in the move the video of our wedding got left behind. We’ve had several people ask since then, “What happened to the wedding video?” and “When will the wedding video be back up?”  Well gosh … we’re a bit flattered it was so well received. So in response, and in honor of our recent five-year anniversary this past May, here it is back up online again! Thank you for all the nice comments and all of your support. It means a lot to us!
                                                                                                                        –Wyatt & Shari

Wyatt & Shari Knapp: Concert At Falling Rock

Not too long from now, Shari and I will be moving our rig farther north again as we head up into the upper peninsula for our annual stay Shari_Knapp_waterfall picture_Munising 1on the shores of Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay!  During our time there, we’ll take the “shuttlecraft” out to visit many of our favorite places up there.  By the way, looking for a fun travel destination?  You can’t go wrong with a trip to Munising in Michigan’s beautiful upper peninsula!  There you’ll find Pictured Rocks–colorful sandstone towers, cliffs and formations, viewed against the backdrop of  green forests and beautiful blue Lake Superior.  Many of the area’s hiking trails take you to picturesque creeks and waterways, and well over a dozen breathtaking waterfalls.  It’s absolutely gorgeous!  We love it there!

While you’re in Munising, make some time to stop at the area’s renowned Falling Rock Cafe & Bookstore.  At this comfy coffee shop and café you’ll find wi-fi, tasty homemade food (with vegan and gluten-free options), coffee and gourmet teas, as well as thousands of hand-selected books lining the shelves.  And on the evening of the 29th of August we’ll be performing there from 7:00 to 9:00 pm!  So, come on up, stop in to the café, and listen to some great tunes as you enjoy one of the friendliest and most welcoming venues in the state!              –WyattFalling Rock Wyatt and Shari Ad

Wyatt & Shari Knapp: Concert In West Michigan

A couple of weeks ago, Shari and I moved into our motor home and we’ve been busy getting it ship-shape and ready for extensive traveling.  Our last gig in West Michigan before we leave for our annual northern tour will be on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015, at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We leave for Harbor Springs, Boyne City, Petoskey, and other towns in the far North around the 28th of this month.  It’ll be late September before we’re back in the area, so now’s the time to come out and see us at Rosa Parks Circle for some great tunes and family friendly fun!  Hope to see you there!                  –Wyatt–

Wyatt & Shari GR Concert Promo

2015 So Far

Img_1628We’re in the thick of winter!  Lots of cancellations due to the weather.   Out of seven things on our calendar between New Years Day and today, only one has actually happened! That was an afternoon at the mall, drinking coffee and shopping with my sister & niece.

Wyatt and I are hoping our gig for tomorrow doesn’t get cancelled because of impending weather.  We enjoy being home, but we’re ready to get out again.  At least I am.

I am so glad the snow we’ve gotten has been fluffy, making the shoveling easier!  Wyatt does such a good job keeping the long path to the barn clear, but the other day I got out there first because I wanted the exercise.  I had to blaze a new trail.  I had so much fun.  I think it looks way more interesting with some curves, don’t you? ;)  Between my glasses steaming up and hair blowing in front of my eyes–I couldn’t see much of anything!

IMG_1624I am thankful to have a toasty warm, cozy place to stay again this winter. Most of all, I’m thrilled with the one I am hunkered down with on these cold, snowy, Michigan winter days and nights!  We cooked and enjoyed a spontaneous candlelight Italian meal together last night because the plans to go out for a quiet dinner with friends were not to be.

Our Cozy FireplaceLots of love and laughter, and never a dull moment!                       -Shari

Music and the Infinite

Shari and I saw this video today and just had to share it with you.  David MacDonald assigned the numbers 0 through 9 to consecutive white keys (with the exception of a sharped “G”) on a piano keyboard. Then he played “pi” all the way down to 122 decimal places. The result was lovely.   Science, math and music, inextricably woven together. Always an intriguing concept…and a beautiful contemplation.                    –Wyatt

It’s 2015! Have A Gear New Year!

Yesterday I was thinking about it being the new year and all, and the following popped into my head:  “Have a cool yule and gear new year!”   That’s how the Beatles said it to the members of their fan club back in the very early 1960’s.  They also used to send the members of their fan club little 45 records back then.

I think the words fab and gear are arguably the two words most associated with the very early Beatles. Those terms were part of Liverpudlian dialect (a dialect also referred to as scouse).  Fab is easy to figure out.  It’s probably short for “fabulous”.  But I wasn’t sure about “gear”.  I mean, for a while everything was gear.  “Wow!  Heather’s party was really gear!”  “That concert was so gear!”   I looked it up in an etymology reference and it gave the following information:

Gear: adjective: excellent, absolutely right, first-rate. An ephemeral vogue word that spread with the popularity of the Beatles and the ‘Mersey sound’ from Liverpool in 1963 to be picked up by the media (a fact which incidentally marked its demise as a fashionable term).

Evidently there is some debate about the real derivation of the term.  One theory is that it came from the French expression de rigueur, meaning “necessary according to etiquette, protocol or fashion.”  So “gear” meant properly fashionable and would have then evolved to mean “really great.”  The other origin given for the term is that it came to Liverpool, a seaport city, via the sailors and solders who traveled through that place.  Evidently the term had been in usage since at least WWI and is even referenced in a British collection of military slang where it states “enthusiasm painted anything that had given great pleasure as the gear.”

By the way, I smiled at the last part of that definition I gave you a couple of paragraphs above where it says the fact that the term was picked up by the media marked its demise. Its usage did decline rather quickly.  I use it now and then for fun, and the occasional New Years Day blog post, but unlike words such as “cool”,  “gear” just didn’t have staying power.  Should one ponder the slang of one’s youth, it’s not long before one realizes that a lot of things you used to say haven’t been said, or even heard, for a long time.  If you think on what that means as far as how quickly the years have flown by, and how old you might be getting, it may make you feel more than a bit grotty!

That thought leads me now to inviting you on a little trip back to my groovy teen past to share a few examples of some slang I remember that has come and all but gone (thankfully gone in some cases). We’ll start with the obvious one.

Groovy:  It was out of use for a very long time but it has made a bit of a comeback.  I was thinking recently about how it didn’t seem to work well in songs.  For some reason they always seemed to end up sounding contrived and ultimately dated—except in two cases where I think they still work to this day:  Feelin’ Groovy by Paul Simon, and the Phil Collins remake of Groovy Kind of Love by The Mindbenders.

Heavy: As in, “Wow…heavy man.” Really sad, painful or sobering.

Bogart: to take an unfair share of (something); keep for oneself instead of sharing.

Bogue: Two meanings for this one. The first was mean, rude, gross or alarming.  Interestingly enough I have read that it is considered largely a Michigan term when used this way.  The second meaning was as a shortened version of bogus, as in “unreal, a lie.”  “That was a totally bogue story.

Far out:  Really cool.  If you said it in an awed and amazed way it worked.  Unfortunately, when John Denver started saying it in his gosh, shucks, drawn out, country spud way, it sounded really corny.  I really do think John single-handedly killed far out.  (Sorry John, you did write some really good songs though.)

Taid or Tait:  A cigarette.  “Can I bum a taid off ya’?”  I’ve only ever heard this term at my alma mater, Rogers High School, in West Michigan and was surprised years later to find that people from outside our school district were unfamiliar with it.  I can find no reference for it elsewhere but the term was used all the time by myself and my peers back in the 70’s.  I don’t know its origin.

Truckin':  Leave, go, move on.  “Keep on truckin”, dude.”  Back in the day, my buds and I used to cruise up and down 28th Street from Rogers Plaza in Wyoming, Michigan, to Woodland Mall in nearby Kentwood.   Many of our friends would be doing the same and we would meet in the parking lots and hang out in groups, standing by our cars and having a lot of laughs.  It was fun.  We called that truckin’ too!

Well, I’m sure I could go on and on but this seems like a good spot to stop for now.  That was a nice reminisce though.  Oh!  And “grotty”?  That was a bit of manufactured slang. The script writer for the Beatles movie, Hard Days Night, made the word up (short for “grotesque”) and wanted George Harrison to use it on film.  George didn’t like the idea much but he did say it.  The word didn’t have staying power though.  Probably because there was a much better word for grotesque on the horizon. “Grotty” was just too… well…gross!

What are some slang terms you remember from your past?  In what era were they first popular?  Are any of them still used?  Here’s a fun excerpt from Hard Days Night that features George Harrison.  You’ll get to hear him say grotty.  By the way, the movie really is worth a look if you can find the DVD.  Fun film and well written.              -Wyatt

Red Sky At Night …

I was proofreading an advance copy of a friend’s book and came to a passage which included this age-old bit of weather lore:

text sampleRed sky at night, sailors delight,
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning

I have heard this since I was a child.  It seems to be something with which most people are familiar.  But I wondered, does it really work and if so, why?  While looking up its origins, I found another reference to this advice:

Matthew 16:2: “[Jesus] replied, [to some Pharisees and Sadducees that wanted to “test” him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven] ‘When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

Yes indeed, it’s been around a while. So why does this old adage work as a weather predictor?  Here’s what the encyclopedia has to say:

wrkskk red sky

“Weather systems typically move from west to east, and red clouds result when the sun shines on their undersides at either sunrise or sunset. At these two times of day, the sun’s light is passing at a very low angle through a great thickness of atmosphere commonly known as The Belt of Venus. The result of which is the scattering out of most of the shorter wavelengths — the greens, blues, and violets — of the visible spectrum, and so sunlight is heavy at the red end of the spectrum. If the morning skies are red, it is because clear skies to the east permit the sun to light the undersides of moisture-bearing clouds coming in from the west. Conversely, in order to see red clouds in the evening, sunlight must have a clear path from the west in order to illuminate moisture-bearing clouds moving off to the east.”

So now you know!  By the way, be sure to keep watching our blog for news of the release of the book I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  Shari and I think it’s a great story!                                                                                                                                   -Wyatt-

Ice Breaker Swan

Well it’s early December and the rig is all put away for the winter. We will again be staying in the north this year. (We sure do miss the Florida weather, but it really makes sense for us to be here, at least for the time being.) We are cozily settled into our winter digs, enjoying a slightly slower pace, hoping to use this season to further develop our music and to catch up on some things that have fallen by the wayside in the busier summer months.

We’ve had the privilege of observing some pretty interesting avian activity here lately, like this kingfisher that dropped by in early November:

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

It’s fun to watch the ducks gliding along and the seagulls out on the water playing, sometimes diving and splashing, but I think I enjoy watching the swans the most. Thirteen of them graced the lake yesterday, mostly on the opposite shore, as the water there is free of ice.

While watching the swans I noticed some very peculiar movement, and realized one of them was thrusting his body forward in order to break the ice so they all could swim freely into the river that connects to the lake. I quickly grabbed a camera and was able to capture some video.  It’s a little rough but I think it’s interesting enough that you will still be able to enjoy it.

What I’m going to tell you next is going to sound crazy, but it really happened like this! While proofreading and editing what I’d written above, out of the corner of my eye I saw an eagle fly past, not more than 30 feet away! My heart was racing! I’d spotted him on the ice yesterday right before he flew away but didn’t get to the camera in time. Today he landed again, and I was able to get in one quick snap before he took to flight.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Then, while I was trying to catch another picture of the eagle, a big ol’ sandhill crane whizzed through the air, 10 or 15 feet from our window! How amazing and exhilarating! We’ve seen scores of these cranes in Florida, and maybe a dozen or two in northern Michigan, but this is the first one we’ve seen in West Michigan. How stunning it was to see this gigantic bird fly by at close range! I’m surprised the bird was alone, as we normally see them in groups of 2 or more. I wonder if we’ll see him again, or if he was just passing through.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Wyatt and I find a lot of pleasure in watching the change of seasons. Soon the swans will be gone but the juncos will be making their appearance. Then we’ll really know it’s winter!                                                                                                                      –Shari