Dee's World

How We Got Our Band Name 

At the end of this week (Saturday) it will be Bree's 26th birthday. Sigh....Sure do miss that girl! And even though she is an absentee member of the band..... In honor of her birthday I thought I would tell you the story about how we got our name - you know - "Bongo and the Point." Yeah...THAT name. Now some of you have asked to hear this story so you'll have to bear with me, but for those that still want to know - read on.

It all started a few years back when we were doing rehearsals 3 mornings a week for our live performances of "The Selfish Giant". I'll tell you about that some other time, but if you're curious just follow the link. For more than 30 years Jim & Dee (aka Mom & Dad & now Grandma & Grandpa) had been known to the musical world as just that - "Jim & Dee". Since almost before the Ice Age it had been so...Just "Jim & Dee." And so we thought it would be forever. But then two of our three lovely daughters, Bree and her older sister, Elfin, started singing with us. We were excited about that. Those extra harmonies were Fun, Fun, Fun and it was nice to have younger and cuter faces to put in the middle and just a little out front. We knew it couldn't last forever. Kids have a way of 'getting on with their lives' eventually - but we were sure having a blast with it while it lasted. One day we were sitting around the table, just finishing up our rehearsal, when the girls mentioned that we needed a new group name. "Jim & Dee" just wouldn't do any longer - not now that there were, not only Jim and Dee, but Elfin & Bree as well. We told the girls THEY could pick the name - we just had to sign off on it and it had to be something we could secure a domain name for. So began a quest that lasted about three weeks. Lists of possible names grew longer and longer and one by one there were reasons why each one wouldn't work. We got it down to just a few, but each name idea had one dissenting vote and it had to be unanimous. We were, it seemed, at an impasse. Then, in a meeting where we intended to decide the name or die trying we were all sitting around spinning our mental wheels when Elfin said.

"You probably won't like this one. That's why I haven't mentioned it before, but what about 'Bongo and the Point?'" We all shouted "Yes!" (in unison....or maybe it was harmonies) because we all knew exactly what it meant. And so, in a moment, the name was settled. I see you scratching your head. I'm not exactly finished.

You see, years and years ago (not so many years ago actually) when the girls were little, before we moved to Texas, we were (how do you say) Bus Nuts. To try to survive as musicians in California we lived in a motor home (a converted school bus) for several years. Bree's first memories are of that bus and when she was very small, visiting Grandma & Grandpa, she would get homesick and cry "I WANT MY BUS!!!"

After we bought the bus and before we moved into it and out of our too expensive house in San Diego County, we taped just about every kid show and TV special we could find on our soon to be non-existent cable service. There were at least two things on every long play VHS tape and there were literally hundreds of tapes. We put all the videos along with our library of REAL books in a special storage unit/library and the girls would pick up new titles and return the ones they had been watching (and reading) every few weeks. There were MANY of those they dearly loved, but there was one special video tape that had two things, both very musical animations, on it. The first thing on the tape was about a circus bear named BONGO. It was a Disney short...well not so short really...about 20 minutes long. Bongo was a show biz, unicyle riding bear who longed to be free. One day he fell off the circus train as it rambled through wilderness and had to learn to live in the wild with the other bears. The other thing on the tape was a WAY OUT musical called "The Point". Written by Harry Nillson, it was a full length animated feature about a boy named Oblio, who was born with a round head into a world of people with pointed ones. To hide his lack of pointedness, he wore a pointy cap....and had a dog named "Arrow." The neatly printed label on the VHS tape (which was tape #32) said "Bongo & the Point." So that's the story of our name - It's a memory really, of the girls childhood, growing up mobile and home schooled with musical gypsy parents in Southern California.

The ABC's of Bongo & the Point - "A" is for Art of Coffee 

For the last few weeks I've been thinking about writing a little something each week about some of the places we sing. This week I think I'll start at the beginning...with A. Art of Coffee to be exact. Formerly Rockwell's - this little venue has a special place in our hearts because it was the first coffee house we sang at when, about 5 years ago, we started singing with our sweet daughters, Bree and Elfin. It was here that we realized that a lot of people in this area really DID like oldies. Here that Bree got her first real job, and here that we've met some of our very best Lindale friends. It was also here that, one Christmas season, we started getting our first party gigs. Now the girls are on to other things, but we're still here and so is Art of Coffee. Every time I walk in the door I look for Bree's artwork. She may be in California, but her art has remained. Right now she has a Mermaid (I think it might be for sale) hanging somewhere amid the varied mix of homey to very modern art and her "Coffee Cheat Guide" table is usually right up front when you walk through the door. Wendy and Larry have taken the place from good to GREAT and I'd rather have Art of Coffee in Lindale than a dozen Starbucks. Our grandkids love to frequent the Lindale Chess Club here and just about every laptop owner in the area knows that this is the place to sit and sip your beverage, download those updates or great tunes, or do your homework online. So here's to ART OF COFFEE.....the best little coffee house in a dozen counties. Come see us there on Saturdays for lunch.....or just drop by anytime at all. Play some games. Drink some coffee. Eat a yummie sandwich....and enjoy the Lindale experience.

Thanksgiving in TreyVille 

Well, we made the trip to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day to spend time with the kids and grand kids and a WHOLE bunch of other folks at the Ronald MacDonald house. Long story that you may already know. Our little grandson, Trey, has been in the hospital most of his 8 months of life. I'll blog about that perhaps - another day. We left around 10am - after getting Bruin situated outside for the day. Bruin is our 14 year old Golden mix that is VERY crotchety and can barely walk anymore. He needs someone to carry him up and down the porch stairs and is old enough that when he needs out - he needs out NOW and it's getting to where sometimes NOW isn't even soon enough. Sigh. We probably would have gone up Wednesday evening and spent the night, but Bruin still couldn't/wouldn't (don't know which) negotiate the doggie handicapped ramp we built him that day so he could be more comfy indoors. So, it was a palate outside for old Brubaker and he ended up doing just fine - although he probably thought he had been ill treated.

Arriving around Noon-ish gave us a good amount of hang out time before dinner which happened about 3:30 and was a wonderful traditional Thanksgiving feast provided by RDH volunteers (Volunteers provide meals at the house every day). I heard that some local restaurants donated food as well and it was all good. (We're planning on having our own Patton Thanksgiving traditional fare - turkey tacos here at the house tomorrow - just so the holiday seems complete).

When we got there Trey was napping up in the ICU and there was a nurse Elfin and Cliff like and trust on the floor, so everyone was together as we arrived. RMH is just a very short car ride from the hospital and actually walking distance if you have a bit more time. After many hugs and delivery of the various items we'd brought from home we got out the guitar and sang oldies and Christmas songs for the volunteers working in the kitchen and the kids doing crafts on the other side of the dining hall. Elfin hadn't sung with us since before Trey was born so it was actually more like a rehearsal than a performance, but I think they enjoyed it anyway. We sure did. We miss our Elfie, her soulful leads and that 3rd or 4th harmony (depending on the song) that really makes the vocals lush, but we crash on regardless. Maybe someday the Lord will allow her to come back and sing with us again - at least occasionally.

After the singing, Trey was awake so we left Cliff at RMH with the 3 munchkins playing basketball outside and went with Elfin up to spend some time with the little guy. When we got there he was out of bed and sitting in one of those baby bouncy seats, watching Barney (the nurse was evil after all), trailing all his many tubes and hoses across the floor. We pulled out the guitar and sang for him right there in the ICU and pretty soon his nurse and a few others came to stand in the doorway and listen too. I think Barney would have been Trey's first choice, but we turned the sound down and finally got his attention.

It was so great to see him NOT SCRAWNY. He's now normal weight for his age - perhaps on the low end of normal, but normal nonetheless. We're so proud of Elfin and Cliff for sticking to their guns about what and when to feed him. We appreciate the hospital and staff and all they've done and are so thankful to the Lord for what He continues to do, but we think that God will give Elfin and Cliff direction and leading for this child along with the responsibility that goes with it. Seems fair and God is even though life may not be.

Before too long therapists of various persuasions began to show up to do their thing with Trey. Since he's on a feeding tube, tasting food is a therapy - especially since this age is about when he would be starting to eat solid stuff. It would be good if they could make it taste good in the process though :). After the "eating" therapist came the respiratory therapist and while Trey was getting his various treatments he went to sleep again - so we left him with the cute nurses again and made our way back to RMH.

We re-joined the celebration in the game room where the Cowboys game was on, kids were playing pool, air hockey and various video games and old style arcade games were all mooshing together in a cacophony of sound. 4 TV rooms in the house and every one of them had the Cowboys game on. It was great seeing the other kids having fun with their new friends some sick ones there for outpatient treatments and some, like ours - siblings of sick ones, doing crafts, playing games, engaging in minor skirmishes - normal. Right now, normal is good. I got to play Battleship and Connect 4 with Joli. Bree played Sorry with Micah and Jim. Off for more crafts and wearing funny construction paper turkey hats. Joli wanted to find grandmas lap and snuggle. I needed that fix too. The boys aren't so much into that so I take it where I can get it, but sometimes I will grab Braeden as he's running by to somewhere, and cover him with kisses against his will. He lets me hug and kiss him and laughs at me. Then he's off again as soon as I set him down.

When Dinner comes we try to all sit together, and get close. Braeden wants Bree to sit next to him so Jim ends up at the next table and Elfin has to move down make way for Auntie Bree. Other than that the meal proceeds without incident and we find out that another family sitting at the same table is taking their baby daughter (preemie) home the next day (on oxygen) after 6 weeks in the hospital. We rejoice with them and later see them taking stuff out to the car to make for an easier departure in the morning. I pray that things go well and they don't have to return.

After dinner things get a little sleepy. Must be the turkey. Cliff goes up to be with Trey. We take the kids outside where they join in a short but frenzied game of "Tag - You're it!" - the little kids just cant keep up - while Elfin runs Cliff up to the hospital. One of the girls finds a lizard in the playhouse. Jim teases Braeden by rolling him a hoola hoop, but putting so much back spin on it that it changes trajectory and comes back again right when he is about to lay hands on it. He stomps away mad for about 5 seconds. Grandpa is mean. But Joli thinks that a really cool trick and wants to figure out how it's done and Braeden's snit doesn't last long.

More games in the game room. Jim finds a TV that he can control now that the football game is over. I remember why I could never get anywhere playing PacMan, the beginning of all my video game addictions and try my hand at Centipede for a while. The big kids try to teach Micah how to handle a pool cue. We find ourselves hoping the felt on the table survives. Joli is looking everywhere for her "Dorothy" doll (Wizard of Oz). I remind her that she gave it to me on her way to do crafts earlier in the day and I put it in their room. Disaster averted. One of the volunteers asks if we are going to sing again. We think about it, but things are thinning out and slowing down all over the house and nobody seems to be willing to make an announcement so we pass on singing again.

We starting thinking, reluctantly, about the drive home, but Cliff comes back. Trey is asleep again and the nurse will call if he wakes. So Elfin, Cliff, Bree and myself, get in two short games of "Catch Phrase" while Jim dozes in the adult TV room, "preparing for the drive home". After that everybody is tired. It's almost 8pm and the kids need to get ready for bed. We gather our things from their room and spend the next few minutes trying to find how many ways there are to say goodbye. We give Cliff a lift back to the hospital. It's his night to sleep in the "not" bed. Braeden wants Daddy to sleep with him like last night, but it's Mommy's turn. He decides he's going to the hospital with Daddy and walks out the door. Cliff picks him up and brings him back in, handing him off to Elfin.

We drop Cliff at the hospital right at 8 - hit the freeway and make it to Hwy 80 before we get the text message from Elfin that we've forgotten something important. So, we turn around and go back again. Micah is waiting with the item by the front door and Bree fetches it. Then, back on the road again and home by about 10:30 with no further incidents.

That was our day in TreyVille. Thankful and tired, we let Bruin in from the cold and fell into bed. Tomorrow we'll start all over - missing them again.

Some of you may not have seen the article in the Dallas Morning News about Ronald MacDonald House and featuring the Morgans. Here's the link if you haven't seen it.

Another Thankful day in Pre-Paradise,