Surfing around to see what other “seniors” are doing around the country, I came across this video from the little city of Gulfport in Pinellas County Florida, a suburb of St. Petersburg which everyone knows is a popular retirement city. (When I was growing up there in Florida, the streets in St. Petersburg were famous with the locals for being even with the sidewalks so you couldn’t stumble or fall off the curbs. I wonder if it’s still like that now that I know what a good idea it was?)
All else aside, the senior citizens in this video make me proud. They’re a harmonica group who meet every week and practice harmonica playing. The reason this one caught my attention, I suppose, is that I play harmonica. To tell the truth, I don’t play well or often, maybe once or twice in a five-year period, because–being self taught–I never mastered the tongue block thing that allows you to keep time or add rhythm to the melody. (I’m pretty sure my family is grateful I play mostly in closets or when they’re not around!) Plus I always felt pretty timid about standing there like a lump with a hand on each end of my harmonica holding it to my mouth. I felt like I should be “doing something” to make it look less boring. I mean, who listens to harmonica playing anymore? Well, I guess I do. One of my favorite old-time artist groups was The Harmonicats with Jerry Murad. And from what I discern from a google search, although the originals (Jerry, Al Fiore, and Don Les) are all dead now, this group name is still around and available for bookings.
Another thing that struck me after watching this group perform is that you don’t really have to move around much, they didn’t, and playing in a group would allow you to just play melody and let the showoffs do the rhythm thing. Maybe I’ll shake out the spit from my old harmonica someday and head off to Gulfport where I could yet become a music star–sort of. (After I get my tongue out of my cheek, I’m gonna replay this video ’cause I like it and just want to. You’re invited to watch it too, if you want. Oh, and by the way, don’t let that initial weather report confuse you. The music commences quickly enough.)