Johnny Onion Seed….

Oh, the Lord is good to me,

And so, I thank the Lord,

For giving me, the things I need,

The sun and the rain and the apple seed…..

I learned this song in Girl Scouts.  It’s called “Johnny Appleseed,” and it meant nothing to me at the time, just a fun little tune.  

Fast forward (very fast) almost 50 years and this song and the lore of Johnny Appleseed means a whole lot more.  Feelings and experiences have happened over those years that have made a simple song and a simple idea turn into something so deep and profound – it’s hard to put into words (but here I am blogging, lol, so I’ll do my best).

Let me start with the concept of sharing, but with one little change…let’s use an onion seed instead of an apple seed (bear with me, I don’t eat apples every day, but I do eat onions or onion salt or onion powder nearly every day).   Johnny shared his apple seeds, and I’ve been sharing onions…..special onions called Egyptian walking onions.  I entered the onion-sharing world when I met Ray Eicher, aka the onion man.  Ray loved John Denver music and came to our concerts whenever he could.  When he learned about my love for gardening, Ray promptly gave me some walking onions and told me that he had been sharing these unique onions all over the East coast and as far West as Nevada.  

My adopted onions plants thrived in California, and so I’ve shared them with friends in Florida, Alabama and a new generation of gardeners (my son and his friends) in Idaho.  The plant is perennial, and every part of the walking onion plant is edible. The onions are called walking onions because they grow new onions at the very top of their stalk.  The new onions eventually become too heavy for the stalk, then the stalk falls over and the new onions root themselves to the ground wherever they fall…one step away (walking) from the parent plant.

Sadly, I just got an email from the onion man’s wife Adele.  Ray has passed away, but I proudly keep the gift he gave to me and have shared it with others who will continue to share with many more.  

The Lord is good to me. He has given me friends that share their gifts, talents and time with me.  Step by Step, I do my best to pass along whatever I can.  Together we plant the seeds that become the spice of life.  

Thank you, Ray!

Unintentional Benefits…..

During our recent visit to the Manatee Park in Ft. Meyers, Florida, I was reminded that sometimes humans help animals without planning to.  I’m not talking about rescues or programs, just plain old human activities that benefit animals without even trying. 

I’ll explain:  The power plant in Ft. Meyers was developed for humans. The plant discharges heated water into the canal that leads to the open ocean.  Somewhere in time, Manatees discovered that the warm water in the canals helped them survive if the water in the ocean became too cold for them to thrive during the winter. 

Granted, most of the time humans exploit animals, and it would be easy for me to list the many ways that humans impact animal life in a negative way…….but the story of the power plant and the Manatee Park in Ft. Meyers is the perfect example of animals using humans as a tool for survival.

Another example from my own experience, is from when Jim and I worked on cruise ships.  We noticed that birds were flying right outside our cabin window while we were out at sea.  Our rooms were very high at the top and at the bow (front) of the ship.  The birds would cruise along right beside us, looking down.  Then they would swoop down to the ocean and scoop up the flying fish that were skimming out of the ship’s way.  The birds were using the ship as a tool to catch fish.

That’s just two that come to mind.  Let me know if you have observed a way that animals have benefited from unintentional human activity…….

How John Deutschendorf Became John Denver

Randy Sparks passed away this past February 11, 2024, at the age of 90.

Randy was a colorful and influential person in the Folk Music Industry.  He was also very personable and approachable, and he LOVED to tell stories. 

One of the stories he told us (and many others over the years) was the story in which he credits himself as the person who gave John Denver his stage name. 

Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. was performing at Randy’s club Ledbetters, when Randy commented his name wouldn’t fit on a marquee.  Randy suggested that John take the last name of Denver (Randy had written and recorded a song called “Denver” and he said the sheet music was laying there so he suggested that).  John resisted.  He very adamantly wanted to keep his family name, but he finally and reluctantly went with Randy’s suggestion.

The John Denver connection with Randy Sparks continued with John Denver recording other songs of Randy’s, including “Today” and “Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio” on multi-platinum albums. 

Blogs are supposed to be short – so this is my own abbreviated version of a very long and detailed story that Randy told me and Jim.  Randy was a  wonderful storyteller, he greatly influenced Folk Music history and many aspiring singer/songwriters…learn more on Wikipedia and The New Christy Minstrel website.

Rest in Peace:   Lloyd Arrington Sparks (July 29, 1933 – February 11, 2024)

Anne Gets a New Job…..

Don’t panic!  I am still singing harmony and playing backup in Jim Curry’s John Denver Tribute Show!

What I meant to say is that I have taken on a new responsibility in our shows,

Here’s why:

Many of you already know that our wonderful flautist and business partner, Diane Ireland, just retired and is managing her arthritis more comfortably at home rather than in a bouncy van.  What many of you DON’T know is that Diane, in addition to playing the flute during our shows, also pushed the button that started the videos we show during each song.

This button-pushing job sounds easy…heck…what could be hard about pushing a button? 

Let me tell you that what Diane did flawlessly for so many years comes off a little less polished when I’m in charge!  I must REMEMBER to push the button at the beginning of the song or I will mess up the timing of the images.  For instance, when we are singing about eagles, we want to see eagles!  When the dolphin jumps out of the water and spins, it should be at the exact moment the music swells……if he’s late, it’s MY fault.

The button must be pushed when the song begins, not two seconds before or after.  IF I FORGET…….. I can’t skip ahead or fast-forward.  If I forget to push the button at the beginning of a song, the video will lag behind.  The eagles will be late, the horses will be late and the dolphin…….well, he will be jumping out of the water and giving me a dirty look!

One of My Many Tasks on Stage: Making Jim Laugh!

This is a LOT of pressure!  Let me tell you that in the history of doing our shows for the past 25 years, I have learned how to perform every single song in every single show by NOT PUSHING A BUTTON AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY SONG!!  Let me also tell you that I have other things to think about and other buttons to push (mute button, tuner button, etc), not to mention remembering lyrics and chords and smiling and not falling down and all the other important stuff!

As old dogs go, I’m pretty much out of tricks.  I think the saying goes that old dogs CAN learn new tricks, but it takes them longer to learn. 

Soooooo….. Here’s to learning, and here’s to my new button-pushing future!

Thanks Chevrolet!

Just in case you haven’t already seen this commercial – I am featuring it in my blog this Holiday season.

Underneath the heartfelt, tear-jerking message, is the joy we felt hearing the music they used to bring their message home.

Thanks Chevrolet! We already knew that John Denver wrote the sound track of our lives…..it’s about time this is recognized by big media advertisers and the rest of the world.

Watch. Listen. Enjoy.

Happy Holidays!   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnZGEUA4oBk