“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending…” – Kermit the Frog, Rainbow Connection
What inspires you? What drives you? What motivates you? What keeps you going when you want to quit?
Different things have inspired me at different times in my life. When I was a teenager, I learned to play the banjo because of Kermit the Frog and Steve Martin. True story!
My friends and I were huge Steve Martin fans, and listened to his comedy albums all the time. Regardless of what you may think of his sense of humor, you have to give the man props for being a phenomenal musician. I can remember playing the part of his album where he plays “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” over and over – I loved it made my heart pound a little faster and put a smile on my face. Like Steve said: “The banjo is such a happy instrument – you can’t play a sad song on a banjo”.
And, of course, Kermit plays the banjo in the Muppet Movie. It was like a sign – learn to play the banjo, then go to Hollywood to become famous. Three of us did learn to play the banjo. We found an instructor (Barb!) at Mecca Music on the corner of Baird and Main in Green Bay (anyone remember that old music store?) and we would schedule our lessons all in a row so we could all go together – probably much to Barb’s dismay, although she seemed to genuinely like us. While one of us was in the lesson, the others would be across the street getting malts – real chocolate malts, mind you. Superbly delicious chocolate malts, the likes of which I have never had since. I would love to tell you the name of the malt shop but time has worn it from my memory. It might have been Dehns?
While we didn’t become famous (although we may be legends in our own minds), I don’t think any of us regret buying our banjos and the time and money spent in lessons and practice. Or the malts, for that matter (if I shut my eyes and concentrate, I can still remember how they tasted. THEY WERE SO GOOD!!) We played our banjos for school projects, in talent shows (I think), around the camp fire, and later, to entertain our children. We used them to make up limerick songs at parties and to get out of doing dishes (I have to practice, Mom!). One of us, I know, still owns hers. I’m pretty sure she plays it in her garage bar now and then!
I stupidly sold mine in a rummage sale. A RUMMAGE SALE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD – WHAT WAS I THINKING? It’s not so much that I want to buy another one. I just want my old one back. So many memories!
This post has totally taken on a life of it’s own. My main point, though, is this:
Don’t sell your banjo! Maybe you don’t play it anymore or maybe you think you’ve outgrown it or maybe your goals are polar opposite of what they were when you bought it. However, that banjo is a reminder of the driving force that made you make a change in your life. It’s like framing the first dollar a business earns – a symbol of the spirit and inspiration that brought you to where you are. And while maybe the results weren’t exactly as you planned, they certainly weren’t a waste of time. Maybe you just need to write another ending.
PS – Steve Martin is STILL a phenomenal musician and STILL a very funny guy. You should check out his latest CD’s – The Crow and Rare Bird Alert.
PPS – While Jim Henson may have gone home, his Muppet legacy lives on, and continues to bring joy to many. What is your legacy? What are you leaving behind to give others hope and joy? Food for thought!