Musings & Thoughts for Saturday, July 24, 2021, or: Music, Mom, and Memories

Mom and I enjoy the white sandy beaches of Marco Island, FL in 1964. Strangely enough, I live closer to this beach than I did in the summer of 2015. (Family photo)

 Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in New Hometown, Florida on Saturday, July 24, 2021. The current temperature is 89˚F (31˚C). With humidity at 53% and a north-northeasterly breeze blowing at 7 MPH (12 KM/H), the heat index is 98˚F (37˚C). The forecast for today is basically a repeat of yesterday’s: we can expect light rain throughout the day, and the high will be 94˚F (34˚C). Tonight, light rain will continue, and the low will be 76˚F (24˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 42 or Good.

Right now I’m listening to my digital copy of Pops in Love, a recording by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the baton of John Williams. Originally released by Philips in 1987 – when I was still in college – and featuring light classical music composed by such luminaries as Gabriel Fauré, Tomaso Albinoni, Maurice Ravel, Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky, and Claude Debussy, Pops in Love has been in my music collection since the 1990s and was one of the albums that I played for my mom while I was on “watch” till either my half-sister Vicky or a home health aide arrived to relieve me.

Art Design by Dennis Mukai and Peter Nomura (C) 1986 Philips Classics Productions

One of the nicest memories I have of that otherwise stressful and sad period between the spring of 2010 and my mother’s death six years ago is that almost to the last days of her life, my mom and I spent a lot of time watching movies or listening to music that we both loved. When the dementia/Sundown Syndrome was not as pronounced (circa 2010-late 2014), I would go to Mom’s room – which before 2010 had been our guest room – with a DVD, Blu-ray, or music CD and play it on a player (initially a DVD player, later a Blu-ray one) to keep us entertained while we waited for a health care professional (Vicky was then still working as a nurse, and the health aide from Nursing South showed up around 4 PM Monday through Friday) to get to the house.

This is not the Boston Pops Orchestra!

I often chose Pops in Love because its 11 selections were relatively short classical pieces – the longest track – Tchaikovsky’s Andante cantabile (from the String Quartet No. 1, Opus 11) runs for 7 minutes and 13 seconds – are not “big” symphonic works but rather calm and soothing compositions. Some, like Albinioni’s Adagio in G minor have a melancholic flavor to them, but Mom never protested or told me to turn them off. I think the music relaxed her, and – at least in the early years of her confinement to that small room – she remembered that we used to watch Evening at Pops on WPBT Channel 2, Miami’s PBS station.

I’m not sure why I chose to listen to Pops in Love today. It is – and will probably always be – an album that I enjoy purely on its aesthetic merits. On the other hand, I associate it now more with my mom than, say, I do with any of the women I have dated.[1] Maybe it is because the music is calming and at the same time reflects my mood.

Anyway, that’s it for this edition of A Certain Point of View, Too. I don’t have much in the way of news, and contrary to the Caregiver’s notion that I “overshare” too much, I only report on highlights of my days. And since my routine is somewhat dull and not as varied as it once was, I’m not going to bore you with such mundane details as what I had for breakfast or what color of socks I’m wearing.

So, Dear Reader, I’ll close for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

[1] Millions of people know that the Boston Pops are fun. You can see that from the television shows, hear it on 50 years’ worth of recordings.

But you probably have to live in Boston to know what generations of Harvard men do – that the Boston Pops are a good date, that a Pops evening can be a romantic occasion. You don’t go to the Pops by yourself, and part of the warmth of thinking about concerts is thinking about the people, or the person, that you went with. At points in every concert the lights dim, the Pops play sweet music, and people start to hold hands. – Richard Dyer, in the liner notes for Pops in Love

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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