A few months ago I started posting on Facebook a list of my top 100 road trip songs.  I borrowed this idea from one of my favorite literary characters Lucas Davenport, as authored by John Sandford.  In one of the books, Lucas is given an I-Pod as a gift from his wife.  He makes a list of the top 100 rock and roll songs of all time that he wants on his I-Pod.  This becomes a minor subplot as he and his friends bicker about what to include and not to include.  I tweaked the idea a bit and decided to make a list of my ultimate road trip songs.  I semi-regularly pick a song and post it with a YouTube clip of that same song.  I do this for my own amusement, figuring that nobody is interested, but I am happy when I get a like or a comment.  And deep down in my heart, I hope that some FB friends, especially my former students, will listen to the clip because they have never heard the song before and maybe they will expand their musical horizons.

The criteria is pretty flexible.  In truth, I make it up as I go.  I tend toward long songs when I travel because they chew up time and scenery.  For the most part they should be driving and/or upbeat, but not all the time.  For example,  I selected “Scarborough Fair” because that is the song played in “The Graduate” when Dustin Hoffman drives from Santa Barbara to Berkeley.  Many of my choices are about being on the road, although this is not a requirement.  Of course, just like Lucas, I have received several suggestions from my friends.  I always take the suggestions under advisement, listen to the song if I am not familiar with it.  If I like the song, I will select it and thank the friend for participating in the home edition of the list.

In many cases I pick a song because it received a lot of radio play while I was traveling from Prescott to Azusa, California (and later Albuquerque to Azusa) during my college days.  I did not have an 8 track player in my car, so I was forced to listen to the radio, or, because there were long stretches of road where there was no radio reception, I would play some homemade cassette tapes on a little recorder/player on the front seat.

Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” is one of those songs.  Today I selected it as #58 on my Fantastic Road-trip List.

I first heard “Maggie May” in Prescott,Arizona, around the time I was packing up and getting ready to travel to Azusa for the fall semester. in 1971.  The song was actually the B side of “Reason to Believe”, but “Maggie May” kept getting more play time, because it is a much better song.  It finally topped the charts in October, simultaneously reaching #1 in the UK and the US. (For a little rock and roll trivia, it replaced “Go Away Little Girl” by Donnie Osmond as the number one song.   Yes, this Osmond song did receive a lot of air time, but no, it is not making the list.  Even I have standards.)

But I have a stronger memory of “Maggie May” than those college days, and it isn’t a  pretty memory. For the first, only, and last time I sang Karaoke, I elected to sing “Maggie Mae”.

It was at a faculty Christmas party.  The host had a karaoke machine.  I am not a huge fan of Karaoke.  It serves no purpose other than to allow someone to humiliate themselves in front of drunk strangers.  I have seen some hideous things done in the name of a karaoke performance that good taste and decency prevent me from discussing in a public forum such as this blog.  Some things should never, ever be shared.

Back to the Christmas party.  The host kept encouraging people to get on the karaoke machine.  But there were no takers.  Two of our female faculty members wanted to sing karaoke, but didn’t want to be the first ones.  They indicated a willingness to sing if someone else would break the ice.  At that point they turned, looked at me, batted their eyes and told me that if I would sing first they would surely sing next.  They also said some vague things about how much fun it would be, pretty please, etc. etc.  Guys, you know the drill.  So even as my logical thinking brain was telling me that no good could come of this, I, for some reason believing I was destined to save the party, grabbed the mic and the book and took my first step into the black hole of karaoke.

To this day I cannot fathom why I chose the song “Maggie May”.  There were plenty of other good songs to pick.   Besides, to properly sing “Maggie” one needs to like gargle with battery acid to get that Rod Stewart rock and roll raspy voice.  Or at least have a bad case of strep throat.

“Wake up Maggie”… and let the humiliation proceed.

Of course, most readers, especially guys, know the outcome of this little tale.  Much like Charley Brown, Lucy and the football, the girls pulled the ball and I fell flat on my back.  As I handed them the mic, they demurely declined saying something about not being interested anymore and they went out to the backyard to grab some more food.

When John Lennon’s character in “How I Won the War” was shot by Germans, Lennon looks into the camera and says “I knew this would happen, you knew this would happen.”

Just like that movie, no surprises here.

I should have sang the Donny Osmond song.

I am, however, reminded of another song, one that I should have thought of at the time.  The Who’s “We Won’t Be Fooled Again.”



“Mark off your calendar,” George said, “for July 23 and 24.”  It was early July when I received this phone call.  George is my best friend, my bro, bff, someone I would die for, although I would think hard about it.  I have known George since the first grade.  We went to high school together, attended Azusa Pacific College, were on the football team together and were roomies for the first year.  He got married after that first year.  I was his best man.  He was my best man at my wedding a few years later. My first official wedding photographer job is his granddaughter’s wedding in August.  George and I have stomped the earth together and shook the pillars of heaven off and on these last 50 some odd years.  He resides in Flagstaff with his family.  His work commitments and mine have kept us from getting together as often as we would like to.  So it is always good when George can get away and come down to the valley and visit.  Usually, though, his motis operandi is to let me know about a day or to in advance.  I was surprised he was giving me a good two weeks notice.  The conversation continued, “We are going on vacation, I’ll be back Saturday, rest up  little on Sunday, come down Monday and go home on Tuesday and then it’s back to work.”  I told him I would clear the decks on those two days.

About a week or so after this conversation, I was up at the crack of some ungodly hour in the morning checking websites.  On the Arizona Photographers’ Group I saw an upcoming event called “Learn from My Experience with special guest Melissa Jill.”  I looked at how many were attending there was only 2 people signed up.  I was, like, “score one for the Pooleman!”  Melissa Jill is a local professional wedding photographer (  I have been actively research photographers’ blogs and websites in order to gain more insight and knowledge about this profession I am getting into.  Although I didn’t invent the saying, I do believe to be the best one learns from the best.  Her website and blog are impressive.  Melissa Jill also has workshops, coaching sessions, templates and blogs dedicated to helping other photographers become better at their art and business.  Her next local workshop was tentatively in January of 2013 so I had already penciled in that date.  Needless to say I was excited that before the big wedding shoot I would be able to hear Melissa Jill talk about wedding photography.  On Monday.  July 23rd.  There’s a penalty flag on the field.  Call back the touchdown.  Take the points off the board.

Of course I would have other opportunities to see George, and other opportunities to hear Melissa Jill as well.  But despite all my faults, I am loyal to those I consider friends, so I did not push the RSVP button for the MJ talk.  There was always January.

Sunday, July 22nd, I decide to call George and confirm all the details for Monday.  Basically, George said without actually saying it was “oops, I forgot I was coming down on Monday.”  They were still on the road coming back from vacation.  They had decided to take a detour to Yosemite and stayed a few days longer than they had intended.  Then George asks if I had skipped something else in order to clear the day for him coming down.  I was going to say no, but I hesitated just enough to make him say “I did, didn’t I.”  Since they were on the road we hung up quickly so he could concentrate on driving with the promise he would call me the next day.

Not only was the touchdown called back, I got sacked for a safety on the very next play.

In all honesty, this was just a SMH moment in my life.  Although rare, there have been plenty of times in my life that two events occurred at the same time.  And usually it would be a time for celebration if one of the events cancelled, but in this case, the Melissa Jill presentation was full and there was a waiting list.  I went from too many choices to a person with nothing to do on Monday night.  Karma and irony all showing up unannounced and unwanted at my doorstep.  It is fortunate that all my years of coaching taught me this, that you play until the final whistle, you never know when a break will come your way.  So I put myself on the  Melissa Jill waiting list.  I will see what tomorrow brings. Tomorrow never knows.

At about 2:30 Monday afternoon I got an email telling me that enough room had opened up so I was now on the list of attendees to the Melissa Jill event.  Clock is running out, the ball is fumbled and recovered for a touchdown.  The good guys win!  I was so happy I even decided to cut in half the time I was going to make George feel guilty for forgetting that he was coming to visit.

Hearing Melissa Jill speak was a real treat.  She rocked a lot of knowledge on Monday.  I went away with some business ideas I will be putting into practice.  What was really a hoot to me was finding out she and I went to the same university.  APU forever.  Which reminds me, I need to call Azusa to update my alumni status.

In the scheme of things, this is just a funny little story about some plans I made.  If I had to do it over again, I would have RSVP’d  the meeting and cancelled the day before.  Would have saved some of the anxiety, but then I wouldn’t have an amusing story to share, would I?  I borrowed the title for this post from John Lennon song “Tomorrow Never Knows”.   Think about it.  All we have is the now, the moment, and our memories, which are mostly confused and selective at best and those memories differ from person to person.  Just a few minutes ago, my wife was adamant that we had been to Tombstone, Az together.  I have never been to Tombstone in my life, yet she actually told me she was going to prove me wrong.  I am sure everyone has had an experience where you and another person remember a shared experience differently.

Finally we all share the possiblities of tomorrow.  We can predict, we can plan, we can prepare, but none of us knows what will happen.  Fill in your own story of what has happened to you or other people that has altered the course of their tomorrows.  The only constant about tomorrow is the unexpected.


GEORGE (far left) #53                          ME (far right) #63

“Tomorrow Never Knows” is one of my favorite Beatles tracks.  When “Mad Men”  used it on one of their shows this year I jumped out of my chair and did a fist pump.  Good choice, “Mad Men”