Disney Merlin's Hat


1969 — The year we went to the moon. The year my rusted out ’69 Chevy pick up truck was brand spankin’ new.

The year my Dad — just months, even weeks, before he died — gave me one of his greatest gifts . . .


I’m 16. It’s dark. Fall; Winter?

I’m waiting outside, under the lights, for Dad to pick me up from the Junior Achievement building in Culver City, CA.

Oh yes, here he comes — I hear the rattling engine of his black diesel Mercedes.


What makes one simple statement a parent says to a kid stand out? Stay in their memory all of their life . . . out of all the interactions and conversations of my then-sixteen-years???

I don’t know the answer to this, but I’m sure glad — somehow, it did.

Date Niters Disneyland Patch

Dad’s Disneyland Band Patch

Dad was an Entertainer. Disneyland Bandleader. Fox Orchestra Studio Musician for TV and films. (Read more about Dad, and listen to his music, here: You can do ANYTHING!)

But by the late 1960s, things in Dad’s world had changed.

Walt Disney had died.

The new management of the Park had wanted to clean house, start fresh. Dad’s twelve-year Main Street Band run was up. Gig over.

And in the Film Industry, things were changing, as well.

The big orchestras were phasing out. Songs from folk and rock artists like Simon and Garfunkel, The Byrds, Steppenwolf, and such, were used in musical scores for films like Mrs. Robinson and Easy Rider.

There were fewer work calls for the older studio guys. Dad’s Big Band era had somewhat lapsed.

So Dad had less studio work. And he had time on his hands he’d never had before.

Instead of working insane hours every day, barely time to sleep or see his family — for the first time in his life, Dad was idle.

He still went to the airport. Still flew his plane. But less, way less.

Beechcraft Bonanza Landing

V-Tail Beechcraft Bonanza — same style as Dad’s.

Dad had always played clarinet and saxophone professionally. But in those last few years he began playing flute, figuring it would help if he could be hired to play a third instrument.

I remember his flute scales fluttering in the background of my early high school life . . . homework, phone calls, messing around in my room, to the melody of his methodically  practiced notes.

Family Band

To help with finances, Mom got a “dumb job,” as Dad called it. (I think he felt badly that she had to work; he missed her, and resented her time away from home.)

She worked at a department store, in customer service and returns.

(Mom, so fair and kind, was well suited to solving customer’s problems:)) Besides, Mom never complained. She seemed to enjoy it.)

But Dad was down. He had never, ever had so much time without constant work, and it didn’t suit his Type A, Bigger-than-Life personality.

Skid Marks


So Dad picked me up that night from Junior Achievement, and I rode in the car with him the fifteen minutes or so it took to get home.

I don’t know exactly how the conversation went, but I remember the stand-out statement:

“Honey. Things are always changing. The sooner you get used to that, the better off you’ll be.”

Question Mark

In fact, I didn’t think much about it. Just one of so many conversations in family life.

Until the following February, when Dad died of a heart attack in the night.



Is that what you meant by: “Things are always changing . . . ” !!!!???!!!!

Monstro's Mouth!


I’ve replayed that statement many, many times over the years. I still see Dad’s eyes, hear his voice. Like a mental tape recorder — words frozen in time.

And he’s right.

Things are always changing. Oftentimes when we least expect.

And our job is staying flexible. Ready.

Dad, born in the 1920s, was old school. Matter of fact.

Maybe another way of putting it would be:

“Honey. I want you to know that things are always changing. It’s our job, as humans here on Good ‘ol Planet Earth to adapt. To adjust. To find a way to thrive among Life’s shifting circumstances.

“I want you to know this, so that you will be ready. So that you can embrace change. So that it won’t knock you down. but you can continue on. Adapt and adjust to the new norms . . .”

David Bowie sings in 1971 — Ch-Ch-Changes :))


Thank you, Dad!!!

You gave me a final gift. Of wisdom. A strategy for dealing with what Life has to offer.

And it’s really helped :))

Just to know, in advance, about the changes that loom ahead. For all of us.

As sure as the hands of Time . . .

Things are always changing, still.

So rather than grumble or complain: Adapt. Adjust. Take the lead, and make changes, too.

And yes — all these years later — I still take this one to heart! ❤

Gas Cap Heart


Like what you’ve read here? Visit Dawn’s sister blog: Soul Horse Ride

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…/< >\ …/< >\ …/< >\

White Horse in Green


Signs! Gone Surfing


Copyright 2017






30 thoughts on “Ch-Ch-Changes!

  1. Dalo 2013

    Such a deep and meaningful story, Dawn. Something I think everyone needs to hear every now and then, so when change comes they are able to roll with it. It is a powerful quote you write “Honey. Things are always changing. The sooner you get used to that, the better off you’ll be.” and a wise man to be able to share it with his daughter. Wishing you well Dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DawnSeeker Post author

      Thank you for getting it, Dalo. Gives me tears :)) I trimmed a zebra today, in exchange for a set of reindeer antlers!!! Worked with a team of exotic animal trainers that I’ve known for years. And the best part, was not just the love and care for the animals. But all of us people seemed to hug and snuffle each other, like animals who’ve been away from a beloved herd-mate — and share a beautiful love and respect. Because we’ve all lived. Grown. We no longer take Life for granted.

      Many of our comrades are gone now, to the other side of the rainbow. And the lasting, gritty can-be-counted-on characters are a deep treasure in each of our lives.

      You are one of my original and deepest contacts I’ve made with this blog. You have grit; you are a kindred spirit. Snuffling and hugging you right now :)) :)) You are real! A real friend! Sending my love :)) :))


      1. Dalo 2013

        🙂 These are the special moments in life ~ in the end, we are who are parents, friends, and those who inspire are/were. It is a great feeling to have in life. Wishing you the absolute best, Dawn, snuffling and hugs right back to you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Samantha

    I literally JUST posted a quote about change. I think we’re on the same wave-length here (I honestly hadn’t read your post before I posted mine – great minds think alike!).

    Your dad sounds like a wise man. I am happy he got to share that with you before he passed away 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DawnSeeker Post author

      I agree — ideas must float like waves around the consciousness of the planet :)) And we, like antennas, pick them up — both the good, and the bad. And it’s up to us to sift and sort and accept just what’s beneficial! Looking forward to reading your post :)) You are my friend, Samantha :)) :)) :))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. micheleballantyne

    Thank you for sharing that beautiful and personal story! Change can be pretty scary. One of my teachers pointed out that there is a very fine line between fear and excitement — not much difference really. I am not sure I agree. Knowing that things will always change can perhaps prepare us for that inevitability if even in a small way.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. DawnSeeker Post author

            :)) I never leave home without my camera at my side — photo junkie!!!! :)) I see the most awesome patterns everywhere and all around me . . . so much fun, when you look for them :)) How are you feeling???

            Liked by 1 person

            1. micheleballantyne

              I’m feeling pretty good actually. I got the MSM off my shelf and I have been taking it regularly. Usually in the morning and then after lunch and then again in the afternoon. I think it’s helping a lot. I am feeling better than I have for a long time.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. DawnSeeker Post author

                That’s wonderful!!!! Amazing how just one little thing can turn things in a better direction 😉 :)) I know it has for me! Brought home a truck-load of hay yesterday, so all is well with me :))

                Liked by 1 person

                1. micheleballantyne

                  I’ve been working daily toward getting my new barn completed. I love planning projects, and dreaming about how wonderful it will be to enjoy the product of my dreaming, and I even enjoy the work . . . but sometimes my projects take so L O N G ! We started the new barn and the design is very simple, but now the rain has started and we are only half finished! On the bright side, we still have some dry days ahead and the weather will be cooler for working! Yay!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. DawnSeeker Post author

                    Those are the times I have to remind myself that there is no actual thing as time . . . and at one point, it will be all completed, as long as I persevere. I remind myself to enjoy the process, not just the outcome — as they say, “Enjoy the ride” :))

                    Liked by 1 person

    1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof Post author

      Thank you, Tanja, for your thoughtful words. Amazing timing, as I felt Dad very near me today :)) I watched from an adjacent peak as the sun sent shafts through the clouds, in Heavenly array, cascading and illuminating the distant treeline. Dad would have been in awe :)) I always enjoy your posts, photos, and warm comments. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and to cheer up my day! Dawn

      Liked by 1 person


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