Wolfgang, Alma, and Will


Kat and I recently became grandparents!  Our son Bret and Alli adopted newborn Will just a few weeks ago.  Yes they are currently overwhelmed, but so are all new parents.  Kat told Bret “It’s way too soon to feel tired: you’re going to be tired for the next 20 or so years, and it’s so good that you like surprises.  You’re in for a decade or more of roller coaster thrills!”


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was quite the prodigy, but you knew that.  His Piano Concerto #11, K413, was Will’s first music.  Will heard it not long after sunrise with breakfast his first day home from the hospital.  My library seems to have lost #11, but I remember it well.  While cooking a batch of oyster and artichoke soup I put on Mozart’s Concerto #9, composed at age 21.  My goodness!  I have always loved minor chords, and most of the second movement is in C minor (a first for Mozart).  Many consider minor keys mournful, but to me they are introspective and sublimely thoughtful.


If you are a 60 Minutes fan odds are you caught their feature a few months back about the next Mozart, Alma Deutscher.  She began playing piano and violin at age 3 and wrote the music for an opera at 10 (they didn’t say who wrote the libretto).  She is already quite a performer and has been the soloist with several big name orchestras.  Alma says music bubbles up in her mind like cool water gurgling from a spring.  When it’s particularly good, she sets the melody onto sheet music.  To test her composition skills, Scott Pelley drew four notes out a hat, and asked her to compose and play something interesting on her Steinway, using only those four notes.  Alma pondered the notes for maybe 45 seconds and then produced a few minutes of piano variations (with tempo changes and dynamic contrasts) that could pass as pretty good Mozart.  It brought tears to my eyes:  now I have to live to 85 to hear Alma’s early mature compositions.  But don’t cry for Alma – Pelley asked if she knew some were already calling her The Next Mozart – she smiled and told him “I’d rather be known as The First Alma.”  There goes our next Von Karajan!

https://www.cbsnews.com/videos/alma-deutscher/   (Pelley’s 60 Minutes Feature on Alma)


Back to Will.  I am looking forward to doing a Grandpa’s job (spoiling this lad) and to watching his Mom ‘n Dad respond to that long series of breaking pitches he will surely throw.  And throw them he Will:  Kat and I took many off the chest protector and had to dig more than a few out of the dirt.  That’s part of being a kid and a key to parenting.


And so we carry high hopes and middle of the road expectations.  Remember, “The world is run by C students*” and “One kid out of ten pays attention in class**.   I’ll be happy if they raise a healthy Republican who sees the light in time for his first election, and forever after votes Democratic!  (Sorry Buck, that was nasty and I know it. But I gotta be me.)


(*  The words of the late, great basketball coach, Al McGuire.)

(**  That is a phrase from an old blog written by Big Daddy … which when truncated shall be Will’s paternal grandpa’s nickname, Big.)





11 thoughts on “Wolfgang, Alma, and Will

  1. Huge congratulations to you all.

    Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy but glorious ride for all concerned. 🙂

    I can’t wait to hear more and see photos.


    1. Well, we will be in the Pacific Theatre while Will is in the European. We won’t be there to help more than once or twice a year, but it does take a village to raise a child … we will do what we can.

      Thanks for writing, Kahuna.



  2. Jackson and Kat..Congratulations on a stage in life that is truly “priceless.” You will make excellent grandparents and little Will will be a very lucky grandchild. The adventures are still ahead. Hug him tight as it seems we turned around twice and our grands were heading off to college. Hugs from your Texas family.


    1. I don’t know about excellent, but we will do our best. Thanks for the kind words, Nanner.

      What’s Ken’s timetable for recovery … I bet he’ll be ready for spring training. Wish him a complete, uneventful recovery for us.



      1. I’m sticking to excellent! It will be great fun each time you two have an opportunity to make memories with Will.

        Ken has ~ 13 more weeks to heal properly. Long process, but he had great results last year. I told him years ago that jogging was overrated. He should have listened to me.

        Merry Christmas from Texas, Nanner and Ken


      2. Jogging is not so good? I should have listened to you too. Wore out my knees, and once I stopped running got fat as a damned Hampshire hog anyway.

        But that one afternoon when work sent us all home early due to the blue norther’s ice storm moving in, I wanted to earn my Scotch, and went for a 3:00 p.m. run … in that cold it was almost effortless, my best training time ever, and only at the end did I notice ice from exhalations on my woolen sweater.

        Hindsight might or might not be such a gift. Maybe life is like high stakes golf: we have to play each shot the best we can, then play the ball where it lies.

        You’re the best, Mrs. Joe!


      3. Meant every word, but don’t get the big head: I factored into consideration that you choose modern shoes.



  3. Congratulations Jackson! Since we never managed to have children (and not for lack of trying!), a grandchild is one of life’s many pleasures that we have missed out on as well. I can’t help but envy you just a little, as I had such a lovely relationship with my grandparents, I hate not to get to experience the other side of that. Wishing you and yours all the best in this new adventure!


    1. Well if there is a grand design there must be a grand reason. And if not, I suppose we are all on our own, for better or worse. Either way, trying is its own reward. So keep trying!


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