High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Monday, November 9, 2015

Drama, The Life Blood of the Shady Dell

"Me and my boys are gonna
jack you up in the parking lot!"

Those friendly, encouraging words were barked into
my face from a distance of three inches by one of
the Shady Dell regulars, a tough city kid with a
formidable posse as backup. I was a Dell newbie,
just turned sixteen. Inadvertently I had said or
done something to provoke the guy's wrath.
On another occasion a dude popped me in
the snoot because I looked at one of his
homegirls the wrong way. Another
time my buddy and I were jumped
and beaten in a dark section of the
Dell parking lot by two drunk thugs
who told us they were out "wilding"
that night and pummeling people at
random. At the Shady Dell I was verbally
abused, roughed up and bloodied, but I was
not deterred. I didn't give up. I kept going
back for more until I won the respect of
the guys and gained acceptance as
a member of the rat pack.

FF to present.

To a Dell rat, drama is the spice of life.
It was an aspect of the Shady Dell experience
that attracted people from miles around and
one of the things I liked best about the place.
People who shy away from a little drama,
people who can't handle an upset, people
who head for the exit and are willing to
dissolve a long term friendship after a
single disagreement, are telegraphing
the fact that they don't belong here
at Shady Dell Music & Memories.
The upside is that the departure of
people who don't belong leaves
more room on the dance floor
for the rest of us, the people
who do belong here.

That said, I am delighted to welcome back
Belle Unruh, host of Who Am I? Who Is God?
Belle has been a dear friend for six years.
Last week, for all intents and purposes,
Belle assisted me in a social experiment
to determine which followers are genuine
friends and which ones are inclined to bolt
out the door at the first sign of conflict.
As you might have noticed, Belle and I
engaged in a spirited discussion thread
about friendship, commitment and
loyalty. It was not an argument.
It was not even a debate and at no
time was there anger on either side.
It was a sincere, passionate and
completely civilized conversation
between old friends who love and
respect each other. For years Belle
and I have considered ourselves
family, close as brother and sister.
News flash: Siblings sometimes
disagree. Best friends sometimes
disagree. It is inevitable and
unavoidable. It does not
have to be a dealbreaker.

Our discussion ended when Belle
doubted that she has what it takes to be
a Dell rat and thought it best to curtail
her visits to SDMM. She reached that
conclusion even after I assured her
that all I want is for her to show up
and find something nice to express,
even if it is nothing more than a
 friendly hello. It is the very same
philosophy, the same "Be Nice"
sermon that others are preaching.
Sad as I was that Belle chose to
give up and leave the pack after
all these years, I respected her
decision and bade her farewell,
confident that we would
remain email friends.

A remarkable thing happened a day or
two later when Belle and I got in touch
by email. We immediately experienced
the deep rapport that we have shared
for years. We reminisced, tracing our
friendship back to its beginning in
2009 when we met on the blog of
a mutual friend. We remembered
how we have always been there
for each other, lending support
in good times and bad. Right
then and there we agreed that
our friendship is strong enough,
resilient enough and real enough
to survive any dispute. The power
of our commitment to each other
transcends any disagreement.

Gladys Knight sang, "Neither one of us
wants to be the first to say goodbye."
I am very happy to report that Belle
changed her mind and wants to remain
an important and valued member of our
Shady Dell family. Belle is a wonderful
person, the kindest, gentlest, most
decent soul I know, and I am
truly thankful that she has
decided to return and
share her gifts with us.

In this special edition post, I wish to honor
Belle by playing some of her favorite songs.

"When I was 
 a teenager and 
 felt sad I listened 
 to the Beatles 
 for hours in 
 my bedroom. 
 They always 
 made me feel 
 happy." - Belle 

As a teenager, Belle was so enamored with
the Beatles and other English acts that
she dressed like a mod limey lass.
The picture below shows Belle
holding her baby sister.

There's a message in the music and a lesson
for us all in one of Belle's Beatle faves,
"We Can Work It Out."

"We Can Work It Out" 
The Beatles (January 1966)

Belle also loves the masculine voice of
The Sultan of Swoon, Frank Sinatra.

Belle told me she is especially fond
of the following Sinatra song.

"Strangers in the Night" 
Frank Sinatra (July 1966)

Elton John is another of Belle's favorite artists.
Belle, this is "Your Song."

"Your Song" 
Elton John (December 1970)

Thank you for standing by me, dear Belle. Here's to genuine, unconditional, unshakable, unfailing, loyal friendship, the kind that you and I have enjoyed since 2009. Indeed, I feel like I have known you all my life. You are family to me.

Welcome back, dear Belle, to a place where you will always belong. Welcome back to the Shady Dell, my cherished friend. May I have this dance?

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" 
The Platters (February 1959)


  1. Lovely photos, Shady, and I especially love The Beatles song, this particular one is one of my favourites. I believe that Stevie Wonder also sang this one? Thanks so much for sharing! :)

    1. Good morning, dear Linda! It's great to see you and I thank you for being the early bird again today.

      Yessum, I am very happy to be able to show everyone these pictures of Belle as a teenager. She sent them to me a few months ago and I had planned to use them in a 2018 post, but why wait? Today's post paying tribute to Belle gave me an ideal opportunity to display these rare images. I'm glad you enjoyed Belle's favorite Beatles song, too.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Linda. Enjoy your day and your week!

  2. You and Belle deserve plaudits for having the maturity to work through your disagreement and remain friends. Since when is drama considered a bad thing? Having a disagreement is a normal part of living and honestly expressing your feelings is healthy. True friends understand that and don’t abandon you when it happens, especially the very first time. Our marriage has lots of drama. We argue often, and when we do, we work together and bring it to a successful resolution. We don't split up every time we ruffle each other's feathers. We remain committed to the relationship. We enjoy our lively debates because they build mutual respect. In the end we both benefit from a stronger, happier marriage. This is a timely "sermon" and one that needed to be delivered. Good for you, Shady!

    1. Hi, Kathryn! Thank you very much for joining us again today and for the vote of solidarity. You are not a Stepford Wife and thank goodness for that because I wouldn't want one. You are a real person with fire, passion, spirit and strong opinions. You never hesitate to express your opinions even when you know they differ sharply from mine and stating them is likely to touch off a debate. Sometimes you and I fight like cats and dogs. We don't press the panic button. We don't run off to a counselor. We don't separate. We accept disagreements as a normal part of the relationship and work through them. All couples argue occasionally. So do brothers and sisters and best friends.

      I intend to blog with integrity and that means exercising the freedom to express myself in an honest fashion. Most people appreciate that. The ones who have a problem with it do not belong here. I will repeat that the original Shady Dell was a private, members-only club. Shady Dell Music & Memories is a niche blog, a specialty blog inspired by and modeled after the original Dell hangout. My goal is to fill the dance floor with happy people who want to be here - flexible, open minded people who take a genuine interest in the music, even music that is unfamiliar and a little intimidating to them. My goal is to have a group of friends who visit regularly and leave intelligent, respectful comments. In recent months the dance floor has become much more crowded than it was for the first seven years. There isn't enough room for people who refuse to dance and stand around complaining. People like that ruin the fun for everybody else. I don't like negative comments, but show me one blogger who does. Moreover, I don't impose censorship and delete negative comments the way other bloggers do. Allowing a negative comment to stand is like being able to take a punch. A Dell rat never starts a fight, but he never backs down from one either. If somebody comes here and leaves an unnecessarily hurtful comment. then they shouldn't be shocked if I return the favor. Shucks, it somebody had walked into the Shady Dell with a bad attitude and a potty mouth and started dumping garbage all over John Ettline's dance floor, I guarantee that he would have grabbed them by the collar and tossed them into the parking lot.

      To be clear, I am not referring to my friend Belle in the above paragraph. Belle is the polar opposite of the type of person described above. She is the sweetest, kindest soul I know, my oldest and most cherished blog friend. Belle and I have also been close email friends for years. She generously pledged to continue supporting SDMM even after she brought her secular blog to a close a couple of years ago to concentrate on her religion-based blog. I am grateful for Belle's steadfast friendship and loyalty.

      The amount of time I spend discussing an important issue with someone is directly proportional to how much I love and care about them. I love Belle. We are family. That's why I devoted so much time and energy to working with her on this issue. I care deeply about Belle and I want and need her here.

      Thank you again for taking time to contribute your own thoughts to this important discussion, dear Kathryn!

  3. If you never got popped or never popped someone at the Dell you mostly likely were not a Dell regular. But even after being popped or popping someone, you can still work things out and respect other opinions. I was popped by someone who became one of my best friends. Of course after we became older we learned how to settle issues without breaking each others nose! I hope I wasn't one of the guys that popped you.

    1. Hi, Jerre! Thank you for coming by at the perfect point in time, good buddy. It's nice to have somebody here to testify about the "psychodramas and the traumas" that made the Shady Dell the great and magical experience it was. You have me laughing out loud because I have often wondered if you and I ever showed up at the Dell the same night. If we did, I'd love to see a tape of it. (I hope I didn't spill cherry coke on your Cuta.) I know you aren't the guy who popped me in the snoot on the dance floor because I remember his face, and I'm pretty sure you weren't one of the gorillas who attacked me and my best friend Dale in the parking lot (down in the "first turn" - that dark corner where the gate was located). You were not one of the trouble makers. As I stated in my reply to Mrs. Shady, you were a true Dell rat. You didn't start a fight but you never backed down from on either.

      Hey, thank you very much for weighing in on this important subject, good buddy Jerre. It's nice to know that you (and Belle) are still with me. Take care and come back soon!

  4. Glad you and Belle worked things out! Friendships are one of the most important things in this world and no one wants to lose one over something that is less important. I've been through it with a blogger friend who refused to forgive and forget, even though I forgave and forgot. I feel sorry for him.

    1. Hi, Alex! Nicely expressed, good buddy! Belle is a fine woman who knows all about forgiveness. In a very short time, by means of honest, sincere communication, she and I each took responsibility and practiced forgiveness. Life is too short to harbor resentment, hold a grudge and carry out a vendetta. Allowing a minor disagreement to deep six a long standing friendship is like throwing the baby out the window along with the bath water. Unfortunately I am seeing more bad behavior around the blogs lately. I'm sorry you had a negative experience with another blogger.

      Thanks so much for taking time to come over and salute our friend Belle, good buddy Alex!

  5. I don't know Belle, but I sure like her choices in music. And yours as well, dear Shady. The Platters number at the end certainly put smoke in my eyes; as if I hadn't already been misty after "Neither one of us..."
    Some things just aren't meant to be. That doesn't seem to be the case with the two of you, and I'm glad :-)

    1. Hi, dear Diedre! Thank you very much for dropping by, my good friend.

      Belle and I are only a few months apart in age. She was born and raised out west, in the Inland Empire of California, while I was raised on the East Coast. As a result our taste in music tends to differ. However, this playlist containing four of Belle's faves could easily have been one of mine. I'm happy to know that you found something to like, too.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Diedre. Have a wonderful week in Arizona!

  6. Stuff like this does happen, but it's best when parties can sincerely patch up the disagreement and come back together in the friendship that initially united them.

    Nice tribute to Belle and glad that the conflict was resolved. It was nice to see the civility of the ongoing discussion.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Thanks so much, Lee! I notice that while others rant and rave you remain calm. You, sir, are the voice of reason around the blog circle. I greatly appreciate your input.

      I have known and loved Belle since 2009 and last week we had our very first disagreement. When you think about it that's a very good track record. In fact, I can't think of any other important relationship in my entire life that has gone so long without some kind of dispute. Fact is, "neither one of us" was angry and our mutual respect was still apparent at the end of the conversation thread. It was a very instructive exercise, Lee, and I hope other bloggers learn from it. Mature adults resolve their differences through open, honest communication, negotiation and compromise, not by withdrawing in silence.

      Thank you again for your visit and wise comments, good buddy Lee!

  7. Hi Shady. What a beautiful tribute to our friendship. It is just a lovely post. That Beatle song was one of my favorites; Paul wrote it when Jane Asher broke off with him. I'm certainly glad we are back together.

    The Strangers in the Night video had scenes from my favorite movies, actors and actresses. You must have known that!

    I'm not sure if there is an Elton John song I don't like. He is a genius. I was introduced to him by my sister, Liz. All it took was one song.

    Thank you so much for this post, Tom. And say thank you to your lovely wife. You and her are always in my prayers. My husband and I used to have the biggest fights imaginable without physical contact. Lol We have finished fighting now because there are no new subjects to fight about. No, I'm joking. We just fight differently now and it is a lot calmer. Thanks again.

    1. Hi, dear Belle! Thank you very much for coming down today. I am thrilled to know that you like the post.

      It's funny. I was holding onto those rare early photos of yours and planning to use them in my 10th anniversary post in 2018. (I still might.) Fortuitously, this special edition post gave me the perfect opportunity to use them sooner. As you can tell, I selected songs from the two play lists that you submitted to the blog a few years ago. It was only by chance that I found a "Strangers in the Night" video that contained scenes from your favorite movies and favorite actors and actresses. I'm certainly glad to know that. :)

      Mrs. Shady and I have been together nearly 30 years now and we have had many loud blow-ups. Yet ever present is deep rapport, love and respect. They form the foundation of our relationship and keep us together. So it is with an old and trusted friend like you, Belle. Our exchange last week could in no way be characterized as a blow-up, a fight, a debate or even a "lovers' quarrel." :) It was one person passionately reaching out to another and trying to allow them to see a set of circumstances from a different point of view. Nevertheless, I hereby publicly apologize to you for coming on so strong. In our email correspondence, I accepted your humble apology and you generously accepted mine. God forgives and so did we. Forgiving is the right thing to do. It feels good. People who cling to their position and are unwilling to forgive a friend the first and only time they experience a problem, were not true friends to begin. I am proud of us for being able to let go of unresourceful attitudes, feelings and emotions and remember what is most important - preserving and protecting this great friendship that we have built over the years. Through genuine, honest, sincere communication and conciliation, you and I negotiated this speed bump with ease. This exercise serves as a tutorial on how mature adults resolve conflict and I hope other bloggers learn from our example.

      Thank you again, dear Belle, for being the sister I never had. You are indeed family to me. You are my oldest and most cherished blog friend and I love, respect and admire you. Have a wonderful week!

  8. Disagreements are part of life, but it's good that you and your friend Belle were able to salvage the friendship. She's lovely and has great taste in music. Wishing you both all the best! ☺

    1. Thank you, Debbie the Doglady! I'm very happy to hear from you and to know that you agree with the simple fact that disagreements are a normal and natural part of life. How people choose to respond in the wake of a disagreement makes all the difference. Belle and I demonstrated the resourceful way to work through it. In doing so we actually strengthened the bond between us. As another song title suggests, "It Takes Two (me and you)"

      I'm happy to know you dig these selections culled from Belle's top tunes lists. She is a wonderful person, an outstanding citizen of the world. I am proud to have her as a friend and pleased to introduce her to you.

      Thanks again for coming by, dear friend Debbie. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  9. Wow- such great songs- All of them!!
    You're the sweetest Shadester and this tribute to your friend Belle is one of the most awesome sincere posts I've read in ages. Belle is truly a lucky girl to have such a loyal friend like you. I look forward to your posts every week and your comments on my blog ( when I post). Its just impossible to please everyone everyday. No reason to break up good friendships over a disagreement. Some people just aren't good with conflict at any time. Its unfortunate. I for one would like to stay on the dance floor if you don't mind.

    1. Hi, dear Holli! Thanks a bunch for coming over, my wonderful friend! (Hey, I kept looking for your BOTB this time around. You told us it might be posted late but I never saw it. Didn't you have time to assemble one?)

      "Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood." (Can you hear Burdon singing those words? :) Your comment means the world to me, Holli. It reveals you to be fair, open minded and generous of spirit. Thank you for acknowledging the sincerity that went into writing this tribute post. Your comment means so much because I value your opinion and trust your judgement. I have come to know and love you for being a down to earth, no nonsense individual. If you consider Belle lucky for having me as a friend, then I need to turn it around and emphasize that I am also lucky to have her. I will quickly add that I am lucky to have you, too. You are one friend that I do not want to lose. You are exactly right, Holli. As Rick Nelson put it, "See ya can't please everyone so ya got to please yourself." I am very happy to know that, more often than not, I please someone of your class and caliber, too.

      You are a fun lady. Holli, and there will always be room for you on the dance floor here at Shady Dell Music & Memories. Thank you again very very much for your kind and supportive remarks. Have a great week!

  10. Hi Shady,
    This whole post reminded me of the saying, "agree to disagree". So, I looked it up! Here's what I read:
    This phrase refers to the resolution of a conflict (usually a debate or quarrel) whereby all parties tolerate but do not accept the opposing position, It generally occurs when all sides recognize that further conflict would be unnecessary, ineffective or otherwise undesirable. They may also remain on amicable terms while continuing to disagree about the unresolved issues.
    The first man to coin the phrase was George Whitefield in 1750. He wrote:
    "After all, those who will live in peace must agree to disagree in many things with their fellow-labourers, and not let little things part or disunite them.
    With all that said, it reminds me of the conflict between you and Belle. I'm so happy to hear , "All's well that ends well"!
    "Everybody has different tastes/opinions! It's what makes the world go round." That quote is from me! Shady, you've heard me say that many times about many things!
    I believe that blogging is about making friends, sharing opinions ,ideas, supporting, entertaining and informing.
    Freedom of Speech is first and foremost!
    So, Shady, "keep on rocking in the free world"!!!!
    btw, the song choices were beautiful!
    Toni Deroche

    1. Hi, dear Toni! Thank you very much for coming over and presenting a wealth of information on this timely topic. I appreciate you doing your homework! :)

      Belle and I would surely have been willing to "agree to disagree." What's great about our story is that we took it a step further. We communicated privately by email, reviewed our history as friends, reasoned it out, took responsibility, offered each other forgiveness and came to an agreement Best of all, we reaffirmed our commitment to this great friendship and Belle decided to stay with us as a full time Dell Rat. It would have been terrible to lose her. I suppose what I am saying is that the more history you have with someone (the more "equity" there is in the relationship), the more time and effort you are willing to invest in salvaging it.

      Thank you very much for standing up for freedom of speech, Toni. Your remarks today mean a great deal to me. Glad you enjoyed Belle's Picks To Click! Have a wonderful week, dear friend Toni!

  11. Hi Shady!

    I applaud your maturity and Belle's maturity as well to work through an argument. It's always sad when a friendship ends over something petty. A few weeks ago I lost a friend over something petty and it saddened me. It still saddens me. 5-6 years is a long time for friendship.

    I enjoy the music you posted today. I also enjoyed the pictures of Belle. What a beautiful woman. :)

    Hope you have a great week and it is somewhat relaxing despite having some guests, dear friend Shady.

    1. Hi, dear Jessica Marie! Thank you very much for swinging by today, dear friend!

      Good point! Six years qualifies as a long term friendship, longer than most of today's marriages. It is even more impressive when you take into account the fact that in all that time there was never a disagreement between us, only friendship, nurturing and love. That is a stellar track record. As you pointed out it is a doggone shame when people allow their foolish pride to stand in the way of reconciliation. In the words of John F. Kennedy, our country's greatest president, "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." (If my love of JFK causes even more people to head out the door, then so be it. :)

      I'm delighted to know that your ears match Belle's on this play list. I am proud to display these rare images of Belle as a teenager when she lived in the Inland Empire of California. Belle was and is a beautiful woman, inside and out.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Jessica! Have a wonderful week!

  12. Shady, I am truly glad that you and Belle settled things. If you have time to mosey over to the post I just put up, you'll see why. My friend and I had an experience much like that, and I am glad beyone words that it was patched up before the end.

    And just so the whole comment isn't depressing, tell Granny I am NOT dancing with her. Or Ellie May- she scares me.

    1. Oh that's funny. I got your comment on my post just as I hit publish on my comment...

    2. Hi, Chris! Thanks for dropping in, good buddy! Yes, I was wondering what happened to my comment over on your post. I'm so glad it went through and you read it. You are so right, Chris. Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend. (Hey, those would make great song lyrics!) There is no guarantee that any of us will be here tomorrow. Do we really want to miss the chance extend the olive branch and make peace with estranged friends? Thank you for reinforcing this important life lesson.

      WHAT??? (he shouted in ALL CAPS). wouldn't want to dance with Elly May Clampett because she scares you? You'll need to explain that one to me. I'll tell you this, good buddy - Miss Hathaway's a cutie! :)

      Thanks again for weighing in, Chris. Our friendship is living proof that two people can like each other and have a great time without being exact clones. I appreciate that and I know you do, too.

    3. I'll be over to check out your reply shortly.

    4. 1- Comment moderation, my friend. I get there when I can.

      2- My friend was a lot like you, I imagine, politically. Spiritually she was a renewed Catholic who somehow got the idea I had something against the Pope since I was no longer a Catholic (I don't BTW). All I require from a friend is loyalty and an ability to put up with snark.

      3- You don't know why she scares me? Jethro had a good hundred pounds on me and she flipped him like a toy. If he's scared, I'M scared. Miss Jane is a little more my "price range", anyway.

    5. LOL - Good one! I'd like to go skinny dipping with Miss Hathaway in the c-ment pond. :) Come to think of it, Jethro is kinda cute, too. "Someday I need to have a long talk with that boy." :)

      Chris, I am very thankful to have you as a friend. You are a cool guy and I love your sense of humor. I didn't mean to appear to be making light of your loss. I know you must be hurting and I am truly sorry. She seems like a wonderful woman and great friend.

      Before I forget, Chris, I will be two days late commenting on your Time Machine this week. This Wednesday through Saturday I need to curtail all blogging while Mrs. Shady and I entertain a bunch of out of state family members. I probably won't make it over to your blog until Sunday evening. Please understand and be patient.

      Thanks, good buddy!

    6. Didn't see you making light of anything serious buddy, it's all good.

      Time Machine will be there when you get there. It is a Tardis, you know! Enjoy that you have family to visit with and have fun!

  13. What a cutie. I'm glad you and Belle worked everything out. Like anything else, friendships aren't always easy.

    1. Hi, dear Sandra! How are you, dear friend? Thank you for coming by. You are correct. Relationships tend to be complex and sometimes it seems like circumstances conspire against their survival. I welcome occasions when friendships are put to the test because they enable me to determine which friends are fiercely loyal and which ones are fickle. Thank you very much for being a faithful friend, Sandra. I very much appreciate it! Take care and have a safe and happy week ahead!

  14. Dear Shady,

    It appears as if I have missed a lot whilst away. But it looks as if you have things well in hand as of now. It is better to value a friendship enough to be willing to go the extra mile to maintain it-especially when there has been conflict. I'm glad you and Belle worked things out as you have known each other for such a long time and it speaks to your maturity and genuine feelings that you both were able to do so.

    If I care about someone I am capable of admitting I am wrong and forgiving another when they are wrong. However I do not like being involved in the artificial drama that is so prevalent in our society today. I'm talking about the kind of people that show up on a blog and say rude, inflammatory things just to get a response. To me that is a sign of a mentally disturbed person and those folks are not welcome on my blog.

    I'm still rather busy with renovations as things are taking longer than expected. Also we have unseasonably warm weather and I am making the most of it. Winter will come soon enough and I'll have more time to visit people.

    Take care of yourself my friend and have a splendid week!

    1. Hi, dear Anne! Welcome back to Shady Dell Music & Memories, my wonderful friend! I have missed you and hope you've been enjoying your hiatus, hot weather and all.

      Dear Anne, I can't tell you how relieved I am to see you here. When I read your comment on Alex's blog today, I immediately prayed to God that you weren't referring to me. A deeply spiritual person myself, to the point of being ridiculed by others, I have the utmost respect for Belle's religious convictions, your beliefs and everyone else's. I totally agree with you that there is too much flaming going on in social media including our blogs and the YouTube channels. I certainly hope nobody is picking at your homemade music uploads. I don't understand what's driving all the ill will. One theory is that tensions start to ramp up as the U.S. presidential election cycle gets underway and the country becomes polarized along party lines. I also believe that there are many lonely, isolated, disenchanted, disconnected people who resort to leaving nasty messages simply because they are hurting and want others to experience hurt, too. I have compassion for people who are in that state of mind but, at the same time, I can't allow myself to keep getting sucked into that vortex. Dealing with people like that over a long period of time tires me out and drags me down. I try to be friends with all kinds of people, but we all know that some people are a natural fit, some people are an acquired taste and some are high maintenance. We are only human and we tend to gravitate to people with whom we have an instant rapport. For me, Anne, you are one of those people, and I am extremely happy to have you as one of my best friends.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comments, dear friend Anne. I hope to see you again soon. God bless!

    2. Dear Shady,

      My comment on Alex post referred to a blogger who has written multiple series of posts that denigrate people who believe in God. I've no problem with people who don't share my believe's and don't mind if they tell me that. Stating your believes are fine but writing six series of posts full of hatred for Christians is something I can't support.

      Youtube is full of trolls. I never really check comments on my channel and couldn't give a fig if someone said something cruel. I've been performing live for over 30 years and have heard it all. As a female drummer, I took my share of licks along the way and am impervious to insults.

      The upcoming US elections are certainly having a negative impact on peoples ability to e civil. The same thing happened when England had their last general elections. They are as divided as you guys and over the same issues.

      You're right, there are people who just "fit" and we all have to realize we are not everyone's cuppa. Not everyone will like me and that's okay. I'm quite content to come visit you as you always treat me with respect and I enjoy the heck out of the music!

    3. Hi, dear Anne! Thank you for these kind reassurances. It's tricky business trying to avoid stepping on toes and most people do make that effort, but publishing a six part series attacking Christianity is excessive and I certainly understand why you opted out.

      You are my cuppa, Anne. We are an easy fit. I think you know that by now, and I and grateful to have you here. It's good to know that you enjoy the music I offer. I smile when I remember how your ears matched mine more often and more consistently than any other friend. :)

      Thank you again for being a devoted friend, dear Anne. I hope you will come over and see me again soon. Have a wonderful day!

  15. If we all had the same opinion it would be a very dull world! I'm not one for big drama...I'm not one to be walked over either. Jack and I have our moments but we too find a way to make it work. (because I'm always right! Ha!) I work in a very drama filled place. Anyone who has hung out in an operating room and worked with OR nurses knows that you have to have a strong personality and a "never let them see you sweat" attitude. We have a reputation in the hospital as being the "B" word. Frankly, I've never known more giving, kind and caring and also very feisty women than my co-workers. If you don't like us, don't let the door smack you in arse on the way out! I've found a fun place to learn about music and artists that I never would have known other wise...that's right here! I may not always like the tunes, but I love learning new things and I've found songs that I didn't think I would enjoy and dango if they didn't turn out to be awesome! So thanks Shady for having a melodious place to fall at the end of a crazy day...I may not have been a rat in your day, but I know it would have been a great place to visit. Your comments on my blog always make me smile and I appreciate our blog friendship. Keep up the fun work here!

    1. Hi, dear YaYa! Thank you very much for swinging by and spreading cheer, my special friend! You made an excellent point. In the culture of a hospital setting, staffers need to be tough skinned and assertive to survive and to emotionally handle the pain, suffering, death and grief that confronts them on a daily basis. Mrs. Shady is not only smart, she is tough as nails, exudes personal power and is highly respected by the doctors with whom she works. It was much the same for me in the television industry. Every day my newsroom co-workers and I saw and reported crime, violence and tragedy. You needed to be tough to make it through the day. As a coping mechanism we utilized gallows humor.

      You are very very kind for expressing what you did here, especially when you wrote the following: "I may not always like the tunes, but I love learning new things". There you go! That's it in a nutshell. At the original Shady Dell, some of the tunes that played on the jukebox were not to everybody's liking, but they loved the place and they respected the host who created that space for them, John Ettline.

      You are an ideal friend, Kathleen. Clearly you and I are different in a few fundamental ways, but boy are we good at finding and celebrating all we have in common. We come through for each other again and again and that's the power of commitment and the true meaning of friendship. That's what I am looking for and that's what I am lucky to have found in you.

      Thank you again for being here for me, dear friend YaYa. You have my deepest admiration. God bless!

  16. Wow, look what happens when I'm gone for a few days! I missed all the drama! So happy to hear that all is well and everyone is happy again.
    Long-term friendships definitely do have to weather some storms. I had a friend not too terribly long ago that bolted from our friendship after an argument. I thought that was really a shame because all that we needed to do was apologize to each other, hug it out and move on. Sad. It was a loss on all fronts. I could say Her Loss but it was my loss as well because I really enjoyed that friendship.
    But then, it is very true that some people come into your life for a moment, for a season and others for a lifetime. We just have to take what we got from each relationship, learn about ourselves and be appreciative for the experience.
    Glad you and Belle hugged it out! Nice of you to play her favorite songs. A beautiful tribute to the friendship. She's obviously very important to you.
    Talk soon!
    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Hi, dear Michele! Thank you very much for breaking away from your folks and your dogs long enough to come over and dispense words of wisdom. What you wrote here is so true. The difference between a lost friendship and one that survives and becomes even stronger is nothing more than a hug and a willingness of both parties to put it behind them and move on. Sometimes neither is willing and sometimes one is willing and the other is not. Nicely expressed! I am sorry to learn that you lost a good friend under similar circumstances. We learn a lesson from all experiences good and bad. It's kind of sad to realize that a significant percentage of the people we know today and regard as friends might be gone from our lives next year at this time. I hope you and I are still together because I admire you greatly and love our connection. :)

      I'm pleased to know that you enjoyed my tribute to my friend Belle and listening to her song favorites. Thank you again for making time in the midst of your hosting to come by for a visit. Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend Michele!

    2. I'm grateful for our friendship too Shady! I really enjoy our exchanges.
      Re: broken friendships: My best friend and I got into an argument over politics a few years ago. It was so bad that we didn't talk for over a year. But then one day I heard that the baby she was carrying had died and she had to carry the dead baby to term. I thought how ridiculous it was that we weren't talking over political differences and so I reached out to her to tell her how extremely sorry I was to hear that horrible news. We cried on the phone together and then we got together and agreed to NEVER EVER talk politics again (we're on complete opposite ends of the political scale) and we moved on. Our friendship is as good as it ever was now and I'm so grateful that we could kick aside our differences and rejoice in our similarities. A few weeks ago, she just gave birth to her 6th child! She's bringing the baby over later this week.

      I have a small jewelry show this weekend. Just an intimate gathering with some greyhound folks at a painting class. I'm going to have a table set up with my jewelry and I'll be donating 20% of my sales to the greyhound rescue/adoption group. Wish me luck for lots of sales!!! Will be good for both the group and me.

      Talk soon, my friend. Have a wonderful day...

    3. Hi, dear Michele! I was just over on your blog and tried to leave another comment and it vanished on me, like all of them did a few months ago. I don't know why that happens. I will tell you here what I was trying to write in my comment. You were moaning about the filthy lodging you encountered on your trip back from the Carolinas. I'll never forget the hotel my parents and I were going to stay at when we attended my grandfather's funeral. When we walked into our room we immediately noticed that the bedspread was messed up. Upon closer examination we found stains and hair on it! In the bathroom waste basket we found a bloody towel! (LOL) It turned out we had checked in to one of those pay by the hour flophouses! My mother insisted that my dad march down to the office and get our money back. What an experience! :)

      Yessum, tis the season (another U.S. presidential election cycle) and political differences can have a devastating impact on friendships. I try to remain neutral and refrain from discussing politics and religion. You story about being there for your friend when the chips were down is compelling and I hope others read it and are inspired by it.

      Were your dogs happy to see you when you got home? I miss my Toto every single day.

      Best of luck with your jewelry show! You are kind and generous for donating a significant percentage of the proceeds to benefit greyhounds. I do hope you make lots of sales!

      Michele, just so you know, I will need to be offline from tomorrow (Wednesday) through Saturday because Mrs. S and I are entertaining guests from out of state. I promised her I would refrain from online activity those four days. I will catch up with you and your blog when I return on Sunday, BOTB day, okay?

    4. Oh that irritates me so much that you are encountering that issue again on my blog!! Arrrgh! So sorry. I don't know what to do about it.
      Re: my dogs: Oh, they were so happy to see me. They jumped all over me and I was thrilled. It feels so good to be missed so much! :)
      What a beautiful tribute post you did for Toto. So sorry for your loss. That's so hard. I've been there 6 times since 1999. It never gets easier. I think about my dogs all the time and I dream about them often...which is almost like getting a visit from them. It always makes me happy when I wake up from dreaming about them. Thank you for sharing Toto's post with me. She was a beautiful girl! What breed was she??

      Enjoy your company! Hopefully you're happy to have them for those days!
      Have a great time with your friends and we'll reconnect when you get back online. Sorry again about my blog acting up.

    5. Hi again, sweet friend! Toto was a Cocker Spaniel, a high maintenance breed compared to your Greyhounds, I'm sure. She flunked dog training academy and had a grouchy disposition. She loved to bark and growl at me while wagging her stubby tail to let me know she was just kidding. We loved her and miss her!

      Thanks again, dearie. Take care, have a great week and I'll visit your BOTB this Sunday! :)

  17. true friends always find their way back to each other despite differences of opinion. Thank you for sharing this story and these great pictures (I love her hat in the picture with her baby sister). I reminds me of a saying, i know i am saying it wrong, which goes something like this-There are friends for a reason, friends for a season and there are friends for the rest of your life. It was wonderful reading this again-thanks for sharing

    1. Hi, dear Birgit! Thank you very much for coming, dear friend! That familiar saying you quoted certainly does come to mind at a time like this. I was just mentioning to Michele (above) that a surprising percentage of the people we know today and regard as friends might be gone from our lives by next Thanksgiving. The membership of SDMM has turned over many times in seven years but Belle Unruh remains. She is my oldest follower and it would be a crushing blow to loser her. You are an important and valued friend, too, Birgit. Your comments are consistently excellent. They reflect a level of interest and commitment that I seek in a friend and follower.

      Yessum, Belle wore a mod hat in that old picture, obsessed as she was at the time with the English moptops and Brit culture.

      Thank you again for your friendship, support and outstanding comments, dear friend BB!

  18. Working through disagreements often strengthens relationships and builds mutual respect. Great songs in the blog, "We Can Work It Out" is one of my faves from the Beatles.

    1. Nicely put, Mike, and I thank you for coming, good buddy! Mrs. Shady and I have worked through thousands of disagreements over the years and they have indeed strengthened our commitment to each other. I think it's called "fair fighting." Our marriage has survived much longer than those of people who bottle up their emotions and don't allow each other the freedom to express it out when they have an upset. The lyrics of "We Can Work It Out," one of Belle's favorite songs that she submitted to SDMM years ago, became the ideal choice to lead off this tribute post to our evergreen friendship.

      Thank you very much for coming, Mike, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  19. This is actually so cool. At first i was a bit confused with what was going on, but the starting story was so cute. In life, there are places where we need to compromise and move on, but there are other things where we just need to stick it out. I'm so glad that honesty and true friendship won here, and i wish you lots more years are good friends and swapping wonderful tunes like these!

    1. Hi, dear Abigail! How are you today, dear friend? Thanks for coming over. I decided to retell that sidebar story about my encounters with bullies at the Shady Dell because they formed a fitting lead-in to the discussion of commitment. If you are genuinely committed to a place or a friendship, you can take a punch or two without giving up and going away. I always thought it was "three strikes and you're out." A true friend doesn't whittle it down to "one strike and you're out." This was my first ever disagreement with Belle. To her credit she bounced back, brushed it off and chose to stay a member of the family. Unfortunately other friends have chosen to harden their hearts. As Sinatra reminds us, "That's Life." Thank you again for being a true blue friend, dear Abigail. Please smooch Daisy for me and enjoy the rest of your week!

  20. Tom, a true friendship weathers the storms of time. You don't have to agree on everything, but respect one another enough to know when enough is enough. I'm glad you and Belle found your way back to each other again. Thanks for sharing this happy ending. :D

    1. Hi, dear Cathy! Thank you very much for coming over and joining the discussion of this important topic, one that eventually affects every blogger. You sum it up perfectly, Cathy. What good comes of it when friends run off to separate camps, stubbornly cling to their positions and surround themselves with people who agree with them? The rift widens and great friendships are forfeited.

      As another friend observed, unkind posts and comments and flaming behavior seem to be on the rise in social media including here in the blog world. I was always under the impression that we are here to give encouragement and support to one another. I am an advocate of downplaying our differences, reaching across the aisle and identifying and celebrating all that we have in common. I seek and have been fortunate to find friends who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work with me to make that happen. You are one of them, Cathy, and I admire you tremendously for it. Thank you again for contributing the the dialogue today. Enjoy the rest of your week! :)

  21. I am so glad your friendship with Belle endures. Relationships should not end because of a disagreement. Life is too short for that. This was a lovely tribute to your old friend!

    1. Hi, dear Sherry! Thank you very much for coming by today! You are a good one to comment on this post because I'm sure you remember reading my comments on Belle's secular blog four or more years ago.

      You're right. Genuine friendships do not end over a single disagreement (or even a dozen of them). As Aaron Neville reminded us:

      Life is too short to have sorrow
      You may be here today
      and gone tomorrow...

      True friendship requires commitment, patience, tolerance and forgiveness. Thank you very much for weighing in on this subject, dear friend Sherry. Please note that I need to be offline this Wednesday through Saturday due to family obligations. I will be returning to blogging Sunday and I will catch up with you then. Take care and God bless!

    2. Enjoy your time with your family!

    3. Thanks, Sherry! My four day familython just now ended. Thank you for your patience in seeing your comment in print.

      Have a wonderful week, Sherry!

  22. The Beatles certainly take me back. Such a creative group. I don't think any era can beat the 60s and 70s as far as music.

    1. Hi again, dear Sandra! I consider myself very lucky to have been age 14 when the Beatles transformed Western civilization with their music, their songwriting, their movies, their hairstyle and fashion, their accents and their casual, youthful attitude. So much was happening in the Sixties and I had the time of my life as a teenager throughout that decade.

      Thanks for the poke, dear friend Sandra, and enjoy the rest of your day!

  23. As a child I can't remember ever feeling sad, I was picked on and teased a lot at school, which is why I hated school with a passion but I went every bloody day, never thought about not going so I went day in and day out.

    1. Hi, dear Jo-Anne! Good for you! That's an excellent example of hanging in there when the going gets rough. It makes you stronger. Same is true of two people in a friendship. No need to abandon it over a bit of unpleasantness.

      Thank you very much for your visit and observations, dear friend Jo-Anne!

  24. Kathleen Mae SchneiderNovember 10, 2015 at 8:29 PM

    Having been raised to be un-confrontational, I totally agree with the Beatles: "Life is much too short for fussing and fighting my friend..".

    I doubt I would have endured the Dell as you described it. I hope the women didn't get involved in all-out fights like the guys did. I was a social outcast in high school, so I just turned my back on all the conflict and posturing around me and focused on my art and music.

    Some would call that cowardice, but it felt more like survival for me. It took all I had to keep my grades up and prep for college, and I was super sensitive as well. I must say I still am, and I have no interest in getting hurt, no matter how pleasing the makeup part might be!

    It was the right route for me to take because my life didn't turn out too badly. In other words, I generally don't seek out the drama in any situation and if I cannot avoid it altogether, I like to fast forward to resolution as soon as possible.

    I totally respect your choice to dialog and get in spirited discussions about differing viewpoints though. It would be so boring if everyone retreated from conflict like I do! I'm reminded as I write this of something Woody Allen said: The lion might lie down with the lamb, but the lamb will probably not sleep soundly!

    I'm glad you and Belle were honest with one another about your differences, found common ground and patched it up. True commitment and solid relationships are built on such. Belle, like you, is an authentic person with a heart of gold, and we need her here in our family.

    This post is a wonderful tribute to your friendship, and the music was a good accompaniment to that.
    Thank you for the time and work it must have taken to put it together.


    1. Hi, dear Kathleen! Thank you very much for making some time to assist me in saluting our mutual friend Belle, a lovely lady who has come here and expressed encouraging words to you and your mother, Margaret, over the years when you brought us chapters of her life in your series In-Dellible Memories.

      There were a few tough city girls at the Shady Dell during the years I attended. I dated one or two of them. I can't remember any Dellettes getting involved in hand to hand combat. I honestly can't imagine someone as soft spoken and civilized as you thriving on drama and danger as many members of the gang did back then.

      I'm glad you agree with me that Belle is the real deal, a genuinely nice and kind woman with a heart of gold. Her life's mission is helping people including those who want to find God and transform their lives through Him. I love her and applaud her for caring so much about other people.

      I'm very happy you enjoyed this tribute post along with Belle's Picks To Click. Thank you again, dear Kathleen, for setting aside time tonight to help me honor my friend and yours, Belle Unruh. God bless!

  25. "Me and my boys are gonna jack you up in the parking lot!"
    Wow! How nice of them. I wish the last time I had a tyre puncture, someone came to my rescue. Hope the car is running well now.

    As for friends bolting at the first signs of conflict, trust me I know what you are talking about. Something to that degree happened to me not so long ago. To make a long story short, I made the mistake of being friends with both a mother and a daughter. When they had a conflict I was caught in the middle and after I refused to do snoop work for one of them, it backfired and ended up with both of them pissed at me and now neither is my friend. So sad when people can only be fair weather friends. Friends so long as nothing happens. And then to get irate because I didn't want to get involved or be in the middle of a mother-daughter spat. Things just didn't end well.

    So you say Belle helped in a social experiment. I'm confused, are you saying it was planned or not? I have a funny story when my friend and I once performed a social experiment on another friend. You'll have to remind me to tell you some time if you are interested.

    Anyway, sorry for the long response. But your article hit close to home for me, and you can even say my r.a.n.t. this week touched on the argument I referred to with the mother-daughter.

    1. Hi, Jeffrey! Thank you for remembering me, good buddy. I'm sorry it took so long to publish your comment. My four-day non-stop familython (not to be confused with Rokerthon) just now came to a end and this is the first I have been on the computer since early Wednesday morning.

      No, this wasn't a stunt. Belle and I didn't plan it in advance. It unfolded spontaneously in real time right here on SDMM and became a useful exercise that served two purposes. First, it allowed other followers to see the power of a committed friendship and how "it's never over till it's over." Secondly, it allowed me to shake the tree and find out which followers are committed friends and which ones withdraw and drop me when the juices start flowing, the passion ignites and a couple of people work through a disagreement in public in real time. SDMM reflects how real people interact in the real world and how they interacted decades ago at the original Shady Dell. "It's all in the game," my friend. I thank you and all my other great friends for understanding and appreciating that.

      I'm sorry a mother and daughter made a Jeffrey sandwich and put the squeeze on you. As I have discovered, all you can do is cut your losses and move on. There are plenty of fish in the sea and a whale of a good time to be had.

      Hey, I am always interested in delving into the psychology of human interaction, Jeffrey, so feel free to tell me your stories anytime either here or over at your place. I relish long comments and certainly appreciated yours this week.

      Jeffrey, thank you again for being a great friend. I appreciate your visit and comment.

      Do you know what happened 40 years ago tomorrow? That's the theme of my new post, just hours away, and I hope you enjoy it. I'll be over to check out your BOTB, too. See you then!

    2. Okay, here's the story.
      I'm best friends with one guy and we were always messing around with the other guy. Giving him grief because he'd always say or do things that made us laugh. Mostly because he didn't quite 'get it', if you know what I mean. Conversations with him usually went like this.
      Jeff: How is the Coffee soft-serve? Does it really taste like coffee?
      B: Well, it doesn't taste like coffee, but it has a coffee flavour.

      He's also a Coca-Cola fanatic. He says it's his favourite soft-drink. But we all know different. Do you recall the "Pepsi Challenge" from the 80's? We've given him that test on no less than three occasions and he's always picked Pepsi as his favourite in the blind-taste test. He always finds something to blame for his inability to decipher. Anyone else I know can clearly tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. Perhaps his taste buds never developed fully? Which might explain the debate we had one day.

      The three of us were travelling together and B was complaining about the taste of his Coke. My good friend D suggest McDonalds gave him a diet soda instead of a regular. We didn't think so, he thought maybe the soda was just flat. And we forgot about that debate for a bit. Shortly after, we were filling up for gas when I nudged my buddy D and told him we should play a practical joke on B and see how he reacts to it. So before we set off again, I told him we were going to fake a fight. I told D (Who was driving) that you needs to get so mad, he kick me out of his car. He agreed and once we started travelling again I picked a fight with D about something trivial. Asking if he purchased licorice at the gas station or something. As we already agreed upon, the simple 'fight' turned into name calling and yelling. "I'm tired of you always thinking you are right." Was something I yelled at him. Finally, D pulled over to the side of the road and told me to get out. So I did, slamming the door. He took off stranding me there. He only went about a block away, turned the corner and picked me up. He was laughing hysterically in the car. I asked what was so funny and he told me what transpired after he pulled off. The second D pulled away from the curb, stranding me on the side of the road, B replied (as he looked at his soft drink again), "I think this is Diet soda." Completely ignoring the big fight and more worried about what he was drinking.

      I've got tons of stories like that. Why I have never incorporated him as a character into one of my stories I'll never know. But I should.

    3. Hi again, Jeffrey! I figured you might return here to finish your story. I'm glad I checked back. I agree that your friend seems to be slightly out of step or out of sync with you and your other pal and probably with the rest of the world. I find that all the time in blogging. Some people get the gist of what you are presenting, the important part, the core of the discussion, while others gloss over it and don't even mention it. Maybe, like your friend, they feel uncomfortable and it causes them to retreat and change the subject to something safer.

      Thanks for relaying your anecdote to me, good buddy Jeffrey. You are a full service blogger and an industrial strength friend. Have a great week!

    4. Ginger or Mary Ann?

      Mary Kate or Ashley?

  26. What a sweet and loving tribute to your friendship. I don't know what happened.. it's not important. What's important is disagreeing in a way that has allowed your friendship to remain intact. Kudos to both of you.

    1. Hi, dear Hilary! Thank you very much for coming, my great friend!

      I have been tied-up with family matters since Wednesday morning and just now got back online. I was elated to find this terrific comment from you. Thank you for your patience in seeing your comment in print.

      None of us can be certain that a friendship is genuine until it is tested. A couple of weeks ago my friendship with Belle was tested for the first time in six years and we passed the test with flying colors. Our "break-up to make-up" scanario left us with a closer bond than ever before because we both realized at the same time how much we stood to lose.

      Thank you for joining me for this salute to my wonderful, faithful friend, Belle, who negotiated this minor speed bump and demonstrated the power of compassion, forgiveness and commitment.

      Have a super week ahead, dear friend Hilary!


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