Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Two Passions...

These past two weeks have been crazy.  School has started, and all that entails….football and Boy Scouts for Luke, Softball and Girl Scouts for Hope and Macy.  Bren has been recovering from the gall bladder removal in late August…and me…I have been sitting on the couch eating bacon and ice cream.   Ok….maybe not.
 Left to right: Me, Amber, John

 August 24, marked my 4th straight time to ride the Hotter N Hell 100 mile bike ride.  So at 4:00AM that morning you would have found Amber, John and I loaded up and being driven by Don the Sherpa to Wichita Falls.  About 16,000 cyclists descend on the nondescript Texas town…and about 4,500 of those will go the full 100 miles.  The synopsis, we all rode extremely well.  I remember Amber telling me last year after we rode it in 5hr 30min that she wanted to ride it in under 5 hours this year…at which time I looked at her and told her she needed to find a new partner.  Amber saw more potential in me than I saw in myself.  This past year, we trained like on a mission…the leg days in the weight room left me feeling like little Baby Bambi on ice.  We got in and out of some great pelotons…knocking out chunks of miles at 23-26 mph.  In the end…Amber rode it in 4hr 54min (4th in her age group).  I rode it in 5 hr (32 in my age group) and John rode his FIRST century in 5hr 11min…totally EPIC!!!  I have the absolute best teammates…the BEST…and Amber has become that coveted workout partner where communication sometimes is just a look…because we know what the other is thinking.

For recovery, I ran a little 5 mile trail run on Sunday…and then climbed back on the bike 3 more times that week.  Working out with really no purpose for the next couple of weeks…then on to the next endeavor…stay tuned.
Then…the first week of school behind Team Elliott…on to Labor Day weekend…and on to one of the year’s highlights for me, The Texas Association of Magicians convention.
Yes…it’s a passion….and although being a dad, coach, assistance scoutmaster, and husband keep me from performing like I use to…I am perfectly content.  I still practice… I still create magic, write scripts for magic...I still read magic…and yes…I still love magic.  I have been going to this convention since 1997…and 2003 competed and won the “Best in Close up.”
But some things have changed.  I use to go after purchasing and learning the new latest trick…never missing a lecture.  The latest new awesome trick wasn’t the paramount goal this year.  In fact I didn’t see anything that I absolutely had to learn...and perform.
Early Saturday morning I had decided to get in a quick 40 miles on the bike with John, Michael, Desiree and Amber.  I wanted to get back for the 10:30 am lecture on magician, Doug Henning, and had to make a decision to peel off early from the ride.  Amber knew where my heart was and made sure that I would get back in time.  Am I so glad I did!  Chip Romero has a large number of Doug Henning’s illusions and props….and his hour long lecture was a true highlight of the weekend.  Doug was the one who sparked my passion as a boy when he performed for his TV specials.  It was wonderful…and things came full circle.
Doug Henning's illusions including backdrop
That Saturday evening show was my next big event I anxiously awaited. The line up on paper was epic...Tom Mullica as MC…Vegas Headliner, Fielding West,  the “Godfather of Magic” Johnny and Pam Thompson…Rob Zabrecky…the Hollywood Magic Castle Stage Magician of the year for 2011 and 2012.  Rob had a successful career as the front man for the Indie Band “Possum Dixon.”  Only recently has Rob become a name in magic outside the LA scene when he was on the cover of Genii, a magazine for magicians.  I heard he was intriguing, unique and polished. 
The show did not disappoint.  When Rob Zabrecky took the stage, you laughed, you where tense…you relaxed…you couldn’t take your eyes off him…he was dark…he was funny….he was a complete professional performer.  The set was tight…and let us peak into Zabrecky’s world.  He got a standing ovation and I loved it.  After the evening show, Harry Anderson…yes that Harry who  played Harry Stone on “Night Court…said, “Watching Rob was like watching Edgar Allen Poe look for Sudafed.” 
Rob Zabrecky after he received a standing ovation
Sunday was another incredible day.  I met with friends. I watched the professionally close up show.  I got to watch a friend laugh till they cried…and then that evening I went by myself across the street to get something to eat at FREEBIRDS World Famous Burrito.  I had just gotten my order, when Rob Zabrecky got in line.  We acknowledged each other and then he asked if he could join me.  I responded of course…in my mind I said, “ABSOLUTELY YOU CAN JOIN ME…YOU GOT A STANDING OVATION LAST NIGHT…YOU ARE THE STAGE MAGICIAN OF THE YEAR….FOR 2 YEARS IN A ROW!” For an hour we talked about the creative process, about script writing…we talked about our lives and learned that even though we came from vastly different backgrounds, we were a lot alike.  Two guys talking magic…and performing…the angst in the creative process…and how we are never content on where we are in that process.  

There was a wonderful Sunday evening show with all Texas Magicians….and then I retired to the lobby with some old friends.  I have known Mark and Sue Holstein for about 3 years.  Mark is an incredible magician in his own right.  Back when he and Sue lived in Chicago, they had become dear friends with Marshall Brodien and his wife Mary Doyle.  Marshall is an icon in the magic community.  He was a mainstay as Wizzo the Wizard on the WGN-TV's Bozo's Circus from 1968-1994.  He helped create over 200 magic sets and probably had a peripheral impact on the majority of American magicians.  Those four wonderful people asked me to hang out for a bit in the waning hours of a Labor Day Sunday.

I was describing, the other day, these years of my life to a friend as the “Dog Days of my Career.”  Don’t get me wrong.  I love what I do.  But recently these days seem to be a grind at times.  I am too young to retire…and too far along in my career to make an exotic change.  It’s not always extreme excitement “white knuckle ride” and at times like this it can be difficult for me to be content.

Marshall Brodien signing biography my John Morhing
 Those couple of hours with those four people where priceless.  I see the most kind and generous man in the twilight of his career.  I see the grace of a wife and friend who gets her strength from a source greater than herself.  I see a loyal friend and his wonderful wife…unselfish caretakers of others.  I see real magic.  I sit there and think to myself…how blessed I am to get just a few moments with these people.  They are all outstanding in their endeavors…and even more incredible as people…and there I resolved to be content on where I am on the road of life.  Just be content….unless you are racing on a bike…then it’s time to turn up the heat.  Press ON!


Lynn B said...

Friend, you ARE the real magic! Glad you are in my life.

Olga King said...

One day I need to see your magic. In a meantime, thanks for sharing your thoughts from the heart, I am with you, brother. Your family is precious, for sure, yes.

Krisann said...

Of course, I love this! You have such an interesting life and the fact that you can be so grateful and content is a blessing to those who know you. :)