TOP OF THE TOWN ‑ Music is as much a part of my life as sports. I don’t write unless I have my music on in the background. It’s been probably a decade or two that I have blared “American Routes” on while I’m at the keyboard. American Routes is a two-hour weekly public radio show hosted by Dr. Nick Spitzer, professor of anthropology at Tulane University where he has taught since 2008. The show produced in New Orleans presents blues and jazz, old-time country and rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco, gospel and soul, Tejano and Latin, avant-garde and classical, and roots rock and pop. Spitzer also does interviews on the show, with guys like B.B King, Dr. John, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Aaron Neville. Professor Longhair, Bessie Smith, Topsy Chapman, Willie Nelson, John Prine , Fats Waller, Ralph Stanley, Wilco, Charlie Louvin, Jimmy Martin, Irish Dement (one of 14 children in her family) and, of course, Hank Williams, who I grew up with, and hundreds of other musicians of bluegrass and Cajun and zydeco and pop swamp showing up to talk their music life. It’s an incredible show that I can’t miss. If I could do it all over again I would learned how to play the mandolin that sits silent in the corner behind me as I write. I love the sound of the mandolin and tried to play it for several years, but my fingers are too big to make it work. So my mandolin sits behind me silent but loved. This week’s American Routes has an interview with Rhonda Vincent, the master of the mandolin and fiddle whose band Rage regularly plays bluegrass at the Grand Ol Opry. I did a stint as a country singer back in the late 1950s, singing mainly Hank Williams. If I had to do it all over I would not necessary sing but would have loved to play mandolin in a bluegrass band. But it is what it is and here I am a half-century later pumping out sports stories. Not that it’s bad. I went to work at the Bremerton Sun on Feb. 2, 1970 and still write for the daily twice a month a sports column. I have not worked a day since that February because I love what I do and if you love something it isn’t work. Yeah, in the days when we had six writers in the sports department at the paper we often put in hours that would shame most others. But we didn’t think of it as work. We loved it. Just as much as I love music. … Hey, I have run into a few people with their comments on social media that are upset at the verdict in the murder trial of the policeman whose knee became a weapon of mass destruction. Man, it blows my mind that anybody could not see what millions of others saw – murder on the streets of Minnesota. For those who think it is unjust to find a policeman guilty, do this for me. Have three of your closest friends handcuff your hands behind your back, force you down on the pavement in the street by your house on your stomach and have two of your friends hold your legs down while the third friend places the full weight of his knee on your neck. Have him keep it there for nine minutes and 28 seconds. If you survive, I will rethink my opinion. If you don’t survive, my opinion stands, and I will send roses and my prayers. That’s it for today. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.