The “Wow” Factor Was High on These Ones

There are moments that simply take our breath away, right? The first time doing, seeing, hearing something. Gives us the feeling of “wow”, overwhelming with emotion or wonder at whatever it is we’re experiencing.

I’ve been “wowed” more than a few times in my life, and thought I’d share a few highlights with y’all.


1. Watching the 1995 Madison Scouts drum corps live. I had toured with the Scouts in ’94, and the summer of ’95 I was fresh out of boot camp, a few months into my first duty station in Georgia. The Scouts always blew me away, and it was an honor to perform with them if but for a brief summer, but the ’95 version of the group was something special. The raw power, emotion, grace and artistry was stunning. I remember sitting in the stands with my corps jacket being filled with pride that those were my boys blowing everyone away.

2. Seattle Symphony performing Mahler’s 5th Symphony circa 2002-03 timeframe. At this point I had been pretty much detached from anything that passed for artistic integrity for around 8 years because I was involved with a cult that passed themselves off as a church. Classical music, we were told in no uncertain terms, was a tool of the devil to get God’s people’s minds off Him. So for about 7-8 years, I didn’t listen to it.

Well, I decided to rebel against the powers that be. I was walking in downtown Seattle one day, and happened to see a poster advertising the symphony’s concert – and it was in just a couple of hours. I bought a ticket, took my seat in Benaroya Hall, and again was completely blown away at the power, the unbelievable artistry. There’s something amazing about listening to a stage full of virtuoso musicians perform one of the great pieces of music from history.


1. Visiting Mt. Rainier, circa 1999. I had just moved to Washington State and decided to take a little visit to that mountain that ubiquitously dominated the landscape to the south of where I lived. Growing up in Minnesota had its share of beauty to be sure, but I had never experienced having my breath taken away by nature to that point. The further up I went, the more beautiful it became. Although there are places in this world that are probably more dramatic, more beautiful than Mt. Rainier, it’s got a special place in my heart for that reason.

2. Visiting Hawaii for the first time in 2005. I was visiting the woman who eventually became my wife (now my ex-wife) and some friends of hers lived just steps from Lanikai Beach, which is consistently rated as one of the top beaches in the world.

We took a small motor boat to the Mokolua Islands, the tiny islands that no one lives on but you’ve probably seen in travel magazines and blogs here and there. I remember the water being a very deep turquoise, the sky as blue as you can imagine. Just perfect weather, and a reminder of why Hawaii is called Paradise by so many.


That would be 2019 when I met the woman who is now my wife, and there are no signs that will change any time soon. We had met via introduction from a mutual friend, had exchanged a few messages via email, and then spoke via phone a few days after. It was then she shared her Facebook profile with me, and after one look at her profile pic I knew I needed to get my act together and make it my mission in life to win her affection. The reverence and respect her former students (some of whom are legit high-achievers in life) showed for Sana made quite an impression on me. It was a real “wow” moment for me.

There have been more to be sure, but I wanted to share those few here on the newsletter. Sometimes it’s fun to reminisce on things like that from the past.