Mom Heading to Isaly’s

Here’s my rendition of one of my favorite family photos. My dad took this extraordinary photo of my mom several months before they got married in 1943, probably just before he enlisted in the army. My mom worked at this Isaly’s in Canonsburg, PA at the time. There she is crossing Pike St. and walking over the trolly tracks on what looks like a sunny Sunday afternoon. One way or another, my dad probably ordered a White House ice cream cone, his favorite.



Eighty Four, PA

There was an old monk whom I’d see on a daily basis back, oh, thirty some odd years ago. We’d have a similar encounter each and every day. For me it was repetitive; for him each exchange was brand new. He was familiar with Western Pennsylvania, my home region, and he somehow knew about Eighty Four, PA, which was not far at all from my hometown, Canonsburg, PA. Not surprisingly, the headquarters of 84 Lumbar is located right there in Eighty Four, PA.

At any rate, every time I’d see this old buck, the conversation went one of two ways. Half the time it went as illustrated below. When it didn’t go that way, he’d ask me if I was from Canonsburg. I’d say yes. Then he’d say: “I was just talking to a guy from Canonsburg.”

One and Only 4th

I love a parade! Always have…helps when your mom’s birthday was on July 4th. For years I thought all the hoopla was because of her birthday! (Secretly, I still do.)
Happy 4th of July weekend from
(Annual Canonsburg, Pennsylvania 4th of July Parade)

Maestro Lotfi, January 7, 1947 – May 2, 2014

Depicted here playing the kamancheh, Mohammad-Rezā Lotfi lives on in the hearts of many … singing and playing setar, ney, daf, tombak, you name it; and he lives on in my heart directly and by means of my dear friend, Sirous, whose heart is heavy ever since Lotfi died a few days ago, which breaks my heart even more.

I met Lotfi in the mid 1980s and heard him perform alone or with one or two others on several occasions in a variety of settings. Over time I came to understand better his role in the revitalization of traditional Persian music. I think I’ve already mentioned that I am, in fact, one of the luckiest guys from Murdock St., Canonsburg, PA! How blessed I was to meet Lotfi, to hear him perform, to be bathed for hours in the sacred, musical poetry of Hafiz, Rumi, and others in spite of language barriers. On one very special occasion, thanks to Sirous, while I was a monk, Lotfi and two colleagues visited and performed at the monastery in the vaulted and acoustically-accommodating basement of the basilica in what was one of the most ecumenical and beautiful events ever to take place there! Sirous often reminds me that Lotfi was pleased with the venue and found it conducive in more ways than one. I subsequently saw Lotfi perform in both small, informal gatherings and large concert settings. My heart goes out to Sirous and all who mourn the loss of Maestro Lotfi.

Maestro Lotfi’s music is all over the internet, and it is readily available for purchase. It was this YouTube video that refreshed my memory for the drawing. Please click here for another iPad painting I did of Maestro Lotfi.


Lotfi et al. at St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA 1 Lotfi et al. at St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA 2

Chick here to see the post associated with this iPad painting that I did of Maestro Lotfi.

Mohammad-Rezā Lotfi