As a kid, I was a self-starter and generally kept busy with mostly constructive and productive things. Notice that I said mostly because I was like most kids and could be a typical knucklehead at times. Never with malicious intentions, but still a kid. I’m not too much different now. We don’t change much as adults.
Later as a grown man with a family of my own and nearing the end of my active duty military music career, we were seated at the kitchen table drinking coffee while talking with mom Burnett.
During the conversation, I recall mom telling us that she “never worried about” me as a kid because I was always “busy with good things.” And I felt her trust and confidence in me as a kid.
Mom had come to live with me and Terri Anderson Burnett immediately upon retirement after working several decades in a career at the Osawatomie State Hospital (now defunct) culminating in her professional position as an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor. She was a year older then than I am now.
Mom lived at our home with T and our children when I was hand-selected for assignment to the multi-service and multi-national NATO Band that was once based in a burrow of Naples, Italy. I was scheduled to return after two years but another great thing happened and I got promoted out of my former position.
I then got chosen for the First Sergeant position with the Student Company at the Armed Forces School of Music during the era when there were 400 basic, intermediate, and advance course students learning there. The school is still located in Virginia.
That’s how mom ended up staying with T and our children while I was away. And I was at the school for just over a year before I was released to fill the First Sergeant and Enlisted Bandleader positions that had come open with the same band where my family had stayed.
I would come home at every opportunity during the separation, usually in 6-month intervals. T, our children, and mom also came to visit me at the school assignment. We had a great time and stayed at the home of a friend in Virginia Beach. I recall mom saying on one of our day excursions that she never thought she “would ever visit Washington D.C.” in her lifetime.
I have been retired from military music since 1996 and I continue to work in the at-large music industry. All of that to say that me and my family have always been busy with mostly good things.
We have started our own businesses since those military music days. Have had ups and downs like everyone does in life but are fortunate to be very resilient people.
We, as a family, have maintained the mindset of a student. Mom used to tell me that I was always curious and a good student. I understand more fully what she meant in saying that.
Some people have to always be “right.” I learned to simply try to find what’s “right” and everything will usually work out best.
Some people want well beyond what they can practically use and truly need. It’s a race to get more stuff, titles, positions, money.
I was blessed with a vision for my life that tells me the purpose of everything that sustains my family and my calling in life.
It took me a lifetime to state this but I’ve always had more than enough at each stage.
My family has been with me all of the way from the beginning. She caught my vision when we both wore Army boots most of the day and rode around to strange towns together playing music.
We have been a family for decades now but we are still growing and learning together, just as we always have.
We are teaching and helping younger musicians, creating our own art, and serving our community as well.
We didn’t realize that we would be just as busy now as we ever have been in our lives. But we are and it is truly perfect for us.
I just finished a couple of commissions, our youth jazz program is in full swing, and I am on a board that is producing a major event in August. Fourth of July week was a little bit of a break for us and the time gave us a chance to be alone together and grow.
Thanks for your patience everyone because we had to regroup.
Sometimes you just need to stop. Yes, I need a haircut and I need to trim up my beard. I have been just puttering around our home doing the odds and ends that I was too busy to get to. Washing and detailing our vehicles. Cleaning up the stain on the garage floor that’s been there for a year. Spending time with my family.
We did lots of talking, growing individually, and just being together again. I think that we have also truly learned how to be a better family. We were also able to literally get caught up on everything. And we’ll be back to the other cool things we do in life for the rest of the month before our actual vacation in August.
I’m truly a blessed man and musician.
#artistlife #musician #prayerworks
Musings In Cb: “Busy with good things…”
PHOTO by Corinna Gray Photography (2023)
Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett established their branch of The Burnett Family in March of 1979 in Copenhagen, Denmark. They are professional musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs based in the Kansas City Metropolitan area.