Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Archive for the tag “Songs”

Family Traditions “German Holiday Songs”

When I was a kid my all of my aunts and uncles, cousins (distant and close) would get together on Christmas day in the afternoon to have the “family” Christmas party. Our German heritage would always mean great German food & pot luck including ham and German potato salad and so many other assorted eats including my grandmothers handed down German spice cake ( potato torte).

After everyone had their fill of great food and a bunch alcoholic drinks had duly been consumed, there was time to sing some songs. The whole family would join in to celebrate. Many were many Christmas traditional tunes “O Tannenbaum” and “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night) were inevitable. But also were a few Bavarian drinking songs ( at least it felt like they were from there). Not as Christmas oriented but certainly part of the tradition each year.

My focus for our family this year will be to recall and embrace those family traditions that got us to this Christmas. I hope that my children will better understand the rich and varied heritage that got us to the yule-tide celebrations we do now.

There was a song called “Mein Lieber Antone“. Thanks to my brother I have the words for it, but have not been able to find the actual tune on any search I have made via the Internet.. I would be grateful if anyone had any information about it.

The other song was a song about a Schnitzelbank. With assorted other farm implements (among other German things). A traditional drinking song for sure, complete with the sing-along poster as each time you added something you had to repeat the rest. What great fun, and definitely with a beer or other concoction in your hand while singing it.

Here is the poster we sang from:

schnitzelbank Song Sheet









Here is a rendition from You Tube ( so you can get the idea).

What were your traditions? What songs did you sing over the years that have become the standards for your personal soundtrack?

Take the Time To Sing

“With your head up, with your eyes closed. Not because you love the song, but you love to sing” – Aaron Marsh

I realize I will forever be tied to music.

MGert Concert Picture

MGert Concert Picture

Many of my past family ancestors were artists, many of my relatives today are artists, painters, writers. Creators of the “arts”.

My passion has always been to sing. From elementary school choir to high school musicals. In rock bands that were such great fun in school to working to make it a profession by touring around with a bus ( not successfully by the way). Just jamming in garages or making sounds in basements made for revitalizing enjoyment.  Even today I get to sing at church from time to time with the band ( yup, not a “choir” but a great bunch of musicians).

When I get in the car I put on music, when I am relaxing I put on the playlists, when I am working on things I put on music rotations. Parties? Without music? No way.

Concerts are an event, and more often the better. My kids taught me how to experience the music today. I have tens of thousands of songs on my hard drive, own one thousand vinyl records I can’t seem to let go of (even though I don’t have my turntable connected). Songs from every genre, rock music from the beginning, eclectic, progressive, jazz, soul, R&B, even disco ( but not too much :))

So like so many others I around me –  I sing. Never going to win any trophies or competitions. But I love to sing.

What about you…? Like to sing?  So SING. Not because you love the song- but you love to sing.

COPELAND: You Love to Sing

A Song Called “I Can Sleep Again”

I am sharing a song that was written by our children as a gift. Our children are the most precious things my wife and I have in our lives. This is a very special gift. Take a listen.


They are all over 20 years old and have found directions in their lives that are making them become the adults we had hoped they would become. They are also very much into music (much like their dad). This holiday 2 of our sons and our daughter were all at home and had time to visit with each other and remind themselves and us that they are truly brothers and sister in a family that loves each other.

During their time they created this song ( in the span of 2 days) . It is 4 1/2 minutes long and created on the spot during their visit. It is a song about “finding your way back” with the help of someone you love. Beautiful. Some production work from my son Ryan on his PC and it was presented to my wife and I. It has become the greatest Christmas gift we could ask for.

It will never be a top-hit on tomorrows Billboard charts, but it is something that we will always cherish.

If you can stream it and choose to find the time to indulge, I appreciate your listening. Just wanted to share it because I am very proud.

It's a song called "I Can Sleep Again" 
(© 2013 Ryan, Greg and Jennifer Gertenbach)

A New Page @ Tracksinthedust

NewSo its a few short days from my one year anniversary since  I began my blogging journey on WordPress. Admittedly I didn’t have any expectations of how many visits or views I would have. My purpose was to share some of my observations on daily living with my children (at least for more “WWW type” of posterity).

It all started because 4 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 3 prostate cancer. After surgery and radiation therapy and quarterly checks and injections, I started to evaluate my life and what is important.

I realized that my wife and I had shared a lot of wisdom with  our kids, but did they remember any of it? For those of you that have older children who have reached the age when others around them (their peer group & classmates) … you realize that they can end up influencing their direction more than a parent can. Because they want to fit in, or they want to stay out of the crowd around them- it all works to shape their choices and their identity. Not that you cannot do your parental part in their lives for as long as you are part of it, but your exclusive influence over their path to adulthood is shared and measured against all of those things that are happening.

So “tracks” in the dust. We all make tracks, we all influence everyone around us – if even for only the brief moment meeting a stranger in a crowd, or the family and friends that make up our daily sphere of life.

I want to thank those who have visited in the past year, and hopefully the site will be worth visiting from time to time.

I am starting a NEW PAGE called the Songs and Poems of Another Time. “A Play on Words”.

My kids are all musically inclined, as when I was much younger I had a lot more inspiration and I used to pump out lyrics and poems and song ideas day after day for years. I dusted off the notebooks from the 70’s and 80’s that are  full of them and wanted to share them with my kids. SO once again I wanted preserve a few of them off the fading paper pages after all of these years.

Hope you will stop by when you can.

View from A Summer Porch

Hitchcock’s Revenge

The Change


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