You, dear reader, have just clicked onto my 1,000th post on More to Come. As it says in the tagline, you’ve found my observations and recollections on places that matter, books worth reading, roots music, the times we live in, and “whatever else tickles my fancy.”
That last one gives me license to touch on just about anything. But don’t worry. Contrary to the headline, this isn’t a rant about income inequality. I’ll explain in a moment.
More to Come was created in 2008 to capture photos and memories from a family vacation. After the trip was over, I simply continued writing. Originally I would send random thoughts on a few things I cared about to friends, family, and other travelers on the internet who might share the same passions.
Over the years the blog changed to have a more definite focus and look. In 2016, I began writing an email each Monday morning to my staff at the National Trust for Historic Preservation about things that were on my mind. This discipline led to a regular feature on the blog, written with the first day of the work week in mind, which is found under the heading of Monday Musings. There’s even a subcategory of stories, entitled On Leadership. Late last year I found that my writing on things musical had largely disappeared, so I begin a new feature entitled Saturday Soundtrack to push myself to engage more with old friends and new talents (at least to me). Observations from… is another regular, if occasional, series where I often bring together short comments that, as I’ve noted more than once, “may not be ready for prime time” as a longer post. And because this is my gap year where I negotiate the move from a full-time career to something different, I added a section entitled What’s Next.
For this 1,000th time I’ve put fingers to keyboard, I thought it would be fun to look at the top ten posts in terms of views since I took More to Come out for a stroll in the blogosphere lo those many years ago. Hence the top 1 percent! So while you may have thought the headline was going to lead you down the rabbit hole of income inequality, never fear.
Most of the top ten are from older postings, which makes sense given that they’ve had longer to build up views, be referenced and tagged in more recent stories, and show up on search engines. I’ll reveal them in reverse order to build up the suspense!
Number 10: If Santiago Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum (spoiler alert…look ahead to #5) is a symbol of the city’s optimism for the 21st century, then the Milwaukee City Hall is a fine example of the community’s spirit and optimism for the 20th. My pictures, which really do not do this building justice, nonetheless capture what a colleague described as “an atrium you don’t want to miss.” Man, was he right!
Number 9: I love the fact that readers find out about fine hand-crafted guitars on More to Come. In Praise of Gallagher Guitars was a post I wrote about my Gallagher shortly after The Fretboard Journal carried a story on Doc Watson’s favorite guitar makers. Coming in just outside the Top Ten was another instrumental post, one about Finding My New Running Dog Guitar. Yes, I am afflicted with G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) and I am a lucky man.
Number 8: The post Never Underestimate the Impact One Person Can Have on the World was written by our son Andrew upon the death of his teacher and mentor, Ben Hutto. It is a heartfelt tribute to someone who not only touched our family, but tens of thousands of people all around the world. Ben had an infectious love for music and life.
Number 7: Tulsa, Oklahoma, has an incredible collection of Art Deco architecture, none better than the Boston Avenue Church, which I featured in a 2008 post.
Number 6: Over two days in 2009, I was with a National Trust group that toured a remarkable collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architectural gems located in Wisconsin. Along the way we saw icons and surprises. The text and photos include information and views on Herbert Fisk Johnson’s home, Wingspread, Wright’s “last” Prairie style home and a truly magnificent work with incredible light; the famous S.C. Johnson headquarters, in Racine; and then on to Milwaukee for the Frederick C. Bogk House, which is currently a private residence.
Number 5: I’m lumping three posts into one here. I went on a Santiago Calatrava binge a few years ago, and my photos and comments have always been a reader favorite. In fact, these three separate posts have virtually the same number of views, and they show up together in the analytics chart. To see some wonderful architecture as sculpture, take a look at the Dublin bridges of Calatrava, his Milwaukee Art Museum (my personal favorite of the three posts, as I captured the “wings” in flight as per the pictures above), and then a close-up of Dublin’s Samuel Beckett bridge under construction.
Number 4: Before I started my Saturday Music series, I would occasionally write 2-3 posts with reviews from a music festival or with a focus on some other musical theme. It was one such series—the “Music Fit to a T” posts that highlighted songs with “Tennessee” in the title—that produced The Brand New Tennessee Waltz at number 4 on the list. If you are interested in what other songs were featured in this series, they were John Hiatt’s Tennessee Plates, along with Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline Rag. Yes, I know it doesn’t technically have the state’s name in its title, but it is my series, so who’s quibbling.
Number 3: I’ve been privileged to travel over many parts of the U.S. and the world. Few places touch me like Mohonk Mountain House. I’ve been to this historic mountain resort for business meetings, for family trips, and for an anniversary, and no matter the season it always has something to offer my soul. In this particular post, I recount how my friend Nina Smiley gave a wonderful talk, full of tales of twin Quaker brothers establishing this hotel, but naming it the Mohonk Mountain House to avoid the unsavory reputation hotels and inns held in their day. Over 141 years of ownership by the Smiley family, Mohonk has remained “the same…only better” to use Nina’s words.
Number 2: In 2010, I was on a business tour that included trips to see the work of glass artist Dale Chihuly in both Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. I tried to use the photographs to show the vibrant colors of his work in those settings, and they seem to have captured the attention of a number of visitors over the years. I was glad to be able to share my experience more widely.
And finally, coming in at Number 1 in terms of all-time views (drumroll please):
Monument Valley — It is so appropriate that the post with the most views goes back to the reason this blog was started—our western vacation in 2008. It is also clear that my beautiful prose has absolutely nothing to do with this ranking. Instead, our daughter Claire’s evocative black and white photograph from Goulding, taken on her old-fashioned 35mm camera and printed out by hand for a photography class, is the reason so many people find their way to More to Come.
There are many other posts in the top 25 which I’ve been proud to share with my readers through the years, such as stories on the Americana musical festival Merlefest; baseball quotes (the best kind) from the Philadelphia Phillies 2008 World Series win; 90 things about the wonderful life of my father, Tom Brown, on the occasion of his 90th birthday; and my 60 Lessons from 60 Years, written in 2015 on my 60th birthday. But they’ll have to wait to see if they make it into the top 10 when I get to the 2,500th post!
As always, thanks so much for reading, for your thoughtful feedback, and for your support through the years.
More to come…