Howard Lewis Hinterthuer, Featured Contributor September 2008

When writing for magazines I have always used my family name, “Hinterthuer.” The only exception has been ghost-written stories in which my name doesn’t appear. None appear here. Ghost-written stories have tended to be created on behalf of engineers or physicians. The professional journals in which the features appear specified the stories needed to be authored by a licensed engineer or the doctor who did the research. I am asked to write the stories because I can do so in half the time it would take them to accomplish the same task, plus I minimize the typical “geek-speak.”

“Howard Lewis” is my musical persona. Show-biz-wise it is important that fans can easily pronounce my name. “Lewis” is my real middle name, so I’m not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes. A stage name just makes everything easier.

Brief Bio Sketch

My experience with Milwaukee goes back to the Gertie the Duck era.

I have been a freelance writer since 1982, doing feature stories for
publications like Retail Store Image, Corrections Today, Iron and Steel
Engineer, “M” Magazine (used to be Northshore Lifestyle), Exclusively Yours,
Wisconsin Trails, Rehabilitation Management, Foundry Management and
Technology, Living Church, and on and on and on and on.

I have been a singer/songwriter since 1972.

My band, Embedded Reporter, is squarely in the tradition of traveling minstrels, who
moved from village to village carrying the news. They were a communication
link in much the same way as milwaukeerenaissance.com

My politics skew left, although I am in fact an independent voter. I
believe that partisan behavior is a disservice to everyone. Issues should
be decided on merit.

A Vietnam vet. I was a medic (Clinical Specialist) assigned to the
101st Airborne Division Artillery near Phu Bai (Camp Eagle) from 12/69 ‘til
12/70ish. I don’t actually remember if I came home in December or November.
If it was November it was very near the end of the typical year-long tour of duty.

I have lived in a bunch of places and traveled quite a bit. Those
experiences have shaped who I am and how I see the world.

I served on the Cedarburg School Board for nine years and as President for
the last five of them. The experience gave me insight into public service
and the sure knowledge that most people have strong opinions while few have
actual information. The cynic in me insists it is this dynamic that has shaped
our current national character and politics. However I choose not to write
with the voice of a cynic. It would feel like “piling on”—plus I think it
gets old really fast. Also, I am encouraged that change is afoot, particularly
with the election of Obama.

So I try to keep it upbeat and “reasoned.”

Song Lyrics

AN ANGEL APPEARED

by Howard Lewis

I was playing guitar on a soft summer night

Down at the harbor in the fading twilight

Singing of love, singing of loss,

Singing about all of the miles I have crossed

When an angel in linen and fine Belgian lace

Entered my bubble of personal space

“Will you sing me a song,” she asked straight away

Without hesitation I started to play.



Over the Rainbow came tumbling out

And all of the while she was looking about

As if searching for something long gone astray

Looking for someone far far away



“He’s been gone a long time,” she said at the end.

“A fisherman,” she added, “And my very best friend.”

“I’ve lived in this village for seventy years,

Now I’m ninety years old,” she said through her tears.



(chorus)

I could promise to love you ‘til we’re old and we’re grey

I could promise you laughter at the end of the day

But one will go first and the other will stay

So the best I can do is to love you today



“Do you accept tips?” she frankly seemed moved

To ask me, and of course I approved

She slipped me a five then wandered away

Some people go, some people stay.



(chorus)

I could promise to love you ‘til we’re old and we’re grey

I could promise you laughter at the end of the day

But one will go first and the other will stay

So the best I can do is to love you today



Count me among those who remain

Who know the truth in this poignant refrain

“If happy little bluebirds fly

Beyond the rainbow why-o-why can’t I?”



Interlude to Over the Rainbow


Somewhere Over the Rainbow, way up high . . . . etc.
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PRACTICAL MAN

by Howard Lewis

We sailed from St. Thomas on a ship of the main

With a cargo of gold we wrested from Spain

Our fortune ‘twas certain, likewise our renown

(All) Should we safely deliver this gold to the Crown



We had lost sight of land at ten or half past

When our lookout cried, “I’ve spotted a mast!

She’s gaining on us, a swift little dodger,

And she’s boastfully flying a black Jolly Roger.”



“Cabin Boy,” said the Captain to me,

“Get my red shirt. It’s easy to see

They may overtake us sometime around dawn

When they strike I’ll be having my battle shirt on.”

(All) When they strike he’ll be having his battle shirt on.”



Well the captain was right, they hit us at dawn

He bravely led us, repelling the throng.

When the battle subsided, he said straight away,

“Cabin Boy, please put my red shirt away.”

(All) Put it away. Put it away.

At midday three masts swung into view

Chasing and posing a challenge anew

As they closed in upon us, their intention shown clear

Please,” said the Captain, “bring my battle shirt here.”

(All) Put it on! Put it on!



Once again we prevailed and sent the rogues packing.

Our Captain had cheered us when courage was lacking.

Charging into the fray, our battle shirt bearer

Dissected the foe and filled them with terror.

(All) He filled them with terror.



“My Captain,” I asked, “Why the red shirt?”

“I wear it,” he said, “in case I get hurt.

It won’t show the blood,” he whispered this part.

“When the men see I’m wounded they tend to lose heart.”

(All) (Losing heart noises)



(chorus)(All)

O Captain, my Captain, he does what he can

More than just cunning, he’s a Practical Man.




The very next morning an armada appeared

Eight-hundred pirates most mightily feared.

“Shall I fetch your red shirt?”

“No thanks,” he replied.

“But bring my brown britches,” he wistfully cried.

(All) “Bring our brown britches,” all of us cried.



(chorus)(All)

O Captain, my Captain, he does what he can

More than just cunning, he’s a Practical Man

So load up the canon, drink a tankard of rum (a tempo)

(All) And be certain brown britches are covering your bum.

(All) And be certain brown britches are covering your bum.
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DAFFODILS

by Howard Lewis



You gave me daffodils on Sunday,

Full of promise, full of joy

The first one opened Monday,

Others followed by and by



They were beautiful by Wednesday,

Glorious on Thursday too

Smiling like the sunshine,

Spectacular like you.



But time is unrelenting,

Nothing seems to stay

By Friday they were wilting,

They began to fade away.



You said, “Their time is over,

They’ve seen a better day.”

But my heart cried out, “They came from you.

How can I throw them away?”



(Musical interlude)



But time is unrelenting,

Nothing seems to stay

By Friday they were wilting,

They began to fade away.



You said, “Their time is over,

They’ve seen a better day.”

But my heart cried out, “They came from you.

How can I throw them away?”
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THE MIGHTY UNKNOWN

by Howard Lewis



Columbus sailed west toward the mighty unknown,

Taking a chance he’d never get home.

Driven to show that the world was round

Thinking there might be new lands to be found.



Lewis and Clark travelled upstream

To find the Pacific, accomplish the dream

Of charting a course ‘cross the mighty frontier,

An easier way to get there from here.



Some dreams can be hard, some of them cruel

They challenge or break a conventional rule

But those are the ones too big to ignore

Those are the dreams we’re bound to explore.



Marco Polo set out on a trip to the East

Crossed mountains and deserts on a caravan beast

Down the silk road ‘til he landed in China

And stayed there for years, waiting to find a

Reason to leave, to return to the West,

To tell the known world what he’d seen of the rest.



I’ll conquer an ocean, I’ll challenge the sea

I’ll find a safe harbor, be waiting for thee

I’ll set out alone through a forest unknown,

To find a green meadow and build a new home

For you . . . . . For you.



(chorus)

So cross the deep ocean, sail the dark sea,

Follow your heart, come looking for me.

I’ll put a lamp in the window, keep a fire burning bright,

And pray for your journey all through the night.



Some dreams can be hard, some of them cruel

They challenge or break a conventional rule

But those are the ones too big to ignore

Those are the dreams we’re bound to explore.



(chorus) (repeat ad lib)

So cross the deep ocean, sail the dark sea,

Follow your heart, come looking for me.

I’ll put a lamp in the window, keep a fire burning bright,

And pray for your journey all through the night.
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SHED MY SKIN

by Howard Lewis



(Intro—Native American Prayer – Spoken)

“Spirit Who Comes From Out of the East

Come to me with the power of the rising sun

Let there be light in my word

Let there be light on the path that I walk

Never let me be burdened with sorrow by not starting over”



I walked out on a rocky ledge

A river looped below

I teetered on the jagged edge

To watch the river flow



A trail descended from the bluff

Then meandered through a wood

Where pine and larch, the mighty fir,

And giant redwood stood



A blue jay paused to laugh at me

A comic sideshow fool

But I moved on around a bend

Toward a quiet forest pool



A trout swam up and looked at me

As if to say hello

He kissed the sky then flipped his tail

And disappeared below



I shed my skin, and jumped straight in

It seemed the perfect way

To lose my pain and misery

And wash my sins away



(Interlude)


I shed my skin, and jumped straight in

It seemed the perfect way

To lose my pain and misery

And wash my sins away



I shed my skin, and jumped straight in

It seemed the perfect way

To lose my pain and misery

And wash my sins away

And wash my sins away




Epilogue — “Everybody needs beauty . . . places to play and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”

— Voice for the Wilderness, John Muir, 1902
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THE SWALLOW

by Howard Lewis



I saw a bird in a lifeless tree

A swallow gazing down at me

Looking bedraggled and clearly forlorn

Her feathers decidedly tattered and torn



Prairie surrounded the moldering tree

Spreading as far as the eye could see

“You’re looking exhausted,” I said to the swallow,

“What brought you to this, what path did you follow?”



“I don’t know,” said the bird, “I feel hopelessly lost

Must have made a wrong turn in the last state I crossed.

I’m not good at directions, I can’t read a map,

Don’t know which way is forward or which way is back.”



“Well jump on my shoulder,” I said to the bird,

“My back is strong and so is my word,

I’ll carry you down to Mexico

Where gentle ocean breezes blow.

I’ll carry you down to Mexico

To a sunny place where swallows go

I’ll carry you down to Mexico

To a sunny place where swallows go



(Interlude)



Well I offered my hand to the shivering bird

“Come with me,” I said, but I don’t think she heard

She unfolded her wings and fluttered away

To weak to go, to frightened to stay



“Jump on my shoulder,” I called to the bird,

“My back is strong and so is my word.

I’ll carry you down to Mexico

Where gentle ocean breezes blow

I’ll carry you down to Mexico

To a sunny place where swallows go

I’ll carry you down to Mexico

To a sunny place where swallows go.
Back to top

THREE JACKS

by Howard Lewis

I was dealing the cards and drinking a beer

With Harding and Goff, and Sergeant Lazier

Two cherries had joined us, all skittish and whiney

With brand new fatigues, their boots were still shiny

I was holding three jacks when a rocket screamed past

Right over our heads, and it wasn’t the last

Each in turn hit ninety meters down range

When the sirens went off, things really got strange

The cherries both bolted, scattered like quail

Running for cover, they quickly hightailed

But the rest asked for cards and drew three or four

With three lovely jacks, I didn’t need more

I’ll see your five hundred and bump it a grand.

We can run for the bunker when we finish this hand.

Well the four of us sat there ‘til the betting was done

Could-a’ dropped a small fortune, but this time I won!

If your life has turned crazy with danger and fear

It helps to remember, as long as you’re here

Why bother with worry, it’s as simple as this

The bad guys may get you, but mostly they miss!
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Last edited by Howard Ho Lewis. Based on work by TeganDowling, Tyler Schuster, Howard HInterthuer, tyler schuster, Godsil, Nick and Olde.  Page last modified on December 30, 2008

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