Scott Joplin Mural, Texarkana, Texas

Ragtime music was not originated by Texarkana born Scott Joplin, but one could argue that Joplin’s “The Entertainer” is quite possibly the most well known ragged rhythm tune. It was a rage when it was released as well as being featured in the 1973 film “The Sting”. Joplin was a talented musician, both playing and teaching not only piano, but mandolin and guitar. Joplin was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for musical composition in 1976 and ultimately is referred to as “The King of Ragtime”.

“The Sting” original soundtrack was mainly a compilation of Joplin’s music by composer and performer Marvin Hamlisch.

When I was a kid, a parent’s corporate job provided tickets to see Hamlisch perform with the Houston Symphony at Houston’s Jones Hall. I don’t remember much of the content of the show, but my takeaways were this; Hamlisch controlled the room with not only his talent, but also his humor. There was something appealing to me of that charisma.

When I stopped in Texarkana, I grabbed a bite at Pecan Point Gastropub after collecting the mural photo. The meal was so enjoyable, and maybe I was just in a rush, but I accidentally left my credit card at the restaurant ahead of a week long trip away from home. By the time I realized I had lost the card, I was in another state. There was a level of immediate panic, but also calm in being able to locate the plastic, adjust some funds and enjoying the rest of the trip until the card safely arrived back at my home in Houston.

I chose Texarkana this week not only to share this interesting and multi talented individual in Joplin, but also because, the other association I make with “The Entertainer” is through the many times we have all heard it blaring from ice cream trucks in our neighborhoods. Sophisticated? Maybe not. However, innately, this is a song that has the ability to make kids and adults around the world smile because who doesn’t like ice cream?

I am holding onto that idea of Summer, that quintessential sign that the days remain a little brighter for a little longer. That friendship can easily be formed over melty ice cream and sharing a song.

There may be a time to account for what is gained and what is lost. But, for now, I am going to focus on the charisma. Because the show must go on.

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