Paul Lewis


Editor’s note: Rubin and Kawesch wrote this in honor of their father, Paul Lewis, a Beacon reader and DeLand resident who has just celebrated his 80th birthday.

In his Oscar-winning performance in 2014 for Whiplash, J.K. Simmons firmly shrieked “Not quite my tempo!” This abuse, along with a chair thrown at his head, was aimed by Simmons at Miles Teller, who played a highly competitive and driven drum student. Perfection was the demand; neither dragging nor rushing would be tolerated.

We don’t have that kind of control over the tempo of our lives, our hours and days and years, and the minutiae of their passing, and yet we try very hard to accomplish some semblance of order.

We’re lucky if we can snooze the alarm clock for 10 minutes. Women Like Us (Jill Rubin and Lorin Kawesch) set the alarm early, to allow for some leeway.

We remember and mark time in different ways. Most of us remember where we were for landmark events. Alan Jackson asks us, “Where were you when the world stopped turning?” referring to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Jill was at work providing physical therapy services to children with developmental delay. Lorin was teaching in a classroom.

What did you eat for dinner a week ago? No one knows, but we remember the meal we had when our husbands proposed, where we bought the pregnancy test that said we were each expecting, etc. These are landmark events in our lives.

As we are writing, Daddy is marking his 80th birthday today, and we are planning a small to-do in a couple of days. He marked it by treating himself to a new favorite, a meatball sub from Bronx Pizza DeLand.

Jill thought to call ahead to the restaurant to beat the buzzer and buy him a lunch, and Lorin executed the plan flawlessly. He got the sub, was tickled to find out it was already paid for, left the restaurant, and tripped and fell on the grass. That’s 80, with a strong past and a glimpse of the future.

Fortunately, he and the most delicious sub were both fine.

Daddy sounds like a New Yorker, but was born in London in 1942 and lived there a few years as a boy and still has a few British expressions and habits. He will “use the loo,” “take the lift” and “go see a flick.”

In honor of his roots, Lorin planned the party complete with a British theme of Union Jacks, cheers, and a full-size Queen Elizabeth board.

Dad’s “today” is in DeLand indulging in a meatball sub, but his roots are across the pond, so we celebrate this medley in two different time signatures. This is quite an epic landmark birthday. We plan to celebrate many more.

How about the rests? Every musician knows the rests must be played; they’re critical to the performance. Lorin played clarinet in high school, and marched clarinet and then trombone at the University of Miami with the Band of the Hour. Jill played and marched clarinet in high school, played in orchestra in college, and was a musician in the Volusia Community Symphony for many years.

Playing the rests is akin to recovery after a hard workout. It gets you ready for the next hard passage or hard workout. If I play the rests well, the important lines and notes can shine.

Our world today asks everyone to be the star of their own theatrical performance. If I’m not always on and looking my best, then what am I? As we have both gotten older and wiser, we realize that it’s not always the right time to be the soloist.

Lesson learned, count it carefully, play the rests, come back in when it’s your turn. J.K. Simmons would agree.

Simmons’ character in Whiplash was an abusive control-nut of a conductor. There are better ways to get the best out of those over whom you have professional control — and from ourselves.

Women Like Us, especially twin Women Like Us, support the stellar efforts of those around us to harmonize and make beautiful music. People like Daddy, who are celebrating a landmark 80th trip around the sun, know the importance of this. Ask them and they’ll tell you.

If you want to ask Daddy, better ask loudly (he’s a little hard of hearing) and bring some fish and chips and malt vinegar to sweeten the deal.

— Sisters Rubin and Kawesch, who live in DeLand, write a blog at


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