On the dark days, you just need to find things to cheer you up.
This past weekend, caring for Jen’s mom in the hospital, I had a chance encounter that lasted just a few moments, but gave me something else to focus on. “Mum” was staying in a very nice wing of a veteran’s hospital. It was filled with retired war heroes, but also regular people who were fighting their final battles with cancer. You can always sense the grief in the air. It weighs down like a heavy, thick antiseptic mist.
Sunday morning we were making our way to see Mum, with other families to see our loved ones. Walking in front of us was a tall guy carrying a guitar. It was in a road case, which jumped out at me. Most guitar hobbyists don’t need one, but professionals do. He looked like a dressed-down star. He held the elevator door open for us. We got in and I had a closer look at his road case. There was a laminated tag with his name on it, which I recognised immediately. For his privacy, I won’t say who he was, but I Googled him to verify. Sure enough, the guitarist in front of us was the guy who came up in my Google images search.
Seven solo albums stretching back 22 years. 12 more album releases as a sideman, for some pretty big names. If I said them, you’d recognise them. He has played on Leno, the Oscars, and the Grammies, and he also opened for two of my favourite bands (one of which, Deep Purple, is in my Top Five).
I didn’t bother him. He was there for the same reason we were. It would have been disrespectful for me to invade his privacy.
I did, however, stream some of his music on my phone. Later on, I heard him down the hall, playing blues licks for his loved one. It was an awesome, awesome sound.
My only real wish was, it would have been nice if Mum was well enough to come out into the hallway to listen. Mum loved all kinds of music, including the blues. But she was too sick. We played some George Harrison in her room, instead.
I talked about this brief encounter all day. I guess I was a little starstruck.
In the end, the bluesman did more than play some licks for his loved one. He didn’t know it, but he helped me out too. Thank you, bluesman.