Fruita is a small Western Colorado town with upwardly mobile intentions. Still has that small town feel, but with some very metropolitan inspired tastes and vision.
The Copper Club is one of my favorite music rooms in the state. Holds about 50 people comfortably - about 100 when things really get going. They make deliciously good beer and the folks that hang out are mostly neighbors, friends , and family from about a 10 mile radius.
My other son, the one I got to pick myself, Bud Frisinger, showed up to help me out, as did Alycia Vince. We bent some bluegrass and twisted up some hillbilly rhythm & blues. A handful of adventurous dancers showed off some move that would knock over Miley with a wrecking-ball, and we all had a wonderful time. It always feels good to use music to do something that needs doing.
The high point of the evening for me, came at the very end. I had the good fortune to meet a delightful woman named Mary Dabbs and her son Ryder. The whole thing was sort of around her. She's going to Denver next Monday for a radical mastectomy. She's got cancer.
She's a single mom with a mega-watt smile. Insanely beautiful by any standard and a complete a joy to behold. Everyone around her was wearing huge smiles and hugging her, and Ryder, and each other. If prayer pulls you through hard times, then she's hooked up to a squadron of John Deere Tractors. She says she can whip this and I believe she can.
I remember 10 years old. I remember how I felt about my Mom. We were alone too. I wanted to protect her. I wanted her life to be easier. I wanted her to worry less and to laugh more - with me. I didn't have to deal with cancer.
I saw it in that boys eyes Saturday night. His Mom might have cancer, but she's not the only one fighting with the courage of angels. He would gladly whip the hell out of a dozen Ninjas and nineteen 8th graders just to make his Mom better. She will get better, and then he will - because of it.
She seems FAR too young for this horrible disease - He's far too young for the ghost that hangs in the shadows - in every breath- at their house. Life isn't fair. It occurred to me more than once since Saturday night, that there is no rest for these two until this is over - and even then the notion of cancer will always rest uneasy in the dark corners of their fears.
The night of the benefit I was humbled by those smiles. When she hugged me so sincerely, and so graciously thanked me for the music , it was difficult to keep my composure. I needed to thank her , and to thank Ryder - for fighting and for smiling through the worry. For their confidence - for their belief. I want her to survive - I need her to heal and live -because my own mother didn't.
My life has no challenges today like Mays - like Ryders. Only the myriad blessings I so blindly and joyfully suffer through. I've often wondered if there were a way to free the people I love and care about from their suffering by taking it on myself - would I? I hope so. I know Ryder would.
Tonight when you close your eyes and thank your maker for the blessings in your life - toss a prayer toward Mary and her boy as well. I'm going to.
"Don't take any wooden nickels"