Monday, February 23, 2015

Would I?

Saturday night I played and sang  for a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society at The Copper Club in Fruita, CO.

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.

I gave 'em hell and gave 'em my best Saturday night.  I was excited about helping out with the cause. My Mom passed away in November after a nasty fight with lung-cancer, so this one was personal.

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 couldn't help but watch the boy - about 10-11 years old I would guess.  Skinny little fella with an old school baseball cap, a mile wide grin,  and great big glasses.  Jiminy Cricket gone Coolsville.  Reminded me of me for a minute. You can tell he's smart as a whip and he was never more than a few feet away from his Mom at any one moment.  If she was reaching for anything at all, he handed it to her.  He was working as hard as anybody at the benefit - filling the Luminaria bags and arranging the table.  He was a working man looking out for his Momma.

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.

A smile out of their household means something.  Mother and Son have to fight with the unseen, and gamble on the unknown - fight with their own secret fears - every minute of every day. They will forever cope with questionable tomorrows.

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.

"Peace Out"
"Don't take any wooden nickels"

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