Monday, October 17, 2011

DAY 1351 - Day 1109 in Recovery Paradise

'Another Day in Paradise' band
So, I've been thinking lately...until I was confronted with the diagnosis of Tonsil Cancer, I, like most people, subconsciously thought I had all the time in the world to get around to a multitude of projects, places to go and things to do, that we all have jumbled up in that personal bag we all carry around.

When I was facing the inverted hourglass of my life and I noticed there was more sand in the bottom than in the top and was reminded of a favorite quote of mine:

"As you get older, don't slow down.  Speed up, as there is less time left."

Then, I was diagnosed with Tonsil Cancer.  Emerging from chemo/radiation/feeding tube six months of Hell later, I finally had that long put-off conversation with myself about what I was going to do with my extra gift of TIME.  Well, I did the whitewater rafting trip (awesome).  Then I went skydiving (albeit, indoors in a wind tunnel...but I was off the ground about 15' with no strings attached)...... so I started thinking that perhaps even at 63 I am not really too old to learn how to actually play that 30 year old Fender Bass (previous mid-life crisis toy - 30 years ago) gathering dust in the closet on top of my 'get around to it someday box-of-great-ideas".  I didn't even have a hook-up cord or an amp...basic components of an electric guitar.

I filled in the blanks necessary to have a plucked string actually have sound come out of a plugged-in box.  I started lessons with a former rock-n-roll band guy, now turned teacher in a music school.

Fast forward one year.  I have learned about ten old rock-n-roll songs and experienced the humiliating depths of despair playing live in  a duo for (thank God) a small audience and screwing up four songs in a row, getting progressively worse with each new song.  The show must go on.  You can't stop and start over.  You just keep playing along, trying to find your way back to the notes you are 'supposed' to be playing, wishing God or 'Calgon' would take you away...right after you sold that damn guitar on eBay for a dollar.  That was my experience two weeks ago.  When you 'die' on stage, that is a fairly descriptive term.

But, as in other parts of your life, often the depths of despair are replaced with the heights of joy, only found in the suburbs of Heaven.

I was graced with that experience Saturday night...grander than the best of my wildest dream.  My little pick-up band played three songs.  We did well.  That is the cake of the story.  The icing is that my daughter, Sarah, sang on all three songs and my wife, Lise, played keyboards on one (House of the Rising Sun).  It was perhaps, the grandest moment of my life.

I have a good life.
My wife plays violin in a symphony orchestra.
My daughter plays cello in her school orchestra.
Bach, Beethoven, Mozart.
I schlep the equipment and applaud wildly from the front row and take pictures.
That was the content of my musicality contribution to the family.
Then I get Cancer.
I recover sufficiently to do more than just glance at my life-watch and reconsider  what I should do with my remaining precious time.
I learn how to play an electric-bass guitar (excluding the debacle of a recent performance played at Satin's request).
I actually entice my classical music trained family to get down with some rock-n-roll in public.
They had a blast.
I had a taste of heaven
They want to do more, as do I.
I am now actually putting together a real band (just call me Pinocchio).
'Another Day in Paradise Band' appropriate.
Never too late to start a new career.

Had I not gotten Cancer and confronted the time meter on my life, would I have been here today with the same results?  I am thinking, no.

How totally cool it was to experience 'Family von Welton' on stage.  Has to be a top highlight of my life and all post-Cancer bucket list experiences to boot...playing in 'overtime'.

'Time waits for no man...and the band played on'....just saying'.

I don't think that 30 views necessarily makes one internet famous, but none-the-less, we are now on YouTube for the world to see.

Another Day in Paradise Band 10-15-11