I HAD COFFEE WITH COUNT BASIE

Hello everyone everywhere,

You know, Count Basie was one of the greatest jazz musicians I have ever seen. I grew up with him and Duke Ellington. My father brought me up on big band jazz and taught me to understand what they were doing.

I can’t remember most of my past but I do remember something that happened when I was eighteen. My father ran a big hotel and I was sitting in the coffee shop one morning. I looked up, and standing there was my father and Count Basie.

I’m falling off my chair, and my dad calls me over and introduces me. I mean, this man was a legend! Is still a legend!

He said to me, “You’re a player.”

“I’m trying,” I said.

And he said to me, “Well let’s have coffee and we’ll chat”.

That’s pretty much how it went. So there I am, this eighteen-year-old nobody having coffee with one of the greatest jazz legends of all time. We had a wonderful talk. I don’t remember a damn word of it but I know it was a good one.

Anyway, that’s just another remarkable moment of my life that this brain tried to take away, but I found it again. It’s a great story and it’s a true story.

That’s all.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest.

THE STORY OF SANDY CHARLES

An old man sits by the river path in the park. Sandy Charles likes to sit on a certain bench where the river feels more solitary. It isn’t much of a day for early spring–gloom always sets in on a dark day.

Sandy always has a smile if you need one, and even a story to tell, though in retrospect he knows that most of the stories will stay with him. He is trying hard to piece together something that is so badly broken.

And then events happened and that something became a new something.  Everything became new.

The new Sandy Charles looks pretty much the same as the old one. But he knows that he is very different. Years of saying and doing in a constant search, only to realize that the dance is over and all these many years have now brought him to a crossroad.

It is time for him to close his eyes and rest, if only for a  moment.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson

LOOKING THROUGH THE WINDOW OF SPRING

Hello everyone, everywhere,

This week has been uplifting. The music has hit a place that it has never been before. When I left the studio today I bowed to everyone and told them that I was humbled by their performances. The dream that I had in the beginning for this band is finally starting to evolve. I guess we had to grow as people and as musicians to get us to the place we are in now. It’s a very good starting point.

Other than that, I have had more than my share of difficulties with a few things this weekend. My humidifier needs to be fixed and I’m working on it. There’s just one little piece that I can’t hold with my stupid hands. Luckily Dean’s coming to help me. We’ll fix it and I’ll be happy again.

I’m hoping this weather clears up a bit, but in the meantime, everybody I know, including me, is just laughing our heads off because we’ve got nothing better to do. We know the spring weather is coming so until it gets here we’ll keep laughing.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest.

A CHANCE MEETING

It was late in the afternoon on a Thursday. There was really no one in the place. Outside it was raining cats and dogs, as they’d say. People were covering their heads with anything they could find and scurrying as fast as they could to go where they had to be.  She was working when he sauntered in. He looked, well, like a man would look who had only hindsight about carrying an umbrella. She gazed up from what she was doing, saw this fellow looking like a drowned rat, and laughed. He wasn’t sure what to do, so he laughed too.

“Sit down, buddy. Do you want a coffee? You look like you need to dry off,” she said.

He smiled and said, “Coffee sounds just right. Thank you”.

I must have caught the right moment because she smiled back, he thought.

He sat at the counter for more than two hours. Customers came and went but those two kept talking. They had both walked through a lot of life, you could tell. Eventually, it was time to leave back into the obscure. As he paid up he blushed as he asked her, “Are you…I mean..I was wondering..um…do you work tomorrow?”

She blushed as well and said, “Oh I’m off…but I’m sure I have a lot to do or…um..okay well I work Saturday morning if you’re thinking about coming back.”

He smiled and said, “Yeah I’m off tomorrow but…uh…you know, things to do…uh…I don’t know…yes, Saturday morning feels just perfect.”

I guess two lonely people just found each other.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

YOU NEVER KNOW WHICH WAY THE WIND’S BLOWING

Hello everyone everywhere,

I have spent this week really working hard to dig this piece out of my brain. Thankfully I have Michelle as my partner and she always helps me to get it right. You know, Stephen King once said that a good editor is everything, and I concur. I was so fortunate to find Michelle and have her in my life as my partner in this adventure. It takes her out of her comfort zone and it certainly takes me out of mine.

I never used to talk about myself and I think that has always been a problem. But lately, I’ve been sharing pieces of my life with you people because it just seems right to do it at this point in my journey. I certainly haven’t told you all of it, and I won’t until I’m ready, but for now I’m really glad that all of you everywhere are on this journey with me. When I see that people all over the world are reading my work I’m always humbled, yet very happy to know that it’s slowly getting out there.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. Tonight’s tale is a true story and I’ll leave the rest up to you to figure out.

HE THOUGHT HE COULD

A True Story

This story starts with a seven-year-old boy named Eddie Swanson. Eddie was a going concern; let’s just leave it at that.

One Saturday morning Eddie got new moccasin boots. He loved to run in those boots–he ran like the wind. That winter morning he and his buddies were going to the Niagra Golf Course in Winnipeg to spend the day having adventures in the snow. Now to get to this place of adventure they had to deal with St. Anne’s Road. This was 1962 but traffic was still pretty busy then; not as busy as it is now, but pretty much steady. And the cars were all made of steel so you had to be really careful and really quick to get across. But because Eddie and his gang had done it so many times were really good at it.

Eddie and his gang spent the day running, rolling down the hills, and playing hide and seek. As the afternoon went on it started to snow and that made it even more fun. Then it started to snow really hard and the boys were starting to lose each other so they thought they’d better get going.

They got to St Anne’s Road and Eddie, being the adventurous one of the gang (and probably the dumbest), could not see either way down the road. It was a complete white-out. So Eddie figured it would be a good time to head across. I don’t know if he got two feet, but that was the last thing Eddie remembered until he woke up in a hospital bed all by himself. Eventually, somebody came and told him that he had been hit by a car. It had knocked him in the air and he landed on some rocks. Eddie checked and nothing was broken although he had a pretty bad headache and his leg was sure sore. When he got home, Eddie’s loving parents said, “What were you doing crossing St. Anne’s Road in a snowstorm? Are you crazy?”

Eddie’s only reply was, “I thought for sure I was going to make it!”

 The moral of this story is…if you can’t see across the street then don’t cross the damn thing.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson

LIFE IS MORE THAN BUT A DREAM

Hello everyone, everywhere,

It’s been a very quiet week for me. I’ve had time to try to rest and do some more writing. I think sometimes I get lost in myself because when I open my eyes and look around I’m so unguarded that I fear to close my eyes sometimes. The reality is that most of my friends are gone and I find myself confused sometimes about what direction I’m going to take. It’s sad to say that I find comfort in a vision of reality, which sets up tonight’s story that life is more than but a dream. The vision I see is a little boy standing on a highway all by himself. There’s no sound but the wind.

When I was standing on that highway all those many years ago, I used to close my eyes and wonder where I was going.  I believe there’s still magic in the world somewhere. So I felt today that I needed to go back to where I first found my strength. My fight began in a hospital bed as I laid there as alone as I am now.  I think of those children fighting so hard and I want them to know that there is someone looking over them now and forever.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. I would like to bring a little magic to every little soul in every hospital bed. This is for you, and you, and you. That’s it.

Thank you to…let’s call her Haylee. That’s it.

THE NIGHT BECAME MAGIC

It all began with a lovely thought.

A little old man sat on a bench. A cool wind was snapping; everyone around him couldn’t get away from that wind fast enough. Night approached and the lights started turning on in the darkening sky.

The day before you see, this little old man, Mr. William A. Forthryte, took a package of crayons and paper to the children’s ward at the hospital, the same hospital that his wife Ellen had been in for so long. As often happened, as William made his way out, he took the wrong hallway. He walked toward the end of the hall to try to find the elevator, and as he went, he saw all the little people in their hospital beds. There were children with no hair, some with missing parts, and some just had a strange colour. Just a thought…keep going…more beds with little faces looking back at him.

He had almost made it to the end of the hall when he felt a need to look to this left. And there he looked into a smile so bright that he almost had to close his eyes.  The child waved to him and he felt like he had been hit by a truck. The child’s mother was sleeping on a cot next to her. And then William A. Forthryte had an idea.

When he was a young man a long long time ago, he went to the annual fair. And at this fair there was a fortune teller, a very old woman with a scary face and lots of chains and bracelets on her arms. William was curious, so he went to have his fortune told. Now most of that stuff was just for fun but William listened, and like any eleven-year-old would, he started to believe. 

The fortune teller looked in his eyes and said, “Young man, I see something special in you. I also see you have something special to take care of. Take this pouch and everything will be fine.”

Eyes wide open, William said, “What is in this pouch you gave me? The powder is moving inside it.”

The woman replied, “Put it away safe. One day you will use it. Magic is what you’ll see.”

Young William put the pouch in his pocket and when he looked up the woman was gone. He went home and threw the pouch in the back of his sock drawer. And there it stayed for many years.

Now William finds himself thinking about that little face and that wave. William is a man whose dreams were pushed aside, for survival was the call of the day. He had been alone longer than anyone should be.  But it’s funny how one glance into the eyes of an angel can change a man forever.

William went to his one-room apartment downtown–always busy, always noisy. He went to his old dresser and opened that sock drawer, and just like that, he reached in and pulled out the pouch of magic dust.

 The next day he put the pouch in his pocket and went to the park across the street from the hospital where he sat on his favourite bench. He was so tired, but he knew it was almost time to go. He took the pouch out of his pocket and held it up with his shaky old hands.  He took the magic dust, looked way up, and said, “Magic dust, magic dust, work one time. One time work. One time, please work.” And he threw it to the sky and the stars.

Sometimes magic really happens. And when William opened his eyes, there they were, all the children, dancing in the wind, without a care or worry.

A fantasy? Maybe. But as they faded into the sky, William closed his eyes and said, “Good night.”

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson