TOO MUCH TO DO SO IT’S TIME TO GO

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Well, it has been an incredible journey. I started this blog almost four years ago, and this is post number two hundred. I have been humbled by the number of people who have read my blog from all over the world.

But now the journey is taking flight. I am working with Michelle to write my memoirs and I must focus on that. Thank you, everyone, everywhere for following my blog. I will definitely let you know when my memoirs are complete.

My stories are my life and I’m ready to spread my wings. Let’s go. Oh, and I left one true story to walk away with. I just call it….

NEVER EVER GIVE UP

Four years ago my friend Mary sent me to Red who built my website and taught me how to use it. Then I found Michelle and the rest of it followed–music, compassion, respect.  Thank you to everyone who supported me on my journey. And a big thank you to Dean, who with much trust has allowed Michelle and me to work together over the years. He’s a good guy. And don’t worry, Dean. Your trust was well placed. Thanks, buddy.

To the people who were touched by my stories–you honour me and I thank you, whether you got me or not.

Now it is time, for the last time, to close our eyes, and rest…if only for a moment.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

THE SOUND OF TENDERNESS

Hello everyone, everywhere,

I will begin by saying that this is my penultimate blog posting. I’ll tell you more next week.

We had a great concert on Friday. There were so many people there, the band was hot, and everything was working. As always we thank Curtis for being on the soundboard for us.

On to this week’s story. I often see news stories about people wanting to die with dignity. So I often think about what would it be like if a husband and wife were both suffering from the same thing and they wanted to go together. If I loved someone as much as the couple in the story love each other, I would probably want to do the same thing they did. Yes, it’s a little fantasy, but maybe not. I’ll let you decide.

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

A HARD RAIN AND A SOFT GOODBYE

The night was very quiet, though if you closed your eyes for a moment you could hear Frank Sinatra singing and the Tommy Dorsey band backing him up. It was here, in the Red Deer Hospice, where Stan and Cora made their last stand.

All their grown children and their grandchildren had been there all day. Finally, Stan looked up at them all and said. “I need to be with your mother for a bit.” The children pushed Stan and Cora’s beds together, smiled, and left the room. They knew that the time was very short.

Then Stan and Cora were alone with their memories, together with an unspoken love that had lasted sixty-two years. They gently touched each other’s hands as Nat King Cole sang “Smile”. How they loved that song.

Stan and Cora gazed into each other’s eyes just as they did sixty-two years ago. Their tears fell slowly, and as great drops of rain ran down the window…Cora passed. Stan lasted just long enough to say, “Don’t worry old girl. Together in life, together in love. Good night, Cora.” And moments later, Stanley passed with a smile for his best friend.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

THERE’S A LOT OF GREY IN THOSE CLOUDS

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Today was a difficult day at rehearsal. I pulled some muscles over the weekend and had a rough start but things loosened up eventually and everything was fine again. We have a show coming up this week at the Hub and I’m really looking forward to it.

I’ve lived in Alberta for almost twenty years and until recently the economy was really good. The change in the last couple of years was crushing to so many people and I feel for them very much.

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

VOICES IN THE WIND

You know, these days I see people lining up for any respectable job. The jobs that they rejected yesterday now seem good enough to fill out the paperwork.

Faces. Faces. So many faces are gone. From everywhere they came, and to everywhere they went.  A lot of those who are still here want to leave.

On the flip side, for us to have all we need tramples on the rights of those who truly own this land, who were made to suffer excuses and dishonour while watching so much of their lives disappear.

Some days it becomes almost overwhelming–all these voices in the wind.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson

HANG TOUGH

Hello everyone, everywhere,

First off, the music, Michelle, and Dean are all well. Now on to it.

I was sitting outside last night. It was very quiet for a change and, I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my lost brother. It’s coming up three years and I still haven’t quite come to terms with it. Because of the way I think,  the things that I can’t remember any more haunt me day and night. But that’s my problem.

Merv watched over me for fifty years, and even in death he never rested until I was all right. People thought I was very cold when Merv died because I didn’t react properly or say the right things. It’s just that I had no time to think.

But that’s all yesterday, and none of it matters. After Merv died I never got to give my brother the tribute that I wanted to give him. So tonight I’m telling you a story that’s long overdue. I haven’t told anyone in my life this story and now I’m telling the world. All I’ll say on all of this is that it’s all true, and this is how it happened.

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

HOW I MET MERVIN (THAT’S MERV) JOSEPH LUCIEN SUTHERLAND

(1955-2014)

I’d just moved: from Brandon, Manitoba to Des Moines Iowa, then back to Winnipeg; out of a house and into an apartment; dad off to Calgary. So it was my mother, my younger brother, my two baby sisters and me, all living together in a two-bedroom apartment.  Another school, different kids, more fighting. I was barely thirteen and I felt like I was forty.

On the first day of school, I walked with another fellow from my building. I was really nervous to be starting another school again. My face had broken out the night before so that was a good opener, clothes weren’t up to snuff, hair wasn’t long enough or clean enough. You know.

We walked into the schoolyard that was filled with all these kids, most bigger than me. I didn’t know where to go or where to start. This kid that I was with said, “I know this guy. Jim Hutcheson, meet Merv Sutherland.”  I was looking at this big guy in a pea jacket wearing 1945 army-issue glasses.

Merv shook my hand and then the kid just sort of vanished. So there’s me talking to this Merv guy who I had just met. Anyways Merv just started talking to me and we started laughing. And he said, “I’ll show you where you’ve got to go. It’s my second year here.”

I always remember saying, “Man I love your coat!” My next line stayed with us until the day he died: “How come you’re wearing 1945 army-issue glasses?” Now you have to understand that they were big black rimmed glasses that are in style now but back then it was “take it or leave it”. As we approached the school I remember saying to him, “I really don’t want to go in here. I hate starting because it never goes well.”

“Ah it will be okay,” he said. Because that was his way.

So off we went into the building to find our homerooms. Merv said to me, “Who is your teacher?”

I looked at my schedule and said, “It’s Miss Reddin.” (I hope that old girl is long gone because–man oh man).

Merv said, “That’s mine too!”

We were laughing as we walked into the classroom. Miss Reddin said, “Good morning to you, Merv Sutherland. Are you in my class?”

Merv said, “Good afternoon to you, Miss Reddin.”

I was standing behind him, half his size, and I was killing myself laughing. And then I realized that this guy was funny!

The teacher said, “And you are Jim Hutcheson.” And I forgot her name.

“Hello Mrs. Red Rose or Red Nose,” I said.

“You I don’t like,” she said. And it never got better from that moment on.

And that’s how I met Merv Sutherland. Who’d have thought that we would end up as brothers for fifty years.

That’s it.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

 

By jamesghutcheson

IN HARMONY

Hello everyone, everyone,

The music has been taking me to places I’m just feeling very full. I play now with my eyes shut and my glasses off. I play now where I always played and that is because I trust people I’m working with to hit the right notes and to be there. It takes an incredible amount of time to get that trust built up in a band especially incredibly hard when you’re dealing with a disability band. It’s not what they have so much as what we have to do in our minds to get it right and play it. It’s quite a journey.

This will take you to tonight’s story. This is a real story. This is my story. This is where the journey began.

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

FIBROMYALGIA

(A Bitch of a Story)

How do I start? It doesn’t matter; it’s only infinity.

Almost thirty years ago I lost my life for the third or fourth time. I was trying to defend my job on a strike line and a replacement worker hit me with his truck. This guy didn’t kill me but he triggered the disease that has been killing me ever since: fibromyalgia.

Getting fibro is not the issue–surviving with it is the real dance. It attacks the central nervous system, then races through the body, punching and banging all the way, pulling muscles tight.  Imagine pulling a bowstring at full tension and then just letting go and letting it attack against the force. That’s how I wake up.

With fibro there are doctors and pills, and witch doctors and con artists. I’m always fighting through a maze of rituals to proceed with my day.  I only know what keeps me sane after having not (one) single day in all these many many years where it just doesn’t hurt.

This disease took my life, took my career, took my sanity, and that was only the beginning of my journey. To date, there is no cure for fibromyalgia so what I tell myself is to find a way to smile and never ever give up. The trouble with fibromyalgia is that it never gives up either.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson