This was adapted from jes-basketball.com
More then 11 years ago, I met Pat “Hatrack” Gallagher while seeing him perform at the Colonial Inn in Concord. I sat in a couple of times with him during a jam session. A couple of months later, he asked me to be the house drummer for a regular blues night every Monday evening at the Colonial.
Pat is one of the most talented jazz harmonica players around. One year, while in New Orleans for JazzFest I was talking to someone about a gig I was doing with Pat and they looked at me and said, ” You’re playing with Hatrack” It was truly a badge of honor.
For almost two years we played together and a friendship was born. This was right in the middle of my divorce. Those Monday nights at the Colonial were my sanity and salvation.
Last night, Pat’s girlfriend Katherine, asked me to join them in celebrating Pat’s 60th. The Acton Jazz Cafe was filled with Pat’s friends, family and fellow musicians.
Shirley Lewis, Boston’s First Lady of the Blues, joined us for some smoking hot blues, including some gospel chants and scat singing. Most impressive was one of Pat’s friend, who played a 65 year old carpenters saw. The sound was nothing I have ever heard before, but it was beautiful. He did a rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” that was just incredible.
All told, it was a great fun celebration…thanks Pat and Katherine for including me!
I know it’s been a couple of years since I caught up with you. 2007 was a year of many challenges, many of them difficult. 2008 has been a year of transitions and has brought our family many wonderful things…
Luciana is 15 now, and is truly starting to blossom into a beautiful young woman. I sense that the days of teen turmoil are starting to be behind us. She was on the high school dance squad, was one of the featured dancers in the high school performance of ” Thoroughly Modern Millie”.
Luciana’s passion for basketball has grown this past year. She made the high school varsity basketball team as a sophomore. She will be playing on an AAU National Elite team in the spring. I volunteer coach her high school team and a 7th Grade travel team. Luciana is my assistant coach on the travel team and we are having so much fun coaching together.
Last year, I met Deb while performing with Pentucket Players in “Beauty and the Beast” ( no, I wasn’t the Beast) and Guy’s and Dolls (yes I was a gangster…quite a stretch role for me. ) We have crossed many roads and shared so many fun experiences together. I am so happy that she has become and important part of mine and Luciana’s life.
I completed my ninth Pan Mass Challenge this summer. All told, we raised $35 million and 100% of the money raised went to the Jimmy Fund. I want to thank everyone who sponsored me and support our quest to wipe cancer from the face of the earth.
Well, I hit the big milestone this year. My Mom, Luciana and Deb pulled off a huge surprise party for me, with friends from every part of my life, great food and of course, live music. For my fiftieth, I decided to finally buy that Harley whose siren song beckoned to me all of these years. Deb and Luciana love riding with me and I put 6500 miles on it this year!
Our 11th Annual Toys for Tots Holiday Party was a great success! We celebrated the opening of the Boom Boom Room with a jam session. The crowd got into it; dancing and even singing backup on a couple of songs.. Most importantly we collected over 75 Toys to give to needy children I was so overwhelmed by the generosity of our guests in this time of true need.
I know that many of us face the New Year with great trepidation. We worry about our 401K’s, our jobs, the value of our houses and how we have to “sacrifice”. Every once in a while, something happens to put it all in perspective. I was sitting in one of my friends’ office and one of his staff came in with a request. An eight year old boy, Trey, had terminal cancer and for Christmas he wanted to get as many Christmas cards from as many people as possible. It really brought things into perspective. I’ll share with you what I shared with Trey. “If you believe it hard enough, your dreams will come true.”
Here is hoping that Trey’s, and your dreams will come true. Peace.