I was never a high school athlete. I was a bandie.  These days I smile, laughing at it all with a grateful spirit.

We were so serious about our band. We were hard core. And we were good.

Yesterday, I learned that Jim is at the Dove house under the care of hospice.

And I have a thing or two to say about a thing or two.

Paxton, because of you:

I have a well rounded understanding of music . . .I understand that Dave Brubeck’s Take Five is perfection, I cry when I hear Danny Boy, and I treasure my vinyl collections of Maynard Ferguson and the Dixie Dregs. Thank you.

Because of you:

I could stand at attention with my nose against a wall while an entire gymnasium of people walked by making comments and exercised the self control not to react. You gave me my first rubber suit, Paxton, and I’ve needed it on this journey.  Thank you.

Because of you:

I had the guts to travel with a couple of classmates to Peabody to play in the orchestra, even though I  didn’t belong there. You knew if I was playing clarinet with musicians WAY BETTER than I, I would rise to the occasion. You always chose music WAY TOO hard for me. And somehow, I learned it. You pushed me to audition when I was terrified. These days I push myself to face my fears, but I couldn’t always do it on my own. Thank you.

Because of you:

I remained balanced through high school. You called my dad when you saw me stop eating during my senior year . . . you ratted on me, and my dad stepped in and stopped the nonsense. You saved me more than once from myself. Thank you.

My thank you’s could go on and on.

Here is part of the legacy. Remember that clarinet that you found for my parents? The beautiful REAL wooden one that they gave me for Christmas in ’81 when you were giving me lessons in the back room at Stu’s? Well, my fourth grader, Lily carries it to school these days, where Lori (Shamer) Douglas is pouring in the same gift of music. She walks around the house doodling and squeaking and it’s bliss. Thank you.

You have music in  your soul, Paxton. And for those of us who share that love . . . well, my heart overflows.

And one more thing.

We always knew that Dawn had a thing for you. From the time we were in ninth grade and she wore her beautiful fair isle sweaters and chinos with her Dorothy Hamil bob swinging in the breeze . . . we could see it.

You had the courage to accept that you had finally found the one. You put on your rubber suit and married her. And you didn’t get long enough with her, but I know you are saying it too.

Thank you.

Oh, and one more thing.

Damn cancer.


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  • Kathy, you made me cry. You cut to the heart of it. Paxton in his own way touched every persons heart, mind and soul in an almost unseen but gentle way finding the talent beneath. This gentle bear of a man whose sad eyes and winning smile has left us without warning. No time to say good bye – damn cancer.

    Thank you for sharing. It’s beautiful said from the heart.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny (Henderson) Bennett

    Thanks, Kathy, for posting this beautiful picture and your moving tribute. They are both beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • laurel

    wow…this brings tears. thanks for posting!ReplyCancel