Reaching Out

Yesterday, not long after I posted the news of Deni's passing on Facebook, my phone rang. It was Ernie. As in Big Brother Ernie Joseph. My first thought was, "Oh, man, I can't talk to anyone right now," but that quickly changed.

He asked how I was doing, then he led me into a conversation about the clubs and the bands in Ventura County during the 1980s. We reminisced about the musicians we knew and performed with, and about how exciting the live music scene was at that time. We shared funny stories and nightmares about club owners, and the recording studios we'd used. We talked for over two hours, the conversation drifting from one thing to another, as they do whenever Ernie is on the other end.

We talked about how our perspective has changed about the music scene through the years, how making music for the love of music rather than fame and fortune took hold. We didn't talk about our troubleshe didn't allow the conversation to go in that directionwe just talked about music. Most importantly, he waited for me to be the one to end the conversation. It made yesterday a great deal more bearable. The sound of a friend's voice was all I needed.

Ernie is such a selfless, tender man. No wonder I based my main character, Gordon, on him and dedicated my book to him. He told me that he volunteers his free time to helping the disabled and the elderly, taking them on errands, hoisting them and their wheelchairs in and out of his van, and then he went on to say how they enjoy the way he "hot rods" them through the stores. How like him!

You know that I've always adored Ernie; I've never kept that a secret. His reaching out to me yesterday in his unique way meant everything to me. I just hope I'll get to spend some time with him again one day, face-to-face.

Heartfelt thank yous to everyone who thought of me yesterday, both here and on Facebook.

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