A Friend I Never Thought I’d Have

David reminded me of something recently when we spent the day at the home of our friend, Diana. David remarked that it had been a “musical weekend” because we went to a performance of the band in which one of my friends plays guitar, followed the next day by our visit with Diana, followed the next day with lunch with another bass player friend and his girlfriend. David went on to say that, among all of these friends, Diana was the only one I never knew I would have. David is right. I became friends with Diana only as a result of her husband’s tragic death at the age of 54. Diana’s husband, Tom, was one of the “musical friends” I wrote about in my last post. Tom was a professional musician who was a fabulous lead, slide, and rhythm guitar player; a pianist; and a music historian. I met him in 2003 at Modern Music, where I took bass guitar lessons. I saw Tom every Friday when I came into the store for my lesson. (He was there so often that I wrongly thought he worked there!) He, along with the other men who were regulars at Modern Music, were friendly and soon began to invite David and me to attend their gigs. Tom was a joker who used to tease me a lot, often in inappropriate ways. My usual putdown, said in front of all the other guys, was something like, “How does your wife stand being married to you?”. From time to time, I would tease Tom about something, to which he would respond, “You sound just like my wife. Are you sure you’re not her sister?”. During the time I knew Tom, I met Diana only once, at one of his gigs. It was she who called me from Tom’s phone to tell me he had passed away after a long battle with cancer. David and I attended the celebration of life for Tom, after which I decided to check in on Diana from time to time. During one of our phone calls, she mentioned that she went to see The Eagles by herself, using one of the tickets Tom had bought before he passed away. I told her David and I attend many concerts and I asked if she would like to go with us, instead of alone, anytime we go to a show. At the time I am writing this, 12 years later, Diana has not only attended countless concerts with David and me, she has become one of the best friends we have ever had. She often says and does things that remind me of my mom, which is hilarious every time it happens! Tom was right; Diana is like the sister I never had. Rock on in heaven Tom!

I feel like I’m always 1 step removed from the musician friends Melissa has made since picking up the bass.  Most of what I knew for a long time was 2nd hand – her experiences.  But, because I enjoy seeing and hearing live music, I enjoyed going to hear these guys play out.  I remember going to the Hard Rock Casino to see/hear the band Tom was in, The Love Brokers, and meeting Diana that night.  At the time, she was a nurse working many evenings so she didn’t attend many gigs.  Melissa and I saw The Love Brokers many times, including one time in a bar close to home.  We’d seen that bar many times, but never ventured inside.  That night, I took a couple of cameras and photographed the show – the band brought a lighting rig.  Tom always had a serious look on his face, but that night I caught a smile and that photo has been a lasting image of Tom doing what he loved to do. Tom had a “soft side” most people never saw. He was a big help to Melissa during her mother’s final years, providing words of encouragement on a frequent basis. Melissa spoke with Tom often during his journey with cancer and I suppose Diana became more aware of Melissa’s empathetic nature.  After Tom passed, and after Tom’s celebration of life, we became friendly with Diana, as Melissa described.  This first started with concerts by some of the local musicians as well as national acts.  And, the friendship grew as we celebrated holidays with Diana, especially after learning what a great cook she is!  You never know what surprises life can bring you, having Diana as a friend is one of those.  I think Tom would be happy about that evolution.


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