The right thing at the right timeI love running into the right thing at the right moment.  Who knew there was an old Billy Rose foxtrot from the Twenties that would inspire me and make me rethink the “empty nest” paradigm?

Red Nichols led the Captivators in this 1929 recording.  I play trumpet, so this old stuff is the history of my own music – he was a prolific jazz cornet player in an age of wonderful bands.  I found the following story when I was looking deeper into this song, trying to learn where it was from. It resonated with something in me:

In 1965 Nichols took his Five Pennies band to Las Vegas, to play at the then-new Mint Hotel. He was only a few days into the date when, on June 28, 1965, he was sleeping in his suite and was awakened by paralyzing chest pains. He managed to call the front desk and an ambulance was summoned, but it arrived too late. That night the band went on as scheduled, but at the center of the band a spotlight pointed down at an empty chair in Nichols’ customary spot. Red’s bright and shiny cornet sat alone on the chair. Around it swirled the “happy music” Nichols had loved all his life.

How inspiring to have something to contribute to the world like that, and to be commemorated in such a classy way.   How do I translate finding this song and story to my journey? I’m left with this thought: wouldn’t it be smarter to start “Building a Nest for Mary” rather than sweeping out the old one?


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