Professor Buggy Jive is a soul rock singer-songwriter with a basement studio in Albany, New York. He loves Joni and he loves Aretha and he loves Prince, and I love him and his music. He comes from a big musical family, and I also knew his sister, Jennifer (she was, indeed, too big for Schenectady) and his second cousin, Bryan Thomas, when I lived back in the 518. Good folks, all of them.
Bryan was an especially exquisite performer and composer, now retired. When my Dad died in 2002, his then-recent song “Shine” was my centering chime for months and months. It perfectly captured the complex swirl of emotions around a boy losing his church-loving Daddy (we both had church-loving Daddies) and the confounding feelings associated with seeing the men we loved most being taken away by the God they loved most. It was just right, just so, just perfect. My soul moved. I wept. It helped. Later, I asked Bryan to sing “Mary, Don’t You Weep” during an Easter Weekend Mass at the Chapel + Cultural Center at Rensselaer when I was director there. All the souls in that room moved too. But he told us not to weep, so we (mostly) didn’t. Much.
Much later still: Albany’s creative community (of which I was a small part for nearly two decades) was devastated in recent weeks by a pair of losses, with Caroline “MotherJudge” Isachsen and Greg “Sarge Blotto” Haymes both flying away too young, and with shocking quickness after late-stage cancer diagnoses. I knew them both. I was shocked, too. And very saddened to hear the news from so many miles away. It’s hard to hug over wifi.
Folks in Albany and elsewhere (even Des Moines) have been extending condolences, sharing hugs and stories, planning memorials, remembering, laughing, reflecting, as one does, when one grieves. Buggy Jive knew and loved Greg and Caroline too, and while he was thinking about them, someone asked him to go look at the Moon. He tells us about it in this little video here. It is just right, just so, just perfect. My soul moved. I wept. It helped. Love you, Professor. Thank you.