RIP Jack Noel 2001

Glacier Park hikes
Grinnell Glacier overlook. Can’t help but wonder what my Dad would have thought of this place.
Glacier Park hikes
Glacier National Park. My Dad, Jack Noel, never visited.

RIP Jack Noel.

Please don’t live in the past and dwell on what was lost or could have been.

Live fully present now and think about traditions and intentionality.

Getting to a daily place where you can be fully present will be achieved only though the trials, errors, and triumphs of a lifetime of ordinary days.

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What’s Your Favorite Song?

A Song Can Takes Us Places
A Song Can Takes Us Places

What’s your favorite Christmas song of all time?

I mean, if you could only pick one, what would it be?

My wife’s Grammy, who died in my arms at age 93, always said Little Drummer Boy was her favorite. She went to Heaven in September 1989.

It never occurred to me back then to ask her why. Why would it have occurred to me?

Well, all these years later, “Why?” is a fun and purposeful question.

Why do you enjoy your favorite Christmas song? For no reason? Or, for some special or purposeful reason.

Hey, I realize some of you may say, “Jeff, not everything has to have a purpose.”

Right. And this is the fundamental difference between those that drift through life and those that make a difference.

I enjoy listening to “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” as much as anyone. It’s funny, unexpected, and way not serious.

But Little Drummer Boy is not only Grammy’s favorite, but mine as well. Why? because I Look for little ways to help our son understand his family’s history.

His Grandfather, Jack (not the bear), my Dad, was a drummer. He started playing drums from the moment he could hold drumsticks in his hands.

He hitch-hiked 100 miles to Philadelphia, from his row-home in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, just so he could take drum lessons from a particularly talented drummer.

He played drums in the Army band while stationed in Japan, during the Korean War.

He taught 30-minute drum lessons Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 4:00pm – 8:00pm, year round.

He played gigs on Friday and Saturday nights, year round.

As a young man, he had business cards printed. His title – “Drummer”.

From one stupid little Christmas song, a piece of our son’s family history is told, year after year.

But only if I put some thought into it.

And at Christmas, as it is all year round, it’s the thought that counts.

I Don’t Remember….

I don’t remember my grandfather ever talking to me. Ever.

At 60, he died of a heart attack. He was in the hospital for a while (week?) before he died. I was 13.

I never went to see him. I sort of felt guilty about that.

All these years later, it dawned on me that there’s a chance I didn’t go because I may have thought:

  • He’ll be coming home as soon as he’s well enough
  • What would we talk about?

Or maybe I just didn’t understand love enough to know how this may have been very important to him.

Or maybe, just maybe, I was following his lead.