Storied Don't End

Stories Don’t End — Music and Traveling

In your obituary, it said that we would talk about music and traveling, and while there were other topics too (like you constantly and quite hilariously backing your way into the fantasy football playoffs with a 6-7 record), we did indeed share in a deep love of music and a curiosity about the world waiting to be explored.

I remember the nights Mike, you, and I saw Pearl Jam together. U2, too, more recently. And how about when I finally convinced you that you’d like Dawes, and we saw them in Delaware with Amanda. That night sounded perfect. You and I once went up to MSG for Neil Young, mostly because the band that changed my life was the opener’s opener. The house lights were still on and it was kinda depressing to see a small club band with an intense but niche following play to no one in particular in a cavernous, soulless arena. Most people were just wandering in, finding their seats, and ignoring the Cincinnati quartet on stage. But you paid attention and cared, because they meant so much to me.

The prevailing memory of live music with you though is when, on a gorgeous mid-April night in 2015. I asked if you wanted to see a small local trio in the basement of a Philadelphia church. You were up for it and so I drove to New Jersey, and off we went, sitting down for tacos beforehand. Walking up the steps from the church, back into the cool night air, you said you liked Good Old War, and enjoyed the show. I was an indie rock kid still, even at nearly 40, who still didn’t need anyone else’s approval of the music I liked, but knowing that my brother Greg liked a band I liked, and had fun with me at a live show was different. No one else ever had, and it made me feel special. You had a casual way of doing that for people. Always the giver.

We shared laughs too, as we often would. In fact, I think, if you add it all up, we laughed more than we talked. I loved that about you and our relationship. You never took anything too seriously, but not in a flaky joking kind of way. You were funny but also stoic, cared deeply but didn’t get rocked by every wave. I admired you then for this attitude I want to have but still don’t, and I admire you today as well, Greg.

Regarding travel, I don’t think you ever got to Europe, and I wish I could’ve helped make that happen, to have bought you a pint in London, taken you to a football match (NFL at Wembley and ‘real’ football at Craven Cottage) or shared some frites in Belgium. I remember one conversation in particular, while I was in that country full of mussels and fried. It was the summer of 2019, and I was zigzagging around watching Women’s World Cup matches in France, but on this day I drove to Bruges.

I was talking to you when I parked and just sat in the car for almost an hour, looking out over a picturesque canal and brick homes across it. You asked me questions about booking a trip over there, and even though you’d been diagnosed with the illness that would cruelly take you from us just 3 years later, you said you wanted to try to take Wendy and the kids over the pond, to experience Europe. Your family was at the heart of everything you did and thought about, and there I was, alone, on another one of my multi-week trips to watch soccer.

You should still be here, Greg, drafting another mediocre fantasy team, sitting by the pool at mom’s, listening to music, dreaming about your next family vacation, and laughing. And I’d like to think I’d be nearby, laughing along with you.

I love and miss you, brother.

Read the eulogy I have for Greg here.


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