DECEMBER 26                                                                                   JOHN OSLER   OIL/CANVAS


Traveling during the Christmas holidays is a test of our love of family. Air travel is a nightmare. Winter storms make returning home in a car problematic. Riding in a car packed with grumpy passengers can be taxing.

The loops of Christmas music and good natured questions of “Are we there yet?” seldom make the occupants more jolly. It is the destination that makes it all worthwhile. Arriving home, the hugs and genuine joy at the door make the memory of the journey disappear.

For more than thirty years our three children have made the trip home to be with us. Thanks.


As the holidays loom and undone tasks build. it is easy to slip into grumpiness. We will have to make space to feed a lot of our family again after having it all to ourselves.

We are at a time of year when things pile up, and we are up against a very real deadline of December 25. This is a difficult period with its unspoken demands that this coming holiday season should be a constant joyous celebration of life. Starting in December it seems that everything is stacked against us. We will have little sunshine and more darkness in Michigan. We are asked to shop at a time when stocks of goods are running short and the only parking places are at the other end of the mall. Exiting the shopping center your spirits probably won’t be lifted by the gloomy bearded guy by the cauldron eyeing with disapproval your donation of what was left in your pocket.

The holidays sweep in and challenge us all to remain civil and supportive of others. We are inclined to go into our protective mode. We add layers of clothes to protect us from the chill early winter winds and pad ourselves against our inability to get everything done in time.

This is the season for decorating, forgetting, procrastinating, and neglecting.

Every year we decorate for the holidays a little earlier. Shops and front yards have had strings of lights strung, new bangles have been dangled and a lot of green  and red objects have suddenly appeared. This is intended to lift your spirit but can sometimes just remind us that we should be doing more.

What we need most at this time of year is some support and comforting smiles

At my darkest moments of falling behind in my assigned holiday tasks , I am often lifted by observing a kind act or friendly word. It happens when someone offers to help me carry my purchases to my car at Eastern Market. It happens when I get a card in the mail with a message from someone that I had lost touch with, and it happens when I listen to some carols and hear the joyous message. It happens when I hear the silly songs that remind me that we sometimes take life too seriously. It happens when we see the glee in children’s faces.

At times like this I try to be around creative people who welcome challenge and confront obstacles as part of their gig. I have noticed that so many relaxed jazz musicians who slide out of the cold and into the Dirty Dog seem thrilled to have this gig added to their busy schedule. This makes me wonder what is it about musicians that they can shake any  anxiety and just get lost in their music.

To play jazz you must carefully listen to one another, and you must be free to focus on the task at hand. Jazz musicians are remarkably good at clearing their heads. It could be that they just know how to enjoy and relish the moment. This allows them to smile their way through the holidays.


It is our good fortune to live in Detroit where one can experience one of life’s great  pleasures  –  coming in out of the cold. On one of our cold and blustery days we are fortunate to be able to go to a warm and cozy place with good food, good drink, good music and good friends.

This is particularly true at the holiday season. The Dirty Dog Jazz Café makes sure that  jazz, joy, good food and beverages are available for its customers. They actually seem to have a good time doing this.

I had a good time painting this jazzy Santa.

After Christmas please join us at The Dirty Dog Jazz Café for our annual after Christmas smile exchange.

We all want to make this Christmas the best holiday ever. Everyone is welcome at this time of kindness and joyful gentleness.


The Dirty Dog Jazz Café wishes all our regulars,  those who are planning to show up for the first time, and all those who have the spirit of the holidays in their heart a very merry holiday.

May your heart be filled with warmth, goodwill, joy, and may you find lots of reasons to smile.

John Osler


December 26 – December 29 + New Years Eve



Sean Dobbin’s public face is behind his drum kit. Sean is unquestionably a first call drummer when he isn’t leading his own band. He is a powerful figure who visually seems always to just barely restrain himself from beating his drum set into submission. That is just part of who he is. Sean exemplifies what a jazz player and a great drummer should be.

Sean Dobbins has a big heart and a big beat. Sean is the whole package.

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