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I was given a gift on September 13, 2017 when the medical staff at Harper Hospital got my heart and lungs restarted after I suffered anaphylactic shock caused by an allergic reaction to an injected drug used before hip surgery. I was given the gift of life, a start over.

I am writing this while still wondering in what direction I want to take my life, It seems to me that I have been given a free pass but remain unsure what the pass is for or why I received it. Being handed this chance to look again at the world around me, I feel an obligation to  take a really good look. I think I will be looking at the wonders around me more intently. My senses seem to have been intensified along with my gratitude.

Since my scary encounter with death I have been surrounded with caring and loving family and friends. They have held me and created a warm place to land. There have been others.


I am grateful to have had timely encounters with strangers who possess a special gift. They have that powerful gift of empathy and compassion. The physical side of this compassion is a healing touch. They have the ability to make one believe that everything will be alright, exactly when that feeling is most needed.

Here are some examples from the last couple of weeks.


While my fate was still in question, my wife remembers being comforted by the warm touch of a hand on her shoulder and many empathetic hugs from those around her.  Without the support of these strangers, she would have had a difficult time bearing up.


This week I was sitting at a table in our church’s kitchen with some volunteers during the church’s annual rummage sale. When the conversation turned to my recent dramatic medical moment, one of the volunteers described the thumping that I received as chest compressions and looked at me as if she knew what I had gone through. Janet had spent 44 years as an emergency medical technician. Providing support in a intensive care unit.can make one callous. When I asked her if it was difficult to visit tragedy on a daily basis, she acknowledged the toll but also knew at the end of every day she had made a difference in many patient’s lives.

At some point she put her hand on my arm and I felt what so many of the hospital’s patients probably felt in her presence. They knew they weren’t alone with their hurt. Their pain was shared and lessened.

Janet is one of a  band of people who have the gift of genuine compassion.

This gift of touching another person and easing their load is a gift that some of us will never have. We tend to stiffen up and accept the consequences. This is all right,  but it is sure nice to have those with the “gift” in the room when you need them.


This week at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café I had a chance to hear Diego Rivera’s saxophone hit all the right notes. He and his horn  danced with the other artists in carefully choreographed arrangements with  moments of adventurous improvisation. The set  certainly was  all I could have hoped for that first evening back at the Dirty Dog.

Then there was the bonus moment. Diego revealed that he had that gift.  He began to play a familiar ballad, but with exceptional feeling. He seemed to understand what I needed at that moment. I put my camera down and listened. When he was done I was left with the idea that everything was going to be all right. I  think that Diego and so many artists have a gift to heal because that is just who they are,. They live with their eyes and ears open to all our trials, and when they play we know that we are not alone. What a gift.

John Osler





This week the Dirty Dog presents Tumbao Bravo. They are a Latin jazz combo that brings the rhythms of Cuba to life with congas, timbales, sax, flute, trumpet, keyboard, and bass.

In  music of Afro-Cuban origin, tumbao is the basic rhythm played on the bass. In North America, the basic conga drum pattern used in popular music is also called tumbao.

Bravo just means approval and wanting more.

Tumbao is also an Afro-Puerto Rican word  which means “an indescribable African sexiness or swing.”  Knowing this we should expect a crowd at the Dirty Dog.


#Detroit #DirtyDog #DiegoRivera #DetroitJazzFestival #AguankoLatinMusicCubaCubanjazz #RodneyWhitaker #SeanDobbins #Music #DetroitJazz #JudyAdams #JazzinDetroit #JAZZMUSIC #RalpheArmstrong #GretchenValade #DaveBennett #AlexanderZonjic #musicDirtyDogJazzCafe

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