In all my forty plus years on this planet I have traveled to a lot of places, lived in a lot of states, and met a lot of people. Some became close friends and some distant memories. I have learned something, even small things, from most of them.
But sometimes I meet a person who intrigues me, in the best sense of the word. Paul is one of those people.
Jeff and I met him at a meet and greet after our second Bacon Brothers concert. I was 24 hours away from having my amputation surgery and it was our last hurrah, a night in Park City to kick off this new life. Of course everyone was crowded around 'the brothers', and Jeff and I are not into the crazed fan thing, so we hung out in the back. That is where we found Paul.
Laid back, sipping his wine, just passing the time away from the hoopla. Right up our alley.
We had a really nice conversation that night and I shared with him about my impending life changing surgery. He seemed genuinely interested and concerned. He shared with us about his life in NYC and his business in the music industry. (the band is a part- time gig for him).
By the time we left that night I felt I had made a new friend. So six months later, when things were indeed working out well with my new leg, I wrote Paul a letter, with an update on our situation. He replied to that letter and we have been friends ever since.
We lived in Utah just two more years and now live in Upstate NY, a few hours from Paul's stomping grounds. It means we can see the Band a bit more, since they play locally a lot more than long distance.
Every time I get to talk to Paul or be around him I am fascinated. He is a master musician and an amazing guitar player. He has a successful business writing music for many different venues and travels the world, pulling it all off. And yet he is still 'just Paul'. No airs, no big head. Just a really nice guy who seems genuinely interested in what's going on in your world. It is a refreshing mix of talent and personable humility. And I am drawn to it.
It was such a joy to see him and the band play again this weekend. It was a small concert, outdoors, in a tent. It felt like a big party, not a sold out rock concert, which made it even more fun. I was entranced by Paul's fingers as they flew through each song, knowing exactly which string to hit for every perfect note.
I am not a musically talented person. I can barely sing and have no interest or ability to play a single instrument. So musicians fascinate me. Jeff is at his sexiest when he has his old trumpet out and is blowing out beautiful notes.
So Paul's abilities themselves are enough to impress me. And when you add to it that great sweet guy personality, it is a really nice combination.
I look forward to many more encounters with Paul. Maybe a few hours chatting at a Starbucks the next time we are in the City. The more I get to know him, the more I like him. And the more I respect him.
Which are really nice qualities to have in a friend. Even one who is way out of your league.