A few weeks ago the band had a gig at the High Noon, nothing out of the ordinary. Showtime grew close and four of the five of us where there. No Burke. I really thought he'd just forgotten the gig and we ended up going on without him. Right before we took the stage, my friend Hobs said he'd give Burke a call, just to see if he might be on his way. In the middle of our set, Hobs handed me a note that read, "Burke is in the hospital...". He'd was just out of surgery with a totally unexpected ailment.
The good news is that Burke is going to be just fine. The punchline is that dear Burke, much loved for his kind, loving self and much respected as one of the most talented, hard-working musicians in town, has no health insurance. We all know how bad healthcare in America is, but man, this hit close to home. Suddenly this poor guy has a bill in at least five digits and no help from the powers that be to pay it. It isn't fair. It's preposterous. Nothing makes one realize that more than seeing a loved one go through it (with the exception of going through it oneself).
And nothing has reminded me more that crisis can bring out the most beautiful things in people and in a community. A benefit was called for and the stellar local club opened its doors to all of Burke's people. And we came in droves, paying a cover charge that would go to our little patient, then reaching further into our pockets to dig up more green for him. The place was packed. Hugs and happiness ruled the evening. Burke was overwhelmed with love and went home with a good chunk of help in his pockets. It wasn't everything, but it was something. We do what we can to take care of our own when the government won't. It was a glorious thing to behold.