For Doug

I picked up a lot of my friends on a technicality.

They weren’t MY friends. Not at first. The Queen and I had moved from New York City to Syracuse. For me, I was back where I grew up after being gone for seven years. I hadn’t stayed connected to a lot of people when I left. So as Aubry and I started building a life in Syracuse, the friends that WE had were mainly the friends that SHE had.

Fine by me. The Queen has excellent taste. She had many wonderful friends who quickly became my wonderful friends.

Doug Montcrieff was one of those friends.

Aubry had spent her summers as a teenager at Doug and Kathy’s. Aubry watched Katie, their daughter, while Kathy taught her voice students. In exchange, Aubry got her own voice lessons from Kathy. (Good thing! I’ve heard the tape from Aubry’s first lesson. Yikes.) Aubry was like family to them. And now, to my great fortune, so was I.

Aubry brought me to their house for dinner. It was the first of many times we spent time with them. I quickly came to love them as Aubry did. How could I not?

Doug was kind and welcoming. He was cool. His smile was infectious. Watching him cook something (and then getting to share it!) was a treat. Doug was the kind of guy who always had a REASON to carry his pocket knife or multitool – something needs to be done? Doug was ready. He was the kind of guy you just want to hang around with. When he shared some audio engineering tips with me I felt like I had stolen something priceless. But Doug was as generous sharing that as he shared his amazing energy with the people he loved.

If you were in that blessed group you were given a gift.

When we got married, Doug came to us and offered to sing at the reception. He explained that very, very occasionally – only a handful of times, in fact – for the people he really loved he had a song he liked to share. “Danny’s Song” by Loggins and Messina. We jumped at the offer. So Doug sang. Nothing fancy, no band… just Doug and a guitar. Doug sang.

And even though we ain’t got money

We had a photographer at the wedding. But no video recording. I’ve never regretted that as much as I do today. I’ll never forget Doug’s gift to us. I wish I could share that song with you all.

I’m so in love with you honey

It was magical.

And everything will bring a chain of love

Our friendship with Doug and Kathy continued to grow over the 14 years since that day. They became part of our core Thanksgiving. Doug carved the turkey.

And in the mornin’ when I rise

I found a dish I made that Doug loved. I knew to make a double batch so Doug would have plenty to bring home. Sharing that with him made me happy.

Bring a tear of joy to my eyes

If you were fortunate enough for Doug to have shared with you his time, his music, his love, you were given a gift. I know you will cherish it as I do. I hope now that you are hearing that beautiful man sing. There’s no plainer way to feel the love Doug left than to hear his song, whatever song it is for you. If Doug gave it to you he wanted you to use it. Wrap yourself in it. Make it part of the fabric of your life. So bring that song, that energy, that love into the world with you.

And tell me everything is gonna be all right

That is what Doug would want.

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6 Comments

Filed under Essays

6 responses to “For Doug

  1. Amy Canavan

    Todd, this is beautifully written and perfectly poignant. This puts you in the moment and it makes me feel like I have missed out on not knowing such a wonderful human. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Kate Huddleston

    Such a wonderful man. God bless.

  3. lynn

    Beautifull written, at a time when it’s so hard to find the right words.

  4. Gloria Card

    What a treasure. An absolute treasure.

  5. Geri

    Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

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