Sunday, June 7, 2015

Another Chance to Say Thanks

The Quick Shuttle, which we have been using for the last fourteen years to get Doug back and forth between Vancouver and Seattle has temporarily changed their pickup location from the Best Western by the Seattle Center to the Washington State Convention Center on Pike street. No one, unfortunately, told me that when I made his reservation to get back home tonight, so thirty minutes after his bus was supposed to depart, I started to worry.

Checking on their website, we figured out what had happened and hopped in my car to zoom over to the new pickup location. There was one more departure tonight, so we anxiously waited for the bus to arrive, hoping that there would be a seat available for him, and that the driver would take my word for it that we had a reservation on the previous bus.

While we were waiting, a familiar face walked past us in the crowd.

"Doctor Savage?" I called out.

He stopped and looked at me, obviously trying to figure out who I was.

"I don't know if you'll remember me…"

"Of course I do, Mr. Gagne. Are you still playing the harp?"

Dr. Savage and I had a sometimes tense relationship when I was studying with him at Cornish College of the Arts back in the 1980s, but there was an underlying respect that grew into a warm teacher / student friendship by the time I graduated. He was my professor in several subjects including opera chorus, cultural history, music history, and more. The things I learned from him changed the course of my musical life in many positive ways.

Dr. James Savage
We quickly caught up with the basic outline of life. He had just retired after 33 years as the music director at Saint James Cathedral. I introduced him to Doug and told him about my complete immersion into Scottish Gaelic music and culture. It seemed we were about to part company, so I gave him my card.

"Since Fate has given me this opportunity…" I began.

He got a funny, apprehensive look on his face. Had other previous students found him years later and been negative?

"I want to say thanks. Thanks for everything you taught me. Thanks for the foundation you gave me. It has served me well."

He beamed. We hugged. He said it was the best feeling in the world to hear that from a former student. Then he looked past me to Doug.

"I'm allowed to do this because I couldn't when he was a student."

He kissed my cheek. Tenderly, sweetly, and we parted ways.

Doug's bus arrived, and the driver believed our story, and there was a seat for him on the bus.

"I think that was why this happened." I said as I kissed him goodbye.

1 comment:

Kevin Roddy said...

What a beautiful story! I made it a point years ago to try and find the people who really changed my life for the better, to simply thank them for being in my life. A simple gesture, to be sure, but I can just imagine that you made his night, his week, his month. Such a simple gesture, but a powerful one!