It was Dale’s last night of freedom in a minimum of 3 months so we wanted to make it special. Kay, Wolf and I picked Dan and Dale up at the hotel and went to a Mexican restaurant Dale had been eyeing since his arrival in town.
We sat at a large table near the back and laughed and talked about old times, carefully avoiding discussion of the reason we were all in Denver. Dale ate his fill (and then some) of the delicious food and we went back to the motel. Dan wanted to turn in for the night so Wolf, Kay and I decided to kidnap Dale and take him out on the town. It didn’t take much to convince Dale to leave his fate in our hands for the night.
Off we went.
Since Dale was scheduled to have 2 days of intensive chemotherapy followed by 4 days of very strong radiation therapy, twice per day, he needed something to occupy his mind. Dale has always been a music fan. For the last 20 or so years he has amassed a huge collection of Jazz. He is also very knowledgeable about the artists and the history. He asked if we might find a place to purchase some music for his collection and to listen to while he was undergoing radiation (the part that scared him the most).
Wolf knew just where to take him and we headed downtown to the Virgin Records Megastore. Dale had never been to Denver before and he was very excited to have the opportunity to see the sights. Downtown Denver is quite beautiful at night and we all gawked like the tourists we were. We parked in a parking lot right on the edge of “everything” and started walking towards the store.
“Yeah, just taking it all in.” he said, with tears in his eyes and a big smile on his face. We stood with him until he was ready to move on.
Our first stop was the record store. As we approached the massive building, Dale’s eyes lit up. The look was priceless and one I’ll never forget. It was as if every dream he’d ever had was coming true. I felt such joy seeing his face; I can’t begin to describe the feeling. I looked at Wolf and he looked back at me. We both had tears in our eyes.
When we walked through the door, Dale let out an audible gasp. I asked if he was okay and he just smiled.
“I could never have imagined it this big,” he said, sticking his tongue out at me.
Wolf located the Jazz section and led Dale over to the Miles Davis records. Dale’s eyes lit up as he saw the huge collection of his favorite artist’s CD’s. He started flipping through them and was astounded to discover the diversity available to him. It didn’t take long for him to find the exact CD he was looking for; “Sketches of Spain”. He had the album at home, but hadn’t brought it with him.
Dale beamed at Wolf and Wolf beamed back. Kay and I looked at each other and grinned. What a happy, joyful time.
Kay and I continued to browse while Dale told Wolf some of the history of Miles Davis’ career. Dale told him about Red Garland, a pianist in the Miles Davis quartet who had eventually formed his own group. He said he’d love to get his hands on a CD of his, “At the Prelude”. It was at that moment that Dale noticed the display he’d been standing next to.
I’ve never seen that look on his face before. It was as if, at that moment, he knew everything was going to be alright. He picked up the CD and held it in his hand.
“This,” he said, “is music to grow cells by”.