We Never Know

If people could predict the future, I doubt that life would actually be any fun. For one thing, there would be too many rich people, and who knows what else would be different. Getting right to the point; this article is a short post to recognize once again that life, as it is, with all its inherent unexpected twists and turns, is often beyond the grasp of our immediate control. Hence the reason for what I am writing.

I had announced a few months ago that I was drumming part-time for a local classic rock ‘n’ roll band. As the situation has turned out, my position has become full-time. It is good news for me, because I have really been enjoying the revival of my dormant drumming hobby, and playing with the Pepper Street Band in venues in the north-central Pennsylvania area music scene has been great fun, relaxing, exciting, and entertaining. The reason that my drumming position has become permanent is due to the fact that the life of James Rick Martin, age 63, who had been the drummer for Pepper Street over different decades and iterations, suddenly ended last Friday, March 7th, 2014. “Rick” was diagnosed with lung cancer in January, and he had received only one week of chemo and radiation therapy. Unfortunately he developed pneumonia, was admitted to the hospital on March 3rd, and ultimately succumbed to multiple medical complications.

Initially I was asked to fill in for Rick on New Year’s Eve, and at the time, his health was not of any consideration. How quickly situations can change. I did not know Rick well. I had met him just a few times, and on one occasion at a gig we shared a beer; he seemed like a genuinely good fellow. On that date, January 9th, he wanted me to start playing full-time; while his condition had not yet been diagnosed, nevertheless Rick wanted to be prepared in case the probable treatments would lay him low for a while. I could not start immediately, because of my commitments at two Fly Fishing Shows in January, but I began filling in full-time on February 1st.

Rick and I shared the commonality of music and drumming, both of us played in church praise bands, and we both liked model trains. I mainly want to say, since I can relate to this issue from personal experience, never take your life for granted, nor the life of family, friends, and loved ones around you. Rick’s sudden passing emphasizes the fact that we often have no control over circumstances and situations. If there are people you need to forgive, do it. If you need to tell someone you love them, do it. If there is a situation that requires your reconciliation, if possible, by all means, do it. Do something, anything, that you have been thinking about doing, for someone you care about, or with them, but have not yet taken the time to carry out, because we never know what tomorrow will bring.

Rick’s funeral was today, March 12th, 2014.

11 comments on “We Never Know

  1. Dennis Smith says:

    So sorry to hear of Rick’s passing. You’re absolutely right: Life changes on the turn of a dime. Please pass my prayers and condolences on to his family.
    Dennis Smith
    Loveland, CO

  2. Terry says:

    So sorry about Rick’s passing. But am glad you can fill in and meet some of your needs!

    All well here Don; stay well there.


  3. Richard Tullo says:

    Don, Your most important post. Rich

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Jon Andrew says:

    Amen to all that Don!



    Sorry to learn of your friend’s death.  My condolences to you and Rick Martin’s family.  Yes, you are right about not knowing and about making amends.  Thank you for those thoughts.

    Wishing the best in your newly revived career as musician.

    Hope to see your band perform.  Keep me posted on the event schedule.



    Michael J. Sebetich, Ph.D. Emeritus Professor of Biology William Paterson University Wayne, NJ 07506

    Home phone: 973-423-4046

  6. peter harding says:

    Sorry to hear about your friend. Your words about love and forgiveness ring loud in my ears.

  7. David says:

    Don, real sorry to hear about your friend Rick’s death. I expect his passing made this a pretty somber day for the band, family and loved ones. Your reflection is spot on. Every day is a gift.

    Stay well,

  8. Kelly L says:

    Sorry to hear about the loss like that. Yes, it is sad that he went so suddenly. My condolences to the family especially. That is rough, no doubt about it.

  9. flydressersguild says:

    Hi Don
    Sad news… and I know that we’ve both been there:(

    There are some lyrics from one of my fav bands – Marillion – that I like to reflect upon at times such as these…

    No one leaves you
    When you live in their heart and mind
    And no one dies
    They just move to the other side
    When we’re gone
    Watch the world simply carry on
    We live on laughing and in no pain
    We’ll stay and be happy
    With those who have loved us today


  10. Don Bastian says:

    Thank you very much – to each of you – that took the time to share your thoughts of condolence and support on this post. It means a great deal to see and share our need to recognize that we often need to pause, and just be thankful that we are still up and around, feeling good, and doing the things we love with the people we care about. Thanks again – everyone!

  11. metiefly says:

    So sorry to hear of this loss, and thank you for sharing such a powerful message Don. Please keep inspiring us as you do!

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