Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends and family! For a couple of weeks, I took a break from writing The Oppenheimer Report in order to recharge my batteries, which, by the way, seem to be in ever-increasing need of recharging. It seems appropriate that I should resume on the day we give thanks. I am thankful for my wife Shauna Leigh, with whom I’ve spent the last 28+ years, and for the fact that her mom "ET" is still with us, still broadcasting her own radio program, and still a force of nature at 96+ years of age. I’m thankful for my late mom and dad, and all of my family and extended family who have positively influenced me over the years. I am thankful for my most recent putt around the lake, surrounded by the fall foliage in my little folding "Porta-Bote". The lake was alive with families, up to celebrate the Thanksgiving long weekend, removing their docks, getting their last rides around the lake before storing their boats away for the season, and finally, enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner feasts. As I motored home, surrounded by a perimeter of rusty colours on a silvery lake, for the first time in a long while, original song lyrics began to emerge. I’m thankful for that.
I’m thankful for a memorable 66th birthday, spent in part with Shauna and our puppy Sydney, and then at the end of the day, for a recording session with my friends Rob and Andrew Currie down in Gravenhurst at Rob Currie Recording. I have wanted to record with those two talented guys since I wrote the song “A Dead Man’s Clothes”, and as my birthday gift, Shauna is paying for the recording session and production. The song is particularly meaningful to all of us because it deals in part with our old friend, the late James Carroll. Around Christmas time in 2015, and shortly before James passed away, Bet Smith and the Currie Brothers drove up to Huntsville during what was likely their busiest time of the holiday season, and performed a live on-air concert at our Hunters Bay Radio studio. James was the host of many radio shows back in those days, until very near his demise. I’ll never forget how special that performance was for him. There were final farewells, hugs, and a general feeling that, while it was sad that James would soon be leaving us forever, it was joyful for him to know that so many artists and community members loved and cared for him. Oh, the yin and the yang of life. I knew at that moment that I wanted to write a song that reminded me of that special day; one that I could remember for having recorded with the Currie brothers.
Friday's recording session went well – at least that’s what Rob told me – and when the song is mixed and mastered, it will be a fitting reminder to me of our beloved, mutual friend, recorded on my birthday, to boot. I accompanied myself on my 1963 Kay Red Devil hollow body electric guitar because I used that guitar to record the only other song I’d written about James entitled “You’re Still Here”. Coincidentally, that guitar was purchased at Currie’s Music years ago as another birthday gift from my wife. I am thankful that music is such a meaningful and important part of both Shauna’s life and mine.
As I usher in my 67th year, I am thankful for all the good people I have known. Regardless of the much-publicized sinister intentions of Facebook’s upper management, I find the platform to be an invaluable way for me to continue to connect with hundreds of friends and family members. I can’t fix the problems of the world, and I get just as discouraged as the rest of you about that which pulls us all apart. All I can do is focus on my heroes and my role models, people who foster community, and the organizations that bring people together. Speaking of that, I am thankful for Hunters Bay Radio, through which we have met so many fascinating people. Finally, I am thankful that, well into the third trimester of my time above ground, I am finally learning what it means to be grateful.
Written by Jamie Oppenheimer 2021 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED