I went to sleep last night with my ears ringing and a smile on my face. The ringing ears came from listening to a musician I just met rock out at The Bell House in Brooklyn with his amazing wife and—to my great surprise—my buddy Jon Quinn, the Brooklyn fitness guru who runs Captain Quinn’s Boot Camp. The smile was a consequence of serendipity, wonderful news about Jonah’s battle with melanoma, and the band’s impassioned performance. And there were tears, not at bedtime but earlier in the evening, when a perceived wrong was set right. Before I jump into that, however, I’ve got to tell you about the serendipitous happenings that brought me to the performance.
On Friday, Netsai and I went bowling with First Descents’ NYC Marathon team. We chatted with a young couple—Jonah and Kathryn—who radiated coolness. Jonah and I established our cancer credentials with each other while Kathryn and Netsai chatted about I’m not sure what. I was sure I knew Jonah from somewhere, and he was sure he knew me, but we couldn’t figure out the connection. We went on to other things, including some big news he was awaiting on the effectiveness of the experimental drug treatment he was receiving, and the band–Je Queue Que–that he and his wife had put together. He told me the news was due on Monday, and that evening Je Queue Que would be performing in Brooklyn. I told him we’d try to make it.
As everyone in New York knows, and many more around the world, the New York City marathon was Sunday. Netsai, despite some IT band problems (iliotibial band, fibers that run along the outside of the thigh that running can overstress) and a severe cold, ran—and crossed the finish line (way to go, baby!). I headed over to Park Slope to cheer her on, and that’s where I ran into Jon Quinn. Another friend from his boot camp was there, Gaia, and the three of us got to catch up. Jon took off after cheering on a couple thousand runners, saying he had a lot to still do that weekend.
Monday evening came around, and after my writing class with Sue Shapiro, I headed down to The Bell House to catch Jonah and Kathryn’s performance. I was there for a half-hour listening to the opening set by a band called firenza, standing by myself as I didn’t know anyone there and Netsai was wiped out from the marathon, when Jon Quinn walked up to me. “Thanks for coming,” he said. I was surprised to see him, something he must have noted, which prompted him to check if he had forgotten to tell me about the event. I said that I’d met Jonah the other night and that he’d invited me. I asked Jon how he learned of it, which brought a laugh. “I’m one of the members of Je Queue Que, Jeff”, he said.
Jon, Jonah, and Kathryn went on stage a moment later. Their performance was delightful, a fusion of genres—classic rock, blues, and a touch of jazz—combined with a dialog in lyrics and conversation that provoked a range of positive emotion. Jonah, the lead singer and front man, knows how to connect with his audience. His humor is everywhere. His love for his wife and his sister, who flew in from Portland for the show, is endearing. Kathryn, who towers over Jonah, more so when wearing high heels as she did last night, has a beautiful voice, and produces melodious harmonies with her husband. Jon is the highly capable, do-it-all band member—keyboards, percussion, and on-stage push ups.
The music itself would have produced the smile that was with me in my dreams last night. But there were two accompaniments—music-free—that ensured its continuation to this moment. Jonah dropped down on his knee and gave Kathryn the ring he couldn’t afford when they first got married—she was caught completely off-guard and her eyes filled with tears. And he announced, to the cheers of an audience familiar with his medical history, that his body was responded positively to the experimental treatment, and his cancer is under control.
Thanks to all of you for a lovely evening.