Early in my career I lived in an upstairs apartment in Hollywood overlooking the beautiful Hollywood Freeway (later that apartment was torn down to expand the freeway). The front entrance had an external door that led to the downstairs apartment and the stairway to our unit. Our back door led to another stairway that we exited to the parking lot and our car. One day I was racing to an appointment and when I got to the car, realized I had forgotten the material I needed to pitch myself for a potential music job. I raced back to the apartment and heard the front doorbell. I don't know to this day why I didn't just ignore it and be on my way...but I opened the outer door and looked down the stairs... there, looking up at me, was an elderly African- American woman with the saddest eyes I had ever seen...loaded down with religious literature. She said to me, "Are you ready for the coming of the Lord?" Annoyed, I said to her: "I'm sorry, I just don't have the time right now". She shook her head and said: "You better take the time, brother...take the time".
I'm sure that this frail lady left that encounter over 50 years ago disappointed that she couldn't "save" me that day and moved on to the next door hoping for a better result ...never giving me another thought. What she never knew was how many times I've seen her face and heard her message throughout my lifetime. I can't tell her that I'm any more prepared for the coming of the Lord, but I have learned throughout my life to "take the time".
I must admit that this wasn't an overnight transformation. I guess I'm just a slow learner. In the quest for success, the baby steps, and finally the good fortune to work every day at what I truly loved...I very seldom took the time to enjoy the fruits of that labor. When I promoted concerts...I didn't take the time to go see a concert. When I produced music...I somehow didn't take the time to just sit and listen to music. Finally, when I found my niche as a music supervisor and worked nearly non-stop producing music for film...I didn't take the time to see movies. In short, in a time when I was immersed in the industry, I somehow was missing the joy of watching and listening to those incredibly talented people I was working with. More importantly I didn't take the time to enjoy family and friends who made my life so much better.
Ironically, it started to turn around for me in perhaps the busiest two year stretch of my career in 1977 and 1978. During those two years I produced the music for 8 feature films, 8 Movies of the Week for TV, 37 episodes of the network series, "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams" and finally 15 two hour episodes of the series, "Greatest Heroes of the Bible". I also met my wife, Linda.
Linda only asked one thing from me. Perhaps channeling that elderly lady at my doorstep 10 years earlier she said: " I know you work hard and you're work is not over until it's over...but when it is over and we're together that's "our time". That was 41 years ago and we've been spending "our time" ever since then.
Thirty years ago I moved to beautiful Carmel By The Sea. We raised our son here. I wrote a book over a four year period about my years in the music business. It was a wonderful opportunity to re-live those years and savor the memories that I was to busy to appreciate at the time. I was always moving on to the next project. I was able to re-connect with many of the people who shared that time with me and truly became friends and family. It was an opportunity to thank them.
As for Linda and I...we walk every day down by the beach and then sit and sip coffee and take in the breathtaking views. I've even re-discovered the joy of listening to music...and thanks to the magic of Pandora and Sirius Radio I can revisit any era. Finally, we've learned to make something simple like dinner an event. Every night we turn off all devices, turn on the music, sit at the table and enjoy "our time".
Life is a hectic event and it's easy to get caught up in the everyday rush...but don't wait until that little lady knocks on your door. "Take the time, brother...take the time!"