A Reunion of Great Talents by Jaxen

A Reunion of Great Talents

Jaxen

30 March 2019 at 10:02:26 MDT

I wasn't sure if I wanted to post this one, because it's extremely personal.

The man on the left is Mr. Brooke Ostrander. He was the band teacher at my high school for many, many years. He was one of those teachers who changed lives and set people on the path to making the most of their talents. He saved my brother from bad decisions and bad company on several occasions. Even though I wasn't in band class myself, I worked closely with him for our school musical every year. He retired a few years after I graduated in '00. Not many years later, he was diagnosed with advanced and aggressive cancer that was riddled throughout his body, and he passed away.

(Interesting fact for craft beer aficionados: If you are a fan of 14th Star Brewing's "Tribute" double IPA, it was created for Mr. O. That's what the name references. The original can had a portrait of him on it instead of the hops illustration.)

(Additional interesting fact for KISS fans: He was an original member of Wicked Lester, the band that would later become KISS, and KISS actually posted a memorial on their official website.)

The man on right is my best friend, Adam Desrochers. I grew up with him literally since we were toddlers in the 80s. We went to preschool together, right on up through high school. Our backyards adjoined, so hanging out was easy: just hop the fence and come on in. He was practically another brother to me, and another son to my parents, and vice-versa for his parents with my brother and I. Adam had an incredible talent for music, propelled headlong by his ADHD hyperfocus, and he was one of those people who could pick up any instrument, fiddle with it for a couple minutes, and know how to play the damn thing. His guitar work was awesome. His piano playing similarly so. He was one of the stars of Mr. O's band class (when he wasn't absent-mindedly goofing around). And he was just a great dude with a hilarious sense of humor, and who would do anything for his friends, and who several people could legitimately claim as a "best friend." In the realm of "you just can't separate us", he ended up working for the same company I do. He had a great job, a great partner, a wonderful 11-year-old daughter, and life was really going places.

He was killed in a car crash in February 2017, and I can't recall a time that I've ever been more devastated. I remember hanging up the phone after my brother told me the news, and literally just... Screaming. Wailing in grief. I'm getting choked up about it now, even a couple years later. Nothing will ever make me miss Adam any less.

So, I drew this. My brother had it printed as a poster, and it was displayed at the memorial party we threw for Adam. (Coincidentally, at the aforementioned 14th Star Brewery.) I'd like to think that Mr. O and Adam are jamming out some sweet tunes, wherever they are.

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