We can all only wish that we will maintain the same sense of humor that an elderly Oregon man had right up to the time of his death two months ago.
88 year old Oregonian Chet Fitch, who was well known by family and friends for his sense of humor right up to his death in October, pulled one final prank on loved ones from the grave when 34 Christmas cards, all hand-written by him and with a return address of “Heaven” on the envelope, started arriving in mail-boxes in the week leading up to this Christmas.
As it turned out, the mailing prank was a plan that the late Fitch had been hatching for two decades in cahoots with his barber, Patty Dean, who told the Ashland Daily Tidings this week that the late prankster kept updating the mailing list and giving her extra money when postal rates went up. This fall, she said, Fitch looked up to her from the barber chair and said smiling, “You must be getting tired of waiting to mail those cards. I think you’ll probably be able to mail them this year.” He died a week later.
The cards, which were met with varying degrees of shock and amusement, all contained the same greeting that read as follows:
I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards.
At first he said no; but at my insistence he finally said,
’Oh well, what the heaven, go ahead but don’t (tarry) there.’
Wish I could tell you about things here but words cannot explain.
Better get back, as Big Guy said he stretched a point to let me in the first time,
so I had better not press my luck.
I’ll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think).
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.
Legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, whose influential career spanned seven decades, died at his home outside Toronto, Canada on Sunday as a result of kidney failure. He was 82.
Greatly admired by his fans and peers, Duke Ellington once referred to him as the "Maharajah of the Keyboard," while Count Basie said, "Oscar Peterson plays the best ivory box I've ever heard."
"Oscar Peterson redefined swing for modern jazz pianists for the latter half of the 20th century up until today," once said Herbie Hancock of Peterson's influence on music.
Peterson's long and illustrious career included playing with such legendary jazz figures as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. He is also remembered for the trio he led with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis in the 1950s and the live concert clip below is that same Oscar Peterson Trio performing "A Gal In Gallico" in 1958.
Since his death on Sunday there have been tributes pouring in from near and far. In Canada, where he has always been revered as a national treasure, there have already been many tributes to the jazz great. There have also been tributes arriving from all over the world, including from French President Nicolas Sarkozy who said in a statement about Peterson: "One of the bright lights of jazz has gone out. He was a regular on the French stage, where the public adored his luminous style...It is a great loss for us."