Greetings to DJ from R. Veal

Hey DJ,

I hope this finds you well, in good spirits and full of LIFE!!

Man, it’s always good to hear from you!  Would be great to see you.  I’m in Norway as I type this to you with Dianne Reeves.  We’ve been hitting it hard.  We recorded a record earlier this year with all kinds of guests artists.  It’s sort of a departure from the previous material she has done.  Terri Lynne produced it.  I think the release date will be in September or November.  Don’t quote me on that though. 🙂

Dude, I just wanted to acknowledge you as my friend and a great Man!  Your E-mails are inspirational.  I miss seeing you when I come to LA.  Remember the Hollywood Bowl when you would show up?  Or UCLA campus?  What about when you would come way over here to hang at Northsea or otherwise.  You’re a strong Brother.

The Father’s Day E-mail you sent out struck a chord in me.  My Father is turning 80, July 16th.  That’s a blessing.  We lost my Mom in 1999 but my Dad is still well and kicking.  When I return to the USA, I will see him and I’m so excited about it.  Last time I saw him was a couple of months ago when I went home to play the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  I recently moved to Texas and I invited my Dad to my house to spend some one on one time.  I’m flying my oldest son out to hang out with us too, and my Wife’s Dad who has never met my Dad.  They’ve never met because we’ve been married a little over a year and didn’t have a wedding…and with my schedule, there wasn’t a whole lot of hoop la with the Families to meet.  Shoot –  we eloped anyway.  No one would have ever thought we would have gotten married.  Well, we’re all happy.  But, it touched me when you spoke about Family (as you always do) and your Dad.  This is important and I truly believe in Family.  Thank you Brother.

You sound like you have a Beautiful Family and support system around you.  Although we have never met, send them my warm regards.  You know, not to get all mushy in this E-mail, but the Love they show to you is the Love you have shown/given in life to many, and the testament to the type of person and Man you are.  DJ, you have always been a cool Brother and when you walk into a room there is a bright light surrounding you.  Your energy is true, pure and just great.  I remember wanting to swing harder, sound better, be better…just because you were around.  You had this energy about you – all in your eyes like — Ya’ll better swing and play me some good music!! LOL Trust me, your presence was always felt and still is.  Keep on keepin on.  And may God Bless your precious Family!

At some point when you get a moment, send me your number.  I would love to hear your voice over a phone chat.  Better yet, it would be great to see you.  Don’t know how we can work that one out.

Yeah…but I’m still out here trying to do the right thing and make a difference.  Trying to Swing, Groove and live Life.  I trust you are doing the same.

Okay DJ, take care of yourself and God Bless.  I’ll be up with you soon.

Peace Love and Blessings,

Reginald Veal

PS  I didn’t forget — Happy Early Birthday and a Gotzillion MORE!!!  Enjoy your day!

Father’s Day at the Spa

My message about Father’s day is going to be centered around my relationship with my father.  My dad is so important to me and my family.  I’m sure you guys realize how important my mom is to me.   She’s included in all of my messages, for very good reasons.  She is the star in my life.  That’s primarily because of my father.  He’s always taught his children to revere our mother.  There’s something to be said about someone who encourages you to appreciate someone else.  When I say “encourage,” that’s similar to “demand.”  Those of you who know my dad know what I mean.  My dad loved his mother and adored his daughter, and he loves my mother.  Of course, I was named after my father and I’m the oldest son.  My father is a force in my life, one that is ongoing, relentless, and totally dependable.  He will be 80 and he’s still going strong and sticking to his principles and making it happen.  My dad has taught me about strength, acceptance, and adaptability.  These lessons have given me a good life.

My father and mother have been examples and role models my whole life.  I’ll be 55 on July 2.  Some familiar with my lifelong condition would say I’m living on borrowed time.  I’ve been taught to believe/know that it’s by the grace of God that I’m still here with my family and friends.  Like my father, I’m an integral part of the lives of my family and friends.  African American men don’t typically live to be viable in their 80s.  My father and three of my uncles are still formidable.  It’s a legacy that my brother and I share.  My father has no problems speaking his mind.  Throughout his life, he’s been an example to all of us.  My father’s a worker.  He works through good and bad times.  It keeps him straight and proud.  He could live another lifestyle and he has my mom to encourage that.  But he’s comfortable and he shines in his domain and routine.  There’s something to be said for that.  But he doesn’t say it, he shows it.

Because of my dad, I think I’ve been attracted to and I’ve attracted a number of friends who’ve had strong fathers and loving mothers and who live to be worthy of that blessing.  They want to be good fathers and representative friends and community members.  I cherish my father for that.  I share with my friends the love toward their fathers.  There’s no escaping the blessing of the kind of man you can become when you have the kind of father you can relate to, look up to, and depend upon.  I’m thankful to be in their company and I live to reinforce those principles and encourage those practices because that’s what it’s about, doing the work and reaping the rewards of the kind of people you encourage and create.

Right now, I’m in the hospital for Father’s Day weekend.  I call it the “spa.”  I’ve got good nurses and doctors that have cared for me for about 7 years.  I’m still on a ventilator and I use a foley catheter to regulate my urine.  These things are foreign bodies that introduce me to bacteria every day.  Every now and then, I need to have a round of antibiotics to control the infections they create.  It’s a routine I’ve had to accept to stay alive.  I am alive and I am living to share and contribute to the lives of all of you.  My life is a testament to the grace of God and the love of family and friends, starting and continuing with the love of my father and mother and extending through the grace of all of you.

Take time to show affection and appreciation for your fathers.  Acknowledge the kind of person you’re trying to be because of their example.  Once again, on July 2, I’ll be turning 55 and the plan is for me to enjoy the blessing of seeing my father and mother and being with the people I love.  I love all of you!