Note: The following is Part 3 of a 4 part series written especially for my close family. It is pretty personal stuff, but, in retrospect, eminently shareable with this readership family
When I had graduated from college, moved to New York City and had some early success in show business, I lived alone, a bachelor. Every Christmas for 5-6 years I would go spend the holiday season with Jim and his family in St. Louis. Mom and Dad lived there as well, but it was Jim’s house that I stayed in. He had three of the sharpest kids I have ever laid eyes on – Cindy, Tina and a little red-headed ball-buster named Travis. In those years I became the Jim to Travis’s Pete – except that I was about 25 years older than Travis rather than 5.
We had a love/hate relationship that usually ended up with Travis going to his mom crying, but he too just could not turn from the opportunity to try to wallop Unca Pete. Sometimes he would crawl up on the bed and wake me up with a slug to the nose or the closed eye. Ouch! Anyone who has ever raised a 5-year old knows that their punch can really hurt. Sometimes I would hear him coming and just as he reared back to let one loose, I would wake up and scream “AAAAHHH” and scare him half to death so that he would run crying to Mom.
Those Christmases became the iconic Christmases for me because they were my way of hanging on to my own childhood and playing with those beautiful children that I had fallen so in love with. Jim and I would stay up till 4 or 5 o’clock every Christmas Eve wrapping presents for the kids and often talking about our own childhood Christmases and the great times we had together as kids. Whenever we would tell stories of when we were kids to his kids; they would gather around wide-eyed and fully concentrated, excited to hear about when we were like them. These were their favorite stories and we had to tell them over and over.
For the next 30 years or so, Jim, the accountant, did my taxes for free each year and advised me how to take my proper deductions, organize my business life, steer clear of shady deals and stay on top of my roller coaster financial life in show biz. One thing you can say about show biz: It is not financially consistent. I never had a real consistent job until Watchfire Music. I never knew where the next job was coming from, and yet I’m proud to say that I never had to work at any other job besides making music. That one thing is a success story in itself in this business. But it is an up and down life – like most entrepreneurs. (more…)