Randy Granger

Randy Granger
In the Chihuahuan Desert near the Organ Mountains, New Mexico

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Staying in the stillness.

Gilbert Granger Jr. flashing a Peace Sign

I had been working mentally on a blog about “Stillness” the qualities of peaceful people and music. The word Metastasis had been on my mind as I am helping my friend though pancreatic cancer and learning the lexicon of the diseases. It comes from the Greek words Meta and Stasis which essentially means “Beyond Stillness” which just blew my mind. See I was remembering how when I worked in the office my dad’s construction company my older brother Junie would come in and say he liked it when I was there because it always felt so peaceful. Later when I worked at a university drug treatment center people would congregate in my little office mostly for the coffee but also because, as they would say, they got a contact high off my presence. I, of course, don’t take credit for this but have always known of my calming effect on people. It transfers to my music
as well so I am glad, after years and years of suffering for my art it now suffers me and lets me earn a meager living.

I bring up my brother Junie because today, December 2, 2010 he passed away at a hospital in Lubbock, TX after an illness. I had made plans to visit him this weekend in fact. I even called him last night to talk to him but he wasn’t feeling well enough to talk. My mother called me this afternoon and said he had died. The sadness that hit me was deep, not for myself but for him, my older brother, my “Big” brother Junie, Junebug et al. His name is Gilbert Granger Jr. He was a 1980 graduate of Hobbs High School where he excelled in Gymnastics and sports. I blame him for my musical career in many ways. At Houston Jr. High he was a star on the track team and on two undefeated football teams. By the time I got to Jr. High I went out for sports only to find out I was the absolute slowest person on the track team so became the manager.  I had always been musically inclined and got paid for weddings as a singer for years, but this time I chose to join band instead of pursuing sports. My instrument was the drums and the rest is history so to speak.

Junie was a gifted musician, a natural talent on the piano and singing. On childhood vacations he and I sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” as a duet to entertain the family. Junie loved the Beatles and music in general. He would bang out Hey Jude, Yesterday and Let it Be on the piano at home and would go to sleep to the radio blaring and wouldn’t dream of taking a shower without music blasting and him singing along. He was my protector from the older students jealous of my musical gifts—the ones who sabotaged my music, instruments and performances throughout High School. A fighter who took no flak from anyone he also boxed as a teen with success. But it is his gentleness I remember. We shared a bed growing up as boys. To help each other sleep we would scratch each other’s back. We developed an entire modality of scratches from the “Angel Scratch” to the “Devil Scratch” all the while our tender, brotherly innocence helped against the ghosts and shades that haunted our home and the unhappy marriage of our parents.

Junie was a father, husband, son, cousin, brother and friend to many people and I remember his high school friends well. I looked up to him and my other brother Stanley. Junie loved music and I am grateful he exposed me to such a diversity of bands like Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and many others. In the past two years or so I’ve lost a handful of relatives to the consequences of addiction whether it is drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. Junie battled his addiction demons and I’ve battled mine as well so can empathize. It really all comes back to finding the stillness within and latching onto it like a lifeboat in a stormy sea.

We will miss you Junebug.  
Gilbert Granger Jr.—1962-2010