Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good Days And Better Days

George Lesses (January 4, 1941 – May 10, 2011)

“I only have two kinds of days – good days and better days.
And today is a better day.”
~ George Lesses (January 4, 1941 – May 10, 2011)
Blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground lately. That’s because most of my waking hours have been occupied by the extended illness, and recent death of my older brother, George.

While this may serve as an obituary of sorts for George, it is pretty much impossible to do justice to his 70 years in a few paragraphs. Family man and father, basketball player, coach and mentor, cabinet maker, carpenter and craftsman, athlete, grandfather (‘pop-pop’ to some, and ‘papou’ to others), brother, and lover of life. All these and so much more, sum up the many facets that were my brother and the life he lived.

I hope every family has a man like George in their lives. George was one of the pillars of our family. A man who always made sure to include everyone in celebrations - large or small. One of his personal motto’s was: We’re not here for a long time – we’re here for a good time. To that end, he loved organising family get-togethers, at which he presided over the bar-b-que or roasting spit, and it gave him no end of pleasure to see everyone eating, drinking, laughing and enjoying each others company.

George was the eternal optimist. The saying (and song), Always look on the bright side of life, could have been written for George. More to the point, he might as well have written the phrase himself, so much did he embody its spirit. But George lived by the quote at the start of this entry, which as far as I am aware, was original to him.

The story goes that George, who was a cabinet maker and master of anything involving the use of wood, was having a tough day with a couple of hard to please clients. At one point one of the clients, apologised – sort of – and suggested they were making his day harder than it needed to be, at which George said he replied to the effect: “Not at all. I only have two kinds of days – good days and better days. And today is a better day.”

And thus the phrase has made it into our family folklore.

In 2003, I wrote Good Days, Better Days, a song which adapted and incorporated part of the phrase, which pleased George no end. The song has always been a popular crowd pleaser whenever I performed it live, which you can see me doing in the clip below. George always enjoyed the song, and he was in the audience singing along on the chorus with everyone else when the clip was filmed.

It is a small but fitting tribute to a great man whose legacy survives in his two adult children, four grandchildren (with a fifth on the way), and in far more ways than I can hope to document here.

I’ll miss you bro’. This song’s for you…

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