So Glad I Called

Last week, an old friend of mine contacted me to let me know that Bud Herseth was doing poorly and that I should give him a call.  Bud, as you may know, is the legendary former principal trumpet for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  “Legendary” is a word that can be thrown around lightly, but in this case it’s an apt term.  Bud, arguably more than anyone else, helped define the very sound of the CSO — a sound that still endures.

I became friendly with Bud when I became obsessed for a few years with learning to replay the trumpet (after not playing since high school.)  I interviewed him for Artbeat Chicago and one thing led to another and my wife and I socialized with him a handful of memorable times.  I would call him on his birthday, but had not seen him in recent years as his health declined.

I got the heads-up about Bud at 6:30 pm, while I was getting ready to go on the air but something made me call him immediately.  Bud’s wife, Avis, picked up the phone and handed me off to him.  I knew it might be the last conversation we would ever have, so I did my best to make the words count–not idle chit-chat, but something of substance and appreciation.  I did not want to ever think, “I wish I had told Bud…”

I am so grateful to have had that conversation — and that I didn’t put it off.  It’s a gift, isn’t it?  As I think of the families of the bombing victims in Boston, I’m reminded of how we hardly ever know when a conversation with someone we care about will be the last one.

Last night, we aired a clip of my interview with Bud.  You can watch the entire conversation below.

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  • John Hahn

    One cannot put into words even a moment on the phone means to both your souls.