Music

Lucas Hicks Memorial Weekend

Let there be pie

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

“If this ever happens, party like hell.”—Lucas Hicks

I used to tell people that Lucas Hicks and I shared a birthday. We didn’t—our birthdays were a day apart—and the joke was pointless and unfunny, but I didn’t care. It amused me, Lucas didn’t seem to be bothered, and so I continued to perpetuate the lie over a span of enough years that I believed it to be true. I was a bit taken aback last year when I remembered that he was not, in fact, my birthday twin.

Joke was on me, I guess.

Our birthdays are now upon us, his the day before mine, and it’s the first in some time that I won’t be able to make the false dual-birthday claim. I do not regret the loss of the joke—it wasn’t very good to begin with.

Losing Lucas, on the other hand, is another matter entirely.

It’s been about four months since Lucas passed away after a battle with cancer that spanned nearly a decade and a half. In that time, the many, many people who loved him have been learning how to live in a world without a ready supply of the music and magic he gave to all of us so generously and so effortlessly.

I would not say the going has been easy. But I’m not sure the loss of someone like Lucas should be easy. Immediately following his death, I said he was the best musician to ever call Bellingham home. It was a gut-level statement made from a place of raw emotion, but it’s an opinion that holds up over time. I think about how musically nimble he was and about his endless inquisitiveness and wide-ranging interests. I think about how driven he was to challenge himself and about the people he’s inspired with his fearless creativity. I think about how the only thing that matched his musical ability was his talent as a top-notch showman.

I consider all of those things and conclude we may never see his like again.

I’m not sure at what point during the more than dozen years of cancer and its attendant treatments that Lucas first grappled with his own mortality, but sometime before he passed, he issued those close to him a succinct edict: “If this ever happens, party like hell.” Turns out, he gave his directive to a group of people perfectly suited to carrying it out.

As great as Lucas’ musical gifts were, he also had an equal knack for drawing people together and creating a genuine sense of community. He relished the opportunity to work up a little revelry whenever possible and so populated his life with a worthy crew of merrymaking co-conspirators. The same remarkable folks who brought so much music and light to Lucas’ journey every step of the way and ensured he never had to go it alone have been conjuring the exact kind of remembrance and celebration he would love, one replete with music and dancing, stories and songs—and, of course, pies. One hundred of them, if all goes as planned.

Lucas really liked pie.

The two-day event begins at 7pm Fri., Feb. 9 at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship with a remembrance ceremony. And while tears will no doubt be shed, this is not intended to be a “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” kind of occasion. Rather it is a time to build up a store of joy to help mitigate the grief and to be reminded how lucky we were to have Lucas in our lives. And then there will be music, dancing and the aforementioned pies.

The next night, Sat., Feb. 10, the revelry will move to the Wild Buffalo, where Lucas’ closest friends and musical cohort will try and re-create a measure of the magic he produced and dispensed so freely and so often. The Crow Quill Night Owls, Deakin Nilles, the Sons of Rainier, Reeb Willms & Caleb Klauder, the Shadies, and more will all do their level best to make certain the “party like hell” requirement is thoroughly met. I’m told pie might make an appearance at the Wild Buffalo as well.

The last time I wrote about Lucas, along with the sadness and the crushing unfairness of what happened to him, I spoke of feeling grateful, for his friendship, for the people in his life who loved him so completely and so well, for all those years of all that music. I remain grateful for those things, and for the knowledge that even though Lucas is no longer with us, all it takes to conjure a little of his magic is for his friends to gather and play music or share a pie or continue to tell a joke that was never very funny to begin with.

Did I ever tell you that Lucas and I have the same birthday?

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