One weekend afternoon in late 2002 or early 2003, I was in my bedroom playing with my 4-track alone when my mother-in-law called. She asked me if Jennifer was home, and it told her that Jennifer was at school, holed up in her carrel doing school work. She told me that Jennifer's grandfather had passed away unexpectedly and asked me to tell Jennifer. I said I would, gave my condolences and hung up.
Jennifer was very close to her grandfather and I knew the news would upset her and I wasn't sure if I should run to school and tell her or wait until she got home. It seems like a minor conundrum now, but at the time, I really didn't know what to do. Would she want to know right away? Would she want a few more hours of not knowing? I didn't know. In the end, I waited a little and then drove to school and told her and tried to comfort her as best as I could.
The aimless instrumental I was recording when her mother called, I named "New Jacket" after the hand-me-down sport coat that I'd been given a few months before that had been her grandfather's. He was a pretty cool guy. He'd been a nuclear scientist, jazz drummer and had a glass eye. We can all aspire to such heights of awesome.
Since that time, her other grandfather passed away along with my three remaining grandparents and my step-father. And we took care of each other as best we could, which was pretty good.