I Think You Should Know

An open letter to John Kuegler:


Your death shocked us all, John. I don’t think anyone could honestly say that they saw it coming either, unless of course someone in the vast group of persons that knew you was a psychic. And I wouldn’t find that to be so unlikely either, after all, you were a man of great variation.

I was teary-eyed and saddened by the news that you were gone. And even though you and I weren’t really ever that close, you touched by life in a way that was special all to me.

I think you should know, there was a rain shower…well, that’s not completely true, it was really more like a torrential downpour of persons that were as equally shocked and genuinely upset to learn about this news. Your family, your close friends, and not so close friends, as well as acquaintances that knew you were all shaking their heads in unison with disbelief and sadness.

I know I keep mentioning the word, sad here, and I knew you well enough to know that you don’t want to hear about that, because you were an optimist, John. So, okay then, fair enough – enough with the sad. Even though life would sometimes get you down, and kick you hard, like it does all of us, you my friend found a way out from under the sad – you found happiness in music. Music was your muse, your lover, your best friend. Music was you.

Last night I joined your family, friends, acquaintances, and fellow musicians from all corners of Ohio to celebrate you; to celebrate your life here with us. It was a wonderful summer night. The air was warm, so the doors at The Spider were all open – live, loud, powerful, emotional, beautiful, gripping, foot-stopping, swinging, sing-along kinds of music poured onto the streets; dancing up past the stars and moon; moving out past the world; hoping to reach you -  wherever you are.

Sure, I’m not going to lie, there were some tears of sadness, but there was much laughter and there were many wonderful stories about you too. I shared my tale of when I first met you 10 years’ ago, and how I recently caught up with you and we talked about life and religion for two hours, while sipping on beers at a local spot in Tremont. I will always have that memory – I am thankful for that time with you.

I think what I want to say here, John is… I think you should know that I’m not the only person’s life you touched. I think you should know how much you will be missed. And I think you should know how many people loved you, my friend.


Rest In Peace, John Kuegler

Neve Black

Buried Treasure

I can’t believe the dirt actually washed clean from my fingernails. I say this to you as well to myself, as I type this post - looking down at soft- pink moons and white fingernail tips poised eagery across my laptop’s keys.  I’ve played in so much dirt the past couple days, the golden brown hue on my shoulders and upper back, which I thought was the affects of a deepening, summer suntan, looks to have mostly washed down the shower drain a little bit ago. I was a very dirty girl.

Suffice to say,  I’ve been spending some time digg’n  in the dirt lately. My dirt digg’n ways include crazy stuff like shoveling up huge  pieces of cement, encrusted in red brick. My backyard was overwhelmed with many large old stones and cement pieces just hours ago, until I hauled it all away today. To give you some perspective on the quantity of these cement/brick pieces, the hauling of said stone pieces took hours to get rid of today: there were several trips of rubble and debris loaded up in the back of my Jeep, along with a few wheel-barrow haulings to my neighbors dumpster (permission granted).  All this digg’n is necessary when trying to create a new garden of beauty though. I have garden vision. I can see Shangra-la-Black on the horizon.

 I have to admit, with all the digging I’ve been doing, I keep thinking I’m going to uncover lost loot. I know. I sound like a ten year-old child convinced  lost, buried treasure resides somewhere in her recently acquired backyard. These thoughts I’m sure have to do with my vivid imagination, fueled by my love of reading, and watching movies. Movies such as Goonies. And just so you know, my ten year-old imagination runs more wildly than normal too when I’m dreaming up big – all the things I’d do with this found treasure! The treasure in my 10 year-old mind, of course is millions of dollars. All tucked away in neat, crisp wads of Grover Cleveland’s; unscathed, and safe inside an old coffee cannister, or metal box. I imagine the tip of my shovel hits the metal treasure chest, and I rotate the shovel around the sides, pushing the shovel deeper into the ground, hearing the shovel scrape across the metal container, until I can get below it, and lift the money safe up from the darkened, cool earth.  Sitting down, Indian-style, the dirty box sits in my lap. As I push away the dark earth that surrounds the dirty containers opening, I pull my work gloves from my hands. I open the lid, and the smell of dust, spores of old earth, and money fill my nostrils. I’m rich! I’m rich!

Later, after I’ve cleaned up, and managed to gain composure, I’m interviewed by the local news, and then some faved home improvement television show. I wear dark sun-glasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect my identity of course, but the money…it’s all mine.

As I step back into reality…and realize that I am not 10 years’-old – even if I often act like I am – unfortunately, I didn’t find a box of buried money in my backyard today. Upon reflection, I suppose however, I am uncovering buried treasure though.  I’m creating something out there, which has been an utter mess and clean-up project. I’m creating a treasure that will be a place of beauty, and solace. A treasure of a place for friends, family, cats, bugs, and other critters to enjoy. My buried treasure is that all my hard-work and vision will pay off – and that my friends is what finding buried treasure is all about.


Neve Black

p.s. feeling like you’re 10 years-old is marvelous. I highly recommend it.

Sunshine in the Rain


It’s one of those sunshine in the rain days here today.  The morning started off a bit chilly as rain storms continued to shake a forceful fist above.  And just when I thought the wrath of drought-be-gone-forever would begin, the sun’s warmth stuck it’s playful head out from behind those angry rain clouds -  quieting everything down, while warming everything up. Afterall - it’s difficult to say no to the sun.

Feeling confident, I stripped off my pink, long sleeve tee-shirt and stepped outside onto the warm cement patio, with four recently washed house rugs drapped over my bare arm.  Rejuvinated by the golden globe, I stepped back inside to make a quick bite of lunch. And as I looked up from my bowl of spinach salad, the sun had disappeared – leaving behind the rattle of wind as it rustled the trees and caressed the windchimes; signaling spiteful rain had returned, and threatening the sky once again.

Pulling the long-sleeve, pink shirt over my head, and pulling back the glass slider, I stepped onto the shadow-covered patio; picking up each, not-quite-dry rug from the backs of the ouside chairs. It felt like plucking the leaves from a flower and subsitututing the sing-song verse of, ”he loves me/he loves me not”, with “rain/no rain.”

The sun is MIA again – and I’m not fully sure if I really know where it runs off to when it disappears on days like this. Maybe it has an insatiable, impatient lover, and it can’t stay away for too long – I don’t know.  The late afternoon is settling in - I can hear the whirling drone of a lawn mower in the distance; staving off the fight of rain, but I’m not up for playing any more fickle weather games today.  The rugs are dry now. Just to be on the safe side, I think I’m sticking with the pink, long-sleeve tee, and staying inside for the balance of this sunshine in the rain Sunday.  Ah, but then again, maybe not…I think the sun might make one last appearance today – afterall, it’s hard to say no to the sun.


Happy Sunday
Neve Black