Louis McMullin (Uncle Louie) rest in peace
It's with great sadness and a heavy heart that I must tell you that my Uncle Louie passed away today. Louis McMullin is my Mom's younger brother. I loved him very much. He was a genius and I don't use that word very often. But he flat out was a genius. He could play anything on the piano from classical to jazz to you name it.
My Uncle Louie taught me to sing. He had me perform as Oliver in recitals when I was only young lad of 6 or 7. He taught my sister Kath Kathy Swiggs how to play piano. I sing about him in my song Holliston Street.
When I was a kid he took me to see Julian Bream play a classical guitar concert at The Hollywood Bowl. That's the reason I play guitar. I took classical lessons because of that show. I was 6. He also took my sister and I to see Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae and Sara Vaughan at The Hollywood Bowl. He took us to see Jesus Christ Superstar at The Hollywood Bowl. He took me to every Planet Of The Apes movie. He bought me Beatles records in 1967. He bought us triple scoop ice cream cones at Thrifty's in Palm Springs. He was so good to me.
He had me sing songs from Fiddler On The Roof in recitals. He always accompanied me on piano at those recitals.
Uncle Louie was a gay man at a time when it was scary to be a gay man. He had dignity and knew what he liked. He didn't suffer fools and was quick to let you know when you were being an idiot.
I drove up to see him last week at the hospital and that's when I snapped this photograph. He was making plans on the phone for returning home and getting back to work playing gigs. He played gigs up to the end of his life. I'm so glad I got to visit with him. I asked him what he wanted and he said he wanted a hamburger. I went and got him the best burger I could find and we talked about his life growing up in Cape Breton. He told me he wasn't afraid of dying and that he'd lived a full life and he had no regrets.
He told me to listen to the song Here's To Life because those words applied to him. He said he liked the version by Shirley Horn the best. I've listened to it over and over today. I'm crying as I type this because I'll miss him and because I feel so sad to hear my Mom and Sister cry. Life is so heartbreaking sometimes. I'm so happy he was my Uncle. Here's to life. Here's to Uncle Louie. I love you and I will honor you.
Here's the video of Shirley Horn
"Here's To Life"
No complaints and no regrets I still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets And I have learned that all you give is all you get So give it all you've got
I had my share, I drank my fill And even though I'm satisfied, I'm hungry still To see what's down another road, beyond a hill And do it all again
So here's to life And every joy it brings Here's to life To dreamers and their dreams
Funny how the time just flies How love can go from warm hellos to sad goodbyes And leave you with the memories you've memorized To keep your winters warm
But there's no yes in yesterday And who knows what tomorrow brings, or takes away As long as I'm still in the game, I want to play For laughs, for life, for love
So here's to life And every joy it brings Here's to life To dreamers and their dreams May all your storms be weathered And all that's good get better
Here's to life Here's to love And here's to you