The most important thing ...

I Met Jody at KVMR, the community radio station in the Sierra foothills where I had a program for several years. As volunteer DJs, we had to do everything ourselves—from engineering the "board," to cuing up records and CDs, to reading ad copy and public service announcements. My show was an interview format where I talked to local poets and writers about their work. But to become certified at the station, I had to produce, engineer, and host several music programs by myself. And Jody volunteered to train me.

Well over six feet tall, Jody was strikingly handsome. Blondish hair, ruddy cheeks, with intelligent blue eyes always searching for connection with whomever he was talking. When I met Jody, he was living on disability insurance from the state. He had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and volunteering at the radio station was the most he could handle. He was taxed to the maximum of his threshold for responsibilities and stress. Yet everyone at the station treated him like the professional DJ he aspired to be. He had a music program, and KVMR had become his family.

Jody and I hit it off immediately. He wanted to learn more about poetry, and I wanted to learn more about music. As we started putting together the play list for my first music program, we sat on the floor of his wood-paneled living room and plowed through stacks of albums, pulling out selections from Dinah Washington, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Nancy Wilson, the Supremes, and other jazz, pop, and alternative bands. He told me about his life.

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Authority over disease
July 22, 2002

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